Meet Cheryl St.John - Historical Romance Author

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Cheryl's tagline says it all:


Real people. Real Emotion.
Cheryl St.John delivers every time.

She certainly does make good on those words--real people and real emotion, and a great story. I have a couple of chapters left before I'm finished reading The Preachers Wife, but I want the story to go on! I'm doing my best to 'read between the lines' for the hint of a sequel (hint, hint Cheryl!)

.C

So, do you all gather that I highly recommend adding The Preacher's Wife to your list of summer reads?


I do!



The main character, Josie, is a real woman. Easy to identify with. And she struggles with her situation, but in a way that honors God.


Her heart dreams of love, but she keeps herself from floating too far from reality. Her story is a wonderful journey to that dreams she longs for, and I really appreciate the way Cheryl handled the story for Josie and the hero, Sam.



And Sam's children.


Very adorable. They have a world of dreams that have dimmed with the recent loss of their mother while traveling by wagon from the east coast to Colorado. If you're looking for a gentle romance with a historical frontier flavor, I hope you'll enjoy this book as I have.

More about Cheryl:




Cheryl is the author of more than thirty Harlequin and Silhouette books. Her first book, RAIN SHADOW was nominated for RWA’s RITA for Best First Book, by Romantic Times for Best Western Historical, and by Affaire de Coeur readers as Best American Historical Romance and since then her stories continue to recieve high acclaim from readers and reviewers. In describing her stories of second chances and redemption, readers and reviewers use words like, “emotional punch, hometown feel, core values, believable characters and real life situations.”




She's a student of RHEMA Bible School: www.rhema.org, studying Dynamics of Faith, Life of Prayer, Bible Interpretation and Christology. Upon completion, she will be a certified minister, though her reasons for the studies are for personal growth and to aid her ministry. She is the worship leader for the fastest growing faith church in Omaha, NE.


Her gift as an exhorter makes her a sought-after motivational speaker at conferences,

retreats and luncheons. She’s an active member of RWA and her local chapter.

Okay everyone, grab your favorite beverage and cozy up close for our chat with Cheryl.


I’m really enjoying reading The Preacher’s Wife. How did this story first come to you?



Several years ago I began thinking of a series, where I would tell the stories of sisters. Then I backed it up and decided to write their father’s story first, and that’s where Sam came in. I developed Josie, not only for him, but also as a mother to the three daughters. So now you know you’ll be seeing stories about Elisabeth, Abigail and Anna. [Tina's response: YES!]



Tell us a little bit about the research you did for The Preacher’s Wife? Where did you go to get your information, to make it ‘real’ for your readers.


It’s a always a challenge to get travel time correct, so planning a trip across the country takes quite a bit of forethought. I’ve never done a wagon train story, and this one ended up not including any of the backstory about the wagon train, either. I’m a Nebraska girl, and I often like to get a little of my home state in there, so the Harts meet Josie in Nebraska before moving on to Colorado.


I’m a nut for Victorian homes. The house Josie buys to surprise Sam is taken from a real Colorado home that has been restored and painted to its original glory—pink! I’ve never shared this behind the scenes detail with anyone before – and I’m scanning the photo from my book so I can share it with you now.



That's incredible. I love that. Thank you for sharing this picture!


You did such a great job on giving the Sam’s girls their ‘own voices’. Do you have real-life models around inspiring you?




I had four kids of my own, and each of them has children, so I have
young people of varying ages around all the time. I adore spending time with my grandkids, and the things they say just crack me up. Many many times I’ve used the things they say and their manners of speech for the children in my stories. I’m a treasure trove of kid's vocabulary.

One of my favorites: I’ve always attended as many school events and programs as possible, and with nine of them, it keeps me hopping. A few years ago, we were at a Christmas program, and the elementary orchestra was playing. My grandson, Eric, about three at the time and sitting on his mom’s lap, clapped his hands over his ears and said loud enough for at least six rows of people to hear, “I don’t want to hear that any again!” You know how those things have a way of becoming common dialogue in a family after that.

LOL! That's so cute!


You give online writers workshops. What do you have coming up on your schedule that writers and aspiring writers still have time to sign up for? And, how often do you offer online courses?


