I'm excited to be showcasing the women writers of Western Fictioneers for National Women's History Month. Let me introduce you to Cheryl Pierson. What a career Cheryl has and the knowledge she is sharing with us. Grab your coffee or tea and have a read.
1. When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
Hi Doris, and thanks for interviewing me! I think I always knew I wanted to from the time I got in trouble for writing my name all through my Little Golden Books. At church, when I was little, my mom would give me a little notepad and pen to write my letters on—before I could really spell words. I would make up my own words and write them, and my mom would pretend she was reading them. LOL But I wrote a LOT of stories from the time I was able to string words together.
2. Did you chose the genre you write in or did it choose you?
In the beginning, I knew I wanted to write what I most liked to read—historical romance. And I did that, but as time went on, I branched out into other genres. I loved doing that because it let me spread my wings a little bit and try writing in new areas that were interesting to me, as well. I started out writing feature articles for newspapers, then progressed to very short stories for Adams Media’s Rocking Chair Reader books and various Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Meanwhile, though, I was working on my western historical romance novels and submitting those. I had one agent who asked, “Can you write contemporary?” So I tried my hand at that—and then paranormal. But my first love(s) have always been historical romance and westerns.
3. Do your life experiences influence or hinder your writing?
I do think my life experiences influence my writing to a great extent. I’m very empathetic, a trait I got from my mother. Growing up, she’d always say, “Just think how you’d feel if that happened to you.” Or some variation of that, and of course, I did try to think how I would feel if faced with that particular situation. So, when I write, it’s easy for me to put myself in the other person’s shoes and write their feelings.
4. Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m definitely a pantser. I plot when the story gets to a certain point, but even then, it’s not plotting. It’s a timeline I make so I will know I haven’t made a pregnancy last only 6 months, or have them celebrating Christmas a month early. I’ve always made a lot of lists, so this is part of that—a timeline “list” to keep everything straight within the story.
5. If you had a choice, which is your favorite to write, short stories, novellas, or full-length novels?
I love to write full-length novels because I have a chance to develop the characters more and give the plot several twists and turns. But I love writing short stories because it flexes those mental muscles and makes me have to say more in less time/space.
6. Is there a process where you find your next story or does the idea just hit you?
No, I really don’t have a “process”—but I usually come up with my ideas when I have quiet time to think about the different possibilities that “might have been” and go from there. When my kids were younger and in school, I spent a lot of time waiting for them after school and would always carry a notebook with me in the car “in case”—and that sure came in handy. These days, time for daydreaming is a lot scarcer. But I still keep coming up with one idea after another, somehow!
7. Do you write in other genres?
I do. I write contemporary romantic suspense, western, historical romance, and have written a young adult western novel, RIDE THE WILD RANGE, and some middle grade and YA short stories that were contemporary.
8. What advice would you give to those who dream of writing, or what advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t be so hard on yourself when you don’t sell the very first thing you submit.
Start small and build your portfolio one brick at a time instead of hoping you’ll hit that “grand slam home run” the first time you submit something. Writing a best-selling first novel doesn’t happen all that often.
Don’t sabotage your writing efforts by setting yourself up for failure.
Celebrate the small wins and achievements.
Don’t give up—keep writing. Even if it doesn’t sell, it improves your skills, your mental abilities, and your critical thinking. And it’s entertaining!
Write for yourself. Write what makes YOU happy.
Don’t quit your day job.
Remember to always lift other authors up. Putting out someone else’s candle doesn’t make yours shine brighter.
Thank you, Cheryl. For those who would like to follow or know more about Cheryl and what she does, check out the links below.
Editor-in-Chief and Co-owner
Prairie Rose Publications
PRAIRIE ROSE PUBLICATIONS WEBSITE: