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18 August 2014

Welcome special guest: author Cheri Allan @CheriAllan @GoddessFish #romcon

Today we have author Cheri Allan visiting.
What would you like to tell readers about yourself?
* Cheri Allan writes upbeat contemporary romance and lives in a charming fixer-upper in rural New Hampshire with her husband, two kids, two dogs, four cats and an excessive amount of optimism. She’s a firm believer in do-it-yourself and happily-ever-afters. LUCK OF THE DRAW is her first novel.
* After years of wearing suits, she’s grateful to finally put her English degree to good use writing romance. When not writing, you might find her whizzing down the slopes of a nearby mountain or inadvertently killing perennials in her garden.
* Cheri loves to hear from readers! E-mail her at cheri@cheriallan.com, friend her at facebook.com/cheriallanauthor, or visit her website and blog at www.cheriallan.com. Luck of the Draw, Book 1 in the ‘Betting on Romance’ series is available now through Amazon and Smashwords.

So, Cheri Allan, what inspired you to become a writer?
* Dr. Seuss. Pure and utter genius there. Seriously, I’ve always been an avid reader, and I fell in love early on with the lyrical quality of language. Language has such power. (Not in a ‘bwa-ha-ha’ evil sort of way but as in the power to connect with people on an emotional level.) I’ll never forget bawling my eyes out over Where a Red Fern Grows or hating/adoring Mr. Darcy. My mother burned many a dinner over a good romance, and I read my first as an early teen. I’ve been hooked ever since. The problem is, there aren’t all that many billionaire, ex-Navy SEAL, Adonis’ looking for love in rural New Hampshire, so after meeting and marrying my husband, I was inspired to write about characters and settings I could more readily relate to.

When did you attempt your first story? What length was it? What's become of it?
* I started penning the first chapters of a romance in my early twenties, but didn’t pick it up again and finish it until my daughter was born. (Aren’t you sweet not to ask how long that was!) I proceeded to join my first writer’s group where they told me (in a nice way, mind you) that I’d made every mistake in the book. EVERY. ONE. (I’m nothing if not thorough.) So, I went home, cried, reformatted, cut 30K words to 85K, axed the head-hopping and queried an editor who--miraculously--requested the book. I kept writing, and by the time I received his ultimate but encouraging rejection, I had learned a lot about both my voice and writing full-length novels. However, I would no sooner publish those books than put my grammar school essays on the internet. They exist only on a dead computer. (May they rest in peace.)

How many stories did you complete before you sold your first?
* Three, not counting revisions to ‘tailor’ them as longer or shorter novels. (For any of you thinking you can make your single-title length novel a category romance or vice versa, I’ll tell you now. You can’t. Write something new. Trust me. Auntie Cheri knows.)

What are the best and worst pieces of writing advice you ever received?
* The worst? ‘You can’t write about a [fill in the blank] hero/heroine.’ My first book had a musician as a hero, and I can’t tell you how many people warned me that would never sell. Well, it didn’t sell for a lot of reasons, but the hero’s occupation wasn’t the problem. Editors, agents and readers want characters they can believe in and root for. Make your characters ultimately likeable and it doesn’t matter what they do. Except embalming. (Although, Nora could probably pull that off.)
* The best advice? Read Deb Dixon’s Goal, Motivation and Conflict. And if you can’t identify the GMC for your main characters, go back and read it again. It’s like eating vegetables. You may not like it, but you’ll be SO much better off for having done it.

The book you’re promoting, is it a stand-alone story or part of a series? If it’s part of a series, please list the order the books need to be read in for maximum reading enjoyment.
* LUCK OF THE DRAW is book #1 in my Betting on Romance series; however, the books are written to stand alone and could be read in any order.

What sparked the idea for the story/series?
* Hmm. I should know the answer to this, but the truth is, it wasn’t an all at once ‘a-ha’ moment. The characters and story evolved around the idea of four match-making grandmothers. But I wanted it to be funny, so I made them play poker. With photographs instead of money, because they like to reminisce. And meddle. (God love ‘em.)
* My hero, Jim, was a secondary character from one of the previous, not-to-be-named books, and I’d always liked him. When I decided to ditch books 1-3 (you’re welcome) and focus on Jim’s story, I knew I needed to give him someone equally deserving of love, but with a bit of baggage. I discovered Kate and kept shoveling hardships onto her until she begged me for a forklift to carry it all, and we had our love story!
* Soon Carter (Jim’s cousin) demanded his own happily-ever-after… and a series was born.

*** Now for some fun info… ***
Would you/have you own(ed) a snake or some other exotic pet?
* Ack! Um, no. Not unless you count the three dead guppies I had when I was six. (Presumably, they were once alive, but I only ever remember them floating.) I like furry pets… specifically ones with only four legs.

