Today we sit down with Author Cherron Riser. She is going to answer a series of 20 questions that will give us insight into her influences, writing practices and work.
Please enjoy this installment of 20 Questions:
Q1) When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I was very young when the desire to write came to me. In the 8th grade, my friends and I created a club where our goal was to write stories, poems, and songs. Through high school, I would write stories about bands I enjoyed or actors I liked, but as I got older, original stories began to form. I started working on my first books when I was 18 years old.
Q2) How long does it typically take you to write a book?
This can vary for me, as it depends on how busy my school work load is. However, it usually takes me about six months to finish a book from start to finish.
Q3) What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I usually section off four hours, five days a week just for writing. During that time, I turn off social media and Internet stuff so I am not distracted with outside influences.
Q4) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Most people tease me because I actually write better when there are other things going on around me. I can hold a conversation with someone and write. In fact, my favorite environment to write is sitting with my family and watching TV.
Q5) How are your books published? (traditional, indie, etc.)
At this time, my work is self-published, however, I am looking into getting traditionally published in the near future.
Q6) Where do you get your ideas for your books?
A lot of my book ideas come from dreams I have had. However, I also get a lot of them from role playing games I play. My family is made up of a lot of geeky people, so table top role playing is a big part of our lives.
Q7) If you don’t mind sharing, when did you write your first book and how old were you?
I wrote my first book when I was 13 years old. However, looking back, it was more a short story and not very good. My first serious book I started writing when I was 18 years old. That book has never been published, but it got me started and focused. That was 14 years ago.
Q8) What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I spend a lot of time with my family when I am not writing. We read, watch movies, and as mentioned above, we play a lot of table top role playing games. I also enjoy singing, dancing, and exploring nature.
Q9) What is your favorite book?
I am not sure I would ever be able to pick a favorite book. I have been reading for a long time and read so many different things.
Q10) What do your family and friends think of your writing?
My family and friends are super supportive of my choice to be a writer. They are constantly asking when I am going to have something new out. My husband and close family have even started helping me organize the business end of my writing career.
Q11) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I have found that some of things I thought would be difficult was actually easy. I learned quickly how to format books and find people to help me with things I didn’t know how to do. I have found the writing community to be filled with wonderful people who want to help each other succeed and do well.
Q12) What do you hate most about the writing process?
There is always this point in the middle where I always feel like my books are monotonous. Self-doubt creeps in and it becomes difficult to write. Other than that, the first round of edits always seems to bog me down. However, they are necessary evils.
Q13) How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I have three full length books and five anthologies I have either fully published on my own, or been a part of. Right now, my favorite to work on is the SLICE series I am working on. It is a paranormal action series with some romance mixed in.
Q14) Do you have any suggestions to help us become better writers? If so, what are they?
One thing I tell other writers, especially new ones I talk to and work with, is to write every day. Even if only for a little while. I also make sure they know to find an editor. No matter how good you think you are, when it is your work, you miss things. Having a good editor helps make sure the quality of work is good and people enjoy it.
Q15) Do you get feedback from your readers much? How and what kinds of things do they say?
While I don’t have a ton of reviews on Amazon, I do have a Facebook Group and am friends on Facebook with many of my readers. They will message me and tell me what they think and encourage me to finish the next book.
Q16) What is your preferred reading audience?
Right now, I prefer adult readers, mostly women as they tend to read romance/ erotica more. However, I am about to start branching out into Young Adult fiction.
Q17) What do you think makes a good story?
A story needs to have good content and needs to be different. I have read many authors who seem to have a format, and that is something I strive not to do. Along with that, the focus should be on developing a plot that pulls you in during the beginning, makes you love the characters and fall into the story, and gives you some sort of resolution at the end, regardless if it is a happy ending or a sad ending.
Q18) As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
When I was young I wanted to be a pop star. However, when I got to be about 12 years old, I decided I wanted to write. It is a dream of mine I have never given up on.
Q19) Where can we find your books?
All of my books can be ordered from my website www.cherronriser.com. They are also available on Amazon. As my Kindle Unlimited subscriptions expire, I will add them to Barns and Noble, Kobo, and iBooks.
Q20) Will you give us an excerpt from one of your favorite works?
