Name: Sheryl Browne
Where are you from: Worcestershire, UK
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I live at home with my partner and my son and I’m also a foster mum to disabled dogs. I studied art and design at school. My degree got put on hold, though, due to early marriage and motherhood. I’m quite proud of the fact that I have now, finally, managed to obtain my MA in Creative Writing.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I’m super-pleased to share that The Rest of My Life has been shortlisted in the Best Romantic Ebook category for the Love Stories Awards 2015! Winners to be announced at the Love Stories Award event in London. The cover for the book, designed by the uber-talented, Berni Stevens at Choc Lit, is also a semi-finalist at AuthorDatabase, Books & Top Charts. After a year that started quite stressfully due to my partner’s health problems, I am absolutely thrilled and immensely grateful for the support of readers, book bloggers and lovely members of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and Love Stories Awards. I think 2015 may end slightly better than it started. Phew!
In other news, my contemporary romance Learning to Love has now been contracted by Choc Lit! The book was also recommended to Choc Lit by the WH Smith Travel Fiction buyer who told me he loved it so much he took a quote from it. I owe the man big time and simply can’t thank him enough.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I think I first started writing about the time I took leave of my senses. I joke, sort of. Writing has always been my passion. I started writing actual books as a catharsis, in truth, though. As a single parent and nursing my mum through early onset Alzheimer’s Disease in my twenties. It turned out to be a real antidote, because I found I was reflecting on the humour and love in what would otherwise have been a sad situation. My very first bestselling debut, however… Um, well it didn’t sell. I think the agent who’d hailed it as such went off in search of Prozac. I’d love to tell you about it but, unfortunately, I eventually tossed it in the bin. I can tell you the title though! It was called Loose Screws! Hmm? Not so sure about that now. Silver linings and all that, though: my book, Warrant for Love – now published – was based on that first book. Or rather what I could remember of it, mostly a hunky policeman in a bite-the-buttons-off blue uniform.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I write in two genres: contemporary romance and psychological thriller. My books always tend to turn around family dynamics, looking at the fragility of love, life and relationships, so maybe the two genres aren’t too dissimilar, after all.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
In Death Sentence, my latest thriller from Safkhet Publishing, I do look at bullying and the effects that can have on someone through into adulthood. In The Rest of My Life from Choc Lit, I tackle the subject of stalking, possessiveness by a former boyfriend. It’s a difficult subject, possessiveness often goes hand-in-hand with bullying in a relationship. Sienna’s ex simply refuses to let go, blaming his appallingly brutal attempt at seduction on Sienna’s inadequacies. With her self-esteem at a low, Sienna almost believes him. Almost. It takes a man who is apparently uncaring on the outside, but deeply caring on the inside to convince her there is nothing wrong with her and everything wrong with a man who would try to convince her otherwise.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I think most authors draw on life events and the emotions around them, looking at the inner and outer conflicts people might be dealing with. In The Rest of My Life, for instance, the inner conflicts and demons both Adam and Sienna were dealing with needed careful handling. Sienna’s mother struggled with bipolar disorder. Anyone who has experience of this knows that it is a much misunderstood condition. I do have experience of it, but still, careful research was called for, as with depression linked to post-traumatic stress disorder, which Adam acknowledges he has, but doubts that anyone can help him with. Talking to the people coping with such issues was paramount, followed up by whatever online research I felt was necessary.
I think my characters are an amalgamation of people and the good and bad traits they might have. The heroine is perhaps a mixture of our own strengths and vulnerabilities: who we are and how we want to be. I always start off with a nicely formed man, however (which isn’t a bad way to start). I have no idea why. Even when I have an idea for a strong female protagonist, the male lead, whether he’s good or bad, or a dangerously heady mixture of both, he’s right there, his features, his hair, his clothes, his mannerisms, his conflicts, inner and outer. I’m not sure he’s based on anyone I actually know (or if he is, I’m not saying).
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? A mentor?
