Interview with Cheryl St.John

yearbookyourself_1984Readers 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?

 

thinkpinkBesides 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?

 

girlfriendsAs 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.

 

lord-bless-my-friendsI 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:

 

http://ideascomefrombrownies.blogspot.com/2007/10/queen-of-muffins-muffin-how-to.html

 

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

Website | + posts

Land of Dreams for Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/awe75qd
Colorado Courtship (Winter of Dreams) Anthology LIH 1/13
Visit me on the web: http://www.cherylstjohn.net/
From the Heart: http://cherylstjohn.blogspot.com/

32 thoughts on “Interview with Cheryl St.John”

  1. Cheryl,
    I loved reading this!! I for on, am in awe of all authors! I have such deep respect for the people who work so hard to give us something wonderful to read-an escape from the real world! Thank you for your hard work!

    Dont you just love the “yearbook” photos?!?!?! I did a whole bunch of them and put them on my facebook and they are so funny!! I keep meaning to yearbook my husband too, but havent gotten around to it yet! 🙂

  2. Hi Cher, what a great interview! I am ever in awe of you with your blog. How do you do all you do and blog so faithfully and fantastically on top of it all? You should do a workshop on that!

    oxoxoxox

  3. Cher,
    You continually amaze me. Where do you find the time for all you do? I totally agree that one of the best things about being a writer is the people I meet whether on-line on in person.

    Linda

  4. Cheryl,

    I loved finding out how you feel about new authors. I am a new author trying to get into a big publisher, which is very hard to do. Here where I live there is no critique group and I find it hard to get help with my writing. It is my passion and I want to succeed but there are times I have doubts but I am not a quitter. I wish I lived closer to you for I am sure you would help me.

    What a wonderful post

    Walk in peace and harmony,

    Melinda

  5. The 1980s Cheryl is a crack up. 😀 And that baby picture, hilarious.

    And I think you’ve lost the spirit of ‘best kept secret’ when you post said secret on the internet. But that’s just one woman’s opinion.

    Great interview, Cheryl.

  6. Cheryl, my sister Filly, you’re really brave to share all these secrets with us. Now we can blackmail you. *rubbing my hands with glee* Seriously, I loved learning more about you and finding out we have a lot in common. The only thing is I have Lyrics and Music in both categories. I find myself laughing hysterically one minute and fighting the lump in my throat the next.

    I absolutely can’t wait until Her Colorado Man hits the stores. Woo-Hoo! I’m so glad it’s pretty soon. Even before I read a word of it, I know it’s going to be a keeper. Your books always are.

  7. Cheryl, your “best kept secret” isn’t anymore, but thanks for sharing! I love baking but rarely do because of the eating part. Is it okay if I borrow the idea of taking stuff to church?

  8. I also adore French Kiss and When Harry Met Sally. Great, funny, romantic movies….both of them.

    I always seem to cry over movies, not so much books. Not sure why that is. Maybe having the visual in front of my face reduces me to tears more easily 😉 The movie that ALWAYS makes me cry is Forrest Gump. I’ve seen it like 9276 times, and that scene where Forrest finds out he’s a Daddy gets me every. single. time. Seriously.

  9. Tanya, I enjoy having fun with my blog- and don’t consider it an obligation. Thata’s why I can enjoy it and keep it fresh, I think. Anythng goes, pretty much. Everything from serious craft articles to plain silly pics and weird happenings in the news. I have a little logo on my blog that says Blogging Without Obligation.

  10. Hi Linda. I think the key is making time for the things that you love and the people you love. It’s so easy to get overloaded with responsibilities that we begin to resent anything that takes time. I reprioritize when I start to feel that way, and I make sure I’m doing what I really want to do.

  11. Melinda, finding just that right person with whom you can connect as a mentor or critique partner is a blessing. I wouldn’t have learned the craft or broken into piblishing when I did without the people who took time to guide me along the way. I’m a firm believer in what goes around comes around.

  12. Thanks for the sage advice, Mary. I’ll remember that next time I want to keep a secret.

    I don’t know, though, the whole three people who visit my recipe blog probably won’t tell.

  13. Linda, you are one of those special people I feel fortunate to have met along my publishing and promoting journey.

    If you like to cry at movies, rent My Louisiana Sky. I just watched it and bawled buckets. A good cry is so inspiring. LOL

    Seriously, I study movies to understand how to evoke emotion from the viewer/reader.

  14. Great interview. My favorite books (and movies) ar ones that make me laugh and cry. I think they compliment each other. If something is taken too, too serious it just drags me down so a little levity makes it for me. And straight comedy usually is too silly.

  15. Wendy, I thought I was the only person who could get emotional over Forrest Gump. LOL You’re spot on about that scene.

    The other day about twenty track team runners were jogging past my house and the kids up the block yelled, “Run, Forrest, run!” Cracked me up.

    That movie has a classic motivation setup to engage the viewer’s emotions.

  16. When I want to laugh I watch The Burbs, Stakeout, Spaceballs, Jumping Jack Flash, How To Loose A Guy In Ten Days and I could go on and on. Crying movies, Steel Magnolias, Beaches, and a really old old movie called Back Street. I cried buckets everytime I watched it. Haven’t seen it in years. Thanks for the insight into your life. I always enjoy hearing about the background of authors, what makes you tick.

  17. Wonderful as usual to read more about you! And you know, of course, that THAT picture is one of my favorites of you. I think I actually had that outfit too. =)
    Stephanie

  18. LOL Stephanie. I love watching 80s movies and seeing the hair and clothing–or ever catch those episodes of Saved By the Bell?? The girls outfits are a stitch – we looked like that! ARGH!!

  19. Love your blog site (though I don’t visit as often
    as I would like) and your photos are always great.
    Especially those from your gardens.

    I just bookmarked your recipe blog, I plan to go
    back and read through the recipes later. My family
    thinks I’m strange because I love to read through
    my collection of cookbooks! LOL!

    Pat Cochran

  20. Howdy, Colleen!

    Pat, we have been midway through a kitchen remodel for 2 years. My cookbooks are recipes are in a box under my desk. LOL

    And I’m SOOOOO glad you enjoy my garden photos!

  21. Love the glamorous photo, Cheryl. You’re one pretty lady.
    And I’ve always been in awe of you–your creative energy, your talent, your discipline and your generosity. Nice to see all that come together in your interview.

  22. Nice interview.
    Don’t know how you manage to keep up with all your blogs. I have enough to just keep up with the ones I like to visit.
    Have enjoyed your books over the years. Look forward to your new ones. Am glad it is being released in hardcover. I work in a library and we prefer to put hardcovers on the shelf. Paperbacks are hard for some people to read. I’ll read anything I can get my hand on.
    Good luck with the release of HER COLORADO MAN.

  23. Lovely interview Cheryl. I enjoyed getting to know you better here. I too, enjoy dissecting movie plots, and since my husband likes to do it too, we always have a lot to talk about on that playing field. (Although I must mention that he likes the action flicks where I like the chick flicks–but we accomodate each other.) Your HS picture is lovely. (Classic 80s :)Thanks for sharing part of you life here!

  24. I’m a day late to say I enjoyed your interview! You are a special person and it was fun to read a few things I didn’t know about you!! We share the same love of romantic movies too!
    You are the Blogger Queen in my book!!

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