Sure, this is from A SLICE of Truth
Before the Chase
Shifting from their bird forms to that of men, they sat down on the ground behind the dumpster, panting after having run so much. It had been days since they last slept, and energy was running on an all-time low. Three days ago, the twins, Jax and Jericho, had watched as their parents were dragged away by men with guns and Tasers. Never had either of them been more frightened. Their parents had sacrificed their lives to save them. Now they belonged to SLICE, Supernatural Laboratories for the Investigation of Chaotic Entities, a government agency designed for the sole purpose of hunting and capturing shifters for their own sick pleasure.
Since their parent’s capture, the brothers had run nonstop, often shifting into the form of birds to fly and escape more quickly. They wanted to get as far away from home as possible. When they had been children, their parents had told them of the people who hunted their kind, but neither of them believed it would really happen. They had lived too far from town and kept to themselves. Why would anyone care about what they did? Oh, how foolish they had been.
“What are we going to do, brother? We can’t keep running like this,” Jax asked, his breath coming hard and deep, making his already gravelly voice sound harsher. They both knew it was long past time to get real rest or risk being too weak to fight off anyone who came for them.
“We have to. Those guys weren’t kidding around. I’m not going to risk them catching us, not now,” Jericho answered, leaning his head back against the brick wall. He knew it was fear driving him, but he couldn’t help himself. “We are going to need to find a way to make money though. We will need to sleep, shower, and eat eventually. Like you said, we can’t keep running like this.”
“Yeah, I’m starving, and I am tired of dumpster diving,” Jax responded, looking over at his brother.
Jericho heard Jax’s stomach growl and groaned. Wasted food out of fast food dumpsters was no way to live, but that had been the only food they had been able to find in the cities. They were often chased off by irate store managers or policemen who thought they were trying to break the law. All they were trying to do, however, was keep up a bit of strength. As shifters, they had the ability to transform into animals. However, this required a large amount of energy that demanded to be fed on a regular basis.
In their human or natural form, they both had inky black hair, crystal blue eyes, and pale skin. However, that was where the similarities ended. Jax was a huge mass of a man, even at eighteen. He was tall and broad and wore his hair long. His face was covered in a thick scratchy beard that blocked his youthful appearance. Despite his human form, Jax held the heart of an animal and even had the power to shift into a true beast like nothing seen in nature. Jax was more animal than man.
Jericho, on the other hand, was lean and wiry. He kept his hair short and his face clean, though being on the road had given him a scruffy look. His forms were more common like wolves or birds, nothing as extravagant as Jax. When it came down to it, Jericho had cunning, unlike his brother’s brute nature.
Because of Jax’s animal nature, Jericho was sure he would have to take care of his brother. Neither of them had spent a lot of time within cities; however, Jericho could at least hold a conversation without making the person he was talking to piss themselves. Deciding they had no other choice, Jericho took a deep breath and patted his brother on the leg. Looking at their surroundings, Jericho stood and headed for the end of the street. “Stay here and lay low. Don’t do anything or talk to anyone. I will be back as soon as I can.”
He wasn’t sure what he was going to do to get money and find food, but he would figure it out. Moving toward the street, he looked left and then right. People were walking everywhere, oblivious to the world around them. They carelessly wandered about, unaware of the dangers so close to them lurking in plain sight. Most would never know the fear and pain Jericho and his brother had just faced. It almost made him sick that they would never feel what he had felt all because they were human. It was a luxury Jericho would never get, and it infuriated him.
Pride surged in Jericho for a moment as he pushed his wrathful thoughts away and began to think of ways to get money. They had not been raised to be beggars. Everything they had they worked for. Now he was faced with the choice to either beg or watch as he and his brother starved. Finding some resolve, Jericho approached an older man wearing a long wool coat. To Jericho, the man appeared to be some sort of businessman, which meant he might have some money. With a racing heart, he tapped the older gentleman on the shoulder and waited to see if he would turn around.
“Can I help you?” the man asked, looking Jericho up and down with eyes that made him feel uncomfortable. Jericho took a step back as he tried to formulate the right words to say. No one had ever prepared him for a life like this, and the agony of stooping so low had caused his mouth to go dry and his heart to race.
“Umm, yes, sir, my brother and I just lost our parents, and we are starving. I was wondering if I could borrow some money or even do some work for you and earn the money,” Jericho finally said, licking his lips and rubbing the back of his neck. The constant shaking of his nerves made it hard for him to focus, and he took another deep breath to relieve some of the tension.
The man took his time contemplating his request. Now that Jericho had a better look at him, he saw he had to have been in his mid-fifties. His hair was mostly gray with a few specks of the brown from his youth. Crow’s feet graced the corners of the gentleman’s eyes, and deeper lines had taken residence on his brow. He was still a handsome man, having aged well, but was aged all the same. However, it was the way his eerie dark eyes kept evaluating him that made Jericho question his decision to speak to him.
