Saturday, January 26, 2008

Author Cheryl Wyatt & A Soldier's Promise

"My name's Bradley. I'm eight and have cancer. I want to meet a Special Forces soldier more than anything. Well, almost anything. Having a family would be nice."

U.S. Air Force pararescue jumper Joel Montgomery promised to make a sick child's wish come true. Well, not the family part—not with Joel's past. And so despite vowing never to set foot back in Refuge, Illinois, Joel parachuted onto the boy's school lawn to a huge smile. But another smile unexpectedly stole Joel's heart: that of Bradley's beautiful teacher, Amber Stanton, who was trying to adopt the boy. And trying to show Joel it was time for new vows.

AUTHOR BIO: Cheryl Wyatt's closest friends would never dream the mayhem she plots during announcements at church. An RN-turned-SAHM, joyful chaos rules her home and she delights in the stealth moments God gives her to write. She stays active in her church and in her laundry room. She's convinced that having been born on a Naval base on Valentine's Day destined her to write military romance.

Prior to publication, Cheryl took courses through Christian Writers Guild. An active member of RWA, FHL and ACFW, she won numerous awards with multiple manuscripts. Visit her on the Web at Sign up for her newsletter for news and chances to enter contests with great prizes. Hang with her on the web at You can also find her skittering around Steeple Hill's message boards as "Squirl" at

It is my privilege today to be a stop along the way in Cheryl Wyatt's blog tour. Her debut novel "A Soldier's Promise" hit the shelves the beginning of January 2008. It is the first book in her Wings of Refuge series. To see my review of the book, click here.

As a special treat, Cheryl agreed to answer a few questions regarding her book, her life and being a writer. Anyone who comments on today's post will be entered into a draw to win a FREE copy of A Soldier's Promise. The contest will run for one week and I'll email the winner to get their mailing address, so please leave a working email address.

How do you take your coffee?

Um, I actually take a little bit of coffee with my cream. LOL! I like it creamy to the point it is light tan in color and two tsp of sugar.

If you could choose one dessert to enjoy with your coffee, what would it be?

PECAN SPINWHEELS bay-bee! Of course, if there's still coffee to dip after that...break out the Krispy Kremes with chocolate icing. LOL!

Now that that’s out of the way, on the topic of writing, when did you know you wanted to be a writer? Was there a specific moment or event where you realized this was what God had called you to do?

I've wanted to write since I could hold a crayon. But it wasn't until I ended up on bedrest with preterm labor and a high-risk pregnancy that I started to write romance fiction. I'd scribbled stuff in notebooks prior but not until I was grounded did it launch fully. At the time, I just thought maybe God was granting me the stories in order to combat fear of losing the baby. That or to keep me from suffering death-by-boredom. LOL!

Tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind the story, A Soldier’s Promise. What are the themes within the story you would like readers to grasp? Are there any themes which developed as the story went along that were a surprise to you?

The theme in A Soldier's Promise was sparked by an understanding of how, when we make self-imposed vows, that can sometimes cause us to go in an opposite direction than God intends, and, if we don't let Him break those vows, we could miss out on blessings He has for us.

What I didn't realize until the book was in line edit stage was that I'd somehow, not even consciously, embedded profound remembrance of times God has made promises to me. I want others to realize God keeps His promises. Whatever I'm facing in life, a hard season, or a joyous one, I always ask God for a promise. I was thrilled when I learned that marketing picked up on the promise theme and retitled my book A Soldier's Promise. Much better title than what I'd come up with. LOL!

I would like readers to grasp that in any given situation, God will often give us promises. Promises that we can cling to and trust, even when they look completely opposite of our circumstances. I would also love if they knew that God doesn't mind reminding us of things He's told us...promises He's made.

The promise theme really surprised me because I really couldn't pinpoint what it was until they gave me that title idea. I didn't set out to make that be a central theme, but that's probably the main takeaway value of the book.

How do you come up with your characters and their names?

I get names in different ways. I have lists of first and last names that I'm always adding to. Then I switch up the names, meaning I always try to make sure I don't use the name of someone I know or that I've met before. I like at least one character to have a unique, meaningful name. I've gotten name ideas from the obits, from waitresses' name tags, baby name books, even from my spam folder. LOL! Where ever I see an unusual name, I jot it down.

How much planning and mapping out of a story do you do? Do you prefer to write and see where the story and its characters take you, or do you plan out each chapter and write with a strict guideline?

I plan out my characters in great depth. I know everything about them inside and out. Everything about their pasts even. I know things that my readers will never need to know. Things that help me keep them consistent through the book. I like to have an idea of my major disasters and a loose scene index before I begin. I'm not strict as I'm sort of in between a plotter and a panster. I've tried to be strict but my characters never obey the plots I set out before them anyway, so it's useless for me to try. I really love to retaliate by ramping their conflict and constantly upping tension. LOL!

