This week I’m hosting Cheryl Bradshaw. Founder of our little corner of Facebook where Indie Writers Unite! This awesome group of writers that if you haven’t checked out, you must! She’s the author of a thriller and likes to joke that she kills people for a living! A fun gal and fun to chat with! Let’s see how she answered my 20 Questions shall we?
1.) Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Born and raised in Southern California, Cheryl Bradshaw became interested in writing at a young age. “As a child I made up stories for my sister. The most vivid centered around a boy and a girl who received a piece of gum for Halloween, and when they chewed it, they were transported to a magical land where they were granted unlimited wishes.” In grade school Cheryl remembers reading the stories of Judy Blume. This was something her teacher was concerned about since she was reading at a level much higher than her own, but Cheryl didn’t allow that to dissuade her.
In High School, Cheryl signed up for AP English and Creative Writing and discovered not only a love for books, but a passion for writing short stories and poems. Her poetry was published in the schools Looking Glass. After graduating, she attended college where she first realized her dream to write suspense novels, but it would be almost two decades before she put pen to paper. In the meantime, Cheryl pursued other interests – earning a Montessori degree, obtaining a license in real estate and working as a copy editor for ten years. Being an editor gave her the nudge she needed to get back into writing.
In 2009 Cheryl wrote her first novel, Black Diamond Death (the first book in her Sloane Monroe series). “The first book is a laid back cozy mystery – but it still provides plenty of twists. My next book is a thriller and a lot darker.” Sinnerman, the second book in the series, is currently being written and leads Sloane on a search for a serial killer where she’s forced to face a past she’s tried hard to forget.
When she’s not hard at work writing her next novel, Cheryl is an avid reader and loves to travel. “Every place I visit offers inspiration in one form or another which I draw from when I’m writing. I chose Park City as Sloane’s humble abode because I lived there and have a fondness for the quaint little town which I visit often.” She currently resides in Wyoming with her husband and their three children.
2.) How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since high school, but I didn’t complete and publish my first novel until 2009.
3.) Do you have a preferred genre that you read? Is it the same as what you write?
I read more mysteries and thrillers than anything, so in that way I stick to my genre, but I will read anything as long as it’s good. I love historical non-fiction as well as period novels.
4.) What is the title of your book and where can it be found?
5.) Describe your novel in 15 words or less.
A woman is found dead on the slopes, but was her death an accident?
6.) Where did the inspiration for your story come from?
I lived in Park City for a while, and that is the setting in the novel. And I’ve always been fascinated with authors like Agatha Christie and Robert B. Parker, so in that way, it came naturally to me.
7.) How long did it take you to complete this novel from concept to published?
From the moment I put pen to paper, one year.
8.) When you sit down to write, how does that process go? Do you outline or just let it evolve?
I have organizational OCD, so I thought when I started writing that I would need to write everything out, but when I tried that, I didn’t like it, and neither did my characters. So now I sit down and just start writing. I might have a direction that I’m going, but I haven’t worked out the scene.
9.) Are there any aspects of writing you struggle with?
When I first start writing for the day, sometimes the words don’t come to me as easy as I would like them to, but if I give it about 15 minutes or so, it starts rushing in and then I could write all day if I wanted to.
10.) Are there any aspects that you simply glide through?
Before writing with a career in writing in mind, I was an editor, and still am from time to time, so editing comes easy, and not only do I enjoy it, I love the process of taking the bare bones of the first draft and fleshing in the second.
11.) What sets your book apart from others in the same genre?
The setting is unique, and the basis for the story hasn’t been overdone like so many novels have these days.
12.) What is the location of your story setting and why did you choose that place/time?
It’s Park City, Utah, and I chose that area because I have such an affinity for it, and I knew I could express that in the book and give readers a little taste of what it was like to be there.
13.) Your main characters, tell me about them. What is their back story? How did they find themselves where they are now?
The main character is Sloane Monroe who spent her childhood in Sunny CA but considers herself a “Parkite” and has called Park City, UT home since the age of 18. She lives just outside of town in a house near the Jordanelle reservoir with her Westie, Lord Berkeley A.K.A. Boo.
As a child Sloane spent a great deal of time with her grandfather, a retired FBI agent who passed away when she was 29, but not before passing on his sense of duty which prompted her to become a PI.
