Sometimes a good book really is all you need. They have the power to transform, take your mind off of troubles, whisk you to fantasy lands, and even if for a mere hour, allow you peek into the intimate details of someone else’s life. So we’re saluting the authors who keep us on the edge of our seats and leave us wanting more–sharing with you our favorite scribes who put pen to paper and uplift voices for the unheard.
Clutch: Who or what inspired you to become a writer?
CR: I took a fiction writing class as an elective during my third year in college and I discovered that writing was my passion. My professor told me that I had a gift for creating characters and he also said that I wrote very realistic dialogue. Even back then I usually wrote about characters who struggled with issues but in the end grew from their experience or overcame somehow. Maya Angelou’s poetry and her autobiography, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings taught me that words can cure a broken soul. Her words got me through a very trying period during my high school years. In some ways she saved me. I was hurting back then and her books were so comforting to me. I wanted to do the same for others. Even though I don’t write poetry I wanted to create stories and situations that people could relate to, identify with, and embrace.
Clutch: If you weren’t a writer, what do you think you would be doing?
CR: Aside from writing, I would also be teaching. My mother is a retired school teacher. I would most likely teach third or fourth grade students and hopefully make an impact with our youth. And then I would write in my spare time on weekends and holidays and during summer vacation.
Clutch: In your opinion, what’s the one thing one must possess if they want to become a professional writer?
CR: A good manuscript. It sounds simple but there are many people who say they want to write who haven’t even started to put words on a page. Some writers will say the marketing know how or the drive to succeed is that one thing and those are necessary too, but without the product they are useless. I truly believe if you have a good book then the word-of-mouth will travel and assist you in your marketing efforts. The sky will be the limit so work on your manuscript a little each day if you can. Study the craft of writing. One good way is through reading books by published authors in the genre you want to write not for the purpose of imitation, but to learn through these authors how they conveyed their story and then develop your own style and original voice in the process.
Clutch: How has the Internet and Social Media helped you as a writer?
CR: The Internet is a crucial part of my research for any book that I write. In addition, it is a wonderful marketing tool from my personal web site www.cherylrobinson.com and my myspace page www.myspace.com/cherylrobinson as well as other sites, which are available for marketing and selling books.
Clutch: Tell us about your current book?
CR: In Love With A Younger Man will be released on January 6, 2009 wherever books are sold. The story begins in 1984. Olena Day is being taken off to Howard University by her parents to attend her first year in college. Through this time period, the reader will learn Olena’s backstory and then the story jumps to twenty-five years later. Now, she is a successful, single, forty-three year old corporate professional with a year long sabbatical on the horizon after a career of hard work and little play. All she wants to do is explore that part of her life her job has left too little time for–her personal life. She is also an aspiring writer who would love to finish the book that has been left inside of her mind for so many years. During her time off, she explores a new city and sets off to spend some of the money she’s been investing for years. She meets a man who is eighteen years her junior. But he isn’t the only man vying for her attention. It is the mystery of love that leaves Olena wondering whether true love can conquer all and questioning if it is possible for her to love two men or whether she must make a choice.
Clutch: What advice would you give to up and coming writers?
CR: Make sure you pick a good agent. And pick one who believes in you and who will push for you. Many will say it’s harder to find a literary agent than it is to get your first book deal, but whatever you do take the time to do your research before you make a decision. The best scenario is to sign with a great agent who loves your work and who sells it to a publishing company who believes in you as well and that way the marriage can last forever and so will the book deals. Above all, believe in your work and don’t rush your story because again, a great story will open many doors.