Saturday, March 20, 2021

One Brick at a Time - Interview with Cheryl Pierson

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.


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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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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.



Cheryl Pierson

Editor-in-Chief and Co-owner
Prairie Rose Publications

PRAIRIE ROSE PUBLICATIONS WEBSITE:
http://prairierosepublications.com

E-mail: prairierosepublications@yahoo.com 


Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/cherylpierson

 

51 comments:

  1. That was a great interview, Cheryl. I loved it!
    Your advise to others is a helpful guide and easy for me to personally relate to.
    Jerry

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Jerry. Oh, that list of advice could have been about 3-4 times longer than it was--I had to pare it down. LOL Doris does a great job on these interviews! Thanks for coming by today!

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  2. Great interview, Cheryl. You certainly do lift other writers up. Great advice for us all at the end there.

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    1. Christine, thank you so much. I appreciate the very kind words. Glad you came by today!

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  3. Hi, Cheryl and Doris. I love reading author interviews and hearing others process, and the advice you give is spot on. Having worked with you over the years, Cheryl, one thing I've always admired about you is your attitude: You really don't sweat the little stuff and it's calming to rest of us authors at PRP. I hope you find time to write and I look forward to see what you come up with next.

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    1. Patti, thank you. That means a lot to me. I'm planning on carving out more writing time in the near future and hoping that something wonderful comes of it! LOL Thanks so much for stopping by today, my friend!

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  4. Cheryl Pierson,

    That's how I see Cheryl Pierson---always working at HAPPY!

    It takes a lot of skill to be in a Chicken Soup for the Soul books. They had a team that selected only the best and intriguing stories.

    Cheryl, like Livia Washburn/Reasoner have helped so many writers become published. (And...they are business partners.)

    Cheryl has always been encouraging to other writers and that includes me.

    And...having your cake and eating it too! The question was which do you prefer, short stories, novellas, or full length novels, and you essentially said, "BOTH!" That's Cheryl.

    Glad to read more about your life and thoughts on writing.

    (Again, thanks Doris McCraw for all these author interviews. Please give yourself the credit you deserve and put your name on these posts!)

    Charlie Steel

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    1. Charlie, thanks so much for coming by and commenting--you are always so kind with your words and generous in your compliments. And you are also a good friend! I appreciate you. I agree with you--Doris needs to give herself credit for these interviews in the titles! I'm so glad she decided to take on this interview project. She's wonderful to do this for us!

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  5. The word that stands out in the interview is "empathy." In the time I've known you, that certainly is a key word that describes you, and it probably is a quality that helps you develop characters that are alive in your stories. This gift of empathy probably ranks high among your other obvious intellectual gifts. It is indeed a rare gift to be able to stand in the shoes of others and walk around in them, whether those shoes worn by real people or fictional characters.

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    1. James, thank you. I try to do that as much as possible. I think it does help me in my writing to be able to really get into my characters' heads and hearts. One thing that I learned in the beginning of my writing journey was that you have to give people a reason to do the things they do, so that made me think about what could have made this person or that one do what they did. Now, I just do it without thinking--it's natural to me, anyhow. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  6. Great interview, Cheryl and Doris. I love how your mother made a story out of your nonsense writings as a child. No wonder you're so gifted, coming from such a unique upbringing.

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    1. Hi Becky, my mom was the oldest of 11 kids, and I was the youngest (by far) in my family, so she had a lot of experience with kids by the time I came along. LOL Thank you so much for your kind words, and for stopping by. I know you are busy! XO

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  7. Great interview, Cheryl. Excellent advice your mom gave you. It really does make a difference.

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    1. Hi Dennis, yes! It does make a huge difference in our lives if we can just remember a few things that seems simple like that -- and they really ARE simple, but we have to stop and think about it when we are kids. It's just natural to want to compete with others, but there is enough room at the table for everyone. I always say, if we all liked the same thing we'd be lined up at Barnes and Noble to buy the one, same book. Now that's an image, isn't it? LOL Thanks so much for stopping by today!

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  8. Terrific interview, Cheryl and Doris. Cheryl, you were one of the first people I knew in the organization (besides people I already knew but didn't know were in it), and a big reason I joined up. Your attitude is always so positive and welcoming. Thank you!

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    1. Aw, Jeff! You made my day! Thank you! Makes me so glad to know I gave you a bit of a nudge to join our group. I appreciate you, too! Thanks again, my friend.

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  9. Enjoyed the interview, Cheryl. I love reading about the learning experiences of other writers. and I have to agreement with what others said--you definitely are supportive of others. We should all do more of that.

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    1. John, you know, I think if everyone remembered back to the "days of yore" when we started out as hopeful writers and were so hungry for helpful advice or a friend who could kind of direct our footsteps along the pathway, just to get going, it would be easy to be kind and helpful to others. I promised myself in the beginning that if I could ever help anyone I would do it. I don't know how often I've been able to really "make a difference" but it has not been for lack of trying. Thanks so much for stopping by today, John!

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  10. Cheryl,

    Empathetic is such a perfect description for you. Your caring runs deeply in your soul. If I were to choose a song that sums up your personality and your general outlook on life it would be "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life".

