The audience smiles and waves as the camera pans while the Blog Studio band plays "Come Fly With Me". The song ends and the announcer introduces our Blog Studio hostess...Carol Ann Erhardt.
"Ladies and Gentlemen. I'm soooo excited to introduce you to my guest today. Several months ago, I posted a blog about my husband picking up the book I'd been reading, "A Soldier's Promise." He started telling me what happened when the hero talked the heroine into jumping from an airplane. I had to stop him because he was telling me about a part of the book I hadn't yet read! The author of that book is Cheryl Wyatt. Cheryl happened to read the blog post and comment, and now we have the pleasure of meeting her!
Cheryl Wyatt's closest friends would never dream the mayhem she plots during announcements at church. An RN-turned-SAHM, joyful chaos rules her home, and she delights in the stealth moments God gives her to write. She's convinced that having been born on a Naval base on Valentine's Day destined her to write military romance. She stays active in her church and in her laundry room. Both of her debut novels (Books 1 and 2 in her Wings of Refuge Series from Steeple Hill) have received Romantic Times Top Picks. In addition, both books received the honor of being on eHarlequin's Top Ten Most-Blogged-About-Books, lists which included several NYT Bestselling authors. "Promise" came in at #4 and "Family" came in at #1.
Please put your hands together for Cheryl Wyatt!!!
CAROL ANN: Cheryl, thanks for coming. I'm so happy to meet you! **Carol Ann hugs Cheryl and they walk to the seats at center stage.**
CAROL ANN: Tell me about your books. **Carol Ann holds up two books and the camera pans in**
CHERYL: I decided to write about Pararescue Jumpers because I LOVE action romance and these guys are special ops airmen. They really do exist and their creed intrigued me because it reminded me of the sacrifice of Jesus and His words when He said, "Greater love has no man than this...that he'd lay his life down for his friends." PJs creed is similar to the Coast Guards and ends with the words, "So others may live." They basically risk their own lives to save not even friends but strangers. I love writing heroes and heroines who are rescuers since I have a strong sense of being rescued by God. The PJ books featuring team mates Joel and Manny are the ones that sold first. So far there are five books in the Wings of Refuge Series from Steeple Hill. You can still purchase A Soldier's Promise and A Soldier's Family online. Then in 2009, so far three more Wings of Refuge PJ stories are scheduled to release from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. Ready-Made-Family in April 2009, A Soldier's Reunion-June 2009 and Nanny-Made-Family (tentative title and date) to release in October 2009.
CAROL ANN: I can't wait for the next books in this series. I've so enjoyed reading your first two. Tell me, what is the hardest thing about being a writer?
CHERYL: Finding uninterrupted time to write and balancing family life with writing. Also, a hard part for me is spreading the word about my books. I'd rather other people tell people about my books....so if you've read them and love them PLEASE HELP ME by spreading the word. LOL! I always feel like I'm pushing myself off on people. But on the other hand, my publisher took a big chance on me and I owe it to them out of respect and loyalty to help get the word out. So I do a lot of digital marketing using venues such as Shoutlife, My Space, blogtours, etc.
CAROL ANN: How did you realize the God was calling you to write?
CHERYL: About seven years after I started writing I knew for sure. I'd just sent an e--mail and was reading my tagline that says, "Pouring my vial of words over Him" when I felt Him ask me if I'd promise to always write as worship. I whispered, "Yes, Lord. You know I will." THAT moment THE CALL came. Then a year and a half later when I started getting reader letters...I KNEW it was God because of how He used the books to move people emotionally and to make them laugh when they needed it.
CAROL ANN: What stumbling blocks have you encountered and how have you overcome them?
CHERYL: Lately I had a huge stumbling block in that I was in a car accident that totalled the car of the woman who caused the wreck, my car and also my foot and ankle were badly fractured. As I type this I'm still on crutches in fact and facing another surgery in a matter of days. I also injured my hands in the wreck because they went through the steering wheel, but my fingers didn't. So the impact bent both my hands completely backwards. I have to wear braces every night and am in extreme pain. I was unable to type for almost two months after the wreck. AND I had TWO books due. So, I knew it was a situation where, if God wanted the books out, He was gonna have to give me the wherewithal to push through and type through the pain. I tried dictating the story and it would not flow. So I cut my daily writing time down from six hours to two. The books took longer to write and were more challenging because of it, but constantly going to Him in prayer was the only way I could manage. How I overcame it was because He sustained me.
And also, the surgeon who operated on my foot after the wreck is (THANK GOD!) a hand specialist. He and his staff at the orthopedic center are definitely Heaven-sent right now. God also used several people to encourage me during the writing of the first book I had to type out in such pain. More than one person called me at different times (people who don't know each other or have contact at all) and gave me nearly identical words...that I was to keep writing no matter what. To not let anything deter me. It was freaky because that kind of thing hasn't ever happened before so profoundly with my writing. It was like God was sensing my honest wondering about whether to pull back from it or hire someone to type a dictation of it. He sent people to encourage me who had no idea the difficulty I was having with typing.
Yes, I could have received an extension from my gracious and understanding editors but I did not feel that's what God wanted me to do. Plus they gave me very cushy deadlines to begin with. We didn't anticipate the hands were going to give me such trouble. LOL! When I'd consider asking for a later deadline, I felt Him nudging me to "push through, push through, I'll give you everything you need minute by minute, letter by letter, word by word, paragraph by paragraph, push through." And He did. I turned both of my books in recently and am praying the editor (and future readers) love them. The two books will release in 2009 (A Soldier's Reunion and Nanny-Made-Family is the tentative title for the second book, which wasn't nearly as hard as the first. One funny thing was, before my wreck, I'd given my heroine a broken ankle in a bridge collapse. Then after I broke my ankle after writing those scenes...I changed that aspect of the book! LOL! I knew there was no way she could walk on it as soon as she did. Talk about living the research. NO fun. LOL! I felt so sorry for my heroine I broke her wrist instead of her ankle because the ankle hurt worse. LOL!
