CHERYL PIERSON began the New Year on a high note –capturing 1st place for Kane’s Redemption, in the 2012 Preditors and Editors writing competition. The short story represents the first of a trilogy of Young Adult historical western series of novellas, which include Kane’s Promise, and Kane’s Destiny.
Prolific might be the way to describe Cheryl. In addition to short stories, and novellas, she has written three novels, contributed to anthologies, and wrote the first two chapters of Wolf Creek Book 1: Bloody Trail, the first in a series of novels written by members of Western Fictioneers under the pen name Ford Fargo. She is also a regular contributor to several blogs.
Her favorite genre is romance novels. But, since her debut novel in 2009 – Fire Eyes – Cheryl has published historical westerns, contemporary romantic suspense, paranormal westerns, and a number of short stories.
Cheryl, and her husband, have called Oklahoma City home for the last 30 years. A big welcome to Cheryl Pierson.
1. Describe your trilogy in a sentence, and genre, and tell us your inspiration for the story.
CP: I have the first two of them out, and the third one will be released hopefully in February. This was a brand new genre for me–western, but meant to be a young adult on up through adult ages. It’s written through the eyes of a ten year old boy, Will Green.
Kane’s Redemption: A ten-year-old boy fights for his life when he is taken prisoner by a band of raiding Apache.
Kane’s Promise: Jacobi Kane must lead a band of lawmen in their mission to find and annihilate the remnants of the Apache renegades who were responsible for killing Will’s parents and Kane’s wife and children.
I’m not really sure what inspired me to write this trilogy–I just started writing the first one as a short story for a western anthology, and as I wrote, I knew it was going to be longer than the guidelines called for. So I wrote another short story for the anthology and went back to this one, turning it into a trilogy. Book 3, Kane’s Destiny, will be out next month.
2. What gave you the motivation and desire to become a writer?
CP: I used to get into trouble for writing in my storybooks when I was little. I’ve always been fascinated with reading, spelling, and writing. I don’t remember the first moment I thought “I want to be a writer.” I just always knew it.
Love of reading that was given to me by both my parents from the time I as very young. We read stories every night before bed, and a big treat was going to the library every Saturday. I guess I would have to say that as I got older, I read some BAD fiction and was thinking, “I wouldn’t have done it this way. And my way would have been better.” LOL. Though I love true stories and autobiographies, etc., I love the idea of being able to create my own characters and story line. That is magical.
3. Imagine you’re on a late-night train traveling across the US, in conversation with your favorite authors. Who would they be, and what would you want to know about them?
CP: My favorite romance author is Christine Monson. I liked her writing so much because it was “real”–so many romances are like a fairy tale, all sugar coated and with contrived conflict. Her books were not that way at all. They’re filled with hurt and angst and true love always, always finds a way, but getting there is a long road. Sadly, she committed suicide. I guess I would want to talk to her about how she was able to break through with this kind of gritty writing in a genre that is so often characterized as not being taken seriously. She was able to write seven books, I believe, and nearly every one of them is in a different time/setting, and so masterfully done–to me, that’s amazing.
My favorite historian is Shelby Foote. I think I would probably just let him talk, and talk, and talk–he was never boring and I learned something every time I saw him on television or read any of his books.
All time favorite book–To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. My question for her would be…”Why didn’t you write another book? The world was waiting, and it never happened.” To me, that is a tragedy, to have that much talent and not carry it forward; to have that much impact on our society, and leave it at that. I guess that’s the one thing I would want to know from her.
4. How do you feel the Internet has changed the way you think and write?
CP: Researching things has become so much easier. I grew up with a mom and dad who said, “Look it up in the dictionary.” Now, there’s Google. LOL Everything is right at my fingertips. I still write everything in longhand first, then enter it into the computer. I’m truly a technophobe, but I do appreciate the conveniences that the internet has brought in research, and in finding other writers, publishers, and groups of people who are like-minded.
5. I read, in an interview, where you said “alternate history is a new up-and-coming genre. Would you describe alternate history and tell us how it differs from traditional genres, and what makes it appealing?
CP: Alternate history is a relatively new genre that a history buff will either love or hate. One of my very favorite alternate history writers is Eric Flint. The first book I ever read by him was called 1812: The Rivers of War. He uses characters we know from history; Andrew Jackson, Sam Houston, and so on. There’s humor in the story, when Francis Scott Key is trying to come up with the words to the Star Spangled Banner, for instance; but there are also things that were completely implausible–like the different Indian tribes uniting to fight on the side of the U.S. soldiers.
6. Give us three “good to know” facts you want readers to know about you.
CP: One thing most people don’t know is that I am a classically trained pianist. I don’t play much anymore, but used to do more than two hours a day of practice. Another thing that I’ve gotten quite involved in . . . is doing what I can to help different animal organizations. There are so many of them out there, Middle Mutts, Pet Pardons, and so on, with volunteers who just work tirelessly to save animals,stop animal cruelty, and stop the killing in the shelters across so many of our states.
I once worked in the security department at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum for about two years. It didn’t pay much, but was one of the most stress-free jobs I ever held. I often say it was the BEST job I ever held, even though I had worked for the federal government, a hospital lobbying group, and two universities. I met a lot of good people there, and every day there was a new crowd that came through the doors.
7. What do you consider the best moment of your writing life?
CP: I’ve had two of those. One was when I sold my first short story to Rocking Chair Reader, an Adams Media series that was reminiscent of the Chicken Soup books. There is nothing like that first sale. The second was when I sold my first book, Fire Eyes, to The Wild Rose Press. I’ve wished so often my parents could have lived to share that with me. Those sales were important because of the validation, and getting the stories out there for others to read, but for me they were important because I had realized my dream.