Interview with Cheryl Robinson

What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book UNTIL RAY takes the reader on a journey that starts in the 1980s and through the course of two other books will span thirty years. Readers will grow with these characters. The story revolves around two main characters Ray Saint and Sarita Deering. They're young, 24, in book one. Ray is confused about his life and what to do with it. And it really bothers him that he hasn't figured it out yet and that his classmates have accomplished so much more than him. Sarita is already has her MBA and has a great job with General Motors, but she's never had a boyfriend or even gone on a date. She's been focused on her education. But now that all of that's behind her, she wants a relationship. Ray and Sarita have never met, but they have the same best friends: Boone and Sharon, who are a couple who married right after high school.

UNTIL RAY will deepen the reader's experience for the second book, and it's my hope that people read it before October because that's when I will start promoting the second book in the trilogy and it will have a major spoiler.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, but I currently live in Florida. I lived in Detroit until I was thirty-two, and I'm now fifty-one. So for over half my life I lived there. Detroit gets a bad rap. When I was looking online for images of homes to use in my book trailer all the ones they offered were demolished. Yes, some of the city does look that way, but not all. I grew up in Palmer Woods, which is a residential historic district, and also one of the settings in my novel UNTIL RAY. It's a very nice area and so is Indian Village, Sherwood Forest, the University District, Midtown, downtown and several other areas throughout the city. Detroit definitely had a major influence on me while writing this trilogy that's set in Detroit.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Writing is so much fun once the characters come to life, and I sit back and feel like I'm dictating. And then it's a great joy to be given the opportunity to enter readers' minds. I placed a quote by Maya Angelou on my Facebook page recently because it's what I strive to do. It's my goal.

"The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart."
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I wrote several short stories when I was in elementary school. But what I remember most is the first novel I wrote. I took a fiction writing class as an elective at Wayne State University. At the last minute, I found out about a fiction writing contest the English department was sponsoring. I believe there was only one week before the deadline. I wrote a novel entitled Blue's Bottom. I didn't read it twice, so I can only imagine there were several errors. But I won an honorable mention, which I was surprised about, and also excited. I was given a certificate of acknowledgment and a check for $25. This was over twenty-five years ago, but I remember it vividly because that's when I decided I wanted to become a writer. I felt confident that if I put in a little more time and effort that I could come up with something.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
After publishing six books with a major publisher (Penguin Group/NAL), I lost my book deal and my literary agent. This was right after I lost my job, due to the recession. I had a severance package and decided I wasn't going to give up my dream. That's when I decided to open Rose Colored Books.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I'm still trying to discover one. In fact, I'm in the process of reading Smashwords Book Marketing Guide. I haven't marketed a book in over four years, which was the last time I published one. But I've quickly noticed that a lot has changed. I will say that I enjoy producing book trailers, and I feel it's an effective tool to get your message across because most people are visual.
Describe your desk
I have two desks. One is in my office and the other is in my bedroom. The one in my office is my main desk, where I do the bulk of my writing. It's an L-shape. I have two large monitors. One is a Samsung and the other is a Dell. I also have a Das keyboard, but I purchased the Qwerkywriter keyboard quite some time ago. I really want to start using that one because I love that it resembles an old-fashioned typewriter. However, I do wish it wasn't wireless because sometimes it can't keep up with my typing speed. Also on my desk is the Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary 11th Edition, the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) 16th edition, and the Oxford American Writer's Thesaurus. For inspiration, I have two coffee mugs. One mug simply has the word Writer in a typewriter font, and the other has: I Write What's Your Superpower?
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I had a Kindle Fire, and I did like it, but now I prefer my Samsung tablet.
Why did you decide to offer UNTIL RAY free?
For me, it's important that readers have an opportunity to meet Ray Saint and Sarita Deering while they're young. I know I've said this before, but it will strengthen the reader's experience for the second book. The second book is deals with an important issue that can never be discussed enough. I don't want to mention what the issue is because, again, I don't want to give away any spoilers. There are people who are hungry to read fiction for an escape into someone's world other than their own. My goal is to find those people. I'm hopeful that by offering the first book in my first trilogy for free that I'll find many of them. It doesn't mean that they'll all read it, but cost won't be a deterrent.
How can readers learn more about UNTIL RAY and the trilogy?
I have created a website for the trilogy, and readers can go to www.untilraytrilogy.com. I also have a blog on that site. I also have several videos on my YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFeG4AtClo0RdmGC6WSN6Mg
What are you working on next?
Currently, I am working on the final draft of the second book in the UNTIL RAY trilogy. I wrote the second book in the trilogy first and removed much of the backstory so that it would not weigh the book down. That is when I decided to write UNTIL RAY, which I thought would be an eighty-page novella and serve as a prequel. But Ray Saint and Sarita Deering had a lot to say.
In closing, what would you like readers to know about UNTIL RAY and/or the trilogy?
The second book in the trilogy will be released in January 2018. However, for those who read UNTIL RAY and send me an email letting me know they finished it, I will send them the first three chapters of the second book in the trilogy beginning October.

Please feel free to share your thoughts about UNTIL RAY with me. The email address I look at most frequently is newfictionwriter@msn.com.
Published 2017-06-27.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Ex-Ray: Book Two Of The Until Ray Trilogy
Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 111,900. Language: English. Published: January 26, 2018. Categories: Fiction » African American fiction » General, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
Meet Ray and Sarita Saint. In 1987, they pledged to love, honor, and cherish each other until death. Instead, he left their marriage and their life in Detroit to reinvent himself. It’s twenty-seven years later, and Ray is determined to find his one true love. What he discovers has him question everything he thought he knew about Sarita, as well as himself.
Until Ray
Price: Free! Words: 113,500. Language: English. Published: June 24, 2017. Categories: Fiction » African American fiction » General
Filled with soul-searching drama told from two very different perspectives. UNTIL RAY, the first book of a trilogy, is set in the 1980s in Detroit. It's an unconventional love story of how two young people transitioning into adulthood find each other and develop a bond that will be tested through three decades.