Cheryl Pierson is the author of Fire Eyes, a new historical romance that has already received much acclaim by readers and reviewers. If you haven’t yet, you can read my review of this page-turner set in Oklahoma’s Indian Territory just after the end of the War Between The States. If you have a question or comment for Cheryl, please feel free to leave it in the comments after the interview! I’m happy she was able to find time in her hectic schedule to provide a short interview for us.
LK: Hi Cheryl! Thanks for being here! First off, I always give authors I review (if I can reach them) a chance to respond to what I said, agree or disagree. Would you like to take this chance to comment on the review?
CP: Thanks for having me, Loraine. It’s a pleasure to be here! The review was wonderful, and I’m so glad you enjoyed the story of Fire Eyes. I’m especially pleased to know you found the telling of it true to life and realistic.
LK: I’m glad you were happy with the review! Tell us a little about how Fire Eyes came about.
CP: Fire Eyes was my fourth attempt at a sellable manuscript. The first book I wrote was way too long for mass consumption—over 1000 pages! The second one needed work, because I tried to shorten that story at the expense of the characters. A paranormal was #3, and then Fire Eyes came along. I really seemed to “hit my stride” with Fire Eyes. The characters were so strong and real to me that the story actually told itself. Growing up all my life in Oklahoma, the setting was natural. The places are actual, so I’m sure that helps with the overall feel of the book.
LK: As another “long” writer, I understand completely! Isn’t it nice when you feel that stride kick in?
From our conversations, I know you’re a music lover like I am. While my only ‘band’ experience was in school, you played in an actual band. Would you like to share a bit about that?
CP: Sure! My husband, Gary, is a fantastic rhythm guitarist, and has played and recorded professionally. When he and I started dating, he’d play and we began to sing together. Eventually, we added another guitarist who played lead. We entertained as a group for a while in local clubs, then when Gary got transferred to Oklahoma, he and I continued to perform together at local clubs and restaurants, both of us playing guitar (yes, that was pretty daunting for me!) I really enjoyed the band, but at first I was very nervous, and always worried I’d forget the words! < G >
LK: Sounds like an incredible experience. :-) So, do you see a similarity in process between creating music and creating a story?
CP: Writing a song is a lot like writing a short story, or a novel. Trying to make an entire story fit into three stanzas is one of the hardest things in the world to do. Anyone who knows me knows that I love—absolutely love—Marty Robbins. He was a master at being able to tell a story in the most unusual ways, but he always got the point across and did it with flair. From the time I was about three years old, I loved “El Paso”—the story of an “old west” outlaw and Felina, the dancer he loves. He gets killed at the end of the song, and what could be more romantic than that!? Years later, I learned Marty had written a companion song about Felina, and why she’d come to El Paso, and what happened to her after her lover was killed. Not only that, but he wrote yet another song about the subject. In “El Paso City” the story is told from yet another perspective—one that haunts me. A man is flying over “El Paso City” thinking about the story of the outlaw and Felina. He feels he might be the re-incarnation of the outlaw: “Can it be that man can disappear from life to live another time? And does that mystery deepen ’cause you think that you, yourself lived in that other time?” The story line was carried through three songs, two of them major hits.
LK: Do you see yourself bringing your music background into a book at some point in the future?
CP: I had a plot line for a story, a contemporary, that was about a band and their newest member—the niece of their label owner. Of course, she’s got talent, but they don’t like having her crammed down their throats as an unwanted member of the band.
LK: Of course I’m intrigued by your concept and will be watching to see if it evolves. ;-) Speaking of story lines, I love to hear about beginnings and inspirations. Do you remember when you first sat down to write a novel? How did that come about?
CP: It seems I was always writing. I remember when I was ten, telling my mom I wanted to write a really long book. She asked me what it was going to be about and I told her “Cowboys!” LOL The desire was always there, but real life intervened until I was in my twenties. I married Gary when I was 21. He had two kids by his first wife who eventually came to live with us (the kids, not the wife!) About this same time, he took a job where he was traveling all the time. I had a job I absolutely hated. I wrote at night to keep my sanity. I thought about what I was going to write all day, then after dinner when the kids were doing their homework, I started writing my book.
LK: Ah, quite a few similarities to my own story! It is such a sanity saver, isn’t it? While we’re on that topic, just for fun – what is your favorite color? And do you have a favorite artist or style of art?
CP: You know, I don’t really have a favorite color—just don’t like pastels. I like deep, rich colors. My favorite style of art is western and Native American art. I love Tom Ryan, and even had the chance to meet him when I worked at the museum. Other western artists that I really like are Don Spaulding, Carrie Ballantyne (man, she is amazing with colored pencils!), Harley Brown, Tim Cox, William Acheff…too many to mention. I like Donald Vann, Bert Seabourne (hope I’m spelling that right!) Jerome Tiger and Woody Crumbo—these are all Native American artists, and again, just the tip of the iceberg—too many to mention. For a great sampling of western and Native American art, take a look at http://www.nationalcowboymuseum.org/
LK: Now there are some names I’ll have to look up!
So tell me, if you won an all-expense-paid month-long trip to anywhere in the world, where would you go?
CP: Ireland. No doubt about it. I have ancestors from there that I would love to know more about. I’d spend time researching.
LK: Ireland is gorgeous! I sure hope you get there to research and sight-see! Speaking of travel, your next book, Time Plains Drifter, will be out in December! Would you tell us about it? (interviewer note – I’m late putting this up and the novel is already out!)
CP: Time Plains Drifter is a paranormal time-travel western historical. It takes place in 1895, Indian Territory. In this story, the hero, Rafe d’Angelico, is gunned down in the first chapter. He’s a U.S. Territorial Marshal and he and his older brother, Cris, are betrayed by fellow marshal Josiah Kemp, and murdered. Sixteen years later, Rafe is “brought back” to help a beautiful young school teacher and seven of her students who have been flung backward in time from 2010 when a comet rearranges the bands of time on earth. Rafe is a very reluctant angel. He wants only to be human again—to have his life back. But when he learns that Satan’s minions are after one of the school teacher’s young charges, he can’t turn his back. The problem is, figuring out which one of them Hell is seeking. And in the process, he pits himself once more against his nemesis, Josiah Kemp, who will stop at nothing to prove his worth to the Dark One. This time around, Rafe finds he’s got so much more to lose—and that surprises him.
LK: I have to tell readers that I’m heavily into reading Time Plains Drifter at the moment and am riveted by the story! Review will follow before long. A nice Christmas buy for any reader into westerns and/or paranormals, plus romance, of course!
Cheryl, thank you again for taking the time to chat with us. Before you go, please leave links where we can find you and your books. Best of luck for your continuing success!
CP: Thanks again for having me, Loraine. I enjoyed this!
A Night For Miracles is available at The Wild Rose Press: http://www.thewildrosepress.com/a-night-for-miracles-p-3787.html
I also have another Christmas short story, a FREE READ, available there, Until the Last Star Burns Out:
My debut novel, Fire Eyes: http://www.thewildrosepress.com/cheryl-pierson-m-534.html is also available at The Wild Rose Press.
My second novel, TIME PLAINS DRIFTER was released through Class Act Books on December 1st: http://www.classactbooks.com/bkpgtimeplainsdrifter.html