When she’s not out solving crime she spends time with her sidekick – the pigtailed, gum chewing Madison (Maddie) LaFoe. Sloane’s an 8th degree black belt and a bit of a wise-ass. And she never takes no for an answer.
14.) I’d like to know more about your book. Tell me all about it.
Enter the world of Sloane Monroe in Black Diamond Death…
A SKIER CRASHES
On the slopes of Park City, Utah’s newest ski resort a woman is found dead. At first glance, it has all the makings of an accident. The victim, Charlotte Halliwell, collided with a tree as she schussed her way to the bottom of the hill. But what if her death wasn’t an accident at all––what if she was murdered?
A SISTER IS ON A MISSION
In Black Diamond Death, Audrey Halliwell faces a problem: finding someone who believes her story.
Enter Private Investigator Sloane Monroe.
When Audrey marches into Sloane’s office with claims her sister’s death was no accident Sloane is skeptical at first, but agrees to take the case. With little to go on, she questions the people in Charlotte’s life and discovers Parker Stanton, a jilted ex-fiancé with plenty to hide, and as the son of a prominent businessman, he will go to any lengths to protect his secrets.
A SECOND BODY IS FOUND
Just as Sloane feels she’s close to solving the case she stumbles on another dead body and is forced to re-examine the clues from the beginning, but she must tread lightly. With the killer aware that Sloane will stop at nothing to find him, her life is in danger and her every move is being tracked. Will Sloane uncover the truth before he strikes again?
15.) What do you want readers to take from your writings?
I want to offer readers the chance to escape from their daily life and the chance to get caught up in the story.
16.) Are more books to follow or is this a stand alone?
Black Diamond Death was the first in the series, and the second novel in the series, Sinnerman, will be out by October 2011.
17.) Where can readers find you?
18.) What are 3 random things about yourself that readers might like to know.
I can’t say no to dark chocolate truffles or cinnamon Life cereal.
I want to write a book about witches because I have always wanted to be a good witch with magical powers.
In high school, I wanted to be in the FBI.
19.) What do you do in your down time? For fun.
I travel. It is absolutely my favorite thing to do, aside from writing, of course!
20.) How about letting me have a sneak peak at chapter one?
The air was calm, but I was restless. I had a decision to make so I did what I always do when push comes to shove––I shoved back, but not in the way one might think. Skiing had always been my release. There was something about being surrounded by fresh powder in the clean, open air that reminded me what it felt like to be alive. I could stand on a mountaintop with a world of trouble on my mind, and it didn’t matter. Every care I had dissolved just like the snow soon would and the mountain would be reduced to tiny patches of white, mere remnants of a ski slope that once provided the town’s entertainment for the season.
In a few minutes I’d get together with Audrey for lunch and do something that didn’t come easy––tell her the truth. It wasn’t that I lied to her; I was a master in the fine art of keeping things to myself. I always thought it was better that way. But I was wrong to allow her limited access to my life, and I wanted to change that. So I’d explain it all to her, and once I finished I would reveal my plan and hope she’d understand. She just had to.
I rounded the last narrow pass on the slope and traveled downhill through the trees. My tongue had gone numb over the past couple hours and every time my teeth hit against it I felt nothing, like it wasn’t even there, and my throat felt like a strand of lit matches were pressed hard against it. I wondered if I was getting sick. That would explain the unrest in my stomach. The flu had made its way around town so it made sense that it would make it to me, but if it was the flu, why had
I lost all the feeling in my face?
I ran my gloved hand across my goggles, but it didn’t help––even when I squeezed my eyes shut and opened them again the trail in front of me was a blur. With what little force I had left, I jammed my poles into the snow and tried to stop, but the slope was too steep, and I couldn’t bend my hands or even move them for that matter. My fingers felt like long shards of ice and in one simultaneous motion they launched a mass of frozen liquid throughout my body.
What was happening to me?
In a panic I gasped for air, but there wasn’t any. I tried to cry out, but I was alone, and in my hysteria it hit me. I had felt a similar feeling before––like my body was giving out on me, and I knew what it meant.
I was dying.
I want to thank Cheryl for playing along and for being a good sport!
It’s so fun to see these questions answered by different people. Every answer is as different as the author who penned them!
Thanks for stopping by! Please come back soon 🙂