Thursday, October 9, 2014

Interview & Giveaway! Cheryl McKay ~ Author of "Song of Springhill"!


Welcome to Christian Bookshelf Reviews, Cheryl!! Will you tell us a little about yourself? 
I live in sunny So Cal with my awesome husband Chris. I moved out here 14 years ago when I first decided to chase my dream of writing movies. (I wrote the screenplay for The Ultimate Gift.) I love to travel and visit our families back east. Since I enjoy scrapbooking and my husband loves taking photos, we make a great team.

What is your novel, Song of Springhill, about?
My grandfather survived the coal mining disasters that were used as the backdrop for the love story. The town of Springhill experienced some of the most difficult tragedies and amazing miracles. The more I got to know the town, the more I knew their story had to be told, with a fictional love story at the center.

My lead character, Hannah, moves to Springhill, home of the father she never knew. He died in the coalmines before she was born. She finds her aunt & moves in with the family. The day after she arrives, the mine explodes, trapping many underground, including her uncle. When the family faces a sudden lack of provision, Hannah must get a job to help. The only industry that pays well enough is mining. Hannah masquerades as a man and gets hired. Hannah is placed on the team of handsome bachelor, Josh Winslow. It doesn't take long for Josh to see through her disguise. Though Hannah keeps him at arm's length, he's determined to win her heart. Miners sense the “big bump” is coming, an underground earthquake. Will Josh & Hannah be the next ones caught in a disaster?

I also released Spirit of Springhill, a book of interviews with the real life survivors, widows, orphans and others involved in the disaster that served as the inspiration for the story. 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MYA8ENY/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00MYA8ENY&linkCode=as2&tag=chrisbooksrev-20&linkId=B3XJRF46XQ24JWJ4When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? 
I was five years old. I was inspired by a picture of Winnie the Pooh and his friends on my lunchbox and wrote a play. We acted it out for the neighborhood. I haven’t stopped writing since. When I was a teenager, I thought I wanted to be an actress. But I wasn’t very good so I switched back to writing during college. 

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
 
People crack up at how addicted I am to colored Post-It Notes. I use them for outlining, choosing a different color for each storyline as I outline. I teach the method sometimes at writing conferences and decided to post a blog so others could read about it.


Another quirk is I like to act out my characters. (See how I fit acting in there?) One of my unique writing moments happened during the writing of the screenplay for the film, The Ultimate Gift. I decided to pretend I was Drew Fuller’s character, Jason, and walk to a nearby cemetery to talk to my deceased grandfather, Red (played by James Garner). It really helped a lot, getting me into the emotion of a character who was trying to repair a relationship with a man who was already gone. 

Where do you like to write? 
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JNXEBFU/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00JNXEBFU&linkCode=as2&tag=chrisbooksrev-20&linkId=ZLS43TO3SG5EH3Q2In my office at home. I am not one of those writers who heads to coffee shops. I don’t like any noise or people around me when I write. We have an office in our home that works well for me.

What do you like to do when you're not writing? 
Hanging out with my awesome husband that I waited for—forever. (Have you read my novel Never the Bride? It’s my story.) Our favorite thing to do is take day trips, road trips, or little weekend getaways. We will use any excuse to head up Hwy 1 in California, one of the most beautiful places on earth. We love to explore little towns, too, that have a character of their own. Solvang, Cambria, Carmel, and Idyllwild are a few of the small towns we love to visit. I also enjoy scrapbooking with my mother and sister when I go home for the holidays to visit. 

What is your favorite genre to read and why?
Romance, because it’s what I like to write the most, and I enjoy love stories. As long as they’re clean romances. I also enjoy nonfiction because I feel like I’m learning something that may improve me as a human being.

What is your least favorite genre to read?
Hmm. That’s a stumper. I will say in the movie realm, I’m not a fan of watching horror movies, war movies, or anything with excessive violence. 

Is there a place you'd like to visit, but haven’t yet? 
Maybe Italy. More places up and down HWY 1 in California.

Do you have a favorite Bible verse? 
Rom 8:28, because it’s a great reminder that God works out everything for good, even if situations are difficult.

Do you have a favorite song and/or movie? 
Favorite song would be any song my husband writes for me. (He’s written five for me in the three and a half years we’ve been married.) My favorite movie is October Sky. Actually, the first version I wrote of a screenplay based on the town of Springhill was exactly like October Sky. I was on pg. 90 of the screenplay when I was at the theater and saw a preview for that film, noticing about 10 story points in common from the trailer alone. Yes, I was mad. I finished the script then threw it out. (Metaphorically, speaking.) After I got over the disappointment of that, I revamped my story a few years later into a screenplay of the current story. About 2 years ago, I decided to start the adaptation process of turning that script into the novel. I didn’t hold the incident against the movie, and it became my favorite one.

What is your favorite holiday? 
http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=27716&picture=christmas-decorations
Christmas, by far. I’m kind of a Christmas nut. (Think Chevy Chase / Clark W. Griswold.) I love everything about it. The lights, music, Christmas specials, traditions. My family has some really fun traditions that I look forward to every year. 

What is your favorite season and why is it your fave?
Now that I live in Southern California, that doesn’t matter as much. But my favorite weather in low 70s. We get that a lot around here. I was born in the Boston area. When I lived in New England, I loved the fall leaves changing and the snow. But I would never want to live where there’s a lot of snow and ice. 

