Sunday, 11 May 2014

Author Interview ~ Sheryl Browne.

Today I'm honoured to welcome the fabulous Sheryl Browne to my blog! Yesterday, I reviewed Sheryl's latest novel The Edge of Sanity as part of the blog tour and today, Sheryl's here for an author interview. :)




Tell us about yourself and your books.

Okey-dokey! I’ll try not to bore people to death. I’m an author, with six books published through Safkhet Publishing. I’ve just completed studying for an MA in Creative Writing through Birmingham City University … Phew! … and I’m also a mum and foster mum to disabled dogs (I can’t help myself! Could you?).



My debut book, Recipes for Disaster, commissioned by Safkhet Publishing, was shortlisted for the Innovation in Romantic Fiction Award. My previously released book, Learning to Love – exploring the fragility of love, life and relationships, was written around a short, the theme of which was bereavement in childhood, which was selected for publication in the Birmingham City University Anthology, Paper and Ink, of which I am super proud. Rather than write reams about my other books, I popped a little teaser tagline below:

Somebody to Love – Sigh with contentment, scream with frustration. At times you will weep.
Warrant for Love - Three couples in a twisting story that resolves perfectly.
A Little Bit of Madness – White Knight in Blue rescues The Harbour Rest Home

I’m also a contributing editor at Lovehappyending Lifestyle and a member of the wonderfully supportive Romantic Novelists’ Association



Can you tell us a little bit about your latest novel, The Edge of Sanity?

Certainly! ‘The Edge of Sanity, tells the story of a psychological battle between everyman Daniel Conner, who is forced into becoming a hero, after being tortured and forcibly drugged, and drug addict Charlie Roberts, who has taken Daniel’s wife and daughter hostage. Known for my humorous but poignant modern fiction, I’m often asked if I’ve changed genres, the answer to which is, not really. I’m more exploring – as ever, the fragility of love, life and relationships. If a character calls to me, I simply have to write his story. My books will always tend to turn around the family unit, looking at family dynamics and the tenuous bonds that hold people together, usually having a strong, but flawed, male lead. I think The Edge of Sanity, though most definitely more edgy, does fall into that category.



The Edge of Sanity is a little different to your typical rom-com books – what was your inspiration behind writing this romantic thriller?

Ah, well, that a bit of a strange one. My partner and I have our own little, narrow boat, Aquaduck, so can often be found messing about on the water. We tend to moor up as near as we can to a pub for our evening meal. Sometimes, the spots we moor in can be very rural and remote. Soooo, on one particularly spooky, moon-free evening, on the walk back along the riverbank, I spotted someone parked up in a nearby country lane. Strange, I thought - a prickle of apprehension tickling my spine, that he should be just sitting there in the dead of night. Hmm? On reaching the boat, my partner promptly announced he’d left something in the pub and skedaddled off on the long trek back to retrieve it, leaving me alone with my imagination. The Edge of Sanity definitely came from a ‘what if’ scenario. Panic not, he hadn’t hired a hit man.



What did you find most challenging about writing The Edge of Sanity?

The drugs! Here’s a snippet from a review: Where an earth did you learn about all about drug use!!! – very graphic. Overall verdict, marvellous achievement – well done! Needless to say, research was called for. I also found it hard to be cruel, getting into the psyche of the antagonist was difficult, but, apparently, I make a great psychopath!



Have you had time to celebrate or treat yourself since the release of The Edge of Sanity?

Oh, dear, not really, unless you count the leftover Easter eggs. Shhhhh. My partner doesn’t realise his is no longer intact. We’re actually out for a nice relaxing meal this weekend, so a little celebration drinkies will be in order then, I think.



Do you think The Edge of Sanity would make a good film? If so, who would you cast?

Haw, haw! Of course. If someone could just contact Clooney for me, I’d be happy to let him direct it!

I think, Ben Affleck would make a great Daniel.



And Colin Farrell would be perfect as Charlie.





You’ve had six books published with Safkhet Publishing – how did your journey with your publisher come about?

By responding courteously to a rejection, would you believe? The publisher replied to my pitch for a book offering me little advice. I thanked the editor and thought no more about it. Kim, at Safkhet Publishing, got back to me saying she liked my writing style and my attitude, and would I consider taking on a commission, writing rom com shorts around recipes. I was thrilled, obviously, and a complete nervous wreck waiting for the initial feedback. I didn’t actually have the recipes, you see. I did, however, have the titles, for instance: Chilli Peppers (red pepper halves filled with Chilli Con Carne - a twist on the traditional Texan dish). Well, read what you will into it, but the next sentence in my mind was Guaranteed to spice up your love life. Kim’s response to the example shorts I sent was that she totally loved them. Did I realise, though, that I was responsible for production grinding to a halt, she asked me. Apparently, the editors were too busy falling about laughing to do any actual work. And so, Recipes for Disaster was born. It just goes to show it pays to appreciate the enormous amount of time publishers and agents spend trawling through the thousands of submissions they receive.



Have you considered writing a book which doesn’t heavily feature romance? Or do you think you’ll always stick with the romance genre?

