It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult. - Seneca

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Interview w/Author Sheryl Brennan

Good afternoon, everyone!
As you all know I am obsessed with everything, and anything that has a CELTIC flair or influence, so it was only natural that when I saw the title of this book that I had to showcase it on my blog. I was not only lucky enough to be able to spotlight it here, but I was lucky enough to be able to sit down with its author, Sheryl Brennan.

Welcome Sheryl!

First thing I want to ask you is, what inspired you to write Celtic Sacrifice?
SB- I can honestly say there wasn’t an inspiration. I had a life change that got me journaling and my journal entries turned in to the story. I guess you could say the story found me.
C of C- That's amazing! I have always said I was going to keep a journal and I never do. That is a great legacy to leave your children one day!

C of C- What do you think makes CELTIC SACRIFICE different? What will draw readers to it?
SB- If you are looking for a story that doesn’t follow the mainstream romance rules and will take you on a wild ride, then you’ll love Celtic Sacrifice. I think every reader will be able to identify with one of my characters. Though it is set in the late Renaissance time period, each and every personality is very human and struggles with situations that we all find ourselves in from time to time.
C of C- Got me hooked! I'm looking forward to reading it!

C of C- How long have you been writing?
SB- I started writing for pleasure when I was 16, but put it away shortly after graduating high school for other responsibilities. In July of 2007, after I graduated from college, the desire to journal in order to sort out why I felt so empty thrust itself into my life. The rest is history. What can I say? Being the single mom to three girls it keeps me outta the malls. LOL.
C of C- Wow, three girls! We need to swop, I have three boys. I know how tough it can be to write and take care of your family at the same time!

C of C- Are you a plotter or a pantser?
SB- I am a mix of both depending upon the story. For Celtic Sacrifice I was a pantser until chapter 7. For the sequel, Celtic Hope, I’ve been a plotter all the way.

C of C- How would you describe your voice?
SB- I’ve recently had my work compared to Maeve Binchy and Ken Follett. I haven’t read either author’s books. Considering they are Best-Selling authors, I’m honored to be thought of in the same vein. I enjoy building a world and characters that are believable and very fallible. One of the best compliments I’ve received on the book thus far was that it is “historically plausible”. If I am able to convey a good story and keep the history accurate, then I feel I’ve done my job.
C of C- Well, I have read Maeve Binchy and she's fabulous! So, that's a wonderful compliment!

C of C- What is your favorite part of the writing process?
SB- When I am so completely in the moment of writing everything else just disappears. I’m sure you have experienced this. Hours later, you come out of your writing coma to discover you have put 10,000 words on paper that you hardly remember. You read through the work and pat yourself on the back while seriously considering asking for your own autograph. OK, maybe not to quite THAT extreme, but when you re-read through the pages you find they aren’t all bad.
C of C- That's a great way to look at it! I do know what you mean, but I always seem to go the opposite direction and say, OMG, this is crap! Everyone tells me I need to get over myself!


C of C- Where do you find your inspiration?
SB- I am the most inspired when I am entrenched in nature in some way. Whether on my back porch listening to the birds, on a blanket in the park, or sitting by an Irish sea-shore (yes, I actually got to do that!) Perhaps in that respect I am as druid as my characters.
C of C- Oh, I hear you- sitting by the Irish Sea shore. Now that's inspiration!

C of C- How do you come up with your ideas/plots?
SB- I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you. LOL. Sometimes it’s from something I’ve read in a history book. A “what if” scenario. Other times it is a situation or a place I’ve visited. Ideas and plots are everywhere if you just let your imagination run free.
C of C- lol, ok, ancient Chinese secret, I get it!!! :O)

C of C- Do you write in short stretches or for long periods of time?
SB- Both. I sneak in about an hour of writing during my lunch hour at work, then try to get in longer stretches in the evenings and on weekends.
C of C- I'm sure its not easy, especially with three girls!

C of C- Do you write in silence or listen to music?
SB- Both. When I need a certain mood, I log on to my Napster program and let the tracks fly. When an idea is fresh in my mind I like to listen to the tick of my living room clock as I get it outta my head and onto paper.
C of C- Oh, you have to try listening to Within Temptations, "Angels" when your doing that black moment, when your Hero & Heroine just can't quite get it together. The inspiration will just ooze, I swear!!! :O)

C of C- Do you research your story before you write it, or as you go?
SB-I research as I go. It’s fun for me to write it and then see how accurate I was.