    When you, a total stranger to me, contacted me to write a short story for the Prairie Rose Publications' anthology 'Lassoing a Mail-Order Bride' in 2014, you had no idea I was in a low place in my personal and writing life, and that your invitation lifted me from the doldrums. I am thankful for you in many, many ways. *hugs*

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    1. Awww, Kaye...that means so much to me, my dear friend. I'm so glad we made connections and that you joined us at PRP--I ALWAYS love your stories and your keen wit and sense of humor. I'm thankful for you, too. I'm so glad you came by today! XOXO

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  11. Cheryl,

    I need to clarify that despite "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" being a tongue-in-cheek, sarcastic Monty Python song, the basic message is no matter how rotten things are, it could always be worse, and we have to keep our chins up and find the bright within the dark. <<<You always find the bright side.

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    1. LOL I Love the Monty Python version too! LOL Now I'm going to think of you, thinking of me, every time I hear it. LOL You are the ear worm queen, my dear! XOXOXO You made me laugh, but this also touches my heart.

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  12. Such a great interview, Doris. Cheryl, I never dreamed that we approach writing in about the same way. It was great to learn about a person I so admire. It was my lucky day when I found PRP. I have never worked with such wonderful folks as you and Livia. I consider you a business person with a heart - and the world needs more like you. Thanks for everything you've done for me and many other writers. I look forward to many more of your books.

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    1. Hi Agnes! Thank you so much for your very kind words, my friend. We are so glad to have you with us at PRP--it was our lucky day, too! Livia and I love what we do and we love meeting so many wonderful authors in our business. We have the best job on the face of the earth! XO

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  13. Great interview! I always enjoy reading about the paths that other writers have taken in life to get to where they are. Thanks for sharing.

    John Hansen

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    1. Hi John! Yes, I always love that too--interviews are a guilty pleasure for me--I always try to go read them and comment (if Blogger or Word Press will let me!) LOL Thanks so much for stopping by and reading today!

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    1. Thank you! I always love these interviews Doris is doing and was so honored to be her "subject" today!

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  15. I love learning about authors and this excellent interview is no exception, Doris and Cheryl. I, too, am one of those grateful writers who found a home at PRP because you took a chance on me after reading three chapters of my trilogy. I don't know if you realize what a boost you made to my morale when I saw the perfect cover Livia made for me and the jolt of surprise that you were publishing my trilogy even before you saw the second book. That faith in people (and me) is one of your many strong suits, Cheryl. You are the very best "cheerleader" a writer could ever have and always allay my fears. You are so blessed. I urge you to put aside some time to write more of your wonderful stories.

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    1. Elizabeth, thanks so much for coming by. You just made my day all over again. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to have a look at your wonderful stories--I loved every one of them. I'm going to try to find time for more writing in the coming months. This past year has been weird and topsy-turvy in so many ways, hasn't it? Maybe "normal" is on the horizon! LOL Thanks again for stopping by today, my friend!

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  16. Fascinating interview, Cheryl -- I love reading about other writers' process, and especially love that you were "writing" before you actually knew how to string the letters into words. Good advice -- although, thanks to you, the very first thing I submitted actually did sell!

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    1. Cate, I'm like you--always love to hear how others began their writing journey and the hills and valleys that happened along the way. I loved your story. Which reminds me...what's coming up next with you? (HINT HINT!) LOL Thanks again for stopping by today!

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  17. Enjoyed the interview very much.

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    1. Thank you! Thanks to Doris again for being such a great interviewer and having so many wonderful questions to choose from!

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  18. Great interview, Cheryl and Doris.

    Good insights and good advice.

    Keith

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    1. Hi Keith! Thanks so much for stopping in--I know how busy you must be! Much appreciated!

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  19. Greater interview and advice to writers!

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  20. Great interview Cheryl! My mother used to tell us the same thing - to think how we would feel if it happened to us. I love reading these interviews with our Fictioneers!

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    1. JES, I am loving these interviews, too. I think Doris hit on a fabulous idea! She is very generous with her time and her talent.

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  21. Great interview! thank you Cheryl and Doris. Makes me feel so much better about being a pantser, too. ;)

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    1. Di, when I first started writing, I thought I was a failure because I just could not plot everything that I wanted to write. Yet, it seemed like so many other authors plotted every detail. I kept thinking, "What's wrong with me?" LOL Glad you enjoyed the interview!

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  22. Wonderful interview and great advice, Cheryl!

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    1. Hi Vicky! Thanks so much for stopping by--glad you enjoyed the interview. I'm very grateful to Doris for the time and talent she spends on these interviews. She is one of a kind!

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  23. Wow, great advice. And reading down this list of commentors is a "who's who". Impressive. I loved this interview featuring two of my favorite gals, Cheryl and Doris. Cheryl, your enthusiasm took my Oregon Trail novel to great heights. Looking forward to working with you again soon.

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    1. Hi Anne! Thank you so much for stopping by! I loved your WALK THE PROMISE ROAD so much. We were very happy to have you sign with us at PRP! That is one awesome story, very well told! I'm so glad you came by today!

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  24. This interview was absolutely delightful, Cheryl! Thank you for sharing. I'll be reading one of your books soon.

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    1. Hi Mark! Thanks so much for stopping by and reading and commenting. Much appreciated!

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  25. Wonderful interview Cheryl. Doris asks some great questions. I really love your mother's advice. We really need more empathetic people, and the best time to learn that is when we're young. I also loved your advice to new writers. Great!

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    1. Hi Livia! So glad you were able to come by--yes, Doris is a great interviewer! She must have a ton of patience to get all these interviews together and posted--much love and appreciation to her! I agree--we DO need more empathetic people, and it does have to be taught to kids--most kids don't know how to put themselves in someone else's place, because they haven't thought of it that way until an adult mentions it. I'm so glad you came by, I know you are busy! XOXO

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