“You know, I think I can help you out. I have something I need taken care of. Do you mind coming with me to my office for a few minutes? It shouldn’t take too long, and then you can be on your way. I will pay you fifty dollars,” the man explained, a friendly smile broadening over his face.
Jericho knew it was a risky move to go, but he had to take the chance. Looking back at the alleyway where he had left his brother, he then turned back to the man and nodded his acceptance. “Yeah, I can do that. Lead the way.”
With a crook on the edge of his smile, the man led them toward one of the tall buildings nearby. Atlanta was a much larger city than anything Jericho had ever seen before. It was intimidating to someone who had lived in the country for most of his life, but larger cities were easier to get lost in. It was one of the main reasons they had chosen to head for the city and continued to do so in their travels.
Reaching the building, the two of them slipped into a back door and began to ascend the stairs. Sweat formed on Jericho’s palms, and the pounding of his heart echoed in his ears. Something was wrong. Every one of his instincts was telling him to run, but all he could think about was his brother. There was no way he would let his brother starve another day. With fifty dollars, they could eat and find a place to sleep for a night. He would have to ignore his irrational fears and press on.
The office the man led him to was at the end of a hall. There was not much inside, a desk, a couple of chairs, and some bookshelves. On the desk were a few family photos and random pieces of office supplies. Jericho’s breath came more quickly as the door clicked shut, and the man walked around to face him once more. The entire way, nothing had been said about what Jericho would be doing for him, which only added to Jericho’s unease.
“So, what is it you would like me to do for you, Mr. …?” Jericho asked, shoving his hands in his jeans pockets and looking around to keep from letting his nervousness get the best of him.
“Let’s not bother with names. It is better that way,” the man explained, shrugging off his coat and laying it over the back of his leather office chair. Slowly he walked back toward Jericho, unbuttoning the ends of his sleeves. Reaching past Jericho, the man locked the door so no one could walk into the office, and once again, Jericho’s heart rate accelerated. His mouth became parched, and dizziness consumed him. What the hell had he just gotten himself into?
With the door locked, the man stood before him and smiled at him. He reached to his back pocket and pulled out a few bills. Holding them out to Jericho, the man let his eyes roam over Jericho’s body. Jericho took a step back and found himself pressed against the cold wooden door, but his hand involuntarily took the money. They needed it so badly, but he had a feeling he would be selling his soul for it.
“Okay, we don’t have to exchange names. That is fine by me. Now, umm, what is it you wanted me to do? I don’t want to keep you from your work too long,” Jericho asked, licking his lips and swallowing hard. His throat was closing up and his body was shaking.
“Don’t be so nervous, my boy. I’m not going to hurt you,” the man answered moving in closer. He reached up and stroked Jericho’s cheek before leaning in and breathing deeply. It was as if the man was trying to memorize his scent the same way an animal would. “I just want you to take off your clothes for a bit, and I’m going to make you feel good. It shouldn’t take too long then you can be on your way.”
What kind of shitty luck did Jericho have in life? If losing his parents weren’t enough, now this man was propositioning him for something. Jericho had been raised away from people. He had never been naked in front of someone else before, and though he knew about sex and such things, he had never experienced them. “I … I have never done anything like that before.”
“It is all right. You don’t have to do anything but stand there and look like you’re pretty self. I will take care of the rest.” The man reached and began to touch Jericho’s body. He pulled at his clothes and worked to strip him, and Jericho let him. He had no idea what to do or how to act. It was as if it was happening to someone else and not him.
Jericho instead looked at the ceiling and tried to keep his breath steady as the man did all he wanted with his body. The whole time, he kept his mind focused on the fact he was doing this for his brother. A few minutes of his time and they would have food and shelter for a little while. It would be worth it, and it wouldn’t take much. Just a small part of his soul, and he and his brother could eat and sleep.
He didn’t like this. Jax was not the type of man to be babied, and that was exactly how his brother made him feel. There was little he could do about it in the moment, though. Jericho was gone, and if Jax left from where he was at, they could be separated. After seeing his parents dragged away like criminals, the last thing he wanted was to lose his brother. Bending his legs up, Jax rested his arms on his knees and let his head fall back against the wall. Another loud growl sounded from his stomach, and he twisted his nose up at the sound. Never had he known hunger like this before.
