Monday, February 25, 2008
Make-Believe Mondays With Cheryl Holt
Today on Make-Believe Mondays I am thrilled to be able to introduce USA Today Bestselling author Cheryl Holt.
Cheryl, first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you're working on now.
Cheryl: For years, I've been hailed as "the Queen" of erotic romance. I started out writing erotic historicals when the trend toward erotics was just beginning, and my career rose as the subgenre exploded. However, the release of my March '08 book, DOUBLE FANTASY, will be my 15th and last erotic, and I've decided to move on to other writing projects.
I felt that DOUBLE FANTASY was the very best book of it's kind that I could write, and that it would be impossible for me to improve on that sort of story, so it seemed like a good time to move on to other things.
I have big career news to go along with this change, but I'm waiting to make any "official" announcements until after DOUBLE FANTASY is released. So as to the specific details, I will keep you in suspense until then, but I can tell you that I am writing at a furious pace on a manuscript that's been sold to a major publishing house, and I can give you a few hints about what's coming next.
My erotic novels were constrained by the erotic venue in that the length had to be shorter, the themes different, and the flavor more intense than in a typical historical romance. Often times, I felt very limited in what I could do and say, as well as in the kinds of themes I could use and the types of characters I could create.
For a long time now, I've been wanting to write longer and more emotional stories, which is what I think I'm best at. I am returning to books that are similar to the romance classics of 20 years ago - such as WHITNEY MY LOVE or THE FLAME AND THE FLOWER.
I'm eagerly finishing my first manuscript that will take me in this new direction, although it's really an "old" direction for me. What I will be doing in the future will be similar to my second novel, MY ONLY LOVE, that was released at the very beginning of my career and is still my most critically acclaimed book.
I look forward to having a chance to once again tell stories that are very emotional and poignant, where I can let readers see the depth of my talent, but also where I can let the love - rather than the sex - tell the story. I will still write very sexy books, but "sex" will not be the only element that drives the plot.
Debra: I'm thrilled that you shared some of your exciting news here on Make-Believe Mondays and I am anxiously looking forward to your new books. Emotional, poignant stories are my favorite kind.
How do you keep your creative cup filled?
Cheryl: I work very hard and I work all the time. For several years now, I've been blessed in my career that I don't have to work at an outside job to earn a living at writing. My work as a novelist is my full-time job, and it's my home business. As with any other business owner, I work all the time and I never have weekends or holidays off. I write between 60 - 70 hours per week, plus I don't have a secretary, so I'm swamped with administrative tasks such as answering emails, doing interviews, arranging advertising, and the other myriad chores that go along with being a successful novelist.
My work schedule is compounded by the fact that I have two very active teenagers, who are involved in completely different activities - one is an athlete and one is a Hollywood TV/movie actor - so I'm constantly on the go in driving them to practices, events, and auditions.
It takes an enormous amount of energy for me to keep going at such a frantic pace, and every area of my life is geared toward keeping me healthy and rested so I can continue to keep my creative output very high.
I exercise strenuously, I eat a high protein diet, I take naps, and I surround myself with "positive" energy. I don't engage in negative activities, I don't spend time around "negative" people. I use positive thinking techniques, and surround myself with positive influences. For example, when a fan writes me a note, I cut it out and tape it around my computer desk, so that their positive thoughts surround my computer.
I also wear cotton clothing, so that my skin and pores absorb the universe's energy. For some strange reason, if I wear synthetic fabrics, I can't write! I know it sounds weird, but I'm a very normal, very middle-class sort of person, but it seems to help me very much!
Debra: It's interesting to hear you say that. Back when I was getting my undergrad degree I had an Eng. prof. who once worked at a mortuary. He explained what happens to a body when there is a fire on an airplane and how synthetic fabrics contribute to death whereas cotton doesn't. Ever since then I've only worn cotton when I fly. I do feel better when I wear cotton or silk so that doesn't sound weird to me at all! And I agree on surrounding ourselves with positive energy. It makes a huge difference.
If there were no categories for books, no reader expectations to meet, and you could create the wildest work of imagination that you could think of what kind of story would that be?
Cheryl: I think I would still write love stories.
I had never read a romance until I was 42 years old. I was a professional woman, and I always thought I was too sophisticated to read romances. But I found myself trapped at home with two babies, and trying to figure out how to be a commercial novelist, and I was reading every best-seller I could get my hands on.
I was particularly fascinated by the historical romances I read, and I decided to try writing some of them. It turns out that I have a knack for writing some of the world's greatest love stories. I didn't know! I'm still surprised by this. Every morning when I turn on the computer, I smile and think: who could have imagined I'd be good at this?
In such troubled times, it feels wonderful to bring people such joy and love, and I feel that my life has been particularly blessed in having such a necessary talent that I can share with others.
Debra: And we are blessed to have you share your talent with us. Cheryl, thank you for joining us here on Make-Believe Mondays to share a bit of the magic of writing with our readers.
Readers may visit Cheryl at
and be sure to check out her new book trailers!
Debra's News/Debra is watching:
Over on Title Wave this week, I'm blogging today, Gerri is blogging Wed and Michelle is blogging on Fri.
I'm hard at work on my first round edits, and anxiously awaiting my book cover.
A Desperate Journey, will be released by Samhain Publishing in July, 2008.