Romance author Cheryl Douglas is here today to talk a bit about the first book in her Nashville Nights series, Shameless.
Cheryl will be awarding: two (2) $20 Amazon gift cards to randomly drawn commenters during the tour. Also, Cheryl will be awarding ten (10) trading card/cover flat packs to randomly drawn commenters during the tour (US/Canada), ten (10) digital books from the Nashville Nights series (winner's choice) to randomly drawn commenters during the tour and two (2) Swarovski crystal necklaces to randomly drawn commenters during the tour (US/Canada).
If you want more chances to win, follow the tour and comment at other stops. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. Remember to leave an e-mail address so you can be contacted!
Bio:Cheryl began her professional career as a nutritionist, but her love of books started at an early age. She studied writing for many years before she decided to pursue her passion as a full-time career. After receiving constructive criticism from several well-known authors, Cheryl finally had the confidence to write her first romance novel.
The first book in the Nashville Nights series, Shameless, was a book that had been dwelling in Cheryl’s subconscious for years. For her, the surprise came when the manuscript began taking on a life of it’s own. Characters came to life, secondary characters became more prominent, outlines were forgotten, and a single title evolved into an eight book series, and another eight book spin-off series entitled Nashville Nights, Next Generation.
One word would aptly describe Cheryl: workaholic. She lives and breathes her writing, when she’s sleeping, watching TV, driving, reading… it’s always in the periphery of her mind. Her imagination rarely takes a holiday, even when she escapes to a sandy beach with her husband and son, she’s planning, plotting, outlining, and daydreaming.
Cheryl feels blessed to be able to get up every day and do something she loves. The thousands of fans who have embraced the Nashville Nights have made that possible. She writes for the readers who ask for more, she writes to satisfy the muse residing inside of her, but most of all, she writes because she couldn’t imagine doing anything else with her life. It took her thirty-seven years to decide what she wanted to be when she grew up, but now that she knows, she’s convinced she’s found her purpose.
Welcome, Cheryl. Please tell us about your current release.
I’m currently working on book three in the Nashville Nights Next Generation series, Game On. The Nashville Nights series includes eight books in the first series, and the spin-off series, Nashville Nights Next Generation consists of eight books and a special edition holiday novella.
What inspired you to write this book?
The series started with Shameless, and it was my love of country music that inspired this book. It’s about country music superstar, Trey Turner, who’s at a low-point in his life. He knows he can’t continue down the self-destructive path he’s been on since his divorce. He’s a broken man, trying to find redemption as he comes to terms with his tragic past and the people he’s hurt along the way.
Excerpt: Chapter One:
Trey Turner tipped the plastic bottle and watched the little white pills scatter across the desktop. One would take the edge off; twenty would end it all. He considered his options. He wasn’t ready to give up; he couldn’t do that to his family.
He put one of the pills on his tongue and swallowed it with a mouthful of scotch as the phone rang. He knew it was the morning radio show calling to interview him. His manager, Luc Spencer, had arranged it and, despite his protests, Luc insisted it was necessary. The public was demanding answers; it was time to end the speculation.
He checked the call display and pushed the button to activate the call. “Hello.”
“Trey, Johnny Madson, KX790 in Nashville. How the hell are ya this mornin’, buddy?”
Trey rubbed his eyes, willing the pill to take effect. “I’m good.”
“We’re going live in three minutes. Stand by.”
Trey endured the longest three minutes of his life as he waited for the radio host to return. He glanced at the list of questions and answers his publicist, Avery, had provided. He’d been doing this long enough to know they always surprised you with questions they knew were off-limits. He hoped he was sharp enough to dodge the bullets this morning.
“Trey, we’re live. Our listeners are anxious to hear about what’s been happening with the king of country music. Where’ve you been, man?”
“I’ve been in the studio working on the next album.”
“That’s what we like to hear. Tell me, when do you plan to release it?”
“By early next year, I hope.”
“Can we assume you’re planning a world tour to promote the new album?”
In his current state of mind, just the thought of a tour was overwhelming, but he owed it to his fans and his label. “That’s the plan, Johnny.”
“Good stuff. I know your fans are looking forward to that. We get calls and emails about you every day. People want to know what you’ve been up to. They’re dying to know when the new album’s coming out.” He laughed. “The pressure’s on, man.”
“Yeah, I know. I plan to deliver the goods.” If only he could figure out how to break through the mother of all creative blocks and write a song he wouldn’t be embarrassed to attach his name to.
“So why did you decide to sign with a new record label, Trey?”
Because my old label was putting pressure on me to get off my ass and produce a record, he thought, considering the fall-out if he came clean. He was tempted to tell the truth and accept the ramifications. He was so tired of living a lie, pretending to be the man, the musician, everyone expected him to be. “There was just a difference of opinion with the old label. No hard feelings.”
“Are you expecting this album to go platinum like all the others?”
