Cheri, describe yourself for our visitors.
I’m a “bellbottoms and afros” type girl—a child of the sixties. I love writing, enjoy walking in fresh air, yoga, and the love I get from my dog Mocha. I enjoy interacting with student learners, have just relocated to Texas and I’m pursuing part-time teaching positions at the Community College level. Probably because of the time I grew up in, I also have a strong social conscious and I believe in the importance of community and social service.
How do you find time to connect with God?
I meditate and pray twice daily, but I also can feel connected with God whenever I engage all my senses in living in the moment.
Do you have a favorite bible verse and or quote you wish to share?
Philippians 3:13-14 “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
And, the second is..
Philippians 4:8- “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Who are your favorite authors? Favorite books?
Lately, what I most enjoy is mystery, action and suspense writers. I love classic lit, a favorite is Homer’s Iliad and I just read Katrina Spencers’, chick-lit tale with a social conscious tale, Unbeweavable and fellow Plenary author LaTonya Jones’s spicy-toned debut tale, Southern Discomfort which was set in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I also enjoyed Claudia Mair Burney’s delightful prayer guide that chronicles some life experience of Teresa of Avila, God and God Alone, and I always enjoy Angela Benson’s books.
Tell us about your journey to publication.
Actually, my journey to publication was pretty short, although I was probably older than most when I got started. I’ve written all my life but never of thought of writing novels. One summer I received advice from super agent/publisher Denise Stinson to try fiction writing along with her rejection of a non-fiction book I’d written. I immediately started writing a novel and one year later, Denise bought rights to my first novel, “Plenty Good Room” for Walk Worthy/Warner. It was subsequently printed in recorded version and paperback and is part of more than 450 library collections including Harvard and the New York Research Library. She had also purchased this novel (then titled “In My Father’s House) but I backed out and she let me. A year later I was the first writer signed to Plenary, a new indie publisher.
Tell us about your current book.
“The Other Sister” is a modern-day take on the Biblical parable of the prodigal son. Bishop James Jefferson, his wife Lena and daughters Carla and Sanita are a contemporary Christian family navigating familiar issues whose resolve is tested when the fall breeze blows younger daughter Sanita blows back into town with suitcase full of issues and lies. It’s a fast-paced story, with relatable characters and is set in the Midwest. I consider the story not as Christian fiction, but fiction about Christian people with inspirational themes.
What influenced you to write this book?
I feel sexual choices and consequences are not discussed openly enough in the AA community (outside of bedroom talk) so I began to think of ways I could write a storyline that dealt with contemporary sexual issues and consequences in an entertaining way. I blogged about some my reasons for writing this novel here. http://cheriparisedwards.blogspot.com/2010/12/sixties-baby.html
Did you have a favorite character(s)? Who and why?
My favorite character might be James because he was trying hard to please all the women in his life. I also felt for his plight to hold on to his relationship with childhood friend the lecherous Deacon Calvin Catchings. I definitely enjoyed writing about Marcella. She has some of the attributes of my Mother that used to annoy her children to no end and like my Mom she is always stylishly-clad.
What’s next for you?
I would like to write four books about this family, one for each season that would correlate with life issues they face. I consider this would be series, not sequels since each book would be a standalone story that would focus a storyline on different members of the family and friends.
I also like to write poetry and I’m considering a creative nonfiction work.
Where can visitors find you online?
Visitors can find me at my webpage www.cheriparisedwards.com I’m also on FB and have a fanpage there and I tweet now and then www.twitter/write12b