Welcome Author Sheryl Browne!
Today, author Sheryl Browne stops by on her ROMANTIC HEROES Blog Tour!
Go to her Facebook events page here for a chance at a prize!
What is your book about? Give us your “book jacket” summary.
Learning to Love
Exploring the Fragility of Love, Life, and Relationships
Widower, Dr David Adams, has recently moved to the village – where no one knows him, ergo there’s no fuel for neighbourhood gossip – to start afresh with is ten year old son, if only he can get to a place where his son wants to speak to him. Angry and withdrawn, Jake blames his dad for the death of his mother, and David doesn’t know how to reach him.
Andrea Kelly has too many balls in the air. With three children and a “nuts” mother to care for, her fiancé can’t fathom why she wants to throw something else into the mix and change her career. Surely she already has too much on her plate? Because her plates are skew-whiff and her balls are dropping off all over the place, Andrea points out. She needs to make changes. Still her fiancé, who has a hidden agenda, is dead-set against it.
When Andrea’s house burns mysteriously to the ground and Andrea and her entourage are forced to move in with the enigmatic Dr Adams, however, the village drums soon start beating, fuel aplenty when it turns out someone does know him – the woman carrying his baby.
Are any characters in your book based on people you know (yourself included)? Are there any situations based on things that have happened in your life?
I do feel drawn to write about real people dealing with some of the traumas life tends to throw at us, people who, hopefully, the reader identifies with and wants to get to know. A story portraying characters readers can relate to and hopefully laugh and cry with as they cope with those traumas, because the reader is empathising with the character, because they’ve been there. My subject matter, therefore, always needs careful research as well as emotional exploration, sometimes calling on my own life events. So, yes, in writing Learning to Love I did examine my own experience of loss: Someone who left behind him a fiancé and child. It’s not hard to view that loss through the eyes of a child, take the bewilderment and multiply it ten-fold. The child needs to cherish the good memories, to laugh, to cry, to bake the cake mum would have baked, walk the dog the same route Dad would have; to be allowed to express the emotion. Also, as mentioned, I did undertake a lot of research, talking to other people who have lost spouses. The coping strategies of fathers, who’ve traditionally spent hours away from children and home, I found were touching and often amazingly inspiring.
For interest, Learning to Love started life as a short, entitled The Memory Box - the theme of which is bereavement in childhood, which was accepted by the Birmingham City University to be published in their Anthology, Paper and Ink. Obviously, I was really thrilled. I think that incentivised me to get on and write the book!
If your book were made into a movie, are there special songs you would use during particular scenes?
I do have a ‘theme’ song which I think is perfect for Learning to Love: “Learn to Love Again” by Lawson (can you guess why?). Here are some of the lyrics:
“There's a place we know
What's cold enough won't grow
We have seen the dark
And the darkness took its toll
And the journey waits for no one
If no one breaks the mould
And our hearts are stronger
Than we know
That you and I could learn to love again
After all this time
Maybe that is how I knew you were the one
That you could still believe in me again after all our trials
Maybe that is how I knew you were the one”
From the time when you get the idea for a story to the finished product, do you find that your storyline stays exactly as you imagined, or does it change significantly during the writing process?
My books are character led, Learning to Love growing from bereavement through the eyes of a child, Somebody to Love from a single father coping alone with a special needs child, so the kernel is always there. I find, however, as many writers will concur, that characters tend to grow with the story. Often they will have traits, strengths or weaknesses that only become apparent as they find their way through a particular given situation. They tend to become very clearly defined people and often you find you simply cannot put them in a certain ‘box’ because they just don’t fit. So, inevitably, a rewrite is dictated (by the character!). I find I need at least three re-drafts before my characters are fully rounded, three dimensional people. If anyone catches me submitting before I’ve achieved that, please, slap me!
You have written several books. Which one took the longest to write? Which one took the least amount of time? Why?
Without doubt Warrant for Love took the longest. The tagline for that book is: Three couples in a twisting story that resolves perfectly, which would give you a hint of the plot complications. Also though, because this book attracted an agent and publisher interest (but just wasn’t quite right at the time), it was a book I simply couldn’t give up on until I was satisfied it was absolutely the best it could be (when I say I slept with my hero, trust me, I did!). I thought I’d achieved that when it got a fabulous critical review from an editor recommended by the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
The fastest book I ever wrote as Recipes for Disaster and that was because I was just so totally inspired. When a publisher gets back to you saying they love your writing style and commissioning you to write a book… Well, you can see why I would have been. Kim Sutton at Safkhet Publishing wrote back to me (after I’d submitted something else to her) asking if I’d consider writing romantic comedy shorts around recipes… *ooh, now let me see…* Naturally, I jumped at the chance. When Kim came back to a nervous little me saying production had ground to a halt at Safkhet because the editors were too busy falling about laughing at my WIP to actually do any work, I was truly over the moon. For information, the fab, fun recipes were provided by Kim, the inspiration by Snoops/aka Rambo star of the book!
Describe your writing environment. What is your favorite place to write?
This is my office space. You can see my co-writer is keen to get started! In summer, I love to write in my conservatory, where it’s light and airy.
Complete this sentence: If you like... (other author) you will love...
If you like… Jill Mansell you will love SOMEBODY TO LOVE (I’m not blowing my own trumpet, honestly. This is from an Amazon review. I’m honoured to be compared).
Thanks so much for letting me loose on your blog today, Caroline! It’s been lovely visiting with you.
Sheryl Browne brings you Fabulous, Poignant, Heart-breaking Romance. Her novel Recipes for Disaster, commissioned by Safkhet Publishing, was shortlisted for the Innovation in Romantic Fiction Award. Sheryl now has five books published under the Safkhet Soul imprint -
Recipes for Disaster - Sexilicious Romantic Comedy combined with Fab, Fun Recipes.
Somebody to Love – Sigh with contentment, scream with frustration. At times you will weep.
Warrant for Love - Three couples in a twisting story that resolves perfectly.
A Little Bit of Madness – White Knight in Blue rescues The Harbour Rest Home.
Learning to Love – Exploring the Fragility of Love, Life and Relationships.
- and has since been offered a further contract. A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Sheryl grew up in Birmingham, UK, where she studied Art & Design. She works part-time in her own business and is a mum and a foster mum to disabled dogs.
Sheryl is a Loveahappyending Lifestyle Author and Feature Editor.