Having meet the lovely Sheryl Browne, I am very excited that Sheryl has dropped by my blog to take part in my Q&A Interview. So without further ado I would like to welcome Sheryl Browne.
Morning thank you for joining me this morning.
Thank you so much for inviting me, Shell! I do like to put myself about a bit!
Can you tell us a little about yourself and background?
I’d love to! I live in leafy Worcestershire, UK, with my partner and my son. I’m also a foster mum to disabled dogs and an author, writing contemporary romance and psychological thriller. I’m a member of the Crime Writers’ Association and Romantic Novelists’ Association and a contributing editor to Loveahappyending Lifestyle magazine. To date, I have seven books published, two shorts in Birmingham City University anthologies – where I studied for my MA in Creative Writing, and a further short published in Let’s Hear it For the Boys – all proceeds to Movember, raising funds for Men’s Health Awareness. This is a cause very close to my heart as my partner had a cancer diagnosis last year. Thanks to early detection, he is doing really well, but this is one of the reasons we’re supporting Movember – as well as officially giving women out there the okay to nag their men!
When did you know that you wanted to become a writer? And how did you go about it?
I think I first started writing about the time I took leave of my senses. Seriously, writing has always been my passion, but I started writing actual books as a catharsis, in truth. As a single parent and nursing my mum through early onset Alzheimer’s Disease in my twenties, I needed an outlet. I’m the arty sort by nature but painting not being an option due to time constraints, I started scribbling my thoughts down. It turned out to be a real antidote, because I found I was reflecting on the humour and love in what would otherwise have been a sad situation. My bestselling debut, however… Um, well, it didn’t sell. I think the agent who’d hailed it as such went off in search of Prozac. Not one to give up easily, though, I took inspiration from having got that far and just kept at it, making sure to use every snippet of advice offered by agents and constructive criticism positively. I always made sure to follow publisher guidelines when submitting. Most importantly, I read! In the words of Stephen King: “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write”.
Can you tell us what genre your books are and the audience you write for?
As mentioned, I write in two genres, contemporary romance and psychological thriller (according to one reviewer, I make a good psychopath!). I hope not to confuse readers, but I suppose my writing always tends to turn around family dynamics, looking at the fragility of love, life and relationships, so perhaps the two genres are not so far apart in reality. Basically, I’m looking at human nature, the good, the bad and sometimes the ugly. The brilliant thing about writing romantic books and thrillers is that if I’m stuck on a plot point I can turn to another work in progress. Inevitably, the characters from my other book will soon start demanding attention if I do, so maybe one feeds off the other.
What is your writing process? And how long does it take?
Hmm? I suppose that depends on how inspired I am. Once I’m excited by an idea, I can get the first draft down in maybe three months. Getting that draft to what I consider to be a publishable standard, though, can take anything up to nine months. In my experience, your first draft is never ready for publication. I try to rest if for a while and then go back to it with fresh eyes. That’s when plot holes and typos jump out at me. Unfortunately, not all of them! I would advise people to get their work as polished as possible before submitting or self-publishing. I find a text to speech reader is really useful (you can enable this in later versions of MS Office. There’s an excellent ‘how to’ video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyP89pQWaBU ). Hearing your work read back really does help you spot superfluous narrative as well as clunky dialogue and typos.
Are your characters based on anyone you know or are they just fictional?
I think most authors draw on life, looking at inner and outer conflicts people might be dealing with. In The Rest of My Life published by Choc Lit, for instance, the inner conflicts and demons both Adam and Sienna were dealing with needed careful handling. Sienna’s mother struggled with bipolar disorder. Anyone who has experience of this knows that it is a much misunderstood condition. I do have experience of it, but still, careful research was called for, as with depression linked to post-traumatic stress disorder, which Adam acknowledges he has, but doubts that anyone can help him with. I find talking to other people coping with such issues is paramount, followed up by whatever research I feel is necessary.
Have you wrote about a personal experience in your novels?
Does thinking I was going to be murdered on my little narrowboat count? That was the inspiration behind my thriller, The Edge of Sanity. Long story short, my man went off back to the pub, saying he’d left his wallet behind. It was midnight, pitch black, and I noticed a strange figure lurking about on the bank. Yup, it was the man. Definitely a dodgy looking character! Narrowboats feature quite a lot in my books, so personal experience living abroad and handling one is helpful. Something that features strongly in both books is the bereavement process around the loss of a child and, yes, sadly, I do have experience here. Though it’s true that there are definite stages of grieving, everyone’s experience is as unique as the person they have lost. Everyone has a story to tell. I just hope to do it as sympathetically as I can.
What research do you do?
Loads! I think research for accuracy is always called for, even when you do have experience of a situation. In regard to my thriller, Death Sentence, I was fortunate enough to be able to pick the brains of a chief constable, who also suggested the title of the book, in regard to forensics and police procedure. Drugs feature a lot, too. No, I don’t have personal experience! Again, therefore, much research was required. I did actually speak to someone who has used drugs and information regarding weights and packaging was kindly supplied by my police contact.
Who would you like to co-write with and why?
Martina Cole. I find Martina Cole’s books are pure inspiration. For me, the magic of Martina Cole’s books is her fabulously unique way of leading us seamlessly into the heads of her characters: real flesh and blood people we can identify with and get to know.
What’s your favorite book?
Can I have two? Any book by Martina Cole. And any John Donoghue. I like to bring humour into my romantic fiction, but I couldn’t even hope to aspire to the natural wit and humour this author brings to his writing. My first book by John Donoghue was Police, Crime & 999 – The True Story of a Front Line Officer. At the time, I badly needed something uplifting after my partner’s cancer diagnosis and his undergoing various surgeries. You can probably guess then that this author had his work cut out. He succeeded! I laughed until I cried. The book is totally hilarious. His other books, Police, Lies & Alibis, Shakespeare My Butt and Police, Arrests & Suspects are similarly side splittingly hilarious. If I’m ever marooned on a desert island, John Donoghue is coming with me!
What’s your favorite food?
What’s your favorite film?
Romance: Ghost. Thriller: Taken (love Liam Neeson).
What’s your favorite song?
Lana Del Rey – Video Games.
How can readers find out more information about yourself and your books?
You can find me on any of the links below. I’d love to hear from you so feel free to contact me. Thanks so much for featuring me, Shell. I really could not do this without fabulous readers and book bloggers, who have cheered me all the way.
Heartache, humour, love, loss & betrayal, Sheryl Browne brings you edgy, sexy, poignant fiction. A member of the Crime Writers’ Association, Romantic Novelists’ Association and shortlisted for the Best Romantic e-book Love Stories Award 2015, Sheryl has several books published and two short stories in Birmingham City University anthologies
Sheryl’s new contemporary romance novel was recommended to the publisher by the WH Smith Travel fiction buyer. THE REST OF MY LIFE comes to you from award winning Choc Lit and is available in WHSmith Travel in April (on Amazon print pre-order now).
Sheryl’s latest thriller SINS OF THE FATHERS is coming soon!
For interest, here’s the blurb to Sheryl’s current thriller, Death Sentence:
Death Sentence – He’s killed your child and kidnapped your wife. What would YOU do?
Detective Inspector Matthew Adams and Patrick Sullivan, drug dealer, pimp, murderer: two men on opposite sides of the law. A history that goes way back. A bully even in his youth, Sullivan had made it his mission in life to make the goody-two-shoes copper’s life a misery. Now Matthew has made it his mission in life to make sure the pimping scum responsible for prostituting young girls, abusing them, and beating them to death, is locked up for life.
When Matthew’s child becomes a casualty of the war between them, does Matthew want justice? Or does he want retribution? When Patrick’s brother is shot down like a dog in a drug bust gone wrong, Patrick wants payback. He wants Matthew. Or the copper loses his pretty, pregnant wife. As far as Patrick is concerned, it’s quid pro quo.
Death Sentence: an edge-of-your seat story of revenge.
And the video:
Thank you Sheryl for joining me that brain food looking yummy
Thank you I have really enjoyed it