Exclusive Interview with
Cheryl Denise Bannerman
When did you start writing?
I started writing when I was a little girl, around 9 years old. My mother flooded my room with bookcases full of books and encouraged me to read different genres and write my own stories. So that's what I started to do. I wrote poems and short stories and read them to my family and I remember them clapping and smiling when I was done. I loved it.
What makes writing your passion?
Writing allows to incite different emotions from the reader and it also allows me to release my innermost thoughts through various genres and characters. It's so freeing.
How long have you been writing?
I've been writing since 2009 when I first released Black Child to Black Woman edition 1.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
Surprise and awe. I couldn't believe I was holding it in my hands and that I had actually published a book!
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
Since I'm a multigenre author, they all have a story. Each one of them has a piece of me in them. For example, the star of my cozy mystery series is Anna Romano, and she is sarcastic and funny. That's totally me!
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
People that I consult with in the 'writing or publishing business' who ask me why I am writing in so many genres. I write whatever stories are in my head and I have no control over the characters that emerge. Period! Why do I have to be confined to one genre?
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I walk away for days, even weeks sometime. Then I change the scenery...maybe move my laptop to the window or in another room, or even head to the beach. That always helps! There is something about the sound of the waves that is so calming and rejuvenates my creative thinking.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
Readers keep me going. The stories in my head keep me going. And comments from reader that one of my books made them laugh, helped them heal, or changed their life --- that's what keeps me going. My advice to other authors is to #1) write because you love to write. Don't write because you have to or you're looking to get rich. Write because it's your passion. Readers can tell, believe it or not. #2) Treat your self publishing journey like a business. Dedicate time to building your audience on social media, listening to your readers, and running marketing campaigns.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
Yes I do. I take each one with a grain of salt and if any of them has some good advice, I implement those suggestions into the next book. For example my cozy culinary mystery series includes Italian recipes that Anna makes throughout the book. Readers wanted the whole recipe and not just references, so I added in the full recipes in the next 2 books of the series.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
Happy. It reinforces that I am on the right path.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
All the time, but don't tell anyone. :)
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
Book covers and book descriptions are crucial to snagging readers as they scroll through the millions of available books.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
Readers contact me through my social media pages all the time. I answer questions and provide advice. I've even reviewed excerpts of their work and offer my critique (at their request of course).
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
I've never had this, but wow, I can't wait to get to that level.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
Too many to narrow down to one, but here is a few: James Patterson, Janet Evanovich, Dean Koontz, Maya Angelou, Terri McMillan, and the list goes on...
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
Getting on the best seller list and having Oprah pick one of my books for her book club reading!
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?