* you can find the original interviews and much more on my 'everything writing' blog (http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com), including author spotlights, guest posts, book reviews, flash fiction or poetry - new items posted 6am UK time Monday to Saturday and writing exercises at 6pm very weekday.
Monday, 1 October 2012
Author interview no.320: Cher Green (revisited)
Back in March 2012, I interviewed author Cher Green for my WordPress blog. I hope you enjoy it...
Welcome to the three hundred and twentieth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with romantic and ‘dark’ paranormal author Cher Green. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Cher. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Cher: Hello Morgen. Originally from Tennessee, I now live in South Carolina. I believe I was born a writer, and grew into an author. As a teen, I started putting words on paper. Many, many years later, I can say I’m published, but there’s still a long road ahead.
Morgen: Oh, me too. I’ve been studying on and off (evening classes, day courses, conferences) for six years and only have a few bits out so far. I’m yet to try Amazon but I do have four novels to edit (which I’ve madly given up my day job to have time to do!) so hope to crawl up the ladder, slowly but surely. :) Are you an avid reader? What genres do you read?
Cher: I’ve always read a lot, but now not as much as I like to. When life gets busy, you have to read when you can, therefore quality becomes more important than quantity. My genre reading has changed over the years. After kiddie books, I started reading romance and teen books. I found V. C. Andrews and was swept away. But, soon the dark day came – I discovered Stephen King and Dean Koontz. To be honest, I look more for a good story, rather than a specific genre.
Morgen: I’ve gone the other way: I used to read Stephen King in my teens but have ‘mellowed’ to crime. :) And what genres do you write?
Cher: I lean toward the darker side in most cases. My writing has ranged from romance to dark fiction, but usually contains some paranormal aspect. Sci-fi and Fantasy have been tugging at my interest.
Morgen: I’ve never really read any sci-fi / fantasy so I don’t write much of it but one of the reviewers of my Story a Day May anthology says one of the sci-fi ones is his favourite! :) What have you had published to-date?
Cher: Three short stories and two novellas. Each novella also appears in a corresponding anthology. A list of my published work can be found on my webpage.
Morgen: Have you had any rejections? (Dean Koontz had over 500 apparently :)) If so, how do you deal with them?
Cher: I’d like to meet the author who hasn’t had at least one rejection. Yes, rejection is part of the game. I’ve been lucky. My first few rejections came with personal responses. This softened the blow when the form rejections started coming. You can only deal with them one way: print it out, start making a stack, and watch it grow. The bigger the stack, the more you are trying.
Morgen: I have had a handful of authors here who’ve not had rejections but only because they’ve either not submitted or they’ve had the first things accepted. :) Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
Cher: I haven’t tried for an agent yet, but I do plan to. I don’t think it’s vital, but the big publishers are out if you don’t have an agent. So, it does depend on which publishers you want to submit to.
Morgen: Indeed, and once you have one they do (supposedly) earn their keep. :) Are your books available as eBooks? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?
Cher: Yes, both novellas and their corresponding anthologies are available as eBooks. I’m still a paper kind of girl, but I do read eBooks from time to time at my computer.
Morgen: Most people have said the same and I do think both formats will run alongside each other. From memory only one or two interviewees have said they’d no longer read paper. How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Cher: I do what I can through Facebook, twitter, my blog, and guesting on other blogs. There’s a lot of controversy over whether social media works for marketing. It does, but an author shouldn't get sucked in and forget the main goal – writing.
Morgen: <guilty as charged> :) Did you have any say in the title / covers of your book(s)? How important do you think they are?
Cher: I was able to keep both novellas’ titles. On the covers, I had the final say, but I only had two choices. Basically, the artist created one, and then, with my feedback, created a second. In both cases, I loved the second cover. I’m very impressed with both. Both titles and covers are very important for the sale of a book. These are the first two things most readers see. The next two important factors are the back blurb and the first few pages (sometimes paragraphs).
Morgen: They are great covers. Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Cher: I get an idea and run with it. I’ve tried plotting, but I’ve yet to master a good technique. My stories are discovered through writing. So, when I try to summarize them into plot form, I really don’t get very far. Plotting is great for the second draft, but never the first draft.
Morgen: I do tend to agree. I plotted for my first novel but the story (and characters) took over so with the others it was just skimming a shell and ‘let’s see what happens’. Didn’t work out badly. :) Do you write any non-fiction, poetry or short stories?
Cher: I write everything. I do have one published poem listed on my webpage. In my teens, I had a few poems gain spots in various anthologies. I love to write short stories. On the non-fiction note – I write a lot about tarot cards and spiritual aspects on my tarot blog. I’m also a National Tarot Examiner for the Examiner.
Morgen: I love to write short stories too. :) More so, actually than novels. Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Cher: I do a lot of rewriting / editing, but that’s part of being a non-plotter.
Morgen: Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
Cher: Of course, I believe all writers have at least one deep dark secret. I do have a few pieces that may never find publication, and a few unfinished pieces that may never find completion. But, then again, one should never say ‘never’.
Morgen: “deep dark secret” ah yes, I have one of those. :) What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Cher: Read a lot. Write a lot. You really can’t make it far without doing both.
Morgen: <guilty as charged> again… :) What do you do when you’re not writing?
Cher: Spiritual growth and tarot cards keep me busy during most of my non-writing free time.
Morgen: What do you think the future holds for a writer?
Cher: Many opportunities: the publishing world is exploding. You don’t even need a publisher anymore. But, with the doors wide open, a reader does have to be more selective with their choices. One should definitely read excerpts before purchasing.
Morgen: And, I’d say, reviews / ratings where there are some. Where can we find out about you and your writing?
Morgen: Brilliant, thank you Cher.
I then invited Cher to include an extract of her writing and this is from her novella ‘Escape to Love’…
A soft breeze stirred the curtains. The tick-tock of the old grandfather clock magnified, building to a roar. Then, an eerie silence settled over the room, voiding Constance’s moment of anticipation. Dropping her shoulders, she blew out the candles and shuffled toward the kitchen.
Angelica hissed. Constance spun. The curtains whipped in the strong wind tearing through her house. Through the sheer drapery, moonlight pulsed, trespassing into her small living room. Hair on end, teeth bared, her cat arched. Constance’s heart echoed in her ears - it worked, her incantation had been a success.
Thunder rumbled, shaking the house, ravaging her senses. Soft rain fell, lulling her into a calm state. The smell of disturbed soil filled the room, like a peaceful cemetery burial. Lightning darted through the darkened clouds, slithered through the darkness, and forked across the purple sky. A haze settled as the soft rain turned into a full-fledged downpour.
Tiny goose bumps popped up all over her bare skin. She crossed her arms, but it didn’t do much for the chill rambling through her body. The thin fabric of her nightgown did nothing to stop the icy grip of the storm on her flesh. She started toward the bedroom to grab a robe, but a high pitched cry bounced off the walls, stopping in her tracks.
Cher Green, born in Tennessee, lives in South Carolina with her significant other and her two feline companions. She writes in many genres, spanning from horror to romance, usually with a touch of paranormal. When she isn’t writing, she’s delivering mail for the United States Postal Service. Cher also works as an editor, both for various publishing companies and freelance. Her other interests include spiritual development, tarot cards, and reading.
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Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) :) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.