Intimate Conversation with Sheryl Lister
Sheryl Lister has enjoyed reading and writing for as long as she can remember. She writes contemporary and inspirational romance and romantic suspense. She been nominated for an Emma Award, RT Reviewer's Choice Award and named BRAB's 2015 Best New Author.
When she's not reading, writing or playing chauffeur, Sheryl can be found on a date with her husband or in the kitchen creating appetizers and bite-sized desserts. Sheryl resides in California and is a wife, mother of three daughters and a son-in-love, and grandmother to two very special little boys.
BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work? Is this book available on Nook and Kindle?
My latest book, Places In My Heart, features a pro football star who needs a new agent and a sassy attorney who wants to break into the world of sports management. This book was such fun for me because I am a diehard football fan. The chemistry between Omar and Morgan is electric from the start, but both need the other more professionally. It’s going to be interesting to see if they can keep those boundaries in place.
BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special?
My heroine, Morgan Gray, is outspoken and doesn’t back down from a challenge. She goes for what she wants, regardless of the obstacles and is fiercely loyal. My hero, Omar Drummond, has a heart of gold. While he enjoys the game of football, he has far-reaching goals that will make lives better for veterans and others suffering from PTSD or other mental health issues.
BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
I’m a diehard football fan and I’ve always wanted to write a sports romance. When the opportunity came for this series, I knew at least one of the books would feature a football player. It turns out that I’ll get to explore the lives of two heroes in the game (stay tuned for Book 5 in The Grays of Los Angeles series featuring Malcolm Gray). Sports management was also a fascinating topic and I had a blast researching this for Morgan because it’s not often we see a woman in this field.
BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven?
My book ideas come from everywhere—life experiences, television, songs, etc. Sometimes, I wish I could turn my brain off for an hour or two because a plot line will come to me in the middle of the night. Like musicians hear music in everything, I hear plots. My books tend to be character-driven.
BPM: Is writing easy for you? Do you feel lonely being a writer?
I wouldn’t say writing is easy for me, but it’s not necessarily difficult, either. But occasionally, some doubts creep in in when it’s time to start a new book or when I’m stuck in the middle of a story and can’t seem to find my way to the end immediately. Then it’s, “I don’t know if I can do this,” or “what if I can’t finish it?” I usually step away from my computer for a few hours or even a full day and do something else, like read, since I don’t get to do it as much as I like now. The next day, my head is clearer and I can get going again. As far as feeling lonely, I haven’t felt this way at all. I have such a phenomenal support of author friends! We hash out plot lines, critique each other and sometimes, just get together and hang out. No book talk, just pure fellowship.
BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
In a word: football! Like I said, I love football and any chance I get to watch it for “research” is a win-win for me. I also thoroughly enjoyed Morgan and Omar’s journey to finding their forever.
BPM: How long does it take to complete one of your books?
The time frame varies for me to complete a book. If there are no life interruptions (ha ha), then I can finish a 50K-60K word in about 6-8 weeks, and a novella of about 35K words in four weeks.
BPM: Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
If you wait for the perfect time to start writing, you’ll never do it. Don’t wait! Read extensively in the line you want to write for. Learn everything about the craft of writing…and KEEP learning. Don’t think about writing, don’t dream about writing and don’t talk about writing… write.
BPM: What period of your life do you find you write about most often?
Everything I’ve written so far is geared to my adult life. But, I’d love to explore the teen and young adult genre one day.
BPM: How do you feel when someone disagrees with something you have written?
I write fiction, but I understand that not everyone will like what I write. The only thing I can do is keep telling my story.
BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.
I don’t think the subject of PTSD and mental health is under-represented, per se, but the lack of services is something that needs to keep being said. Our service men and women put themselves on the line to protect our freedoms. Yet, when they return battle worn and weary in spirit and mind, there are limited avenues to assist them and their families. There needs to be more done to help them re-enter civilian life wholly. In Places In My Heart, I touch on this subject and, through my hero, share a little about one of my dreams.
BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation or journey?
Though I write fiction, I tend to draw from my experiences in telling a story, but there is no direct relation.
BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
With each book, I’m taking more risks and pushing myself beyond some self-imposed walls. I have to say that I love the growth, although it’s scary, and hope to continue challenging myself.
BPM: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
In researching the subject of PTSD, I came across many stories from veterans and their family members, ranging from heartbreaking to hopeful. One man had written a note saying he was tired of feeling like he didn’t matter. On the flip side, there’s the outpouring of love and support found on a site for those suffering with PTSD and their families. I also had an eye-opening conversation with my Army Veteran sister, who graciously shared part of her story.
BPM: What were your goals and intentions in writing this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
My intention, first and foremost, is always to tell a satisfying love story. I want readers to be able to relax and escape into a world where, despite the flaws of each character and the struggles each may face, at the end of the journey there is true love.
BPM: What does literary success look like to you?
I consider it literary success every time I finish a book. It gives me such a feeling of accomplishment.
BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
Currently, I am working on books three and four in The Grays of Los Angeles series. Brandon’s story, Giving My All To You, is scheduled for release May 2017 and Khalil’s story, A Touch Of Love, is scheduled for Nov 2017. I am also working on a novella, Whatever It Takes, which is Eve Thompson’s story (she was introduced in It’s Only You). I hope to release it in the first part of 2017.
BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2cerUUy