Interview with Cheryl McIntyre

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Absolutely. Haunted by R.L. Stine. It's part of his original Fear Street series. I purchased it at my grade school's book fair when I was ten years old and it changed my life. It awakened the reader, as well as the writer, inside me. I'm pretty sure I read that book at least 10 times. And then I began crafting my own stories that I wrote by hand in spiral notebooks. I owe my love of books to Mr. Stine.
How do you approach cover design?
I think it's different for me every time. Often an image of the cover begins to form in my head as I write. Sometimes I have no clue what the cover should look like. And occasionally, I'll come across an image and just KNOW that's my cover. I once came across this image of a hot guy online and used him as a side character muse. Later, when I wrote Park's story in Before Now, I hunted down the photographer via the internet, and purchased that picture to use as the cover. (The male model was Brandyn Farrell, the photographer was Vince Trupsin, and the cover designer was actually my stepfather.)
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Just five? I'm not sure I can do that, but I'll try. I think the best books are the ones that stick with you, so here are the stories I couldn't shake (in no particular order):

Shatter Me Series by Tehereh Mafi, because it's not only wonderful story-telling, but each sentence is so beautifully and poetically crafted it moved me to tears by page six. I've read it countless times and it's the only hardback book I've ever highlighted for my own benefit.

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay. It's an incredible story that broke my heart and then pieced it back together, filled with realistic characters I could relate to. It's always stuck with me and I've reread it several times. I'm not sure I rooted so hard for a couple before or since, either.

Drowning Instinct by Ilsa J. Bick. This book. Oh my goodness. This book completely messed with my head in the best way. It's unique, raw, realistic, and I walked around in a mind-blown haze for days after finishing it. I often find myself reflecting on it all these years later. If you asked me who the good/bad guys were in this book, I honestly couldn't tell you because they were all good and they were all bad. They were all so damn real--flawed and perfect at the same time. It's such a good read.

Slammed by Colleen Hoover. Not only is the writing wonderful, Colleen Hoover just knows how to tell a damn good story. Her characters are so incredibly crafted, I honestly felt like I knew each one of them personally. I cared about them. I laughed and cried with them. And when it was over, I wasn't ready to let them go.

Lux Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout, because Jennifer can write you directly into her world. Her characters are sexy, sassy, and funny as hell. Her story-telling is probably the best I've ever read. I honestly forget I'm reading a book when I crack one of her stories open. Any novel that can pull me in so deeply, make me feel like I'm living the character's life, is amazing to me.
What do you read for pleasure?
It depends on my mood. I'll read YA, NA, Dystopian, SciFi, Paranormal, Suspense... Pretty much anything. My only major precept is the book has to have some romance. I'm a sucker for a good love story.
Describe your desk
When it's clean, which isn't often, my Funko Pops keep me company: Jamie and Claire (Outlander) offer inspiration, while Bernie Sanders and John Oliver keep me on task, but also remind me to not take myself, or my work, quite so seriously. A large array of Post-Its keep me semi-organized, a pile of notebooks filled with writing ideas help when I'm stuck on a scene, and of course my trusty laptop. I have a few trinkets I've accumulated from book events over the years. And my most prized possession, a review that meant a LOT to me hangs right in front of me so when I need a boost, all I need to do is look up and remind myself that even if all I ever accomplish is reaching one person, it's worth it.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Perry Township, Ohio. Our middle school, junior high, and high school are all side-by-side, and right down the street from our police station. I didn't realize it when I was young, but I come from a pretty small and close-knit town. I write what I know best, so most of my books take place in small-town Ohio.
When did you first start writing?
I began writing poems and unfinished stories when I was around 11 or 12, but I didn't finish my first novel until I was 31 years old. The book ended up being well over 100,000 words because I had no idea when to stop. Even as I wrote it and watched the word count grow and grow, I still wasn't sure I'd actually complete the story. And when I did, it was one of the proudest moments of my life. Each book after came a lot easier. And I learned quickly to plot my books with a clear end point.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
When I published my first novel in 2011, self-publishing was still pretty new, but the idea intrigued me. No searching for an agent, no submitting work, nobody to tell me what to write or how to write... It sounded pretty damn good to me. I was still reluctant at first though. I really wanted the confirmation I was truly an author that I thought could only come from traditional publishing. My sister, who is not only my biggest cheerleader, but also my editor, encouraged me to try it. So when I finally finished my first book, I self-published, but nothing really happened. Mostly friends and family purchased that book and that was about it. But I kept writing and I tried again with another book, my first New Adult novel, Sometimes Never, and it kind of BLEW UP. I published mid December, and by Christmas, it reached the top 100. And I realized having a traditional publisher didn't make me an author. People reading my stories made me an author. Who knows if that ever would have happened had I pursued the traditional publishing route. I have no regrets and am thankful every day that indie books not only exist, but are easily made available to readers.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Not to make this sound like a Smashwords ad, but this site has helped my career tremendously. When my first two novels were only available on Amazon, a lot of people reached out to tell me they wanted to read my books, but didn't have a Kindle. I didn't know about Smashwords, so at the time, all I could do was apologize and let them know there was a Kindle app. My agent actually introduced me to Smashwords and encouraged me to upload my books in order to reach these readers. I did it immediately and never looked back. I like to give people the opportunity to read my books anywhere they like, on whatever device they choose, and Smashwords allows me to do that. It's translated into more income, which is awesome for my family, but the real success, I think, is in helping me find readers I otherwise would have never reached.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I have so many ideas, stories, and characters all living inside my head on a daily basis. So giving life to them and sharing them with others is, without a doubt, the greatest joy, and my whole reason for writing.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm pretty boring. I'm a home-body and a mom. My family is very close. We spend a lot of time together and even have extended family over every week for dinner. We're also big TV/Movie buffs. We all love to geek out over Marvel and DC movies and we never miss an episode of Preacher. So when I'm not writing, editing, plotting, or reading, I'm with them.
What is your writing process?
It usually begins in the shower. All my best ideas happen there. I rush through the rest of my morning routine so I can write those ideas down ASAP.
I typically begin crafting my characters using a character profile I've pieced together over the years. Getting to know my characters--who they are, what they look like, what motivates them--that's really important to me.
Next, I put together a loose plot line. Even though I usually change the plot line several times while writing, I still like to have one to help me remember where I'm going, what all I need to cover, and when to stop writing.
Finally, I start the actual writing. Sometimes, if my opening scene isn't clear in my mind, I'll skip it and come back to it later because I think the first chapter is the most important chapter of a book. It needs to capture and hold a reader's interest or why else would they continue reading?
At some point while I'm writing, I'll call my sister and tell her I shouldn't be writing because I have no clue what I'm doing and every word is terrible. After she talks me down, and I get back to writing, my next call is usually to tell her what a genius I am because I thought of the best twist. This goes back and forth, and on and on, until the book is finished.
Last is the editing, but I'm pretty good about going through and editing the last chapter I wrote before moving onto writing the next, so I don't dread edits. Much.
What are you working on next?
I'm currently co-writing a New Adult Romance duet with a friend. You can find books one and two in A Permanent Rain Duology by myself and KA Stalter on Goodreads. These books are very special to me because not only am I writing them with a great friend, but I feel like I'm getting back to my Sometimes Never roots with this story. It's focuses on family, friendship, loyalty, and most importantly, love in it's truest form--raw, gritty, and imperfect.
Which other authors have most influenced or inspired your writing?
I pay close attention to the writing in every book I read, so I think I am influenced and/or inspired by every author I've read, whether it be remembering a word choice I really liked, or a perfectly written sentence, or even just what not to do. There's something to learn from every book.
What is the first book that made you cry?
Bloodrose (Nightshade #3) by Andrea Cremer. I can't tell you why I cried, but I can assure you I did, in fact, cry. Hard. In fact, "cry" probably isn't the best word to describe what happened. It was more like wailing and sobbing, and possibly (definitely) some cursing. It's also the first and only book I threw across the room because I was so emotional. But please don't let that deter you from reading it. The Nightshade series is a wonderful paranormal romance. Just keep your tissues close--and maybe don't read on an e-reader...
Who’s your book boyfriend or secret book crush?
Boys in books are just better than boys in real life. But if I had to make a list of my top favorites (because who can choose just one?), it would be Kellan Kyle from S.C. Stephens' Thoughtless, Travis Maddox from Jamie McGuire's Beautiful Disaster, and Will Cooper from Colleen Hoover's Slammed. I can feel rereads coming up in the very near future.
