Today I’m delighted to welcome rural romance novelist, Cheryl Adnams to my blog, to celebrate the release of her second novel with Random House under their Random Romance digital banner, Chasing the Flames.
Cheryl lives in Adelaide, South Australia. After discovering a love of writing in high school, she went on to complete courses in screenplay writing and a Diploma of Freelance Travel Writing and Photography.
Having travelled extensively, she has lived and worked in the United States, Canada and then for a tour company in Switzerland and Austria. Back home in South Australia now, she has a deep love and pride for the Fleurieu Peninsula and Adelaide Hills regions – particularly the beauty of the beaches and wine region of McLaren Vale.
She attributes Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb for inspiring her to get back into her lifetime love of writing. When she’s not writing, Cheryl is avidly reading as many books as she can fit in around her busy full-time job as a training facilitator.
Please feel free to pull up a stump and get to know her and her world of writing a bit more.
Before I continue though, I’d just like to thank Random House Australia, especially Kirsty from their publicity department, without whom this interview would not have been possible.
Cheryl, it’s really great to have you here to celebrate the release of Chasing the Flames.
Thanks so much for allowing me to visit your great site!
You’re very welcome Cheryl! Would you mind starting off by telling us a bit about your childhood?
Wow, great first question. I’m the second child of four. My parents instilled the wanderlust in me when my father decided it would be a great idea to sell up the family home, buy a caravan and travel around Australia for two years. Mum said if we sold the house in one week she would do it. Poor mum, she lost that gamble. But we all gained so much more by seeing so many corners of this great country. I was three at the time but I still have amazing memories of those family holidays.
Cheryl, that sounds like a brilliant experience but I’d love to know more about your journey to becoming an author. Could you tell us how that journey started?
I always had an overactive imagination, even as a kid. But writing fiction started in high school when a teacher gave us a word and told us to write anything we wanted for one to two minutes. I found I couldn’t stop writing and often continued the story I started in class once I got home from school. I didn’t go to uni, but I did course after course in all areas of writing to gain the foundation that I still use today. I kick myself that I didn’t submit work earlier but I also think that digital publishing has opened up options for writers. Not sure it’s easier to get published but there are certainly more avenues.
I’ve not yet read Bet On It but have finished reading Chasing The Flames (didn’t take me long because I was so absorbed in the Mullers’ goings on) and hubba hubba, those Muller boys are decidedly delicious and oh-so-sexy! But, for those who haven’t yet heard about it, could you please share with us the story they can expect?
Chasing the Flames is the second in the Muller’s of McLaren Vale trilogy. I know parents (novelists) aren’t supposed to have favourite kids but I adore this story. Brian is a sweetheart. Very different to Seth, the middle brother who features in Bet On It.
Brian Muller, of Muller’s Field winery, is just starting to get his ‘dating feet’ back under him after a disastrous divorce.
Trisha is the owner of a local café and catering company and has known and loved Brian almost her entire life.
After a few too many New Years Eve drinks, Brian and Trisha find themselves in a passionate midnight lip lock. The kiss sets them on a new direction in their relationship. That is until Brian’s ex-wife Maria, returns to McLaren Vale determined to win him back. Maria’s presence brings back memories of the pain he felt when she left and he retreats from Trisha.
Trisha, who is struggling with her own self-worth, is hurt by his comparison of her to Maria and they both have to face some demons in order to find the happiness they both deserve.
Chasing the Flames is set in the Southern Fleurieu peninsula, which boasts not only the gorgeous vineyards of the McLaren Vale wine region but also some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The story also includes a Gala Ball, the Tour Down Under Professional Cycling Race and a catastrophic bushfire event.
That liplock scene is absolutely fabulous and the bushfire scene a bit heartwrenching, but what, if any, was your favourite scene to write?
That’s a tough call. I loved being able to write about the bushfires since I have spent so much time at bushfires myself over the years feeding emergency services crew. It was good to use that knowledge and it’s why the book is dedicated to the country and rural fire service of Australia. I also really loved writing the scene where Brian’s ex-wife shows up. Not just for Brian and Trisha’s reactions in that black moment but also the other characters, Andrew and Gabby, and their comic relief in such a tense scene.
Do you, as a writer, have a motto or maxim? What is it?
Not sure if this is more as a writer or as a life motto but it’s what pushed me to finally submit to a publisher – ‘You only regret the things you don’t do’. I didn’t want to regret never trying to get published.
Such a true saying Cheryl and one of my favourites. What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
Oh I’ve had heaps of great advice! ‘Show – don’t tell’ – that’s a big one. But I think the best one is ‘Just write without editing’. Get it down on paper and then go back and edit later. And that is exactly how I write. I usually write with pen on paper when I am first constructing scenes. Mostly because it comes to me at the weirdest times. 2am in bed. I have notebooks all over the house and I need a whiteboard for the shower – I swear that’s where the Muse hides.
I think those are some fabulous tips from a published writer, but what other advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Learn your craft. Seriously. Do as many courses on constructing storylines as possible. Even though I have been writing for years, I went to workshops at the Romance Writers of Australia Conference in August this year that helped me deal with the soggy middle of my third book. You never stop learning. And another piece of advice is – don’t wait. Get that manuscript finished and submit it.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
I have a really busy full time job as a training facilitator. I hardly ever write during the week due to brain drain. But I also travel a lot for work and airports and boring hotel rooms are a great place to write. Other than that I set a weekly goal at the moment of 2000 words, which I usually do over the weekend and I usually exceed my own expectations which makes me feel good rather than setting impossible expectations and then feeling bad about myself.
Wow, that’s a really full-on life you have trying to juggle work with writing, but now onto the easy part of the interview! What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
The question would be ‘Is it true you were once engaged to George Clooney but you broke it off and he’s been devastated and remained single ever since because he never got over you?’ My answer would be ‘none of your business – ha! – (but YES, it’s true)’.
Pizza or Pasta?
Pasta usually but I’ll take both if you’re offering!
I’m quite a pasta girl myself, so you’re in good company. Favourite author?
Nora Roberts/JD Robb – she kicked my butt back into writing gear just by reading her amazing books.
Brilliant choice there, she’s one of my favourites too! If you had a book club, what would it be reading and why?
Jane Austen, of course. Nora Roberts/JD Robb again. But I also love the heated discussions (arguments) that books like the Twilight Saga and Fifty Shades series can spawn. Love a good book argument.
Give us three good to know facts about you – be creative.
I was an extra in a mini-series in the 1990s. I nearly drowned while white water rafting in the Zambezi river (not sure if that’s good to know), and I speak Italian, French and German – but all fairly poorly these days.
Cheryl, it’s been an absolute blast having you here. Thank you so much for joining me today and once again, a huge congratulations, but before you go, would you mind giving us a sneak peek of Chasing the Flames?
“Brian left the office and was about to walk around to his ute when he heard the unmistakable rattle of Trisha’s old yellow VW Beetle. He smiled and shook his head as he watched her speed up the drive, spitting dust out behind the car. She’d always driven like a lunatic. He waved a hand as she parked the car quickly but expertly between a Mercedes and an Audi, the owners of which were probably having massive coronaries as they watched from the cellar door windows.
‘Hi,’ she called as she jumped out of the car.
‘Hi yourself,’ Brian called back and wandered over. ‘I was just coming to see you.’
Grinning broadly, she leaned her arms on the open door of her car. ‘Well then, I saved you a trip.’
‘You did.’ Brian moved closer and stood on the other side of the door. ‘What are you doing here?’
Trisha’s belly flipped at his close proximity. His five o’clock shadow was coming in early and the sun caught little rust coloured flecks in the brown. She took a deep breath to still her stuttering heartbeat and caught a delicious whiff of his aftershave. God, he smelled incredible. It took all her strength not to close her eyes, lean in and take another deep inhalation.
‘I’m here to kidnap you,’ she said instead as she slid her aviator sunglasses down her nose and peered deviously over the top of them. ‘How does a picnic lunch on the beach sound?’
‘Like something I wish I had thought of first,’ Brian said in quiet response and his deep voice had her heart and other places warming. ‘Let’s go.’
‘Great! Jump in.’ She dropped back into the driver’s seat of her Beetle.
‘We’re going in that death trap?’ Brian cringed at her through the open window. Half joking, half not.
‘Don’t insult Percy. He’s very sensitive.’ Trisha narrowed her eyes at him. ‘You getting in, Muller? Last chance.’
He chuckled quietly and walked around to fold his tall figure gracelessly into the passenger seat of the toy car. He looked over at Trisha as he tried to find a comfortable position for his long legs.
‘Excuse my observation,’ Brian shifted awkwardly, bashing his knee on the glove box, ‘but how do you manage to fit those amazingly long legs into this little vehicle day after day?’
‘I’m very flexible.’ She gave him a sidelong glance and had to fight the laugh when his mouth fell open and his tongue just about fell out of his head.”
Chasing the Flames can be purchased from the following links: