Please help me welcome Cheryl Douglas to the blog! I can't wait to hear about her fabulous new release.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I started my professional career as a nutritionist, specializing in weight management. I developed an innovative program based on whole foods, and had a successful practice for many years, but the lease was expiring on my commercial space and I knew it was time for a change. That’s when I decided to follow my dream of becoming a writer.
Did you always want to be an author?
I loved reading and writing from the time I was nine or ten. My fifth grade teacher suggested I read The Diary of Anne Frank, and from then on, I was hooked on books. I was the student editor of the school newspaper and yearbook in elementary school, so I’ve always been passionate about writing. I decided to pursue a different career path because twenty year ago the publishing industry was very different than it is today. Now it’s the readers, not the editors, who decide whether a book is worthy of being read.
What made you choose to write romance?
I think I picked up my first romance book when I was eighteen or nineteen. I’ve read thousands of romance books over the years, and while many have common themes, it’s the author’s voice that makes them unique. I was anxious to reach readers with my own unique voice. That, and I love a happy ending!
What is your favorite part of being a writer/author?
Because I’m currently working on a long series, these characters are a part of my life for two years or more. I’m able to see the growth and evolution of the characters and bring them back in subsequent books. It’s a little like re-connecting with an old friend.
I also love connecting with my readers. Social media makes it so much easier to do that now. Whenever I’ve hit a rough patch in my writing, I log onto to Facebook and there will be a comment from a reader that makes me smile. That’s often the highlight of my day.
Tell us a little about your book. What inspired you to write it?
Shameless is the story of a country music superstar, Trey Turner. His life has been spiraling out of control since his wife divorced him five years ago. Even though he’s wealthy and successful, he’s at a dark place in his life and he’s not sure how to find his way back from the brink of self-destruction. When his ex-wife, Sierra, comes back into his life, he’s committed to re-building the life they’ve lost, but she’s already moved on with her new life, and isn’t interested in resurrecting the past.
I’m a huge country music fan and I love that every song tells a story. Some are about family, friendship, heartache, re-living the glory days, coming to terms with losing the love of your life, and others are simply party anthems intended to make the listener feel good.
The Nashville Nights series was inspired by these stories. The series consists of trials, heartbreak, loss, tragedy, triumph, friendship, family, and most importantly, the journey to finding a soul mate.
by Cheryl Douglas
Trey Turner may be topping the country music charts, but his life has been going downhill since his wife left him five years ago. He's desperate to make amends for the mistakes he's made and convince Sierra their love deserves a second chance.
Sierra Brooks is happy for the first time since her divorce. She has a career she loves, and a man who loves her. Unfortunately, the man she intends to marry isn't the only one professing his love for her. He may be able to offer her safety and security, but will she decide to risk everything for another chance with the man who broke her heart?
Five Years Earlier
The sexy little waitress stretched to offer her neck as Trey Turner prepared to do another body shot at the urging of his inebriated friends. He licked the salt off her neck as he felt a small hand grip his shoulder.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
He turned to see his wife, Sierra, staring up at him, disgust darkening her bright blue eyes. He heard a few of his friends mutter curses as the crowd broke up and went back to drinking and dancing.
“Baby, I was just havin’ a little fun.” His words slurred and he wondered how many body shots he’d had before Sierra intervened.
The waitress slid her hand down his chest, hooking a finger through his belt loop. “That was fun. How ‘bout we pick up where we left off later?”
Sierra turned away, not waiting for his answer as she began weaving her way through the crowd.
“Sierra, baby, wait,” he called, trying to push his way through the throngs of people before she reached the door. He grabbed her wrist just as she was about to cross the threshold. “Wait. Please, don’t go.”
“It’s over, I’m done with this shit,” she said, trying to shake loose of his grip.
He had more than a foot and a hundred pounds on her. She wasn’t going anywhere until he decided he was ready to let her go, which wouldn’t happen in this lifetime. “What’s that supposed to mean? Where the hell do you think you’re going?”
“Home to pack.”
He felt the room begin to spin out of control. “What did you say?”
