Today I’m delighted to be sharing an interview I recently did with Sheryl Browne, author of The Rest of My Life.
Thank you so much for featuring me on your lovely blog, Hayley.
Please tell my readers a bit about yourself.
I’d love to! I live in Droitwich, England with my family. I’m a mum, a foster mum to disabled dogs and I’m super-pleased to have completed my Masters Degree in Creative Writing at Birmingham City University. I’m a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Crime Writers’ Association and I was shortlisted for Innovation in Romantic Fiction by the Festival of Romance in 2012 and also the Lovestories Awards in 2015.
I have several novels previously published with a small Independent. The Rest of My Life, recommended by WH Smith Travel, is published with award winning Choc Lit.
How did you first come to be a writer?
I think I first started writing about the time I took leave of my senses. Seriously, writing has always been my passion, but I started writing actual books as a catharsis, in truth. As a single parent and nursing my mum through early onset Alzheimer’s Disease in my twenties, I needed an outlet. I’m the arty sort by nature but painting not being an option due to time constraints, I started scribbling my thoughts down. It turned out to be a real antidote, because I found I was reflecting on the humour and love in what would otherwise have been a sad situation. My bestselling debut, however… Um, well, it didn’t sell. I think the agent who’d hailed it as such went off in search of Prozac.
What is your book about?
The Rest of My Life is fundamentally a story about letting go, realising that the past can destroy the present and the future, if you let it. At the core is a deeply flawed man, a womaniser, who simply doesn’t like himself and challenges anyone else to. He needs to make peace with his past in order to move on with his life.
The question both Adam and the heroine, Sienna, have to ask themselves is: When is it time to stop running? The video I think sums it up nicely: https://youtu.be/7p319itbVKg
Where do you get your inspiration from?
People inspire me. We all have a story to tell, conflicts to deal with, ghosts past that might haunt us. Adam simply appeared one day. I’m a keen boater and often pass neglected boats. I can’t help but wonder at their story. Suddenly, in my mind’s eye, there was Adam, fully formed, his mannerisms, his clothes – or lack of. A man living an apparently carefree, bachelor existence on a dilapidated boat. A shallow man at first glance. There was something more though, it was there in his eyes, the challenge to like him: a self-confessed womaniser seemingly hell bent on a road to destruction. I knew he didn’t like himself and wanted to know why. Having experience of caring for someone suffering a depressive illness, I couldn’t help thinking that that might be part of his story.
What is your writing routine?
My rituals are, coffee, emails, social media, tea & energy food, write, write, write, social media, energy food … Repeat. I do fit walking my odd dogs in there somewhere (to work off the energy food!). I write at a Georgian bureau tucked away in the dining room. It’s in serious need of renovation, but I simply can’t bear to. Every ink stain and chip has a story behind it. Annoyingly, those lightbulb ideas always come at awkward shower moments or in the wee hours though. Thus the many Post-it notes adorning its surface.
What has your journey to publication been like?
Not one to give up easily, even having reduced an agent to despair, I took inspiration from having got that far and just kept at it, making sure to use every snippet of constructive criticism positively. I read voraciously – in the words of Stephen King: “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write” – and made sure to get my work edited. I find a text to speech reader is really useful (you can enable this in later versions of MS Office. There’s an excellent ‘how to’ video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyP89pQWaBU ). Hearing your work read back really does help you spot superfluous narrative, clunky dialogue and those pesky typos.
What are you reading at the moment?
I’ve just read ‘What Doesn’t Kill You’ by Laura E James, the first book to be published under Choc Lit’s ‘Dark Choc Lit’ imprint. As the imprint suggests, the book does deal with some darker issues, but it’s written with huge sensitivity. The romance aspect is strong and you really want it to work out for the hero and heroine, though with a huge moral dilemma forcing them apart you wonder whether it can. I loved it.
If you were to be stranded on a desert island and could choose just one author’s books to read, who would you pick and why?
John Donoghue, without a doubt. My first book by this author was Police, Crime & 999 – The True Story of a Front Line Officer. At the time, I badly needed something uplifting after my partner’s cancer diagnosis and his undergoing various surgeries (he’s doing really well, by the way). You can probably guess then that the author had his work cut out. He succeeded! I laughed until I cried. His other books are equally hilarious.
Is there a question that you wish an interviewer would ask that you’ve never been asked? What’s your answer to that question?
Q: Happiness is?
A: Being true to yourself.
How can people connect with you on social media?
You can find me on any of the links below. I’d love to hear from you so do feel free to contact me. Thanks so much again for featuring me, Hayley. I really could not do this without fabulous readers and bookbloggers, who have cheered me all the way.
About the Author
Heartache, humour, love, loss & betrayal, Sheryl Browne brings you edgy, sexy, poignant fiction. A member of the Crime Writers’ Association, Romantic Novelists’ Association and shortlisted for the Best Romantic e-book Love Stories Award 2015, Sheryl has several books published and two short stories in Birmingham City University anthologies
Sheryl’s new contemporary romance novel was recommended to the publisher by the WH Smith Travel fiction buyer. THE REST OF MY LIFE comes to you from award winning Choc Lit and is available in WHSmith Travel in April (on Amazon print pre-order now).
Sheryl’s latest thriller SINS OF THE FATHERS is coming soon!
About the Book
“You can’t run away from commitment forever …”
Adam Hamilton-Shaw has more reason than most to avoid commitment. Living on a houseboat in the Severn Valley, his dream is to sail into the sunset – preferably with a woman waiting in every port. But lately, his life looks more like a road to destruction than an idyllic boat ride…
Would-be screenplay writer Sienna Meadows realises that everything about Adam spells trouble – but she can’t ignore the feeling that there is more to him than just his bad reputation. Nor can she ignore the intense physical attraction that exists between them.
And it just so happens that Adam sees Sienna as the kind of woman he could commit to. But can he change his damaging behaviour – or is the road to destruction a one-way street?
The Rest of My Life has this week been nominated for the illustrious #RONEAwards in the Contemporary Steamy category! Voting is open now so if you’d like to show your support for Sheryl, please go to the Rone Awards page and vote for The Rest of My Life. Voting is open until 8 May so don’t wait too long to vote!