Guest post & giveaway with author Cheryl Brooks
What is the difference between writing book 1 and writing book 10 of a series?
So much has happened since I first wrote Slave, book one of the Cat Star Chronicles. I wrote it with the intention of creating the sexiest alien hero ever conceived, along with a heroine who didn’t mince words and wore a pulse pistol on her hip like the toughest gunslinger the Wild West ever produced. In short, it was Star Wars, Star Trek, and Gunsmoke combined with sizzling hot, uncensored sex.
At the time, I was an untrained writer, and I inadvertently broke most of the romance genre’s rules. I wrote in first person. I used the f-word as a noun, verb, adjective, and expletive. My heroine’s name was Jack, and my hero was named Cat, and she rescued him as often as he rescued her, perhaps even more. Jack was a combination of Han Solo, John Crichton (Farscape), and Captain Jack Sparrow, with a little bit of me thrown in. Cat was based on a knight at Medieval Times, Mr. Spock, and your basic house cat. Cat was a slave, and Jack “found him in the slave market on Orpheseus Prime.” I wrote that opening line, never dreaming I would be called upon to duplicate it in nine more books. (I didn’t, of course.) I wrote the book I wanted to read, and I didn’t really care whether anyone else liked it or not. When I sold it to Sourcebooks, they had me change a few things, but the story was essentially the same as what I’d originally written.
After Slave was published, readers either hated it or loved it. There was very little middle ground among the reviews. Some people were puzzled by the humor, wondering whether it was intentional or not. But there were others who understood what I was trying to do. I was a critical care nurse for thirty-five years. I’d dealt with enough life and death situations to last a lifetime. I was ready for some fun, and yes, the humor was intentional. The book doesn’t take itself too seriously (neither do I), so if you’re looking for dark, angsty, dramatic, humorless stories, don’t read mine. You won’t like them. If, on the other hand, you enjoy a bit of fun, some super hot sex, a dash of mystery and action/adventure, intelligent heroines, and guys who just won’t quit, look no further. You don’t even have to like sci-fi!
Somewhere between book three (Rogue) and book four (Outcast), I was asked to start writing in third person. Basically, I didn’t know how. I was guilty of head-hopping even before I knew what the term meant. It wasn’t until I was writing Fugitive (book five) that my friend Marie Force read a scene and asked, “Do you always change POV (point of view) back and forth in a scene?” I was like, “Well, yeah…” Her response was, “That’s head-hopping, and you can’t get away with that unless you’re Nora Roberts.” Needless to say, lesson learned.
When I wrote book seven, Virgin, I was asked to trim five thousand words from the manuscript. My pal and fellow IRWA member, author Sandy James, came to my rescue. Together, we deleted over six thousand words, mostly unnecessary dialogue tags and conjunctions. My writing was now tighter than ever, and the pacing significantly improved. Since then, I’ve honed my craft, attending IRWA meetings, workshops, panel discussions, and conferences. I now have three critique partners and several beta readers. I’ve even taught a few workshops and participated in several panel discussions—some at local RWA chapter meetings and some at the Starbase Indy convention.
So when I tell you that book ten, Rebel, is the best book I’ve ever written, I’m not kidding, nor am I patting myself on the back. Anyone who has read the series from beginning to end can see my growth as a writer. Within the Cat Star Chronicles, I’ve created a world that is as real to me as any imaginary setting can ever be. All sorts of different species live there, some pretty and some not so nice, and many of my characters have recurring roles. My mind’s eye sees each planet quite clearly. I hear the characters speaking in my head, their words flowing through to my fingertips as I write. I feel their emotions as if they were my own. When they cry, I cry. When they laugh, I catch myself chuckling. And when they love, I feel it.
Hopefully, you will too.
About the author
Find Cheryl online: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest
Buy Cheryl’s books at: Amazon , Barnes & Noble , Books-A-Million , Hastings , IndieBound , Indigo , iTunes
Thanks to Sourcebooks, we have 1 copy of Rebel to giveaway. This is open to U.S./Canada residents only and the winner will be announced on July 5th. Please read our giveaway policy before entering. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway