THE FIRST BOY I LOVED
Bell Bridge Books
Vietnam took her first love away from her. Now it may take her next love, too. After her husband dies Gillian Warner realizes how many sorrows she carries inside her, including her unresolved grief over her first love, who died in Vietnam decades earlier. Haunted by his death in combat as well as by a tangled web of guilty secrets, she books a guided trip to the battle site. The tours are led by cynical Vietnam War vet A.J. Donegan, who makes his living taking naïve Americans on what he calls “Guilt Trips, Inc.” If they’re looking for peace of mind, they can forget it. A prickly attraction sparks between Gillian and Donegan, with neither able to let go of the past without the other’s provocative challenge. In a test of willpower and desire, they’ll have to share much more than a journey to a place and a memory; they’ll have to travel deep inside the walls they’ve built around their hearts.
Love Inspired Historical
THE SOLDIER'S WIFE
Love Inspired Historical
|4 time RITA WINNER & 4 time FINALIST|
MORE ABOUT CHERYL
ANGI: How often to you get lost in a story?
CHERYL: As a writer, I used to get "lost" all the time, completely, totally lost. I got to the point where I needed to make sure the season of the year in my story matched the actual season, because it was such a jolt coming out of my make-believe summer and finding it was really the dead of winter, and vice versa. Now, however, I'm a card-carrying member of the "T'ween" Generation, and my writing time is so fractured, it's very difficult to get to the level of "lost-ness" that I once did. Interruptions are the order of the day, so much so that I refer to my cell phone fondly as "The Bat Phone."
As a reader, I'm sorry to say that it's not often that I get lost in the story. I think it just that writers read with a different "eye." I'm apt to stop cold to admire some turn of phrase I think is very well done or to wonder why something was done the way it was, or what something means--those "Wait--what?" moments. It's wonderful when a story is so strong I forget to pay attention to technique. Sometimes--when a book is really good--I can get lost AND do my assessments. I'm currently reading the Chief Inspector Gamache mystery series by Louise Penny. I really like these books, the characters, the complexity of the murder mystery, and especially the texture, i.e., the subtle inclusion of details about things I don't know. I love to learn and be entertained at the same time.
|THE SOLDIER'S WIFE CABIN|
ANGI: What’s the first book you remember reading?
CHERYL: The first book I remember reading all the way through was a "Dick and Jane." (The reading series for first graders WAY back in the day.) The reason I remember is that my teacher allowed me to take the book home--but ONLY if I didn't read past the reading assignment. As it was, I stayed in trouble a lot of the time in the "reading circle" because I could already read, and as a result preferred a "talking circle." Unfortunately, the teacher didn't. ANYWAY, I was absolutely thrilled to be able to take the book home. I got it out of my blue and green plaid book satchel (they were "satchels" in those days, not bags), hopped on my bed with a handful of vanilla wafers and began to read. Now if any of you have ever seen/read a Dick and Jane reader, you know they're not exactly riveting, but I got lost in the story anyway. I kept reading and turning pages and reading--and suddenly there was the glossary. Scared me to death. I had done exactly what my teacher told me not to do--several times. Having gotten in so much trouble for my reading circle infractions already, I wasn't sure she wouldn't kill me for this one. In fact, I think I'm still traumatized.
ANGI: What’s your favorite “love” word?
CHERYL: Not sure what this means, Angi. Do you mean an endearment? If so, I prefer my actual name.
ANGI: Can you tell us about a real-life hero you’ve met?
CHERYL: Fortunately, I've met several. My husband is a real-life hero, as is my son and grandson, and a young teacher whom I worked with when I was a school nurse. My husband (then boyfriend) made a friend for life when I was in nursing school. I had an instructor who taught out of one book, but tested out of another, one we students had no access to. The books differed in content, so that one test question might have two different answers, depending on which textbook you were looking at. But she absolutely would NOT accept any answer from our textbook. It had to be what HER book said. Needless to say this was really upsetting--apparently, I have a low tolerance for academic bullying, which I considered this to be. I intended to buy my own copy, but the book cost a fortune--there was no way I could afford it. But one day, my husband showed up at the dorm, and he gave me the book. Did I say he made a friend for life?
ANGI: What’s your favorite fairy tale?
CHERYL: I would have to say Cinderella. I never got to see the Disney movie when I was a child, and my son, who knew that was one of my Little-Cheryl-Growing-Up regrets, bought me the video one Christmas when he was a teenager. (I said he was a hero, too.) I was thrilled. Finally got to see Cinderella and have since watched it many times with my granddaughter.
ANGI: What’s your favorite cartoon character?
CHERYL: I like the Porky Pig/Sylvester the Cat duo, especially when they're in a haunted house. And the Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck/Elmer Fudd hunting adventures. I like the Powder Puff Girls, too. And Sponge Bob. He's such a lovable birdbrain.
ANGI: What do you like about the hero of your book?
CHERYL: I like that he's a decent man, despite his flaws, and that he is kind to children. It also didn't hurt that, in my head, he looks something like Mark Harmon.
ANGI: Is there a playlist you’d recommend for reading your latest release?
CHERYL: THE theme song for this book is Patty Griffin's "You'll Remember." Here's the YouTube link if you'd like to hear it:
The minute I heard this song, the character of "Gillian Warner" formed in my head, the fact that she'd had a good life, but suddenly, after so many years, her heart and her mind were filled with the first boy she had loved and the sorrow and the guilt she'd never addressed. The words of the song seemed to me to be something he would have wished for her, that someday she would think of him and she'd smile.
Other playlist songs are just about anything from the Vietnam war era, especially "Last Train To Clarksville."
ANGI: Where do you read and how often?
|THE UNEXPECTED WIFE's HOUSE|
CHERYL: First, let me say that the Kindle has been a godsend to me. I have vision "issues," i.e., I'm legally blind in one eye and I have glaucoma. Besides that, my eyes aren't as young as they used to be in general. But, with the Kindle Fire, I can widen the margins so that the sentence lines are short enough that I can keep them in the part of my lens I use to read without having to constantly turn my head and crane my neck (which must have looked really weird). I also use the white font on a black background and set it larger than most print books, but not as big as the Large Print books. (Don't quite need that yet.) As a result, it is so much easier to read now, so I'm reading a lot more than I did. My usual reading time is whenever I'm waiting somewhere, which as a T'ween Generation person, tends to be a lot--doctor's appointments, car-rider lines at my granddaughter's school, etc. This works out well because even with the Kindle I can't read with the prolonged intensity I used to. The time I have to read in these situations is about what my eyes will tolerate.
ANGI: What sound or noise do you love?
CHERYL: Rain. And wind in the pines. I grew up in a house surrounded by pine trees--not the really tall, spindly ones. The ones that were about the size of a maple tree, but had a large trunk and low enough branches so that you could climb them fairly easily--if you didn't mind getting pine sap all over you. As a child, the trunks were so big I couldn't reach around one. Anyway, the sound of a whispering pine was always a part of my environment then, especially at night as I was falling asleep.
ANGI: Fairy Tale or Action Adventure?
CHERYL: Fairy Tale
ANGI: What was the first story you remember writing?
CHERYL: THE DOG WITHOUT A TALE. Complete with illustrations. I believe I was in the second grade.
ANGI: What’s your favorite movie of all time?
CHERYL: I don't know that I have an absolute favorite. I tried to like SOUND OF MUSIC in the way most people do, but I couldn't get past the rigid father even if he was reformed by the love of a good woman by the end. I liked GWTW a lot, despite Clark Gable. He always seemed so OLD to me. And I liked THE WIZARD OF OZ. And THE HELP. And ON THE BEACH (Ava Gardner and Gregory Peck). And a very obscure movie called THE PURPLE PLAIN (also Gregory Peck). THE MAN WHO LOVED CAT DANCING (Burt Reynolds in his hunky hey-day and Sarah Miles.)
ANGI: Who’s your favorite villain?
CHERYL: I don't think I have one. How about my favorite hero, aside from the Reavis men? Roy Rogers, that would be. I fell in love with the King of the Cowboys when I was three, and I'm still not over him. I think I tell everybody that--even people I've known for five minutes--which may be why I get Roy Rogers birthday cards and family will give me Roy Rogers memorabilia for Christmas. What can I say? Whenever he sings "My Little Buckeroo," I'm in love all over again. You remember I said I call my cell phone "The Bat Phone." Well, Roy singing "Hold On, Partner" is my text message ringtone. I feel like I can face anything if Roy is the one bringing the news. LOL.
ANGI: What is your biggest vice?
CHERYL: My biggest vice, my biggest vice…. Well, I don't smoke, drink, gamble or run wild. I think it must be housework. Or more accurately, not doing it. I love a clean orderly house--but I don't want to be the cleaner. In my part of the country, when I was growing up, a woman who kept a spotless house was considered "smart," a real compliment, especially if a man said it. But I decided a long time ago not to be "smart" in that way--and I still feel guilty.
ANGI: Is there a “Blooper” in your story (it may have been changed before printing)?
CHERYL: Can't think of one offhand, and I hope I haven't missed one. It's easy for me to do when it's my own writing, because I see what I meant regardless of what I said. I'm great at finding bloopers in somebody else's writing, though.
ANGI’S GOTTA ASK: There's a picture on your website of you in the Painted Desert when you were six. It inspired the Silhouette Special Edition™ "Family Blessings" series. Is there another location that you inspired another book? (Cheryl, if you have a picture that would be awesome.)
CHERYL'S GOTTA ANSWER: I often use photographs, staring at them as I write--while listening to the playlist. Sometimes a photo will have inspired an idea. More often than not they are ones that I see later and think "That's it."
ALL ABOUT CHERYL REAVIS
The former public health nurse, now award-winning romance novelist describes herself as a "late bloomer." Her Silhouette Special Edition™, A CRIME OF THE HEART, reached millions of readers inGood Housekeeping magazine and won the Romance Writers of America's coveted RITA award the year it was published. She has also won the RITA award for her Harlequin-Silhouette novels, PATRICK GALLAGHER'S WIDOW, THE PRISONER, and THE BRIDE FAIR. BLACKBERRY WINTER, THE BARTERED BRIDE and aBerkley novel, PROMISE ME A RAINBOW, as well as THE SOLDIER'S WIFE have been RITA award finalists. She has received numerous awards from Romantic Times magazine. Her award-winning literary short stories have appeared in The Crescent Review, The Bad Apple, The Mosaic, The Sanskrit, Laurels, The Emrys Journal and Writer's Choice. Publishers Weekly described her Berkley single-title novel, PROMISE ME A RAINBOW, as "...an example of delicately crafted, eminently satisfying romantic fiction."
CHERYL is giving away THE FIRST BOY I LOVE
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CHERYL WANTS TO KNOW: HOW MANY CHANCES WILL YOU GIVE A WRITER IF YOU HAPPEN NOT TO LIKE THE FIRST BOOK YOU'VE READ OF THEIRS ALL THAT MUCH?