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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Won't You Be My Neighbor? - Cherie Reich


Hi everyone welcome to Won't You Be My Neighbor. Today I have author Cherie Reich with us. 

Angie: Okay Cherie, you have to dress up for this interview. You HAVE to wear either a Mr. Rogers sweater or Mr. Rogers sneakers--you can pick. I'm picking sneakers because I just got back from Zumba and I'm too tired to change :)

Cherie: Oh, I have to pick Mr. Rogers' sweater. It's iconic. Plus, I like sweaters when it's cool out.
  
Angie: Perfect. It's always good to be cozy during an interview :)

Lets start off with a probing question that will really let us see into your psyche and reveal your soul...If you had to cut out one of the 4 major food groups and never eat anything from it again, which would you pick? (Luckily chocolate isn't a food group :)

Cherie: That's an easy question. Meat. I'm a vegetarian, so I'll happily give it up again.

Angie: Oh my gosh! That was too easy. Hmmm... *rubs chin*... I need a harder question. What fiction character is the most like you in personality?

Cherie: I would say Hermione Granger. I've been a bit of a know-it-all in the past (and present). I'm loyal to my friends, and I would like to think I'm brave too.

Angie: Oh, Hermione’s great. The bravery and loyalty definitely balance out the know it all-ism :)

I want everyone to know a little more about you. So I know you are a freelance editor...What kind of stuff do you edit and what is the most common mistake you see people make?

Cherie: I've edited many different things: horror, romance (and its subgenres), memoirs, nonfiction, science fiction, fantasy, mystery/thriller. I prefer to edit fiction over nonfiction, though, and even though I've edited poetry, I'm not very good at it. The most common mistake people make content-wise is info dumps/backstory; grammar-wise, it is a tie between repetition of words/phrases and homophones (such as it's vs its, your vs you're).

Angie: What do you like most about editing?

Cherie: The absolute power. Muahaha! Okay, no, really I like being able to help a writer take their manuscript and make it stronger and more magical.

Angie: I didn't know you were maniacal :) I think every published author just loves how editors make their books shine. 

Now lets talk about your new book Defying Gravity. I just finished it and it was so fun and well written. Can you give our audience a one or two sentence hook line so they know what it is about?

Cherie: Hehe! Well, I'm creating new worlds, so how can a writer not be a bit maniacal? *grins* And yes, that's what we editors try to do: make a book shine.

As for Defying Gravity, here is the hook: When the SS Perseid crashes on a post-apocalyptic Earth, Linia, a Persean linguist, is captured by cannibals. Her only chance to escape is to befriend Alezandros, a Medusan space cruiser pilot and her people’s mortal enemy, but when romantic feelings emerge between them, it will be easier to defy gravity than for a Medusan and Persean to fall in love.

Angie: Great hook! I loved the Romeo and Juliet-est conflict of Linia and Alezandros relationship. What was your inspiration for it?

Cherie: I originally wrote Defying Gravity for an anthology featuring romantic suspense that could contain other genres within it. I'd been wanting to write a science fiction romance for a while, so I thought "why not?" Although the story was short-listed, the anthology was cancelled in the end. I love the romances with that Romeo and Juliet-type conflict, so it's no surprise I wanted to go with two mortal enemies falling in love. Of course, in the end, I've come to realize it was more Pyramus and Thisbe-like (wall-divided lovers from Roman myth) than Romeo and Juliet, but I'll take it.

Angie: Yes, just in case people freak out your story has a much better ending than Romeo and Juliet.

Cherie: Ah, that's true. After all, Romeo and Juliet is a tragic love story. Mine is a romance with a happily ever after. :)

Angie: I like happy as opposed to tragic! I worry about people who don't.

So for those who don't know Defying Gravity is a novella (only 39 pages). What was different about crafting a short story as opposed to a novel?

Cherie: Short stories, like novels, have similar elements: plot, characters, world-building, theme, etc., but unlike most novels, short stories focus on a small amount of time and less characters. Novellas are a happy medium between typical short stories and novels. You get more elements of a novel, but it's still short enough to read in one sitting. For shorter works, I focus on words that give the most impact to the story and try to keep the pace up without giving too much backstory and description. The reader is more in the moment. Of course, I do similar things with my novels too, although they're longer.

Angie: That is super cool. I do love the ramped up pace and tension of novellas. You have all sorts of cool aliens and races in your story, how did you come up with them all?

Cherie: I majored in Classics, so Greek mythology plays a lot in my creation of the worlds in the Gravity series.

The idea of Linia came from a Star Trek race called the B'Saari. They had these cool powers on bringing people back from the dead and being highly intelligent. Of course, I changed her to a Persean with blue skin and antennae. Then Persea...Perseus...who was Perseus against? Medusa! So we have the Medusans, so I wanted them to have some Gorgon-like powers. It snowballed from there.

Angie: I love that! If you know a little Greek mythology you can pick up on the underlying tensions. And Linia's antennae were very fun. I loved how they changed colors.

Cherie: Exactly! And I love Linia's antennae too. They were fun to figure out what types of colors they might change.https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/images/cleardot.gif

Angie: Awesome stuff. Now for a few more fun questions. If you could take writing lessons from any author, who would it be and why?

Cherie: Good question. There are so many awesome authors out there. I'd have to go with JK Rowling. She spends a lot of time visualizing and plotting her books, which I love because that is what I do too. I'd love to know more about how to do that for series and how to add those key details almost everyone overlooks until the "ah-ha" moment.

Angie: Great pick! She is the master of the "ah-ha" moment!

Okay, now for the last question...It has to be a pageant question, because that is just how I do things around here :) Hmm...let me see...If you could pick only one problem for the United State Senate and Congress to solve what would it be? (Let’s just pretend for a moment that they could miraculously come together long enough to solve it :)

Cherie: *snickers* It'd be amazing that they could get together and fix any problem, but if they could tackle one issue and truly fix it, then I would have to say education. Educate children properly, then we can solve all the other problems.

Angie: I so agree! I wish we could find a way to pay teachers what they are worth, and educate kids who need it most (but I guess all kids need it).

Cherie: All kids need it, at least to some extent, but no child should come out of high school and not know how to read, write, and do basic math, and yet they still do. And teachers definitely need pay raises.

Angie: Amen sister! Thanks for stopping by. You can keep on your sweater if it's cold in Virginia. And everybody can go check out Cherie's books on Amazon.

Cherie: Well, it's been fairly warm this month actually. Weird winter weather, but I'm not complaining. :) Thank you so much for interviewing me! It was a lot of fun!

Angie: You are so welcome! You can check out Cherie’s books on Amazon.

Now I’m going to take my Zumba self to the shower. I’m glad you all can’t smell me over the internet J

-Angie

Want to know more...


Book Description: Homesick upon the SS Perseid, Linia, a young linguist, thinks she signed up for a mission of peace, but her crew members have another plan: attack the planet Medusa.

Bored with his dying planet, Alezandros, a space cruiser pilot, joins the Medusan Army in his quest for adventure.

When the SS Perseid clashes with the Medusans’ space cruisers, Alezandros and Linia’s lives intertwine. Sucked through a wormhole, they crash upon a post-apocalyptic Earth and are captured by cannibals. In adjacent cells, Alezandros and Linia cast their differences aside for a common bond: escape. But when romantic feelings emerge between them, they might do the unthinkable because for a Medusan and a Persean to fall in love, it would defy gravity.

41 comments:

Miranda Hardy said...

Great interview. Able to learn so much about a great fellow author.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

Interesting interview, especially the part about how short stories are different from novels. I want to write short stories; in fact, my first manuscript started out as a short story but turned into a novel instead because I kept wanting to add more pages. But I think short stories and novellas require even more discipline to write because as Cherie says, you have to choose words that have the most impact, and that's definitely difficult to do, whether you write a short story or a novel.

Chantele Sedgwick said...

Great interview, ladies! I've attempted to write short stories, but they never ever work for me. :)

Leigh Covington said...

Fabulous interview and her book sounds intriguing. I wish I knew more about greek mythology. Not just more but... EVERYTHING! That would be so cool. I love that kind of thing. Glad Cherie was here to share today!

