Name: Cherie Noel (that’s my nom de plume, at any rate)
Age: 36. No, really. Okay, 36 and holding. Like, for a little over a decade, lol.
Where are you from: Dude. Getting all philosophical on me, are you? Where are any of us from? J Seriously though, I’ve lived all over the world. Born in West Palm Beach Florida. Currently residing just outside of Buffalo, New York.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I grew up mostly in and around Marquette, Michigan. That’s big town/small city in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Beautiful place. I think living in the UP while growing up leaves an indelible stamp on one’s personality. A forthright, too frozen to bullshit sort of mentality, if you will. Heh. It’s always stood me in good stead.
I left the UP at 16 to go to college. Right after my junior year in high school. And despite going to…oi, is it really eleven colleges now, the only thing I’ve ever graduated from is my advanced training (AIT) in the Army. Odd but true. I’ve even managed to become a licensed practical nurse without finishing nursing school. I guess I never put a lot of stock in degrees. I like to do what I want to do as soon as I know enough to be proficient.
As far as family goes, I’ve got lots and almost none at all. I know that sounds like nonsense…here’s what I mean. I have a huge tribe of people that I’ve made the family of my heart, but almost none of my blood kin (nuclear family) is still alive. One sister, one daughter.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Cherie: Latest news…hmmm…there’s a lot to pick from, actually. Oh, I know. The best bit of news is this—about two years ago I suffered a head injury that left me with some lasting deficits…but I’m finally starting to get to the point in my recovery where writing on a consistent basis is possible. And that is a HUGE relief.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Cherie: LOL. Another one of those questions I have multiple answers for. Here’s the most comprehensive answer though. I started writing…geez, to be honest, I can’t recall a time when I didn’t write. There were simply always stories in my head pushing to be given voice.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Cherie: Huh. I don’t know that I really put that title to it in my younger days. I probably first called myself a WRITER in 2010, when I finished the first draft of my first full length novel. Before that I considered myself at various times a poet, a singer-songwriter, and a storyteller.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Cherie: Oh, now this one is easy. I had just come off two back to back spinal surgeries, one in 2007 and one in 2008. I was deeply depressed by the change in my status from working nurse to disabled veteran, and the stories I read where what kept me going. So many of the authors in the m/m genre where generous with their time, their own hard work, and their genuine offers of friendship. They pulled me through one of the toughest parts of my life…and as I recuperated, I wanted to give back, to do for someone else what they had done for me. It was an easy, easy choice. As to the subject matter of my first book? Oi, I’m not sure. I’d have to look back at the blogs I wrote during that time to remember. Heh. That’s part of the lingering issues from the head injury in 2014. Some memory loss. I treat it as an exciting chance to learn new stuff about myself. 😀
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Cherie: Nope. Or, maybe. I dunno. Goofy? Slapstick? Slightly over the top humor? Mostly I try to get out of the way and let the characters have their say.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Cherie: I have two stories in the hot seat right now. The first is Three Days in Jackass Flats. Jackass Flats is a collaborative effort with Rhae Camdyn, and with the whole chimichanga from title, to series name, and right through dialogue, we basically share a brain. We’re both responsible for certain characters, and write from those POVs, but even that’s pretty fluid. It’s all pretty hive-mind. 😀
The second story that’s being actively worked on right now is Lewell’yn’s Journey. That title came right out of the mouth of the main character, Lewell’yn. He told me he’d been on a long strange journey, and if I wanted to understand him I needed to understand the journey, right from day one. He really doesn’t play. Dude took me back to the day of his birth. I mean, who remembers that? Except Lewell’yn?
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Cherie: While there’s always a message I try to put into each story I weave, it’s only my story until I set it free in the world, you know? After that, well, people are going to bring different things to the pages, so naturally they’re also going to take different things away. And at that point, it’s their story, not mine.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Cherie: Neither of these two stories are realistic in the sense of being a direct reflection of contemporary planet earth. Three Days in Jackass Flats is a paranormal story, and Lewell’yn’s Journey is a science fiction story set a thousand years after a plague nearly destroys a planet colonized by people from earth. And to make it even better, the people of Nakantiios settled their planet so long ago that Earth isn’t even a myth to them anymore. It’s utterly forgotten.
