Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest books. FUN.

The winner from last week’s Author Spotlight with Julie Lessman is Tammy A. My assistant Amy will be in touch for your mailing address.

This week we welcome Cheryl Ricker. To win a copy of the Cheryl’s A Friend in the Storm, leave a comment on this post! 

Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?

Yay… I love talking about my family.  I’ve been married for fifteen years.  My husband and I have two boys, Billy and Justin, ages fourteen and ten.  I don’t work outside the home, but I still find it challenging to squeeze in quality writing time.  You know how it goes.  It just goes.

And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…

Poetry, fiction, screenwriting, and now, I’m starting to get into blogging.  Yay blogging!

How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?

Yep, I’ve always wanted to be an author.  There are no writers or even readers in my immediate family so most of them didn’t get it, but I somehow knew that’s what God wanted me to be: a missionary of words. 

After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?

One year to get a poem published.  Twenty years to get a book of poetry published.

Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well? Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing? 

I’m still trying to figure out what gets my brain cylinders firing.  The best I can come up with is when my kids and husband are out of the house ~ which doesn’t happen to often.  Does that mean my brain cylinders are never firing?  Hmmm…  Favorite place to write.  Well, it’s not that I like it…  I just do it….  but I often write on my treadmill.  I like to prop my laptop in a magazine holder and type as I go.  The quirkiest part is I when I get tired and put my feet on the sides when the thing keeps running! 

Don’t worry, I’m not one of those people that writes for so many hours (yet).  I might start thinking like that when I get more serious about my novel; but for now I can only give you this week’s average.  I write for about two hours a day (except when I’m answering blog interviews, and then it’s four.)

What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?

Definitely writer’s conferences.  I attend Mount Hermon and ACFW every year.
They’re the best!  My husband is the first draft reader (ahem… he just added himself!)

Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be? 

No.  When I was a child I pictured authors as people living in big mansions on a private beach while their servants took care of the all the cooking and cleaning.  Not.

What are your biggest distractions?

Friends.  I’m always trying to keep up with my relationships.  Their necessary distractions though.

What was one of the best moments in your career and what was one of the worst?

The best moment was winning the Poetry Award at last year’s Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s conference.  The annual award is sponsored by Wine Press Publishing, and for some reason, I thought you had to be published with Wine Press to win.  Because of this misconception, I was shocked breathless when they called my name.  I thought I was going to burst with happiness.  Talk about a hug from heaven!

The worst?  Hmmm…  The time it looked like my contract was going to fall through.  There were a lot of changes at my publishing house, and it could have gone either way.  Thankfully to God, it went the right way!

What do you least like about being a writer? Most like?

I love the creative process.  I write fiction too, so I love fleshing out characters and problems.  The thing I like least about writing is the solitary part of it.  Most folks don’t understand us writers either; and I like to be understood.  Oh well.

What is the role and importance of an agent?

An agent does a lot more than pitch your book and sign your contract.  She also dreams with you, and guides you in your career.  To me, it’s also important that your agent is your friend.  I’m glad to say that’s the case with my agent and I.

What advice would you give to new writers?

Pray as much as you write, remember your audience, make God your number one audience, and keep persevering.  If you’re meant to be published, you’ll be published.  In the meantime, work hard to enjoy the journey.

Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book.

A Friend in the Storm is the perfect gift to give a hurting friend when you don’t know what to say.  It’s a collection of quotes, Scripture and poetry that leads to lasting hope.  It assures the readers that God is with them, loving them, and leading them.  It sheds light on the difficult question, “Why would a good and loving God allow this difficult thing to happen?” There’s no assurance like the comfort that comes from Christ’s healing point of view.  Greeting cards only take comfort so far.  A Friend in the Storm builds one idea upon the next so readers want to keep reading the exciting word-pictures all the way through, right until the books crescendos with the splendor of heaven.

What’s on the book horizon for you?

I want to write a novel.

Last question, how can readers find you and your books?

You can find them on my website www.AFriendInTheStorm.com.  I have both an Amazon affiliate store and PayPal to order bulk autographed copies.

Share Your Storm Kindle GiveawayThank you for sharing your writing life with my bleaders! (blog + readers =
I also wanted to let you all know that Cheryl hosting a fun Share Your Storm KINDLE giveaway contest on her blog during the blog tour for her book. She’ll be announcing the winner at a Facebook Party on October 4th! Don’t miss the fun – it all begins Monday (9/20).

LOL!  My pleasure.  Thanks so much for featuring me!  Blessings to you and your bleaders!

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