I am teaching an online class each month, thanks for asking! Here’s the address sign up: http://cheryl-stjohn-workshop.blogspot.com/ - It’s not too late for this month. And here’s the schedule:



June 2009 - ONCE MORE WITH FEELING – INJECTING EMOTION

July 2009 - KEEPING UP YOUR SPIRITS AFTER REJECTION

August 2009 - CONFLICT MAKES THE STORY

September 2009 - CREATING A REAL FICTIONAL WORLD

October 2009 - SETTING IS MORE THAN A BACKDROP

November 2009 - CREATING UNFORGETTABLE CHARACTERS

NO DECEMBER CLASS

January 2010 - GETTING RID OF THE JUNK THAT HOLDS YOU BACK

February 2010 - GETTING THE MUDDLE OUT OF YOUR MIDDLE

March 2010 - ONCE MORE WITH FEELING – INJECTING EMOTION

April 2010 - KEEPING UP YOUR SPIRITS AFTER REJECTION

May 2010
- CONFLICT MAKES THE STORY




What’s something you’ve always dreamed of doing or learning to do?



I’m an amateur photographer, and I’d love to have the time an opportunity to take some classes, buy a really good camera and take photos.
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I love the Collector’s Tips page on your website. When did you start collecting? And, if you could only collect one thing, what would that be?



I’ve had the obsession my entire life. I collected tiny items from gumball machines when I was a kid – and they had cool stuff like Disney characters and plastic charms we would sew onto hats – I still many of them, and they’re displayed in a printer’s drawer I refinished and my husband made a glass cover for.


If I could only collect one thing – do you want to make my eye twitch?? One thing…what a terrible decision. Dishes maybe. I love dishes and china and ironstone.


Now it's time for Cheryl to turn a question to our readers:



What is your favorite book of all time, and where is it right now?
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So there you have it folks. Cheryl, thank you so much for spending time with us. We know your schedule is busy and we've had fun with you!



Okay ladies and gents, if you'd like to win a copy of The Preacher's Wife, just post your answer to Cheryl's question in the comment section below. Bonus: If you let us know what your favorite Collector's Tips are from Cheryl's website page, you'll earn an extra entry into the contest--two chances to win!





By the way...


If you want a bit of fun, stop by Cheryl's website: http://www.cherylstjohn.net/





On her website you'll find a great Recipes page. They all look marvelous. So, I suggest you visit that page, whip up one of those tasty delights and invite me over!


There's another link I want you to know about on her site. Did you know Cheryl gives online workshops on writing? So many readers out there wish they could write, but are afraid to because they believe they can't. Yes, you can! Check out her class schedule and get yourself signed up!


You can also find Cheryl's blog through her sight, but did you know she's a contributing blogger for Petticoats & Pistols? She's a busy lady and that's a wonderful site, check it out when you get a chance. She's also got a wonderful blog post my other blog BustlesAndSpurs.com.

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Thanks for stopping in. Please visit Cheryl on her blog at: http://cherylstjohn.blogspot.com/
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The Book:
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The Preacher's Wife
Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical
June 2009




There was nothing remotely romantic about widowed father Samuel Hart's marriage proposal. Yet Josie Randolph said yes. The Lord had finally blessed the lonely widow with the family she'd always dreamed of. And she was deeply in love with the handsome preacher, whose high ideals inspired everyone. Surely during their long journey across the western plains to his new post her husband would grow to love her.



Each mile brought them closer to home, yet drove them further apart. Samuel didn't seem ready to open his heart again. But Josie was determined to be not just the preacher's wife, but Samuel's wife.

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18 comments:

Eva S said...

Hi Cheryl,
thanks for the interview! I love historicals and I'm always looking for new, interesting books! I'll add The Preacher's Wife to my wishlist.

My favorite book of all time is Once and Always by Judith McNaught and it's on my keeper shelf.
I loved your Collector's Tips, especially China Cabinets, and I'm going back to your site....

Victoria Bylin said...

Hi Cheryl! I loved the story about Eric not wanting "to hear any again!" Adorable! Your characters all ring true, especially kids. Now we know why!

That's a beautiful Victorian in Colorado. I don't think I've ever seen one painted pink. It's fabulous! And last, I'm thrilled to know you're doing more books for LIH. Can't wait to read them!

CherylStJohn said...

Tina, this looks so NICE! Thanks for having me as your guest today. The tea is delicious, and these Enflish tea cakes, well, they're just divine.

Abi said...

Oh, thanks for the interview. I love Love inspired books.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Emma said...

Hi Cheryl Great interview.Your book called The Preacher's Wife
sounded wonderful. The excerpt was very good.I like reading all of the Love inspired books.
Have a good week.

Carly Kendall said...

This sounds like a great book and I really enjoyed the interview. This is my first time visiting this blog and I really like it. Thank you.

Mary Connealy said...

Hi, Cheryl. Great interview.

Good job, Tina, wringing the truth out of Cheryl, she's tricky. :)

My favorite book of all time is To Kill a Mockingbird. I just heard something I thought was wildly interesting about it.

Harper Lee wrote the story for a magazine or something, of Scout and Jem trying to get Boo Radley to come out. An editor saw it and wanted to publish it but it was too short.