How much time do you spend on research for each book?

I spend way more time on research than I ever use for the book. Suffice it to say, I usually research a series for years before I write it. And I go to extreme measures to research. I wanted to sign up for a tandem skydiving jump in fact, so I could write from personal experience since these PJs are basically Special Forces skydiving paramedics and rescuers. But I found out I was pregnant and couldn't. LOL! I did travel to a different continent to research my SEAL series, which I hope to start contracting after we run through the PJ series.

What does “A Day in the Life of Cheryl Wyatt” typically look like?

Carry out Assault and Battery of the alarm clock first thing in the morning because I am NOT a morning person. Having worked midnights for nearly 20 years, I have the hardest time waking up before eight. I hate it. But I have a brigade of human alarm clocks in the house. My body wakes up at six am. I stagger in the kitchen at six thirty after exercising and praying. Then my brain wakes up at seven while I fix breakfast. Get alarm clocks off to school, then start writing by nine. Write until two then get ready for the after-school invasion. "Write" entails checking e-mails, doing research, answering reader letters, etc. When I'm pouring out the rough draft though, I write at night when everyone is asleep because I really am more productive at night. If my husband is gracious enough to take the troop to school, as he often is...then I stay up late, until about midnight to two, and wake up an hour or two around eight, get up at nine. That is my most productive schedule. I'm toast if I don't enough sleep and very strange things come out of my keyboard when I'm sleep deprived. LOL!

What is the one promise or scripture that keeps you going when faced with discouragement or challenges?

It is hard to think of just one scripture, because often when He gives me a promise about a circumstance, part of it involves a passage from His written word.

The one main promise that keeps me going is that I know He promised that my entire family would be saved. I know most of the time when God makes me a promise, it doesn't come to pass for about 2-15 years. It's been twenty years since God has made me the promise but I believe no matter how long it takes. If he has to spare their lives until they live to be 120 years old, they won't die without knowing Him. That is the most precious and profound thing in my life, and in light of that, nothing else matters. Who couldn't run hard after a God like that? He is the kindest person I know.

Thank you, Cheryl, for the interview. Remember, the contest to win a FREE copy of Cheryl Wyatt's book will run until next Saturday.


Pamela J said...

I like the "promise" theme. We can always count on God's promise to us. It isn't so with a person, not even with myself. I have to be willing to change what I said to myself especially if God shows me a better way. The verse that comes to mind is something about our ways not being God's ways. Please don't enter me in the drawing, I have a book of my own. Thanks for taking the time for the interview and sharing with all of us. Great book, Cheryl. I'm watching for the second one to be out in March.

sing4joy said...

I enjoyed just reading her interview! I bet the book will be even better, lol. So, let me get this straight - Mysterious man in uniform, romance, sick kid gets saved from a terrible life, and life lessons from God? Uh, yeah - sign me up for that drawing!

Sing4joy said...

Hey Shauna - I came across this random blog (I think he's speaking in spanish about having coffee with his friend) and there is a fun coffee picture on there....made me think of you!

Barefoot Sarah said...

Hey Shauna, great post! This sounds like a very touching novel. How did you get picked to do this interview?

Emma said...

Great interview. Cheryl Wyatt book called A Soldier's Promise sound wonderful.

Celine said...

Sounds like a great book Shauna. I will definantly have to borrow it sometime, knowing you will have a copy.

Becky said...

That sounds like a terrific book, and Cheryl sounds like a lot of fun! How fun that you got to interview her!

Shauna said...

S4J - It is a great novel! And thanks for that picture. It made me salivate and shout, "I wanna do that!" I'd love to be able to create those cool designs. :-)

Sarah - I volunteered. FAST! As soon as I knew she was looking for people to help with her blog tour, I jumped at the chance!

Emma - Thanks for stopping by. It's a great book and I'll post the winner here next Saturday.

Celine - I'll enter you in the draw and who knows? And you can always borrow mine.

Becky - It was such an honour to be able to do this. Cherl is a wonderful inspiration and I love her blog. She's got such great wit and an amazing faith.

Barb said...

She worked midnights for 20 years?? She looks like she's 20!!! Another babe-author! Sounds like a great book too!

windycindy said...

Hello! I have been following Cheryl's interviews. I learn something new every time! Please enter me in her book giveaway drawing. Thanks very much! Cindi

Judy said...

Wonderful interview! I would love to read Cheryl's book.

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Thanks everyone for your kind words and for your interest in my book!

Shauna is a faithful reader of my blog and has been one of my top, most encouraging supporters. So I was honored that she wanted to feature me and my debut novel on her fabulous blog. I count it an honor to be here and a blessing to "meet" some of Shauna's friends.

Thanks, everyone, for your help in stirring up buzz about my book. It REALLY does make a huge difference.

I deeply appreciate each of you.


Cheryl Wyatt