Published 2018-07-11.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Malcolm's Sun
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 9,830. Language: English. Published: November 13, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Romance » New adult, Fiction » Coming of age
Alysun It took one summer. One summer to fall in love. One summer for him to break my heart. Malcolm was my everything for one perfect summer. Before he disappeared. Now, he’s back. Malcolm I have one night. One night to make her remember why she loved me. One night to prove I’ll never hurt her again. Alysun was my everything. And then I left. Now, I have one night to earn a second chance.
A Gift from Fate
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 7,800. Language: English. Published: November 13, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Romance » New adult, Fiction » Coming of age
A blizzard the night before Christmas Eve. A stranger in need of a ride. A girl with nowhere to go. Sounds like one of those Hallmark movies I used to watch with my mom. Except those movies always have a happy ending, and mine probably won’t. So when my passenger offers me the chance to experience a real Christmas again, I accept. Because who am I to turn down a gift from fate?
Love Sex & Other Games
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 31,630. Language: English. Published: January 24, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Romance » New adult
I was supposed to marry the girl across the street—my lifelong best friend and the love of my life, Roselyn Metz. So why am I playing best man at her wedding? One too many drinks and a vindictive one-night stand lead to a disastrous wedding toast. But it also leads me to her—Emerson Metz—Roselyn’s younger sister, now all grown up and just as brokenhearted over her sister’s new marriage as I am.
Love Sex & Other Games (Part 3)
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 12,000. Language: English. Published: September 8, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Romance » New adult
I was supposed to marry the girl across the street—my lifelong best friend and the love of my life, Roselyn Metz. So why am I playing best man at her wedding? One too many drinks and a vindictive one-night stand lead to a disastrous wedding toast. But it also leads me to her—Emerson Metz—Roselyn’s younger sister, now all grown up and just as brokenhearted over her sister’s new marriage as I am.
Love Sex & Other Games (Part 2)
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 11,380. Language: English. Published: August 5, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Romance » New adult, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Part 2 in Emerson and Cooper's story in the Love Sex & Other Games series.
Love Sex & Other Games (Part 1)
Price: Free! Words: 11,120. Language: English. Published: July 30, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Romance » New adult, Fiction » Coming of age
I was supposed to marry the girl across the street—my lifelong best friend and the love of my life, Roselyn Metz. So why am I playing best man at her wedding? One too many drinks and a vindictive one-night stand lead to a disastrous wedding toast. But it also leads me to her—Emerson Metz—Roselyn’s younger sister, now all grown up and just as brokenhearted over her sister’s new marriage as I am.
Grit (A Dirty Sequel)
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 50,490. Language: English. Published: December 29, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Erotic
Link and Rocky's story continues. Three. This is my number. The sum of reasons why I continue to go on. One: She needs me. Two: I have to protect her. And three: With her, I feel human. But the weight of a man’s secrets is a thousand pounds on his shoulders.The deeper I sink, the farther I push her away. The farther she goes, the more my mind spirals. I’m a shadow of a man, longing to live again.
Villain
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 30,810. Language: English. Published: October 20, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Fantasy
How can you tell a hero from a villain? If you’re Ember Willis and the villain is Lanely Frost, you can’t. How can you tell a superhero from a delusional young woman? If you’re Lanely Frost and the woman is Ember Willis, you don’t care. For both, finding the balance between right and wrong and love and lust are not the only battles they’ll face.
Hard
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 48,520. Language: English. Published: March 20, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Romance
I have been staring at her for three months. Her lifeless green eyes inspire me in ways I never knew possible. Encouraging my darkest desires. I’m a man who knows what he wants. And what I want is the beautiful and broken Holland Howard. My name is Jensen Payne—photographer, autocrat, lecher, Scopophiliac. I am who I am and I will not—cannot—change. 18 + only due to sexual situations and language.
Dirty (The Five-Part Serial Bundle)
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 75,680. Language: English. Published: October 20, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Three. This is my number. The exact number of reasons I go on. One: To strengthen my body. Two: To help others find their own strength. Three: To find the bastards who took my life away and make them pay for what they did. This is my life is now. A dead man, inside a scarred body, living only for revenge. THIS IS THE FULL FIVE-PART SERIAL, COMBINED INTO ONE BUNDLE. 18+ FOR SEX AND VIOLENCE.