Soooooo the editor pretty much held her hand for THREE YEARS, including having her stay with his family over summer vacations, to get the rest of the book written.

Cheryl, your editor does that, right?

And if you think about that book, the Boo story and the trail, they really are sort of separate. I think that's why it's such a great book because it's sweet and funny, but also a powerful tale of bigotry. It's both because it's TWO DIFFERENT STORIES.

My second most favorite book is, "A Lantern in her Hand" by Bess Streeter Aldrich. I'd love for someone to say they've read it too and tell me if it affects you the way it affects me. Absolutely stunning emotional experience.

I think I'm a sucker for self-sacrifice, though, and Abby Deal in that book, lives a life of generosity and love and sacrifice and the whole time we ache for her, we also see that her life has been wonderful, a good life. She never pursued her dreams of music and art and writing. But each of her children did and in the end her self-sacrifice and life as a loving wife and mother was the finest life she could have hoped to live. Beautiful story.

A J Hawke said...

Good interview with good questions, Tina.
I could hear you and Cheryl talking.
The Preacher’s Wife is one I want to read now.

My favorite book keeps changing. When I was a child one of my favorite was The Harvester
by Gene Stratton Porter. My mother had a copy of it for it was one of her favorites.
Another book I enjoyed and have read even as an adult was The Moccasin Trail by Eloise
McGraw.

I could name several books as favorites depending on the time in my life.

A J
ajhawke at ajhawke dot com

Pam Hillman said...

Hmmmm, hard question. In fiction, I'll have to go with Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. Running a close second, Always to Remember by Lorraine Heath, and...

But...ahem...The Preacher's Wife just might usurp those two in the near future!

phillman(at)netdoor(dot)com

James, Stephanie & Kayley said...

Hi there! I enjoyed reading this interview!
My favorite book of all time is always changing, so I guess it is not an all-time favorite. If I had to pick a book I love it would have to be Shepherd of the Hills by Harold Bell Wright. I actually have 3 copies with 3 different covers just because I liked the book so much.
Maybe it is part of the collector in me, as it says on the Collectors Tip page that you should display in 3's. =)
Also, from the Collectors Tip page, I set up an extra bookcase in the bedroom for all of my paperbacks since they did look pretty junky on our main bookcases... Once I moved them...I had all of this space that I had to buy a whole bunch more to keep that shelf full. haha!
My husband hates it...but at least it keeps our bookcases looking tidy.

thanks!
Stephanie
fannyloo@msn.com

Maureen said...

My favorite book of all time has to be Anne of Green Gables. I don't have my original copy since that went to my sister but I have my daughter's copy. I like the tip:
Use balance but don't be predictable. mce1011[at]aol[dot]com

CherylStJohn said...

Eva - thanks for visiting my site! I have done a lot of workshops, and once class I've given for a ladies church group is similar to that article on collecting, with lots of pictures and examples.

Vicki, you are such a sweet friend to check out my blog tour so faithfully! SMOOCHES!

Hi Abi and Emma - thanks for stopping by!

CherylStJohn said...

Hi Carly!

Mary, I have indeed read A Lantern in Her Hand, and now I am going to pull it off my shelf and look at it again.

I did have a amotice for asking this question. My online class this month is on putting emotion into stories. It's my philosophy that books become our favorites because of the way they make us FEEL. Same as people- what we remember about people is how they made us feel.

I can see in the books mentioned that emotions had everything to do with keepers.

AJ, I have several favorites, too.

CherylStJohn said...

Pam, Redeeming Love is one of my all time favaorite books too! And I love the original version - shameless me - before the inspirational publisher edited it. My daughter is re-reading it right now, as a matter of fact. It's a wonderful story.

Stephanie, I do have one exception to the paperback rule - I have one plus shelves in my living room that contain all the foreign editions of my own books. How could I not? And out of an entire wall of bookcases, that's not so bad. That's my story, and I'm sticking with it.

CherylStJohn said...

Maureen, I adore Anne of Greene Gables. Another perfect example of drawing out emotion - Anne is guileless and wears her heart on her sleeve. Her dialogue makes me cry, beccause she's so optimistic in the face of angsty situations.

Martha Lawson said...

Hi Cheryl,

Loved the interview! I think you are already a great photographer!! I love the pics you post on the blog. They are fantastic. Keep em coming.

joyfuliving said...

hey tina...thanks for stopping by! i really look forward to delving into your blog and your works! i always love a good writer! :)

blessings!

beth @ joyfuliving{dot}blogspot{dot}com

Patty said...

My favorite book is The Winds of Sonoma by Nikki Arana. I would love to read The Preacher's Wife. It sounds like a wonderful book.

pleblanc_1[at]charter[dot] net