C of C- What have you learned through research that you’ll remember for the rest of your life?
SB- Two things: One, history repeats itself. Two, there might actually be something to this whole past-lives thing.
C of C- Oh how true! I've always said just that! And past lives- definitely. That's why I think certain people are drawn to certain areas, and in our case, why writers write about certain places.

C of C- How do you decorate your writing space?
SB- Decorate? I’m just trying to keep it clean. LOL.
C of C- :O) I hear ya!

C of C- Does all your writing take place on a computer or do you ever write on pen and paper?
SB- Most of it is on computer, but I’ve been known to not let an idea slip by and write on napkins, menus, and paper placemats. Coasters also work well!
C of C- Whatever works!!!

C of C- Do you ever act out your scenes?
SB- YES! I have an amazing boyfriend who will help me act them out too. Can get pretty interesting at my house sometimes.
C of C- ha ha, I wish I could see that!!! My family always wonder why I talk to myself! One day the men in white coats might come and haul me off!

C of C- How long do you wait once a story is finished to revise it?
SB- Hmmmm--- your supposed to wait? I’m not a patient person. I am constantly revising. Even during the rough draft.
C of C- You go girl! Sometimes it pays off to be impatient! Its not always a bad thing!

C of C- Do you ever second guess yourself and your writing?
SB- All the time, but I think all writers do. You get so far into a work or have read, re-read, and re-re-read it so many times that you just feel, “Man, this is crap!” That is when I need Beta readers and critique partners the most. They keep me focused on the work and not how I am feeling about it. A very wise man once told me, “Progress, not perfection.” So long as the work is progressing it’s fine. My writing will never be perfect, most especially not for me.
C of C- Wow, that is a great quote! Whoever said that was indeed a wise man. I need to remember that myself!

C of C- Do you allow family and friends to read your stories?
SB- Yup, all the time. In addition to the many wonderful female family members and friends that get to be the unlucky recipients of my galleys, I have two men in my life I lovingly refer to as my token males. One is a very good friend and the other my boyfriend. I couldn’t do it without them.
C of C- It's good that you feel comfortable with people reading your work. I think one of the things most people doesn't know about this business is that you have to have a very thick skin. They don't realize the criticism though most of the time constructive, can hurt- :O)


I want to take a moment to thank Sheryl for being here with us! You have truly inspired me and I cannot wait to read, "Celtic Sacrifice." I wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavours!!!

To learn more about Sheryl Brennan please visit her website at: http://www.sherylbrennan.com/ or on myspace at: www.myspace.com/sherylbrennan

Pre-order your copy of CELTIC SACRIFICE at
http://www.underdogpress.com/
TODAY!


If you would like to watch the video trailer of Celtic Sacrifice, Click here.

READ EXCERPT

8 comments:

Denisse Alicea said...

Great interview! I love Sheryl's books! I look forward to reading Celtic Sacrifice.

Eliza Knight said...

Awesome interview, C of C and Sheryl!!! I can't wait to read it! Ken Follett is one of my favorite authors, so you're in good company :)

I'm gonna have to see if I can get anybody to act out my scenes with me. That's a great idea!

I only have 2 girls, I couldn't imagine 3! Wow!

And how amazing that you got to write some of it in Ireland, that is just fabulous!

Congrats!

Skhye said...

Wow! This sounds like an interesting read. I'm a huge Druid fan. And the Renaissance is a fascinating period. Best of luck with your book, Sheryl. ~Skhye

Jacquie Rogers said...

Hmmm, acting out scenes. Maybe you have the topic for your next video blog, Sheryl. :)

Jacquie on myspace

Julie Robinson said...

Thanks for a great interview. When my pre-ordered book comes in the mail (and still hoping I'm a lucky winner of an autographed one), I will add a printed copy of this interview to the book. Julie

Hywela Lyn said...

Hi Sheryl and Andrea - just catching up on your entries, Andrea. Great interview. I love anything celtic too, I ha loads of fun researching when I sent my 'muse' to Celtic Wales and of course I love reading Celtic romances myself. Congratulations on your book Sheryl,it looks like another 'must read'!

MarthaE said...

What a good interview! Thanks! I've read both Binchy and Follet - I would say that means your writing is full of interesting relationships and good suspense!?
I like Celtic things too so this sounds like a book I will enjoy! Best wishes for success!

Sheryl Brennan said...

Thanks again Andrea! I will definately check out the "Angels" soundtrack you mentioned.

Jacquie- Video blog? OMG... would readers really want to see my mug full throttle? LOL.

Many thanks to everyone who stopped by. I certainly hope you enjoy my story and good luck on winning an autographed copy or being the lucky guest book entrant who gets to be a supporting character in Celtic Hope!

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