Some this-or-that questions:

Snowstorms or Thunderstorms?  Snowstorms, as long as I don’t have to drive.
Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate.
Tea or Coffee?  Neither.
Call or Text? Text.
Cats or Dogs? Dogs. I’m allergic to all cats except my nephews’ cat “Miss Kitty” because they prayed I wouldn’t be so I could enjoy Christmases with them. Seriously. : ) God listens to the faith-filled prayer of children.
Early-bird or Night-owl? Night-owl.
Introvert or Extrovert? Introvert.
Facebook or Twitter? Facebook. I’m too verbose for Twitter.  LOL
Mystery or Romance? Romance
Sneakers or Sandals? Sneakers

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FRNT6VY/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00FRNT6VY&linkCode=as2&tag=chrisbooksrev-20&linkId=Q4YCMPOURABW7OLPAre you currently working on any new novels? If so, could you give us a hint? 
Rene Gutteridge and I are teaming up again like we did on Never the Bride and Greetings from the Flipside to adapt another one of my screenplays into a novel. It’s called Love’s a Stage, and it’s another romantic comedy.

In my free time, I’m working on mapping out a new historical fiction series called Windmill Falls that takes place in a Danish-American small town (inspired by Solvang, CA.) For now I’m planning a four part series about four sisters. You know there will be some love stories in there.

I’m also working on some script projects, since my ‘normal’ profession is writing screenplays, and I have a team of people working toward getting Never the Bride made into a film. It’s a tough business.

Thank you so much for being here! Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers and where can we find you on the web?
I would encourage any readers out there who also love to write, to get to it! Every day. Even if you are rejected by publishers, you can still get your work out there. I love to mix up traditionally published works with independent. I do this often, electively, not just because a publisher turned a project down. I love being able to produce more work in a shorter amount of time and being my own boss. Never let rejection stop you from trying to reach your dreams.






Enter for a chance to win a Kindle copy of Song of Springhill by Cheryl McKay! This giveaway is open to anyone who can accept a Kindle copy from amazon.com. Ends 10/23

How to enter: Sign into the Giveaway Tools form below (it might take a moment to load) and submit each entry you complete. Commenting alone will not get you entered – you must click enter on the form. Happy entering!



Open only to those who can legally enter. Winning entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Giveaway Tools and announced here as well as emailed and will have up to one week to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Giveaway Tools or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. I am not responsible for any packages lost or damaged in the mail. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

15 comments:

  1. What a fascinating setting! thanks for sharing this interview- adding both books to my TBR list!

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  2. Rom 8:28 is a great verse to memorize.... Especially if you were trapped in a coal mine ! !
    Sounds like a great story :)
    Philippians 4:8 Think on these things ~ THANKS a great one to start my day with =)

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  3. I've never read anything from this author, but appreciate the interview and an opportunity to win the book. Curious to see how a screen writer writes a book to see if their point of view and writing style are different from a regular author.

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  4. I also live in S. Cal and my husband and I enjoy driving up route 1. We do it in stages and are up to the Monterey area this time. Will continue on up again beyond Monterey. Stayed at Ben Bow Inn in Eureka over 35 years ago, before kids. Love to visit there again. I have not read your books but enjoy historical fiction and they look fabulous. sm, CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  5. I enjoyed the interview, Cheryl is a talented lady! Song of Springhill sounds so interesting with it's historical background of the coal mining in that place.

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  6. I really enjoyed this Cheryl. A writer of Screenplays and books. How interesting. Very talented. I would love to win your book. Thanks for the give-away. > mac262(at)me(dot)com

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  7. I really enjoyed the interview and "meeting" a new-to-me author. I have to say that I love the movie, The Ultimate Gift. It is one of my favorites. Thank you for offering a copy of Song of Springhill. The cover is very appealing to me.

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  8. I love how she uses the backdrop of the coal mining, knowing that her grandfather survived it. It makes it more personal to the author, thus more exciting for the reader!

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  9. Thanks for all the kind comments about my book. And thanks for entering. Yes, it is a very different world to switch from screenplays to novels. But I had a great teacher in author Rene Gutteridge when we worked on Never the Bride then Greetings from the Flipside. Now I find I know my characters better in novel form. Blessings! - Cheryl McKay PS... My talented hubby designed that cover and the Main Street photo is what the town looked like in the early 1900s.

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  10. My favorite holiday is also Christmas! I like all the family time we get since our boys are married and so busy with their children other times of the year. I would love to win your book. sm wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  11. Thanks for the interview ladies! Would love to win Cheryl's book... I also added Never a Bride to my Amazon wish list. As a girl who got engaged at the ripe old age of 41 I think I can relate!

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  12. Sounds like a great book. I will be putting it on my TBR.

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  13. I love hearing about people's favorite scriptures. It says lots about a person.

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  14. Cheryl's interview shows her to be a down to earth person and whom I would enjoy getting to know. Her stories are set in small towns of CA, where I have actually seen and visited being a native of CA. I look forward to reading her newest story!

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  15. Thanks again, for everyone who entered. I enjoyed all of these posts, including hearing from other Canada folks and California folks. :) And I always like hearing from those who enjoyed The Ultimate Gift.

    Blessings to you all!
    -Cheryl McKay
    (purplepenworks.com)

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