What is real in both books are the emotions people feel. The little gritty details of life. At least I like to think so.
Fiona: What books have influenced your life most? A mentor?
Cherie: Huh. Right off the bat I’d have to say Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke. That one rocked my world back in high school. And there are thousands and thousands of books that helped to shape my world view. That one though, it was pivotal. And the woman who introduced me to the book, Julanne Isabelle. She was my Poetry & Playwrights teacher in eleventh grade in high school. And she saved my life by helping me to understand that I would always need to write, that for the sake of my sanity I needed to let the words, poems, character chatter out of my mind, just spill it into whatever medium I could. Yeah. She was this beautiful old lady who wore high necked dresses like something out of a steampunk novel, had the blondest hair and bluest eyes I have ever seen in my life, and a map of her life writ in every line on her face. I love her.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Cherie: I can’t name just one author. There are so many I love. Geez. Angel Martinez. Poe. T.S. Eliot. Amy Lane. Lexi Ander. M.A. Church. Anne McCaffery. Lois Bujold McMasters. Really, I can go on and on and on, and for each author there is some new thing they bring to the world, some new bit of beauty or pathos that wouldn’t have been able to exist in the same way without them.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Cherie: Huh. Entity? Like a club, or like a higher power? Mother Nature. And every person who has ever been kind to me. 😀
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Cherie: Oh, absolutely.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Cherie: I think I already answered this one.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Cherie: I’m sorry, but I can’t. I do promise to send you a juicy excerpt after the first round of beta-reads and revisions are done. How does that sound?
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Cherie: In the past two years, keeping my brain from getting overwhelmed has been a challenge. I have to take care. I’m more fragile than I once was. But, like everything else in life, I find there’s always a work-around.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Cherie: I don’t have to, but I like to. I like to spend time in any locale I’m going to set a story in, give it time to seep into my bones.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Cherie: Well, Rhae and I had a lovely cover done by Catherine Diar…it’s beyond fabulous…but we’re not sure if we’re going to get to keep that cover with the new publishing house. And I don’t have a cover yet for Lewell’yn’s Journey.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Cherie: Ignoring the many shiny distractions offered up by life has always been the hardest part of writing for me. I’m sort of a butterfly, never landing long in any one spot. So maintaining my focus can be quite challenging for me.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Cherie: Oh, I learned loads from both books. I’ve studied a fair amount of physics and quantum reality to gear up for writing the Akanti series (Lewell’yn’s Journey is the first in that series), and I’ve learned heaps about Texas from working on Three Days in Jackass Flats.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead?
Cherie: Wow. I haven’t even considered it. Jeepers. I’ll have to get back to you on this one.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Cherie: Yes. Just write. If it wakes you in the still hours of the night, the question of whether you are a writer has been answered. At that point, simply surrender to your muse, and write like the wind.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Cherie: I hope you love my characters as much as I do. I already know they love you, because they’ve been clamoring to get to you.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Cherie: I’m listening to Michio Kaku’s Parallel Worlds and his Physics of the Future, and reading I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzaiand Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Cherie: No. I started reading chapter books when I was around four I think…my mother sent me to school a year early because she didn’t have time to take me to the library every day, and I’d cry if I ran out of books.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Cherie: Oh, that’s a great question. Happy babies make me laugh. Autumn leaves make me laugh. Cruelty directed toward the weak makes me sad and angry all at once. Hallmark commercials make me cry. And all of that changes from day to day.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Cherie: I find this answer also fluctuates. But most of the time the answer is I would happily sit and talk with my mother. I miss her terribly. She’s been dead these past sixteen and a half years, and I miss her every single day.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
Cherie: Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death. Dig in with both hands, kids, and don’t worry about the barbeque sauce on your sweater.
Because Auntie Mame got EVERYTHING right, even when she got it wrong. Because she loved with her whole heart.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Cherie: I play guitar, and collect skeins of yarn under the pretext that I’m going to learn to knit. Heh.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Cherie: I love NCIS. Because Gibbs.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Cherie: Everything except asparagus and okra/Green/Yes please
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Cherie: I’d have been a soldier, or a nurse.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?