I think relationships, in all their many forms, are fundamental to the plot of most books. Romance highlights love, that which sets us apart as humans and which every human craves and needs. Love is universal and timeless. Love inspires, art, music. Love, particularly unrequited or lost love, can also drive us to passionate acts of despair or even madness. Through love we see all human emotion. For me love, and the joy/pain surrounding it, is fundamental to a story about people. If it was good enough for Shakespeare… So, yes, I think there will always be an element of romance in most things I write.



Do you prefer print books or ebooks?

Ohhh, that’s soooo hard. I love print books. Curling up with an e-reader will never quite be the same. And some of the covers are like works of arts decorating my coffee table. However, my Kindle allows me to purchase books quickly which I can read anywhere, anytime. It also allows me to read many excellent authors whose books might not have otherwise been available to me.



What do you find most rewarding about being an author?

Apart from the absolute joy of seeing your book published after so long writing it and the angst that goes with re-drafting and editing it, the reviews, without question. Knowing that you’ve written something that a reader has related to and loved… There’s nothing quite like that feeling to make all your efforts worthwhile.



Do you get much time to read yourself? Who are some of your favourite authors?

As part of my MA course, I’ve had to get through quite a few hefty tomes lately.. I’ve just finished God’s Own Country by Ross Raisin, which turns around a troubled teenager, labelled a psychotic schizophrenic, which I enjoyed. I’ve now started slightly more uplifting reads. I devoured Pippa Croft’s The First Time We Met and am eagerly awaiting the second in the Oxford Blue series, The Second Time I Saw You. I tend to read anything that appeals to me. The first book I read which made me think, I want to write like that, was Marika Cobbold’s, Guppies for Tea, and that book stays with me many years later. I also wanted bring to some of the warmth Marian Keyes, whose first book, Watermelon, I simply loved, into my more humorous writing (her books tend to deal with modern ailments, but are always written with compassion and humour). When it comes to more edgy reads, I adore authors such as Martina Cole, Lee Child, Sandra Brown and Peter James. But…! There are so many fabulous authors out there. Most recent purchases are, The Haunting of Highdown Hall by Shani Struthers, The Other Side of Morning by Joanna Lambert… I could go on. I love Mandy Baggot’s books! I stayed up most of the night reading Security. Fab!



Which one book that you have read would you love to written yourself, and why?

Real Women by Susan Oudot, because it was just that, a story about real women. I loved the plot twist around the wedding (no spoilers) - unbelievable, but perfectly feasible.



What advice would you give to someone aspiring to become an author?

I would say, have a one-to-one with yourself. Be honest and ask yourself, is this a burning passion I truly can’t give up? If the answer is yes, then don’t aspire to write, do it. Don’t be shy. Share you work and get feedback from readers. On which subject, I would say it’s important to try to make time to read. Lots. You can learn so much from other authors. Obviously, you’re not going to plagiarize, but take a leaf out of their books and see how they've tackled the issue/genre you might be struggling with. If you can, always get you work edited before putting it out there. You want it to be the best it can be. Also, be prepared for the marketing side. Being an author isn’t just about writing the books. Marketing is all-important nowadays, so establish yourself (making lovely friends while you’re at it) on social media. Set up Twitter and Facebook accounts to start off with. You will be amazed at how many people are ready and willing to support you. It’s hard work sometimes, but worth it if writing is something you can’t live without.



Name your all-time favourite book (if you can!).

This is always so hard to answer as I have a so many books. Um…? I’m going to go for Jilly Cooper’s, ‘The Man who Made Husbands Jealous’. Why? Because it was given to me as a Christmas present and, at the time, provided me with delicious escapism around some traumatic events on the old life-front. Secondly, who could not fall in love with a man, sexy Lysander, who simply loves women so much he can’t help himself. Yes, he’s a bit of a scoundrel, but there is a line in the book where he looks into his dog’s eyes (I’m not quoting, because I can’t remember it exactly) that goes something like, ‘his dog empathised with him as only a dog can’. Oooh, I can’t help but fall in love with a man who genuinely loves women and loves dogs, too. I read that book some years ago now – and it still stays with me. Jilly it is then.



Anything you’d like to add…

A HUGE THANK YOU TO ALL THE READERS AND REVIEWERS WHO HAVE TAKEN TIME TO READ AND COMMENT ON MY BOOKS! I COULD NOT DO IT WITHOUT YOU!



~~~

Heartache, humour, love, loss & betrayal, a little Ohhhh la la! and thrills! Sheryl Browne brings you poignant modern romance. A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and shortlisted for Innovation in Romantic Fiction, Sheryl now has six books published with Safkhet Publishing.

Author LINKS:

Sheryl's Website | Safkhet Publishing | Amazon UK | Amazon | Author Facebook | Romantic Novelists’ Association |
Sheryl is a Loveahappyending Lifestyle Author and Feature Editor | Twitter

4 comments:

  1. Ooooh, I sound half-intelligent!! Haw, haw! Thank you so much for featuring me so beautifully on your fabulous blog, Sophie! :) xx

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  2. LOvely interview, Sheryl - I have an old dvd of the man who made husbands jealous!

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    Replies
    1. Oooooh, I would love to see that!! I think I did, but.. WOW ...that would be a wine and chocolate evening, definitely. :) xx

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