Wednesday, September 13, 2017

An Interview With Cheryl St.John

Readers want to know you better. Tell us something about you from your perspective:

My perspective about me is that I’m a pretty ordinary person. Not everyone would agree, but from where I sit, I don’t look too exciting most of the time.

I wish I could tell you that I skydive and go on archaeological digs…well, okay I could tell you that, so I guess what I wish is that I actually did some exciting things. If I did, I’d likely get too hot and might even break a fingernail, so I’m better off doing what I do. Or not doing what I don’t do, however you want to look at it. Do you know me now?

What does your family think about having a published author in their midst:

My family has never held any sense of awe where my career was concerned. I’m still just mom, the one who whips up the goodies for their birthdays, makes a mean pot of chili and sometimes puts on a rockin’ brunch. I have seriously great kids, and their kids are the apples of my eye, beautiful and brilliant each of them.

Your books are filled with human emotion. What inspires you?

I love reading a book that makes me so deeply involved that I cry. Emotional movies inspire me to write emotional books. I have a stack of favorites I dig out when I need to be in the “zone.” What the movie has to do to inspire me is make me feel deeply. Crying is good for the muse, for some odd reason. I love to cry over movies. It’s so…well, not my life. So I guess to really know me, you need to know what makes me laugh and cry.

The cry list:
Pay It Forward - I can do an entire workshop on this movie. It is ingeniously and perfectly plotted for conflict and motivation.

Winter People - When Kelly McGillis comes back to her Daddy’s cabin without her baby, I sob buckets.

The Magic of Ordinary Days - the impact of the dialogue always evokes tears 

Return to Me, Hope Floats, Bounce, Phenomenon, While You Were Sleeping, The Con, My Louisiana Sky to name a few more.

In 28 Days when Gwen’s sister comes to talk to her by the lake, and Gwen says, “I’m sorry I make it so hard for you to love me,” well, I lose it every time. Talk about character growth and motivating factors. We are the sum of our whole, not just who you see this moment, and story people need to be three-dimensional. This movie shows that excellently. I am moved by characters, not by plot, so every movie I love is character-driven, even one as action-packed as Face Off. Obviously I like to analyze movies, and have done so for workshops and my Writer's Digest Book Writing With Emotion, Tension & Conflict.

Okay, what makes you laugh?

The things kids say. Children are priceless and genuine and not jaded. My clever critique group makes me laugh. Which movies make me laugh? Overboard, Music and Lyrics, Liar Liar, Sense and Sensibility, Mannequin, Blind Date, French Kiss and both Miss Congenialities. I laugh at snappy dialogue, but a good old spoof just tickles my funny bone: Soap Dish and Galaxy Quest are favorites.

What do you love and hate?

I love my husband, chocolate (I thought long and hard about the order and he won), freshly painted rooms and shelves with lots of stuff, comfy sofas, quilts, snuggling babies, a road trip with friends, dolls, books, vintage jewelry, vintage Valentines, decorating books, miniatures, a cup of tea in a pretty cup, taking great photographs, butterflies in my garden, playing board games with my grandkids, going to the movies, all the great stuff my hubby makes for me, antique malls, vintage linens, looking at old family photos, and so much more that I could fill pages with my passions.

I hate conflict (except in stories). I hate confrontation. I’m a peacemaker by nature and by calling, so people butting heads makes me want to run the other way. Why can’t we all just be friends?

How has being an author impacted your life?

As I thought about how being an author has impacted my life, what stood out to me was: People. Since devoting myself to the pursuit of publishing, I have met the greatest people. Many of the friends I made when I first joined RWA are still my best friends. And new friends are added through my local chapter all the time. I love brainstorming with a group. There’s something electric about shooting ideas back and forth like sparks until enough of them ignite into a story.

Every so often I meet a new writer whose drive and ability is so impressive that I’m eager to mentor and watch them develop. The majority of authors I meet are not only the most generous, but also the smartest people in any walk of life. I was published back in the day when we had no Internet :::gasp::: and no yahoogroups. Yeah, really. Some days I was reinventing the wheel, but I didn’t know anyone who had done this before. I called authors I’d met at conferences, and they were kind and generous enough to give me advice. I’ve never forgotten that. So I make it a point to be as helpful as I can when I have useful knowledge. I believe that what goes around comes around.

I have readers who have become good friends over the years. Sometimes one of the readers I originally met at a signing drops by my home to leave me a gift. On the flip side, I have friends who have become readers as well. My critique group has become like a family unit, and my fellow Romance Authors of the Heartland members are dear friends.

I thoroughly enjoy interacting with my Facebook friends and look forward to updates on their lives, their children and pets.

What’s your best-kept secret?

Like I would tell! But here's my recipe for the world’s best muffins:

What’s your next release?

The Rancher Inherits a Family in the Return to Cowboy Creek series, April ’18. I also have a Writer’s Digest book releasing next year: Write Smart, Write Happy.

Anything else you want people to know?

I appreciate each and every person who reads my books and all of you follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

On Facebook I’m Cheryl St.John and Author Cheryl St.John
Both pages have different and daily content.

If you Tweet, follow me: _CherylStJohn_


  1. Excellent interview of an excellent author!

  2. What a fun interview! Thanks so much for sharing.

  3. Nice to get a glimpse into your life and interests, Cheryl! Must check out your muffin recipe!

  4. Wow, you made me want to move next door so we could watch movies together :) Loved getting to know you more.

  5. My daughter always watched Pearl Harbor when she was feeling emotional. She said the movie let her release it all through her tears. Great interview, Cheryl.

  6. Fun blog to read and fun to get to know you!

  7. Great post. Will make those muffins. I think I posted on the muffin page, too.


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