In regard to my romance writing, Marian Keyes is a huge inspiration for me. Water Melon was the first book I read by this author and I’ve been addicted ever since. I adore Marian’s writing. Her books tend to deal with modern ailments, but are always written with the compassion and humour I so admire. For my psychological thrills I turn to Martina Cole, whose ability to write gritty, believable characters I’m in awe of. For me, the magic of Martina Cole’s books is her fabulously unique way of leading us seamlessly into the heads of her characters: real flesh and blood people we can identify with and get to know. Fabulous stuff.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’ve just purchased John Donoghue’s latest, Police, Arrests & Suspects. If you find me crying, it will be in the best possible way. The first I read of this author’s books was Police, Crime & 999 – The True Story of a Front Line Officer. I badly needed something to cheer me up after my partner’s cancer diagnosis and his undergoing various surgeries (he’s doing fabulously now, btw!). You can probably guess then that the author had his work cut out making me smile. He succeeded! I laughed until I cried, literally. The book is totally hilarious. In fact the title of my review, which you can find here, is ‘Excellent Therapy’. His other books, Police, Lies & Alibis and Shakespeare My Butt are similarly sidesplittingly hilarious. Fabulous stuff.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Ava Marsh’s book, Untouchable. The central character is a high class call girl and if you want a read that is riveting, powerful and different, this is the book for you. I have to say well done Ava Marsh on tackling a subject that some would shy away from.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I’m currently working fourteen to sixteen hours a day, so yes, most definitely.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Ooh, I would love to share the blurb for The Rest of My Life, if I may?
The Rest of My Life
“You can’t run away from commitment forever … “
Adam Hamilton-Shaw has more reason than most to avoid commitment. Living on a houseboat in the Severn Valley, his dream is to sail into the sunset – preferably with a woman waiting in every port. But lately, his life looks more like a road to destruction than an idyllic boat ride…
Would-be screenplay writer Sienna Meadows realises that everything about Adam spells trouble – but she can’t ignore the feeling that there is more to him than just his bad reputation. Nor can she ignore the intense physical attraction that exists between them.
And it just so happens that Adam sees Sienna as the kind of woman he could commit to. But can he change his damaging behaviour – or is the road to destruction a one-way street?
And the video if you fancy a peek:
And a couple of fabulous review snippets!
Buy Link: http://lrd.to/rest-of-my-life
Fiona: Who designed the cover?
Oooh, I’m glad you’ve asked me that. Berni Stevens at Choc Lit designed the gorgeous cover for The Rest of My Life, and I swear she’s psychic. She plucked an image right out of my head. If you take a look at the video below, which I made way before the cover was designed, you will know what I mean. Spooky.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Based on my answer about starting out on my writing journey, never throw away your first manuscript! It might need work but as you write and learn, taking on board constructive criticism, you can fix it! Seriously, I’d advise a new author to climb on board social media platforms immediately. You can learn so much from other writers, connect on Twitter/FB and read author blogs, join online writing groups, ask for guidance on where to obtain editorial advice or enlist a beta reader. The most vital thing, in my opinion though, is to read – lots! To quote Stephen King: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Like all writers, I’m passionate about writing. I am therefore I write. I simply have to do it. In all honesty, what inspires me most and gets me through those horrible bouts of self-doubt, is reader feedback. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to readers, reviewers and bloggers who have cheered me on since day one.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
As long as it’s not ‘she died trying’, I don’t mind.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Boating! We have a little narrowboat, Aquaduck. It’s my bolt hole. Also the inspiration behind my thriller, The Edge of Sanity which is about a family taken hostage …yup, on a boat.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I’m currently heavily into Homeland.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
A sculptor. I’m very tactile!
Heartache, humour, love, loss & betrayal, Sheryl Browne brings you edgy, sexy, poignant fiction. A member of the Crime Writers’ Association, Romantic Novelists’ Association and shortlisted for the Best Romantic e-book Love Stories Award 2015, Sheryl has seven books published, two shorts in Birmingham City University anthologies, and a further short published in ‘Let’s Hear it For the Boys’ – all proceeds to Movember raising funds for men’s health awareness.
Sheryl’s new contemporary romance novel was recommended to the publisher by the WH Smith Travel fiction buyer. THE REST OF MY LIFE comes to you from award winning Choc Lit.