Cherie Reich said...

Thank you for having me! The interview was so much fun.

Thank you, Miranda!

Neurotic Workaholic, yeah, short stories are similar to novels but also different. Both are difficult to write well.

Thank you, Chantele! And short stories come with practice. Lots and lots of practice.

Leigh, I love Greek mythology, but it might help I majored in it. :)

Melanie Fowler said...

Awesome interview!

Kittie Howard said...

Great interview, Angie. Cherie is one of the most talented writers around. Will definitely check out her book.

Ruth Josse said...

Fun to learn about Cherie! Congrats on your book!

Cherie Reich said...

Thank you, Melanie!

Cherie Reich said...

Aww! Thank you, Kittie! *blushes*

Cherie Reich said...

Thank you, Ruth!

Brinda said...

Hi Cherie *waving*. Your book sounds great. What a fun interview!

Angie- Your interviewing skills surpass Barbara Walters and Oprah combined.

Cherie Reich said...

Thank you, Brinda! And I agree. Angie knows how to ask the tough questions. :D

Emily R. King said...

Hi Cherie! Your book sounds amazing. I love a happy ending!

Great interview, ladies!

Tara Tyler said...

i loved hearing about your book! you are usually talking about others or giving advice. glad angie let us see more!

Terri Talley Venters said...

Enjoyed your interview, Cherie. Can't wait to read more of your works. I've scribed novels, short stories and now I'm working on something in between. You're absolutely right about the number of characters and back story is greatly reduced with the word count. I think writing short stories is my favorite because I can sometimes start and finish a piece in one writing session! I'm striving to choose my words carefully, but it's challenging=)

Cherie Reich said...

Thank you, Emily! I love happy endings too, and they're a must in romance. :)

Cherie Reich said...

Well, I don't want to bore people about me. Hehe! It was a fun interview. :)

Cherie Reich said...

Thank you, Terri! And I have more works forthcoming. :D

And yes, the word choice can take longer. A lot of that comes with editing short stories, though.

Jennifer Hillier said...

Wonderful interview! And good editors are worth their weight in gold. Can't wait to read the book.

Cherie Reich said...

Good editors really are worth it. I know I learned the most about editing when I have my own work edited by a good editor. :)

Nicole Zoltack said...

Great interview! It's always fun to learn more about an author friend. :)

Cherie Reich said...

Thanks, Nicole!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Good interview, ladies! And we don't want a tragic ending to our love stories. Well, at least I don't.

Cherie Reich said...

Thank you, Alex! And yes, it's best if love stories end a bit less tragically than Romeo and Juliet. Although we probably do remember the more tragic ones more.

Shallee said...

Great to meet you, Cherie! Your book sounds fascinating. :) Thanks for the interview, Angie.

Cherie Reich said...

Thank you, Shallee! It's nice to meet you too. :)

Peggy Eddleman said...

Oh my goodness. Those were some awesomely fun questions and answers! You guys killed me. (Especially with the maniacal laughing. :))

Cherie Reich said...

Thanks, Peggy. :D

Christine Rains said...

That was so much fun! Great interview. And yes, you're totally Hermione, Cherie.

farawayeyes said...

Great interview, nice to know more about Cheri.

Rek said...

Great interview and I liked the story and the fact it is a novella. Some times, little packages work best.

Cassie Mae said...

So great! Hermione rocks, btw, so if you are like her, you are now my new best friend.

And I pick a happily ever after any day over tragedy. :)

Lynda R Young said...

Great interview. I loved Cherie's response to editing.

Sarah Pearson said...

Cherie's flash fiction is one of my favourite posts on Fridays :-)

Cherie Reich said...

Thank you, Christine! And yes, I am Hermione. Hehe!

Cherie Reich said...

Thank you!

Cherie Reich said...

Thank you! And yes, I completely agree that shorter stories work best. Each idea has its own length. :)

Cherie Reich said...

Thank you, Cassie!

Cherie Reich said...

Thank you, Lynda!

Cherie Reich said...

Aww! Thank you, Sarah! :D

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