Interview: Cheryl Brooks
Hello, Cheryl Brooks! Please tell us a little about yourself and the books you write.
Hi Marissa! Thanks so much for inviting me to post here on Sizzling Hot Book Reviews!
A native of Louisville, KY, I graduated from the Kentucky Baptist Hospital School of Nursing in 1976 and went on to earn a BSN from Indiana University in 1986. I’ve been a horse lover all my life and have been riding since the age of nine. My husband of more than thirty years and I moved to rural Indiana in 1989 with our two sons, Mike and Sam. Since then, I’ve managed to accumulate a number of animal friends, but am currently holding at two horses, four cats, and one dog. I’ve worked full-time in critical care ever since I graduated, but after cutting back to part-time in December 2011, I resigned my position in August 2012. My other interests include cooking, gardening, singing and guitar playing.
As a writer, I find that any fantasy can come true if you simply write it down. I self-published my first book, If You Could Read My Mind, in 2006, writing as Samantha R. Michaels. Slave (2008) was the first of my books to be published with Sourcebooks Casablanca, and has since been followed by Warrior, Rogue, Outcast, Fugitive, Hero, Virgin, and Stud. Wildcat is the current release, to be followed by Rascal in February 2014. I have one self-published ebook titled Sex, Love, and a Purple Bikini and one erotic short story, Midnight in Reno. As a member of The Sextet, I have published several erotic novellas with Siren/Bookstrand. I’m also a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Indiana chapter of RWA (IRWA).
What inspired you to write the Cat Star Chronicles?
When I first began writing this series, I envisioned Cat, the hero of the first book, Slave, to be the last of a species whose life span was two hundred years or more. I planned to follow him through the various loves of his life, but when I sold the story to Sourcebooks, my editor nixed that idea. Her suggestion was that Cat was not the last of his kind, and that there were others scattered throughout the galaxy. So I came up with the idea of six comrades in arms who were captured and sold into slavery near the end of the war in which their planet, Zetith, was destroyed. The idea to make the men slaves stemmed from a book I read about a woman posing as the slave of a dominant male. I thought it would be a whole lot more fun if the man was the slave and the woman was a female version of Han Solo!
What is the biggest challenge you had creating the universe for the Cat Star Chronicles?
Coming up with the names of planets, alien species, and exotic characters is the hardest part. The rest, I can picture in my mind.
What is the biggest surprise one of your characters have thrown at you?
Characters are always the driving force of my books, and they often make choices I wouldn’t make myself. The most fun, however, is giving a character a certain talent or ability, only to discover a use for that trait much later in the story.
The blurb for Virgin says Dax has never found a woman that makes him purr until Ava. What is it about Ava that sets his body on fire?
Without the scent of a woman’s desire, Zetithian men cannot function sexually. Since Dax’s nose is more selective than most, he has never been aroused by an alien female. With the few known Zetithian women already mated, his chances of finding a mate are slim. Smitten with Ava—a Terran/Aquerei crossbreed—on sight, he is astonished to discover that her scent can actually arouse him. Unfortunately, she already has a boyfriend, and when it comes to enticing females, Dax is clueless.
Is there anything you can tell us about Virgin, or the series in general, that you haven’t said already?
It was during the editing of Virgin that I acquired my first (and current) critique partner, fellow IRWA member, Sandy James. Until then, I’d been writing in a vacuum. Since joining IRWA, I’ve learned a great deal, and my writing has improved significantly.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?
Writing a book is a daunting task, but the only way to accomplish it is by writing one word at a time. If you try to view it as a whole, you’ll never start—and certainly never finish!
Now for a fun question, what is in your TBR pile?
I recently finished reading and scoring seven books for RWA’s RITA Awards contest, so right now, there is nothing in my TBR pile except the chapters sent to me by my critique partners. I know it sounds terrible, but like a good many writers, I don’t often have the time to read for pleasure. When I do, I tend to re-read the Harry Potter series.
When did you know that you wanted to be a writer? Were your family and friends supportive?
As a child, even my daydreams played out like novels—all I had to do was write them down. Being a fast, but somewhat inaccurate typist, I’ve been more successful at finishing a manuscript since the invention of the word processor.
My family has always been supportive, but my friends are the ones who read the books!
Who (if anyone) has been instrumental in inspiring you as a writer?
As a teen, I enjoyed Mary Stewart’s romantic suspense novels and Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances. I’ve also read the works of JRR Tolkien, Robert Silverberg, Phillip K. Dick, and Frank Herbert. I believe that mix of romance, humor, and sci-fi established the roots of the Cat Star Chronicles, but the annoyance I felt when C3PO interrupted the kiss between Han Solo and Princess Leia in The Empire Strikes Back was the trigger for growth. That was the moment I realized that what each of those genres lacked was sizzling hot sex.
What are you currently working on? Anything you can share regarding your current Work in Progress?
I’m working on book three (Rock Star) of the Unlikely Lovers series of erotic contemporary romance, which I plan to self-publish as soon as I finish it. Here’s a little teaser…
Following the discovery of his secret fetish, rock guitarist Joey Manzetti’s girlfriend has left him, taking their child. When his neighbor, nurse Tracy Richards, is assaulted by her date, Joey comes to her rescue. Sick of dealing with abusive men, Tracy jokes that she would be better off with a female partner.
When Joey learns that the child he loved isn’t his, Tracy is supportive, and as their friendship grows, so does the sexual attraction. However, fearing yet another failed relationship, Tracy refuses to acknowledge Joey’s romantic overtures. Can his secret preference aid him in the quest for her love?
After that, I’m looking at the possibility of a spinoff series of the Cat Star Chronicles.
Don’t forget to give us links to your website etc!
I love to hear from readers, and I reply to every email I receive.
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/cherylbrooksauthor