Today I’m interviewing Cheryl Bradshaw, a best-selling mystery author who has just released the second novel in her series of P.I. murder mysteries.
Congratulations, Cheryl, on the launch of your new novel, Sinnerman. Can you tell us what it’s about?
What if you’d been given a second chance to catch your sister’s killer—would you take it? And if you did, would a maximum sentence behind bars be justice enough, or would he have to pay…with his life?
Private Investigator Sloane Monroe has solved every case that’s come across her desk with the exception of one—the brutal murder of her sister Gabrielle. Three years ago the killer slipped into the shadows, but today he’ll reappear again in the form of a female victim.
Park City, Utah was a peaceful place until Sinnerman came to town. Who is he, and why does he prey on innocent women?
Sinnerman is the second Sloane Monroe novel. Can you describe Sloane? What is distinctive about Sloane that makes her a compelling character for your readers?
Sloane is driven by a variety of things: the murder of her sister, a grandfather who was in the FBI, and a need to make the world a better place. But, like most protagonists, she’s flawed. She has organizational OCD, she doesn’t always make the right decisions, and she has a hard time dealing with her personal life. She throws everything she has into her cases and sometimes it consumes her life—this is both good and bad. She has a hard time moving on from events that have plagued her past.
Authors cannot help but draw from their own experiences when crafting characters. Are you like Sloane? I ask because if any criminals are reading this blog post, they might want to check your answer before posting a comment…
When I created Sloane, I’ll admit I thought she was a small dose of me, but when my family read her they said, “Sloane is YOU!” She is and she isn’t. All my characters are a branch off my tree—some more than others. I would say Sloane is the most like me. Write what you know, right? 😉
Many readers love book series. But some authors find it tricky to keep their writing fresh when they employ recurring characters. Did you approach Sinnerman differently from your first Sloane novel (Black Diamond Death)? If readers keep reading Sloane Monroe books, do you think you can keep writing them?
The first book in the series, Black Diamond Death, dealt with a skiing accident that ended up being a murder, and it was more of a mystery. Sinnerman is darker, more of a thriller, and I allowed the serial killer to have a voice every so often which is completely different than the first book which is all first person. I find writing a series is really easy after the first novel is fleshed out. Black Diamond Death and Sinnerman both take place in Park City, UT, but for book three in the series, I Have a Secret, Sloane will be in a completely different setting. I find that there is so much you can do with a series—take Agatha Christie’s Poirot for example. She used her travels as a background for many of her novels which always kept things fresh. I also make sure the murders are completely different from one book to another. In Black Diamond Death, the first victim is poisoned, and in Sinnerman, he strangles the women with his bare hands. There’s so much a writer can do to keep it new and exciting.
I’ll write the Sloane Monroe series as long as people want to read about her adventures, but I have a lot of other ideas going as well. I plan to write a Western series once I get more of the SM series under my belt. My goal is to publish two books a year.
Does Sinnerman work well as a standalone novel, or would you advise readers to read Black Diamond Death first?
To get the backstory on Sloane and some of the regular characters, it’s good to start with Black Diamond Death, but it isn’t necessary. I work hard to ensure each book stands on its own two feet.
Readers are sometimes astounded to realise that authors are human too. Apparently. Tell us something about your life outside of being a writer. What non-writing event have you got coming up that excites you?
I love to travel more than anything. This summer I went to Alaska which was my big trip of the season. I’m no world traveller by any means, but I have been to France, England, Wales, New York, Jamaica, etc. I have a slight obsession with anything historical, and I love Abraham Lincoln. I have been to his birthplace and childhood home. In the next year I am hoping to return to California (where I am from) and I would also like to go to the Smithsonian. It may not be the Louvre, which I have also been to, but it has many personal items that belonged to Lincoln—so how could I go wrong! 😉
As a reader, what books have you read in the past couple of years that you have mentally tagged with ‘will definitely read again’?
I’m an old soul. I like old books, old music, and other eras. With books, I’m fascinated with the brilliant writing of authors who have long since passed. Mostly because they didn’t have writing classes back then or all these rules. They just wrote what was in their heart. And the writing was good. It still holds up today. I refer back to works of Agatha Christie, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, etc. I collect old books as well, and I always have a pile of five or so next to my bed.
Authors can’t afford to waffle on their sales pages, but sometimes have little anecdotes and trivia about their books that they’d love to pass on if they only could. Now’s your chance! Have you got any interesting titbits about any of your books that you’d like to share?
I like to infuse the setting and all its richness into my novels. For the first two in the Sloane Monroe series, she’s in Park City. I used to live there, so I made sure to bring it to life. I talk about the history of Park City a bit here and there with a simple titbit or two and use actual events in my book like the summer concert series, the art festival, and the fire that almost devoured the town. I like to give readers a real feel for what it’s like to live there without having the setting take over the story. I am actually getting ready to run a contest in October which is a multiple choice trivial pursuit game about Park City, and the winner will receive an Amazon gift card.
Thank you for your time, Cheryl. I’ll watch out for that contest next month, but I think I’ll avoid Park City if I’m ever in Utah, as there seems to be a lot of mysterious murders there 🙂
Here’s how to find out more about Cheryl and her writing.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: cherylbradshaw.com
Blog for Readers: cherylbradshawbooks.blogspot.com Blog for Writers: unearththeclues.blogspot.com Black Diamond Death Available Now! Buy it today: Amazon and Barnes & Noble