Yes, I’m back at Sally Lunn’s again. I’ve not been here for some time but have re-opened this feature to talk to author Sheryl Browne.
First huge congratulations at being signed up by Choc Lit, you must be really excited. Can you tell us how that came about?
Hi Jo and thank you so much! Thanks also for inviting me to partake of tea and essential brain food: cupcakes! After a trying year, which saw my partner diagnosed with prostate cancer (I mention this, because I ended up having to apologise all over the place for my constant state of befuddlement. I should also mention that his prognosis is extremely good after early diagnosis – and that he is now very positive, agreeing to share his progress with Prostate Cancer UK in hopes of encouraging other men to seek help early), I am over the moon about being signed by Choc Lit for my upcoming novel, currently titled The Rest of My Life. This development is all the more special because Choc Lit read the book on recommendation of someone, someone who restored my faith at a time when it was seriously wavering. Excitingly, the news was announced first in … The Bookseller! Wow! Little me rubbing shoulders with Burt Reynolds and Julian Clary (form an orderly queue, guys). The link to the Bookseller feature, where you can find out who that lovely someone is, is below. I owe this man a huge debt of gratitude for picking up my book, loving it, and being prepared to say so in the right ears. Having written seriously for fifteen years – yes, FIFTEEN whole years!, mystified agents, and achieved several near misses, this really couldn’t have happened at a better time for me.
When did you first decide you wanted to become a writer?
I think that was about the time I took leave of my senses. Haw, haw! I joke, sort of. Writing has always been my passion, since way back when a kindly English teacher gave me 22/20 for an essay, bless him. However, I started writing novels (as I grandly termed them) as a catharsis, in truth. Struggling with a major life event in my twenties, I just picked up the pencil – an actual pencil then – and started pouring out my feelings. It turned out to be a real antidote, because I found humour in the recollections around that life event.
Can you tell us something about the very first novel you wrote?
You mean my bestselling debut? Um, it didn’t … sell. I think the agent who’d hailed it as such went off in search of Prozac. I’d love to tell you about it but, unfortunately, I eventually tossed it in the bin. I can tell you the title though! It was called Loose Screws! Hmm? Not so sure about that now. However, silver linings, and all that: my book, Warrant for Love – published and currently touring with Hit Lit Pro, was based on that first book. Or rather what I could remember of it, mostly a hunky policeman in a bite-the-buttons-off blue uniform. Ahem. Advice to new writers, never throw away your first manuscript. It might need work but, as your writing grows, you can fix it!
What made you decide to take a Degree in Creative Writing?
I think because I could. I was a young mum (very young and, shortly after my second son’s birth, very single, sadly). Motherhood at a young age is not something I regret but, like many women’s, my other aspirations in life tended to get put on the back burner. As I wrote though, I realised I wanted to be the best I could possibly be. That’s not to say great (I wish), just better. I wanted to stretch myself, if you like, take a look at other aspects of creative writing, including screenwriting and stageplay. Also, I was lacking in confidence, so it really was a huge step enrolling on the MA Course. I had to force myself, but I am so glad that I did.
Has it changed your approach to writing? If so in what way?
Well, it’s done my self-esteem the world of good, not just passing the MA, but mixing with other students, who simply filled me with awe and were massively supportive of each other. As part of my final project, I wrote one of my books, A Little Bit of Madness, to script for stage. The first scenes were performed at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, my leading man played by Dan Hagley from BBC Radio 4’s, The Archers. He was fabulous. I can’t thank him enough for his inspirational performance. I’m super-pleased to say the first scene has since been published in BCU’s 2014 Anthology, I am therefore I write. That exercise really made me think about superfluous narrative. Overall, the course, sharing my work, getting feedback and seeing how other hugely talented writers might tackle a subject, has opened me up to all sorts of possibilities. It’s definitely helped me to tap my inspiration.
Describe your typical day
5.45am: try to get up. 6.00am: succeed, possibly.
6.00am: social media, promo, scheduling tweets.
7.30am: make tea for the men (partner and son), because I’m very kind. Rouse dogs, feed, dogs, shower, walk dogs. I’m not always completely successful there (I foster disabled dogs. Here, we have one three-legged dog, one OAP, and one extremely short-sighted dog. Guess which one has the sight problem?).
9.00am. EAT!! Thereafter, whilst juggling the various household chores, growling at the persistently ringing telephone or callers who dare knock the door, I try to dedicate most of the day to writing and go back to social media in the evening. I must admit I get a bit tired sometimes. If I go quiet, it’s because I’ve fallen off my chair. Blogs and posts I leave until the weekend, unless they are urgent.
What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
For charity. Need I say more?
If you were able to invite four guests for dinner who would they be and why would you invite them?
George, Ben and John. I’m taking it you don’t further explanations here either? Then I think I would maybe have Kathy Lette, Australian born uber-talented author, famous for such hilarious books as Foetal Attraction and Mad Cows, or possibly Ruby Wax or Dawn French to shake the guys up a bit.
Sheryl thank you so much for sparing the time to come and chat today It’s been lovely having you here at Sally Lunn’s and good luck with the new novel The Rest of My Life due to be published soon..
Thank you to all those lovely readers, bloggers and author friends who have supported me. I would have been lost without you. Thanks, too, to my little muse, Snoops!
Heartache, humour, love, loss & betrayal – and a little Ohhhh la la! Sheryl Browne brings you edgy, sexy, poignant fiction. A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and shortlisted for Innovation in Romantic Fiction, Sheryl has six books published with Safkhet Publishing and has now been signed with Award winning Choc Lit Publishing.
Where heroes are like chocolate – irresistible!
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.
The Edge of Sanity – How far would YOU go to protect your family?
COMING SOON from Choc Lit
The Rest of My Life – Two damaged hearts, a sizzling sexual connection. Can love find a way to bring Adam and Sienna together?
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