Author Name: Cheryl Shireman
Book Title(s): Life is But a Dream & Broken Resolutions
Book Category/Genre: Fiction, women
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Tell us what the book is about: Life is But a Dream is a book about a woman, Grace Adams, who is facing an empty nest and the possible demise of her marriage. To escape her problems, she goes to a secluded lake cabin to redefine her life. Of course, nothing turns out like she expected. It is thought-provoking, occasionally frightening, and often funny.
What would you say the theme of the book is? The novel is about the strength of the human spirit, the invincibility, and the courage we all have buried within.
Do you have a favorite character from your novel(s)? My favorite character is the main character, Grace. She begins the novel as a somewhat passive woman. Her entire life has been defined by her role as mother and wife. Now that those roles seem to be coming to an end, she feels as if her identity is gone. Grace is alive, but she is merely counting the minutes until she can crawl back into bed and escape her sense of helplessness and loss. Then something happens that forces Grace to not only see her life in a different light, but to also forces her to take action in ways she never imagined.
What motivates you to write? Do you write every day? I have no idea what motivates me to write. I only know that I must. My goal is to write every day. So far, that has not happened. Writing is something that I have always done, but it is something that I have always done part time. Real life – marriage, three children, divorce, going back to college, remarriage, graduate school, and work – always took precedence over the writing. Like many others, I wrote when I could. And even now, it is difficult to write every day. I tend to write two or three days a week for long stretches at a time (12-14 hours). I am trying to change that, however. My new goal is to write every day for maybe 5-6 hours. I made that goal a couple of weeks ago. I haven’t been able to do it yet. But I am still trying.
Who would be most interested in this novel? I think my primary reader is a woman who loves to pick up a novel and be swept away into another world. She likes realistic novels and characters that she can relate to. She is passionate, loving, believes in dreams coming true, and has a sense of humor. The thing I hear most often from readers is that they can relate to Grace. That is my ideal reader!
What prompted you to write the book? A book usually starts with a single idea. In this case, I thought about a woman going to a secluded lake cabin to redefine her life. Then I started thinking about her background. What would drive her there? Where are her loved ones? What is she afraid of? What does she most want out of life? Then I start writing.
Who are your favorite authors? John Steinbeck and Elizabeth Berg. My favorite Steinbeck novel is East of Eden. I also love his book Journal of a Novel: the East of Eden Letters. It is a book of letters he wrote while writing East of Eden. It is a fascinating look into the life of a writer – how he works and how the thinks. One of the best books about writing ever. And I love Elizabeth Berg because she makes writing look so easy. Her characters seem real and I care about them. I hope that readers feel the same about my books.
Would one of your books be a good movie? My second novel, Broken Resolutions, is very movie-like. In fact, while writing it I stopped at two different point and thought about turning it into a screenplay instead of a novel. But I like the form of a novel, so I kept writing. The movement is fast-paced and there is a lot of dialogue. The story is about eight friends who get snowed into a home during their annual New Year’s Eve party. While writing it, I could “see” the action and it has always felt more like a movie than a novel to me. It was a very fun book to write and quite a bit different than Life is But a Dream.
What is your dream job? Writer. Always has been. At any point in my life, if you were to ask me this question, the answer would have been the same. And now I am living that dream. There is nothing in the world that I would rather be doing than sitting in my home, looking out at the lake, dressed in some sloppy clothes, and writing novels on my laptop.
What projects do you have planned for the future? When I finished writing Life is But a Dream, I thought about writing a sequel. At the time, I dismissed the idea. I thought that I was probably just reluctant to say goodbye to the main character, Grace. So I moved on and wrote Broken Resolutions. Then the emails started arriving from readers who were asking me if there was going to be a sequel to Life is But a Dream. I started giving it some serious thought and immediately I came up with the opening scene – which I think readers will love! So, that is my current project. And I love the opportunity to “hang out” with Grace again.