Which do you prefer: rain or sun & warm weather or cold weather?
* Rain, definitely, for sleeping and writing. A nice steady downpour is ideal. Otherwise, my favorite days are cool, crisp and clear. Fifty-five degrees. I was married on a late September afternoon with brilliant blue skies, white fluffy clouds and a nip in the air that made you feel gloriously alive. Plus, because Autumn is after Labor Day, I’m allowed to listen to Christmas music. :)

If you could live anywhere in the universe, where would it be and why?
* An Earth-like planet where they have lots of clean running water, coffee, and chocolate… but where there are no bugs (specifically cockroaches, black flies or mosquitoes, and where ants only ever live deep underground or in animated children’s films.)

If you were stranded on a desert island and were only allowed to have five modern conveniences with you, what would they be?
* Stranded? As in ALONE? Okay, I think I’ve got this. I’d want:
1.) indoor plumbing, because, well, BECAUSE…
2.) a coffee maker (with coffee, 1/2 and 1/2 and sugar! Does that still count as one thing?)
3.) a sexy, professional chef (a girl’s gotta eat)
4.) a sexy, professional carpenter (for construction of my island getaway hut) and,
5.) a shipping container loaded with romance novels and survivalist manuals.
* That ought to do. Hmm. Roughing it never sounded so good…

*** About Cheri Allan’s book… ***
~ Blurb ~
* If only life had a refresh button...
* Kate Mitchell never planned to be a 31 year-old widowed single mom, but when her soon-to-be-EX husband up and dies, her dreams of finishing college and starting over are thrown in the air like a game of 52 pick-up. When she’s given a leave of absence from work and told to “quit or recommit,” Kate retreats to idyllic Sugar Falls, New Hampshire, to figure out whether she can discover her passion and pay the bills. Cue the fresh air, summer sunshine and one sexy local contractor.
* Tall, dark, and handy…
* Volunteer fireman and all-around hunky guy in a toolbelt, Jim Pearson has sworn off complicated women with messy baggage. They cling to his nice-guy stability and skills with a power saw just long enough to straighten out their lives and move on… but then he meets the cute single mom staying at Grams’ lake house for the summer.
* While a sizzling attraction draws them together, Jim's distrust of complicated women and Kate's incredibly complicated life threaten to pull them apart. But forces beyond their control—match-making grandmothers, the lazy backdrop of summer, and their own reckoning with the past—conspire to make them risk it all... and bet on love.
~ Excerpt ~
* “But when I think about going back… to a job I know is safe and secure… I can’t breathe.” She felt her arms grow cold despite the sunshine. “It’s like my future is closing in and there’s no way out. And the more I think about it, the more I realize that going back would mean I’m giving up hoping for something better. And… and I can’t bring myself to give up on me quite yet.”
* She stared at him in the silence that followed, her chest rising and falling, feeling brittle and defiant all at once.
* But then he tugged her hand until she sat beside him on the porch steps. He blew out a breath. “No one’s asking you to give up on yourself.”
* “You think I’m giving up,” she said. “But I’m not. I’m not throwing my hands up in despair. I’m not trying to quit. I’m trying to let go of the handlebars to see if I can do this without help.”
* “I don’t understand what that—”
* “I’m saying… I know you mean well, but you’ve got to let me figure this out on my own.”
* After a long moment, he nodded. “Okay,” he said, and he turned, the corners of his eyes crinkling in that warm, lovely way that always turned Kate’s insides to jelly. “You may not believe it, but I do believe there’s something better waiting for you.”
* “You’re talking to a practically unemployed widow,” she sighed. “It’d be hard not to go uphill from here.”

***Buy Cheri Allan's book here***
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | Kobo

***Find Cheri Allan here***
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Thank you for joining us here today, Cheri Allan! It was a pleasure getting to know you and your work.

Cheri will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card & other prizes to randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter! So be sure to leave your first name and email in your comment AND use the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win. Also, check out the other blogs at goddessfishpromotions-virtual-book-tour-luck-of-draw for more chances to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

7 comments:

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Cheri Allan said...

Good morning, and thank you for hosting! I'm excited to talk not only about my new release, LUCK OF THE DRAW, but about something I know a *little* about--me! So go ahead, folks, ask away! I'll be here until about 9:15 a.m. EST and then I have to pop out to go back to school shopping with 11 y-o. (Wish me luck!) But I promise I'll be back by dinner time to catch up with everyone! So leave your Q's! Have a great Monday!

Librarian Lavender said...

I love the cover of this book and the story sounds really great!

Cheri Allan said...

Thank you! I hope you'll pop over to preview the opening chapters at www.cheriallan.com. :) Thanks so much for stopping by, and good luck in the giveaway!

Serena91291 said...

I liked the interview. Thanks.

collenga said...

Great interview!

Mary Preston said...

I enjoyed the interview.