It’s my pleasure to welcome Cheryl St. John to my blog! She’s going to answer a few questions for us today.
How much of yourself do you write into your characters?
I’m sure my Christian worldview is apparent in my stories. In fact, I wrote in the ABA for years before publishing with Love Inspired Historicals, and I have always received letters from readers who say they know I’m a Christian by the stories and characters I create.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
As a child I wrote stories, drew the covers and stapled them into little books. I was first published in Jack and Jill Magazine at age 11. It was a drawing of a leprechaun. I wrote my first full-length manuscript at age fourteen. I probably still have it somewhere.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I’ve read since childhood. The school library was an awesome place, and I mourned for it over the summer. Later, I cut my adult teeth on horror, true crime and westerns. I used to read Stephen King’s The Stand once a summer. Someone loaned me a few Catherine Cookson novels, which I enjoyed—and often I camped out at my local library. I introduced my kids to the summer reading programs, and it’s still a tradition with my grandkids.
And then one fateful day I picked up LaVyrle’s Spencer’s Hummingbird in my local store, and with the discovery of Americana romance my life changed. I fell even more in love with words, with books, with storytelling, and I wanted to tell stories of my own making. I love to read true accounts of American heroes, westerns, contemporaries—and I squeeze in a thriller here and there. I also enjoy books on Victorian homes and decorating.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I’m a pretty laid back person, actually. I keep my writing time, my family time and worship time sacred. There was a day when I didn‘t know how to say no, but I learned to be more healthy with my commitments. I keep a weekly planner and schedule deadlines according to pages I need to complete each week to reach my goals.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I have a dozen name books, as well as lists I’ve created from watching movie credits and making notes at graduations, etc.. I can’t move forward on a story unless I have my character’s name—and I know it’s the perfect one. Sometimes in the planning stages, while I’m creating my characters grids, I change a name several times until it’s perfect. The name, as well as the working title, must be in place before I can write.
Snowflakes and Stetsons Anthology
“A Magical Gift at Christmas”
Harlequin Historicals, October 2011
Bound by duty, snared by love
Three days before Christmas, U.S. Marshal Jonah Cavanaugh is guarding a payroll when he spots a notorious train robber. His best option is to uncouple the mail car and take his chances stranded in the snowstorm. Unfortunately a luxury Pullman must be released as well, and as Jonah prepares to bury the gold before the outlaws discover it’s missing…
Meredith Abbot, the railroad heiress, steps out in her pale fox coat. Snow is falling. They’re stranded in the mountains. It seems the situation can’t get more complicated. Until….
Two young stowaways are discovered
The blizzard continues to rage
Jonah and Meredith spend a night in each others’ arms
And once the weather clears…
The outlaw gang surrounds them
Their Christmas adventure has only just begun!
Buy Cheryl’s book here.