Platinum, hell he would be satisfied if it didn’t end his career. “We’ll see what happens, Johnny. It’s up to the public to decide.”
“So, you’ve been spotted around town with some of the most beautiful women in Nashville. Is there anyone special in your life right now?”
He clenched his jaw in frustration. He had come to expect this question, but he still resented it. “No, not really.” Megan would take offense, but he didn’t care.
“You are one of the most eligible bachelors in the world. Think you’ll ever marry again?”
“No.” The only woman he wanted to call his wife was determined to forget he was alive. He’d had his one chance at forever and he blew it. He sure as hell didn’t deserve another one.
“Can you tell us about the car wreck you were involved in last year, Trey? We understand a woman and young child were killed. Your Hummer and their mini-van were hit by the driver of a tractor trailer who fell asleep at the wheel, right? Rumour has it you were lucky to escape with your life. That would have been a hell of a loss for country music, man.”
Trey wanted to tell him the loss of life that occurred was much more valuable than his, but he kept his mouth shut. He could imagine the headlines: Country Superstar Trey Turner Wishes He Had Been the One to Die in Fatal Crash.
“I’d rather not discuss that, Johnny.”
“Sure, I understand. We’ve all heard you’ve fallen off the wagon after three years of sobriety. Is that true, Trey?”
He glanced at the highball of scotch to his right. “I’d rather not get into it.” Which he knew was akin to admitting guilt. His manager and publicist would go ballistic, not to mention his record label. He had to end this call or risk digging himself a deeper hole. “Look, man, it’s been good talking to you, but I gotta roll.”
“Yeah, sure. Thanks for talking to us, Trey. We’re all looking forward to the new album, so don’t keep your fans waiting too long.”
“I’ll try not to. Thanks, Johnny.” He pressed the button to end the call.
His hand shook as he reached for the crystal glass. He took a long swallow of the amber liquid, savouring the familiar burn on the way down. He knew it was toxic, eating him alive from the inside out. He hated that he needed it, hated the fact that alcohol was the only thing that seemed to take the edge off and calm the fear and anxiety so he could get through another day.
He looked up at the ceiling. “What the hell am I gonna do?” he whispered. He needed help, was desperate for guidance, but had no idea where to turn. His faith had been tested to the limits, and he couldn’t face the idea of admitting the truth to his friends and family. He had never felt so alone.
He knew that every day he lived without creative inspiration was another day closer to sealing his fate. He couldn’t stall his manager and record label forever. They expected answers and he knew he had to tell them the truth; his career was over. But every time he tried to tell his best friend and manager, he panicked. He was terrified that, without music, he was looking into the abyss of a dark, empty, meaningless future. His music was the only thing he had left.
He pulled the newspaper clipping out of his desk and stared at the black and white photo of the little girl who had died in the fiery crash. Six years old, the same age his daughter would have been. Trey couldn’t comprehend why he had been spared when a little girl with her whole life ahead of her had been taken. If he could, he would have traded places with her in a heartbeat, given her a chance at the life his daughter deserved. A knock on the door of his studio interrupted his reverie and he silently wished he could escape. Escape the questions and expectations of a world where he no longer felt he belonged.
What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m in the middle of working on Nashville Nights Next Generation right now, and I’m so excited about every book in this series. When we came to the end of Nashville Nights, my devoted readers let me know they weren’t ready for the series to end, so I decided to write a spin-off series about the children of the characters we fell in love with in Nashville Nights. It’s been a long and rewarding journey, and I’ve loved every minute of it!
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I started to feel like a ‘real’ writer when I started to get fan mail! Whether it’s readers connecting with me on Facebook, or emailing me to tell me how much they love my books, that’s always the highlight of my day. The writing and editing can sometimes be grueling (though I wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world), and hearing from my readers is like the reward for my hard work. It’s nice to know that what I do matters to so many people.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I do write full-time. I gave up my ‘other’ career as a nutritionist because I knew I couldn’t do both well. My fortieth birthday was on the horizon, and I began to realize if I ever wanted to do this, it was time.
I write seven pages or 1,500 words six or seven days a week. I love writing so much that I rarely feel the need to take a break. In fact, I even take my laptop on vacation, and sneak away from the beach to write!
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I write in the most awkward position. I have two desks in my house, yet I choose to write scrunched up on the loveseat in my bedroom sitting room. I usually end up with a pain in my neck and back, but for some reason, I’m able to write better there than anywhere else, so I figure the aches and pains are worth it!
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I was looking through a school treasury book my mother had tucked away not too long ago. When I was in the first grade, I said I wanted to be a journalist. From grade five on, I was the student editor of my school yearbook and newspaper, so I’d say I was destined to be a writer.
Anything else you want to share with the readers?
Thanks, Cheryl. Happy touring!
Readers, remember to leave an e-mail address with a comment below if you want a chance to win any of the wonderful gifts Cheryl has up for grabs!