Let It Be (A Sometimes Never novella)
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 17,780. Language: English. Published: August 18, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
I’m the happy one. The dependable one. The shoulder. The anchor. The pillar. The rock. The matchmaker. But when is it my turn? *This novella is a M/M romance. Recommended for 17+ due to harsh language, sexual situations, and adult themes. **It is a companion novella to the Sometimes Never series, however, it can be read as a stand-alone book. Please note this novella deals with dark subjects.
Always Forever
Series: Sometimes Never, Book 4. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 59,360. Language: English. Published: July 22, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
"Will you marry me?" Most women would love for Luke Walters to ask that question. But when Misty Handlin can’t seem to find the right answer, Luke offers a new proposal. "Go sow your wild oats this summer, then give me your answer." Maybe some time with the man who stole her heart all those years ago will finally quell whatever is holding her back from Luke.
Staying Dirty
Series: Dirty, Dirty 5. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 16,040. Language: English. Published: May 29, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
“What I did today… I don’t want to be that person anymore. I don’t know how you can stand to touch me." “I’ll never stop wanting to touch you, Link. I’m pretty sure you’re the only one I want to touch for the rest of my life.” Link and Rocky's story concludes in this fifth and final installment of the Dirty series. **Due to sexual situations and violence, recommended for 18+.
Fighting Dirty
Series: Dirty, Dirty 4. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 14,870. Language: English. Published: April 25, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
My happiness bursts like a broken dam. Not because Olivia isn’t here. But because as I realized it was Rocky’s body against me, I still felt satisfied. Because I didn’t feel the misery of Livie’s loss. Because all I can feel now is shame. My first instinct wasn’t to miss Liv. It was to enjoy Rocky. Link and Rocky's story continues in this fourth installment of the Dirty novella series.
Talking Dirty
Series: Dirty, Dirty 3. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 15,450. Language: English. Published: April 4, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
I was perfectly unhappy, living my miserable existence before he came along. I was fine humping strange men’s faces in dirty bar bathrooms. I was comfortable living like a hermit and drinking myself into oblivion. I. Was. Fine. Now I want things. I want him.
Playing Dirty
Series: Dirty, Dirty 2. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 15,530. Language: English. Published: March 7, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
My need for power came to me by accident. So we played a dangerous game of trial and error. What I could handle and what I couldn’t. It became apparent fairly quickly that I couldn’t handle much. But I liked this game because I controlled it. Link and Rocky's story continues in this second installment of the Dirty series. 18+ due to sexual situations and violence.
Getting Dirty
Series: Dirty, Dirty 1. Price: Free! Words: 15,670. Language: English. Published: March 6, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Three. This is my number. It's the exact sum of reasons I continue to go on. One: Strengthen my body. Two: Help others find their own strength. And three: My favorite—find the bastards that took my life away and make them pay for what they did. This is what my life is now. A dead man, inside a scarred body, living only for revenge. 18+ for sexual situations and violence.
Long After
Series: Sometimes Never, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 83,530. Language: English. Published: October 14, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
For Annie Phillips, there is a right way to do things and everything has a place. College and her flawless GPA are top priority, as is planning her perfect future. Chase Malloy is funny, loyal, and an all around nice guy. The last thing he expects is to fall for Annie, but he knows he’ll never live up to her idea of the perfect man. Will Annie realize perfection is right in front of her?
Sometimes Never
Series: Sometimes Never, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 85,130. Language: English. Published: October 12, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Romance
Hope Love didn't have the best role model when it came to relationships. She’s never believed in love and commitment. Mason starts his eighth school in five years anticipating nothing more than the usual—boring classes, fighting more than making friends, and girls happily willing to succumb to his easy smile. Together, Hope and Mason discover that sometimes never can become forever.
Before Now
Series: Sometimes Never, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 78,940. Language: English. Published: June 5, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
(5.00 from 1 review)
Park Reed is a bastard in every sense of the word. Being heartless gets him through the day and allows him to fill his nights with the nameless girls he has no intentions of seeing again. Lucy Braden is everything Park is not. She’s sweet, caring, and an all-around nice person. When Park moves in with Jessie, there’s one stipulation: Lucy is off limits to Park. But Park follows his own rules.
Blackbird (a Sometimes Never novella)
Series: Sometimes Never, 1.5. Price: Free! Words: 18,730. Language: English. Published: February 17, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
(5.00 from 1 review)
Blackbird is an 18,000+ word novella, continuing the story of Mason and Hope from Sometimes Never.