Let’s Talk with Cheryl Hollon

It’s all about Beginnings

by Cheryl Hollon

A Holiday Season hello from Cheryl Hollon, the newest member of the Booklover’s Bench. I’m excited to join this amazing group of writers. Their posts make this site interesting, popular, and a source of inspiration.

I write the Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries published by Kensington. The books are set in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida, where my husband and I have lived since 1975.

Let’s get acquainted by talking about the beginning of my writing career Writing is not my first career, but so far, I’m thinking writing will be my last and best career.

I didn’t dream of being a writer when I was a child, so I’m late to this venture. But, like many, I had an awesome English teacher in the sixth grade who taught me to love words. Instead of essays, she encouraged me to write poetry for my assignments. I was absorbed with the form and used poetry to express my feelings. Naturally, I wanted to be a poet. But honestly, I fell in love with calligraphy and fountain pens.

After high school, I got a job at a big factory and that’s where I found out that what I truly wanted to be when I grew up was an Engineer. I made that dream come true after many missteps, detours, obstacles and rejections. A lot like writing, you say? Yes, it was. I didn’t know I was in training for the challenges I would experience in my writing life.

I am a life-long, voracious reader in all types of genre and media. I’ll read anything, anywhere, anytime. As a youngster, I would read a book or more every day. Now, I’m delighted to finish one a week.

What started me on this journey? On a long-haul flight from Los Angeles, California to Sydney, Australia. I had a nice thick best seller with me that turned out to be terrible, awful, completely unreadable.

I thought, I’ll just right one myself. How hard could it be? I found out right then that it was terribly hard work! But that’s where the dream began. Seven years later, my first book was published.

What were the first important steps for you in a brand-new career?

While you’re here, check out our Booklover’s Bench contest. It runs from December 1-18. We’re collecting entries for a $25 gift card from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Click here to enter!

Comments

  1. I started out with a career in nursing. I’d always had an interest in writing, doing poetry and shorter works, until I picked up a book called “Structuring Your Novel.” That book taught me how to write a full-length work of fiction. You know the rest. Practice, Rejection, Persistence, and more Practice. We are thrilled to have you at BB!

    • cherylhollon says:

      Thanks for the warm welcome, Nancy. The book that helped me get my arms around writing was DON’T MURDER YOUR MYSTERY by Chris Roerden. I made almost all the mistakes that the book illustrated. Just received the hardcopy of your updated WRITING THE COZY MYSTERY. I loved the first one and look forward to diving into this edition.

  2. dianestuckart says:

    Hi Cheryl — sorry for chiming in late but interesting to read what brought you to it. I never had that “Oh, I can write a better [whatever]”. I always wanted to write a book and was fortunate (after a LOT of revision) to sell the one I first wrote as a college project. Welcome to the Bench!

  3. Hi Cheryl, Except for the engineering, I had similar reading and writing experience to you as I grew up. My first book also took 7 years to publication. And funny enough, since I’d read a book with a travel agent protagonist that I thought was terrible, and I had actually been a travel agent and figured I had the whole world tor write in with a travel agent sleuth, that started me on my journey. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your first few books, but so far your latest cruise mystery is my favorite. Possibly because you got it all spot on, and I would know. LOL. Best of luck with your contribution to this fabulous blog!

    • cherylhollon says:

      Thanks, Wendy! I really enjoyed the research tasks for SHATTERED AT SEA. Taking the cruise was NO sacrifice at all!

  4. I started writing very young, but didn’t get serious about it until much later. For me, it was more about reading some excellent books and thinking “I want to inspire people the same way.” Take people on an adventure.

    • cherylhollon says:

      I relate to taking readers on an adventure. When I’m having fun writing the book, that usually translates into the reader’s experience, too.

  5. Welcome, Cheryl. I’m a ‘late in life” writer — had my AARP card before I gave a thought to writing. I kind of stumbled onto it thanks to a visit from my son, but now I can’t imagine not writing. (And if I wasn’t writing, my husband might expect me to do things like clean the house.)

    • cherylhollon says:

      I am well and truly addicted to writing. Although I enjoyed my working life and had fantastic experiences and world-wide travel, I have never enjoyed any art form more than writing. I do need to get some time back in my schedule for my second artistic love — painting, but not just now.

  6. My route to writing also stemmed from reading a fairly terrible book, but I was laid up with an injury and had no idea what a long haul it would be to prove “I could write better than this.” Truly, it isn’t hard to write to the bottom of the market, but in order to break in, you have to write as well as the top writers. That took a lot of stamina and courage – and willingness to admit failure. For me writing has been a humbling process, and yet, when I am at my most vulnerable, the writing soars… So glad to have you join us, Cheryl! I love your photographs on Facebook, by the way.

    • cherylhollon says:

      I share your realization that writing well is the real challenge. Striving to make each book better than the last one keeps me stretching up to the next level.

  7. cherylhollon says:

    So delighted to see my post today. I’m happy to be a new Booklover’s Bench member.

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