Readers want to know you better. Tell us something about you from your perspective:
My perspective about me is that I’m a pretty ordinary person. Not everyone would agree, but from where I sit, I don’t look too exciting most of the time. I wish I could tell you that I skydive and go on archaeological digs…well, okay I could tell you that, so I guess what I wish is that I actually did some exciting things. If I did, I’d likely get too hot and might even break a fingernail, so I’m better off doing what I do. Or not doing what I don’t do, however you want to look at it.
What does your family think about having a published author in their midst:
My family has never held any sense of awe where my career was concerned. I’m still just mom, the one who whips up the goodies for their birthdays, makes a mean pot of chili and sometimes puts on a rockin’ brunch. I have seriously great kids, and their kids are the apples of my eye, beautiful and brilliant each of them.
Your books are filled with human emotion. What inspires you?
I love reading a book that makes me so deeply involved that I cry. Emotional movies inspire me to write emotional books. I have a stack of favorites I dig out when I need to be in the “zone.” What the movie has to do to inspire me is make me feel deeply. Crying is good for the muse, for some odd reason. I love to cry over movies. It’s so…well, not my life. So I guess to really know me, you need to know what makes me laugh and cry.
The cry list:
Pay It Forward – I can do an entire workshop on this movie. It is ingeniously and perfectly plotted for conflict and motivation.
Winter People – When Kelly McGillis comes back to her Daddy’s cabin without her baby, I sob buckets.
Return to Me, Hope Floats, Bounce, Phenomenon, While You Were Sleeping, The Con, My Louisiana Sky to name a few more.
In 28 Days when Gwen’s sister comes to talk to her by the lake, and Gwen says, “I’m sorry I make it so hard for you to love me,” well, I lose it every time. Talk about character growth and motivating factors. We are the sum of our whole, not just who you see this moment, and story people need to be three-dimensional. This movie shows that excellently. I am moved by characters, not by plot, so every movie I love is character-driven, even one as action-packed as Face Off. Can you tell I like to analyze movies?
Okay, what makes you laugh?
Besides that first picture? The things kids say. Children are priceless and genuine and not jaded. My clever critique group makes me laugh. Which movies make me laugh? Overboard, When Harry Met Sally, Music and Lyrics, Liar Liar, Sense and Sensibility, Mannequin, Blind Date, French Kiss and both Miss Congenialities. I laugh at snappy dialogue, but a good old spoof just tickles my funny bone: Soap Dish and Galaxy Quest are favorites.
What do you love and hate?
I love my husband, chocolate (I thought long and hard about the order and he won), freshly painted rooms and shelves with lots of stuff, comfy sofas, quilts, snuggling babies, dolls, shoes and purses, decorating books, jewelry, a cup of tea in a pretty cup, taking great photographs, butterflies in my garden, a road trip with friends, playing board games in the winter, all the great stuff my hubby makes for me, antique malls, vintage linens, email and so much more that I could fill pages.
I hate conflict (except in stories). I hate confrontation. I’m a peacemaker by nature and by calling, so people butting heads makes me want to run the other way. Why can’t we all just be friends?
How has being an author impacted your life?
As I thought about how being an author has impacted my life, what stood out to me was: People. Since devoting myself to the pursuit of publishing, I have met the greatest people. Many of the friends I made when I first joined RWA are still my best friends. And new friends are added through my local chapter all the time. I love brainstorming with a group. There’s something electric about shooting ideas back and forth like sparks until enough of them ignite into a story.
Every so often I meet a new writer whose drive and ability is so impressive that I’m eager to mentor and watch them develop. The majority of authors I meet are not only the most generous, but also the smartest people in any walk of life. I was published back in the day when we had no Internet :::gasp::: and no yahoogroups. Yeah, really. Some days I was reinventing the wheel, but I didn’t know anyone who had done this before. I called authors I’d met at conferences, and they were kind and generous enough to give me advice. I’ve never forgotten that. So I make it a point to be as helpful as I can when I have useful knowledge. I believe that what goes around comes around.
I have readers who have become good friends over the years. Last Christmas someone I originally met at a signing dropped by my home to leave me a gift! On the flip side, I have friends who have become readers as well. My critique group has become like a family unit, and my fellow Heartland Writers Group members are dear friends.
I thoroughly enjoy interacting with my blogger friends, in fact one might say I’m blog crazy. I keep a personal blog at http://cherylstjohn.blogspot.com/ with fresh daily content, and I blog here on a rotating schedule with the other fantastic Fillies. I even have a recipe blog (do try the muffins), a family blog and a blog that follows the progress of a remodel.
What’s your best-kept secret?
That would have to be my recipe for the world’s best muffins:
What’s your next release?
Her Colorado Man, a Harlequin Historical in stores the end of November, also being released as a hardback from Rhapsody Book Club.
Anything else you want people to know?
I appreciate each and every person who reads my books and all of you who respond to my various blogs.
If you Twitter, follow me: http://twitter.com/CherylStJ