Nor had he experienced such fear. Every sound he heard and shadow he saw made him think someone was after him. Their home, the place they had lived since he was a child, had been trashed. Parts of it had even been burned as he and his brother worked to escape. Even now, Jax could smell the smoke and hear the sounds of his mother screaming. It was a haunting nightmare that would plague him the rest of his life.
“They sacrificed themselves for us,” he whispered, feeling a mix of anger and pain. Pain didn’t come easy to the large man, and he wanted to fight against it, so anger became his best friend. It was so much easier to just be angry than to feel all of these other foreign emotions he had never been made to feel before.
Jericho told him all the time that he was more an animal. He had a feeling that being an animal was not going to help him here. The city was huge and full of people. Yeah, he and people had never spoken the same language, and he was sure that was a large part of the reason Jericho had decided to treat him the way he was. It didn’t make it right though. Nor did it mean he wanted Jericho to do all the talking for him. Jericho was not his father, no matter how much he felt like he was in charge. Being two minutes older didn’t count for much.
Jax shifted on the hard ground, trying to keep his butt from falling asleep. Earlier he had seen Jericho walk down the street with an older man. The hair on the back of his neck had stood up at the sight of his brother with that man. Something was off, but he had no idea what it was. He knew Jericho could take care of himself, so he let it go, but part of him wondered if maybe he should have done something. Now his brother was God only knew where. In a city this size, Jax would have a Hell of a time trying to find him.
Maybe after a good meal, Jax could look for some sort of work to help out. Sure, they were only passing through, but if they both did something for money, then they would have an easier time of it. Jax was strong. He was sure there were labor jobs he could get his hands on. Either way, he had to do something. There was no way in Hell he would let his brother do everything. Enough people had sacrificed for him already.
About Cherron Riser:
Cherron Riser was born in Dothan, Alabama on November 2, 1983. With her family being military, she spent a lot of her early childhood traveling all over the country, giving her a lot of new and different experiences she would not otherwise have been given. When she turned ten, however, her family settled in the small town of Ozark, Alabama where she finished her high school career.
After high school, Cherron began college, however she also found herself in love with her old high school crush. The two of them were married in July of 2002, and welcomed their first child in October of 2003, after moving to Knoxville, Tennessee. In December 2008 the welcomed their second child and found themselves headed back to Alabama. They have now been married for over thirteen years, and Cherron has returned to school to finish what she had started all those years ago.
All through her life Cherron has been drawn to the arts. As a child she danced and sang all of the time, often driving her family crazy. During middle school, a group of friends and Cherron started “The Outcast” a club established for building a love of writing. Once the club was formed, Cherron was never seen without a spiral notebook and pen. She wrote daily, developing silly stories for her friends. After high school, Cherron began to write more serious stories and develop more original plot lines. It is a talent and love Cherron has developed over the years, filling her computer with story after story.
As an author, Cherron began her career as a self-published author, releasing the book Defying Destiny in March of 2015. Now she has published six books, and contributed to several more. She gives a lot of credit to her husband, children, and friends for inspiring her characters and worlds and looks forward to showing them to all of her readers in the near future. Cherron can often be seen at conventions, both for readers and for geeks, as she is and will always be a geek herself, and proud of it.
Connect with Cherron:
Facebook Author Page- https://www.facebook.com/CherronRiserAuthor
Facebook Fan Group- https://www.facebook.com/groups/997158103671877/
A SLICE of Truth
Regular Print- https://www.createspace.com/6089873
Large Print- https://www.createspace.com/6090003
Regular Print- https://www.createspace.com/5291128
Large Print- https://www.createspace.com/5345857
Autograph Copy Order Form-https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1QdCXImX8ni7HDdJjSGoiHgffKIhbo-nT2YanDVQg7l8/viewform
Kisses and Revenge
Regular Print- https://www.createspace.com/6149696
Large Print- https://www.createspace.com/6150844
Wheel of the Year Anthologies
Wisps of Beltane- Wheel of the Year vl. 1
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Autograph Copy Order Form-https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1tCmP648HoEbM3YCnIiLF612-W0pvQQkDSueEXqaPIAs/viewform
Souls of Samhain- Wheel of the Year vl. 2
Regular Print- https://www.createspace.com/5826595
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Autograph Copy Order Form-https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1tCmP648HoEbM3YCnIiLF612-W0pvQQkDSueEXqaPIAs/viewform
Legends of Litha
Regular Print- https://www.createspace.com/6360070
Large Print- https://www.createspace.com/6360155