“I’m leaving you. Our marriage is over.”
His grip on her wrist tightened. “No, you can’t leave me.”
She pressed a hand to his chest. “It’s been over for a long time. I’m just making it official.”
“We’re not having this conversation out here in front of a hundred people,” he said, pulling her through the horde of friends he’d invited to his private party. He opened the door to the small dressing room usually occupied by the nightly entertainment that performed at Jimmy’s bar. “We’ll have some privacy in here.”
She was finally able to shake free of his tight grip. “I’ve already said everything I have to say to you.”
He gripped her waist. “Don’t do this, Sierra.” He bent to kiss her neck. “I love you, baby. God, I love you so much. I can’t live without you.” He backed her toward the couch as he lowered himself down on top of her.
“You’ve been living without me for the past year, Trey. You’ve spent your days on a tour bus and your nights in a stadium or bar.” Her voice broke. “We lost our baby girl and you don’t seem to care.”
“Don’t say that,” he whispered furiously. “Don’t ever say that I didn’t care about Callie. I loved her, Sierra. It damn near killed me when we lost her.”
She glared at him. “Really? Is that why you boarded that goddamn tour bus a week after her funeral?”
“I’m a musician; it’s what I do.” He knew the excuse was weak. Sierra was right. He’d been trying to run away from his grief and sadness instead of staying at home where he belonged, supporting his wife.
She shook her head, looking defeated. “It’s what you do—it’s who you are. Trey Turner, country music’s award-winning, platinum-selling mega-star. What about my husband? Callie’s father? Where is he?”
He closed his eyes, feeling disgusted with himself for letting her down again. “Baby, I’m sorry. Look, I know I’ve made mistakes, but let me make it up to you, okay?” His hand eased up her shirt to cup her breast.
Her head rolled back and she closed her eyes. “No, we can’t do this. It won’t fix the problem.” Making love to her may not solve all of their problems, but it would buy him some time to figure out a way to convince her to give him and their marriage another chance. “Just relax,” he whispered, licking her neck.
“Hmm, that feels so good.” She wrapped her denim-clad leg around his. “But then you had lots of practice with your girlfriend right before I got here, didn’t you?”
He cursed himself for indulging in the adolescent drinking game and giving his wife reason to question his fidelity yet again. “Sweetheart,” he whispered, flipping the button on her jeans. “You’re the only one I want; you know that.”
She squeezed her eyes shut as she shook her head. “No, I don’t.”
He hated that he had given her reason to doubt herself, to doubt them. “Let me prove it to you, then.”
His tongue traced the soft fullness of her lips until she finally parted for him. He groaned, taking her mouth with a savage intensity. His mind raced; fear warring with panic as he realized this may be the last time they made love, the last time he had the right to touch her.
Do you plot and outline or do you just write? Plotter or Pantser?
I’m usually a pantser. I’ve tried to outline, and I often will if I have no idea where the book is going, but I’ve found the finished product is so different from the outline that I usually just trust my muse to take me there.
Can you tell us about the process of getting your first book published?
For me, writing is a business like any other, so I did a lot of research and put together the best team I could find before jumping in with both feet. My team consists of a professional content editor, copy editor, proofreader, formatter, graphic designer, and various promotional experts. I know I couldn’t do this alone, and I wouldn’t want to. I recognize my own strengths and weaknesses. I want to focus on the writing and leave the rest to the experts who help me produce a polished product that readers will hopefully enjoy.
What advice would you give new authors?
Study your craft, take courses, read books written by those who’ve been successful in your chosen genre, learn the business, connect with fellow writers, build a team of people to help you reach your goals, and appreciate every single reader because without them you wouldn’t be able to live your dream.
What have you learned about the business?
I’ve learned that you only get once chance to make a good impression on a reader. Every book you put out there has to be the very best it can be. I’ve also developed a thick skin. Not every review will be a five star, and that’s okay. Some readers will love my books, others won’t. That’s life. Differences are a good thing, because they make room for all types of creative expression.
Do you have another book in the works?
I’m currently working on the spin-off series to Nashville Nights. Like its predecessor, Nashville Nights Next Generation is also an eight book series, but this series follows the children of the characters we met in the first series. These books will be released the latter part of 2012 through mid-2013.
What do you like to do in your free time, besides read and write of course?
When I’m not writing, I love to spend time with my husband, son, and our dog, Tia. We love to travel and have a cottage where we spend a lot of time year-round. In the summer we enjoy boating, fishing, swimming, bond fires, and long walks on the nature trails.
I love: taking long drives in the country
Where do you dream of going on vacation? Belize
Boxers or Briefs? Boxer briefs
Cookies or cake? Cake
Pizza or hamburger? Pizza
Beer, Wine, or mixed drink? White Wine
(Hero/Heroine Character Questions)
What were your first impressions of each other?
Sierra: Trey was a college football player when we met. He was very focused and driven to succeed. I had no doubt he would achieve his goal of playing professional football until an injury side-lined him permanently. It was during those months when he was recovering from his injury that I learned the most about him. It would have been easy for him to give in to the depression, but he didn’t. He decided to re-focus on a new goal, and since he’d always loved country music and had been blessed with a beautiful singing voice, he decided he wanted to become a musician. I fell in love with him because he was someone who never gave up, and I think that kind of perseverance is so rare.
Trey: Sierra was one of the most positive people I’d ever met. Despite the fact that life had dealt her so many blows growing up, she never let those things define her. She made me realize if she could maintain a positive outlook in the face of setbacks, so could I.
What’s your favorite characteristic of each other?
Sierra: I love his fierce determination. When he wants something, he goes after it and doesn’t let anyone or anything stand in his way.
Trey: I love her compassion. She’s endured the kind of tragedy most people find difficult to imagine and instead of feeling sorry for herself, she’s chosen to channel that pain into something positive. That decision has helped countless people, and I respect and admire her more than I can say.
Cheryl, what are your plans for the near future?
The first part of 2013 will involve finishing and releasing the Nashville Nights Next Generation series. The summer of 2013 I will be starting a new series, Texas Titans, which I’m very excited about.
Cheryl will be awarding: two(2) - $20 Amazon Gift Cards to randomly drawn commenters during the tour, and one(1) - $20 Gift Card to a randomly drawn host. Also, Cheryl will be awarding ten(10) trading card/cover flat packs to randomly drawn commenters during the tour (US/Canada), ten (10)digital books from the Nashville Nights series (winner's choice) to randomly drawn commenters during the tour and two(2) Swarovski crystal necklaces to randomly drawn commenters during the tour (US/Canada).
Be sure to leave your email with a comment to enter to win! Also be sure to visit her other stops HERE.
Cheryl began her professional career as a nutritionist, but her love of books started at an early age. She studied writing for many years before she decided to pursue her passion as a full-time career. After receiving constructive criticism from several well-known authors, Cheryl finally had the confidence to write her first romance novel.
The first book in the Nashville Nights series, Shameless, was a book that had been dwelling in Cheryl’s subconscious for years. For her, the surprise came when the manuscript began taking on a life of it’s own. Characters came to life, secondary characters became more prominent, outlines were forgotten, and a single title evolved into an eight book series, and another eight book spin-off series entitled Nashville Nights, Next Generation.
One word would aptly describe Cheryl: workaholic. She lives and breathes her writing, when she’s sleeping, watching TV, driving, reading… it’s always in the periphery of her mind. Her imagination rarely takes a holiday, even when she escapes to a sandy beach with her husband and son, she’s planning, plotting, outlining, and daydreaming.
Cheryl feels blessed to be able to get up every day and do something she loves. The thousands of fans who have embraced the Nashville Nights have made that possible. She writes for the readers who ask for more, she writes to satisfy the muse residing inside of her, but most of all, she writes because she couldn’t imagine doing anything else with her life. It took her thirty-seven years to decide what she wanted to be when she grew up, but now that she knows, she’s convinced she’s found her purpose.
Where to find Cheryl @