An Interview with Cheryl Gorman

CherylGorman_TheRancherandTheEventPlanner_200My guest this morning is Cheryl Gorman, whose latest release  is “The Rancher and the Event Planner .”    I’ve known Cheryl since she was prepublished, and I’ve always admired Cheryl’s willingness to learn and test anything that would improve her writing.   I also love her sense of humor–just one of the things that makes reading Cheryl’s books fun.

Cheryl Gorman is a multi-published award winning author of contemporary and romantic suspense novels. Her first novel, Wolf Island was a 2006 Eppie Finalist. She also co-authored the non-fiction book Ten Steps to Creating Memorable Characters. She grew up in Burke County Georgia whose claim to fame is The Bird Dog Capital of the World. Cheryl graduated from Georgia College and State University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1979 and went to work at the Medical College of Georgia. In 1987 she moved to the beautiful state of Colorado and there her life truly began. On her arrival in Colorado, Cheryl felt as if she had finally come home after being away for a long, long time. She put fingers to keyboard, started writing and has never looked back. She lives in Highlands Ranch with her husband, their daughter and two little furry children named Pilot and Rocky.

And here’s Cheryl:

First, thank you, Mary for inviting me to be a guest on your blog. This is a real treat.

A few things about my writing process.

When I first started writing my process was to write any random thought that popped into my pea-sized brain with regard to characters and the amorphous story I had concocted with absolutely no direction. A lot of my characters stared at me with their eyes bugging out of their skulls and yelling, “I would never do that! I would never say that! What are you nuts!?” (Exclamation point alert) I kept writing despite turning my characters into contortionists and psycho split personalities while creating a stinking pile that had no hopes of publication. Then something both wonderful and horrible happened. I joined Romance Writers of America and Colorado Romance Writers. Wonderful because I discovered there were other writers out there trying to do the same thing I was trying to do which was write romance novels, sell them and become rich and famous.

Now for the horrible side of things. I realized what I knew about writing could fit on a flea’s ass. So much for becoming rich and famous. My learning curve began when I read tons and tons of how-to books and took umpteen writing workshops. I entered numerous contests, submitted to editors and agents. The result of my efforts yielded enough rejections to paper my bathroom walls and our neighbors’ too. Through the years I tried every suggestion for building characters and plot I heard about. Some of them I kept but tweaked so they worked for me, some of them I threw out altogether. Then Deb Dixon, God bless her, published her non-fiction book, “Goal, Motivation and Conflict: The Building Blocks of Good Fiction.” This book was like a lightning bolt whacking me on top of my pointy little head. Wow! Goal, Motivation and Conflict. Who’d a thunk it? This is what my books have needed all along.

Now my process is this: Determine the external and internal goals, motivations and conflicts for my characters. Then I fill out the templates in a book called “Break Into Fiction: 11 Steps To Building a Story That Sells” by Mary Buckham and Dianna Love. The templates take time but they are so worth it. I also write a paragraph or two in the voice of my characters about what they think about or worry about when they go to bed at night. Sometimes I make a scenes list but not always. Then I start writing. I do at least three drafts, sometimes four or even five before the book is ready.

Now for a quick and dirty list of what I wish I’d known before I first started writing.

Editors and agents know a lot but they don’t know everything. Example: J.K. Rowling

Never try to write a book by committee.

Critique partners are like a marriage. If it isn’t working get a divorce and move on.

Never give anyone the power to make you feel like crap about yourself and your writing.

Thank you and happy writing!

Cheryl Gorman

Thank you, Cheryl!

And for those of you who want to know Cheryl better, you can find her on Twitter or check out her Facebook page.