CAROL ANN: Many people would have given up. It's clear that God is calling you to write. An off the writing subject topic: Do you collect anything?
CHERYL: I used to collect miniatures and even make them out of clay and anything I could find. I started collecting them when I was little and even my dad got me this little set of furniture. But when children came along several years ago I got rid of all my miniature houses and box after box of miniatures. Now I collect any momento that reminds me to pray for a person. Such as, in India following the tsunami when I went with a media and humanitarian team there, several children orphaned by the tsunami told me their stories. Then we danced around the beach in the waves and they taught me games in the sand and then collected a bottle full of seashells so I could bring them back and remember their parents that (in their words) "the sea took away" and remember to pray for them. I also have a real alabaster jar from Paris and real spike nard from Israel that my best friend at the time brought back for me because she knows the alabaster jar story is my favorite in the Bible. When I see that (heavy!) jar, I think of her and pray for her. She moved to another state. So it's things like that that remind me to pray for a person.
CAROL ANN: Do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword?
CHERYL: Um...I don't know. Actually, no. I've seen some mighty wicked swords. On the other hand the Bible does say that wounds of the spirit are much harder to heal than wounds in the flesh and bone. I'm sorry I forgot the verse and book and I'm not near a concordance at the moment or I'd provide it. It's a really obscure verse. So I guess writing could be like the spoken word if it has power to heal, hurt, build up or break down. I wouldn't recommend writing anything that puts someone down these liability-ridden days though....there's this thing called slander...LOL! Honestly that is one of the hardest questions I've ever had to ponder. What do you think? **Audience laughs**
CAROL ANN: You're the first guest who has turned the question back to me! You're so right about the liability issue. I believe the pen is definitely mightier than the sword. Look at the Bible. It has survived while many swords have fallen. And I believe our writing can reach out and touch the lives of someone who needs to glimpse good things happening to those who reach out for Him. Okay, my turn to ask another question. Which inspires you more? A brisk walk in the autumn with the leaves changing color, or in the spring when the flowers are and trees are budding?
CHERYL: Both equally for different reasons. I LOVE when the leaves start falling and changing, especially in the area I live. It's so beautiful and rustic. On the other hand, I love Spring because everything is being made new after a long, hard winter. We're like that. We go through seasons. Autumn means Winter is coming but Spring means you made it through. There are seasons in our lives like that. Cold, hard winters make Spring more special. God makes all of it beautiful in its own way though. I love winter more than summer these days...SO hot! **LAUGH** I coulda given you an easy answer on that one. **BOTH LAUGH AND AUDIENCE JOINS IN**
CAROL ANN: You are sitting in a restaurant with several friends when someone walks up to you and thrusts a microphone in your hand. You have one minute to tell the world something....what will it be?
CHERYL: Please believe. I want to see you all in Heaven. And Jesus doesn't want to have to live without you either. So please believe.
CAROL ANN: How do you balance your "real" life with your "writing" life?
CHERYL: **CHERYL LAUGHS** Not so well sometimes. My kids get cyber rivalry when I'm on deadline. So I am constantly coming up with creative ways to balance time with them. I'm brutal with things that take up time but don't matter. I stopped watching TV and Instant Messaging for three solid years before I sold because I wasn't going to take time away from my family. Even my dog will run across the keyboard and stare at me, like "Pay attention to me!" I pray for sensitivity to my children and husband and to God if one of my friends need me. People are always more important than things. I ask God before I even get out of bed to please order my day. Each year I pray about what to commit to and try not to overcommit. I'm brutal with online time, etc. On the other hand I KNOW God has called me to write. But with that comes stewardship over proper balance. So the short answer is PRAYER and SENSITIVITY to God and others including my family, friends and church family. I write as worship so good time management is a matter of obedience. Not only that, my publisher is depending on me. That 18 page SIGNED Harlequin contract is great incentive to stay far away from the Spider Solitaire button. **LAUGH**
CAROL ANN: Where can readers learn more about you and your books? Website address, blog, email???
CHERYL: I would LOVE to hear from readers and have people sign up for my newsletter. The instructions are in my bio. Visit my Web site at www.cherylwyatt.com to sign up. There is a space provided that says, "Join Cheryl Wyatt's Author Mailing List" and you simply input your e-mail address. You will then receive an e-mail asking you to confirm that you want to join. I respect people's privacy and don't give out e-mail addresses to any third party. My blog is www.Scrollsquirrel.blogspot.com
My e-mail address is cheryl [@] cherylwyatt.com (remove brackets and close spaces before and after the "@" sign.)
CAROL ANN: Cheryl, thank you so much for appearing in the Blog Studio. I’ve so enjoyed meeting you face to face.
CHERYL: Thank you SO much for featuring me on your blog! This was fun. And, thank you to everyone who takes time to read this.
CAROL ANN: For news on upcoming releases, subscriber-only contests with GREAT prizes and other great stuff, sign up for her newsletter by visiting her Web site www.CherylWyatt.com and inputting your e-mail address in the space provided which says, "Join Cheryl Wyatt's Author Mailing List."
Please feel free to post comments for Cheryl!