A hearty welcome to today’s guest, novelist Cheryl Holt, to chat with me about her new contemporary women’s fiction, A Summer Wedding at Cross Creek Inn.
During her virtual book tour, Cheryl will be awarding an autographed print copy of the book to ten (10) lucky randomly drawn (US ONLY) winners. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!
Cheryl Holt is a New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon “Top 100” bestselling author who has published over fifty novels.
She’s also a lawyer and mom, and at age forty, with two babies at home, she started a new career as a commercial fiction writer. She’d hoped to be a suspense novelist, but couldn’t sell any of her manuscripts, so she ended up taking a detour into romance where she was stunned to discover that she has a knack for writing some of the world’s greatest love stories.
Her books have been released to wide acclaim, and she has won or been nominated for many national awards. She is considered to be one of the masters of the romance genre. For many years, she was hailed as “The Queen of Erotic Romance”, and she’s also revered as “The International Queen of Villains.” She is particularly proud to have been named “Best Storyteller of the Year” by the trade magazine Romantic Times BOOK Reviews.
She lives and writes in Hollywood, California, and she loves to hear from fans.
Please tell us about your current release.
My new book, A Summer Wedding at Cross Creek Inn, is a story about love, family, and all the ways they can drive us crazy. It’s about a wedding that takes place at the exclusive Cross Creek Inn that’s located in the heart of the Colorado Rockies. It’s a posh, exclusive, gated resort that’s used by the rich and famous when they want to host an event and be able to keep the paparazzi away.
The bride grew up in Portland, and she is from a very normal, very typical family. The groom, on the other hand, is from a family that’s considered Hollywood royalty. His dad is a famous movie producer, so the happy couple is from two completely different backgrounds and worlds.
They got engaged in a “hurry up” way, proceeding much too early and way before they knew each other very well. When the two families are locked away at the Inn for the four days it takes to get the couple married, it’s a wild, wicked ride that has the guests taking bets over whether the (un)happy couple will make it to the altar or not.
What inspired you to write this book?
I made a name for myself as a historical romance writer, and nearly all of my published novels have been historical romances set in Regency England. (That’s the time period Jane Austin lived and wrote in.) But last summer, I finished my Summer, 2020, books earlier than I thought I would. I needed to get writing on my trilogy for 2021, but the trilogy I’d just finished was very complex, with involved plotting and characters, and my brain was tired. I couldn’t get working on another book.
So I decided to take a break and write something else that would be fun and different. I had also been wanting to write a story for readers who enjoy novels by authors like Elin Hilderbrand and Jennifer Weiner, and I knew—if I focused on something completely different—it would give me some new energy, and it really did. Once I finished the book, I was happy and relaxed and eager to get back to my next historical novels.
Excerpt from A Summer Wedding at Cross Creek Inn:
“Did you realize who that was?”
“Who do you mean?”
“The woman who greeted us at the front door.”
Crystal glared at Lindsey and said, “No. Who was she?”
“I think it was Sharon Benjamin-Kildare.”
“How would you know what Sharon looks like?”
“Dennis has some pictures in a photo album.”
“Don’t tell me you’ve snooped at them.”
“Of course I have. I was curious to see how a normal family would appear.”
They were in Crystal’s suite, watching as a bellman lifted her bags off the cart he’d brought upstairs. They were staying five days, but she’d hauled along enough luggage for a year. There were numerous nuptial events to attend, plus the rehearsal dinner and the wedding itself. She would have to change clothes a thousand times, and she could never settle on exactly the appropriate outfit. It took her forever to prepare for any occasion.
There were four suites at the Inn. She and Dennis had one. Jennifer, her dad, and siblings had one too. Eric would share one with his friend, Josh, and Dennis had insisted Crystal assign the fourth one to Sharon. It galled her to have her nemesis given a room that was equal to Crystal’s, but then, Sharon was the groom’s mother. It was impossible to keep her from being singled out.
“Are you sure it was Sharon?” she asked. “I only met her once, and it was years ago.”
“It was definitely her, and you were a total bitch. Way to go, Crystal!”
What exciting story are you working on next?
I am one of the “masters” of the romance genre, so my next project will come in August, 2021, and it will be my new ‘Cads’ trilogy. For several years now, I have released linked trilogies where the three novels are bound by a single premise that starts with the plot set-up at the beginning of Book #1 and resolves at the end of Book #3. Each book is a stand-alone novel, but they’re connected by the plot and characters. I release them on the same day so my fans can read the whole story without having to wait for the next installment.
The three books are titled, Cad’s Pick, Cad’s Wish, and Cad’s Choice.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
From the time I was a little girl, I always wanted to be a writer. I didn’t know how to do it though. I had no idea how a novel was written. Nor did I know anything about the fiction market, the genres, the publishing companies, or anything else.
Then, I had two babies back-to-back, and my husband and I decided I would stay home with them, while he continued to work at his job. I had to replace the income I lost by leaving the job market, and I decided (like the clueless person I am) that I would have plenty of “free time” while I was loafing at home with two tiny babies to take care of. I figured I could use that time to start writing novels. I would write fast, sell them quickly and easily, then make a ton of money, and all of my financial problems would be solved.
Have I mentioned I’m clueless about life? I started writing and quickly learned that I had no idea how to write a commercially saleable novel. What I found to be even harder was the business side of things, such as finding an agent and actually selling a novel. That was horrendously difficult!
It took me four years of writing constantly before I got good enough to sell a manuscript. It was quite a pitiful historical romance. And the price I was paid? $2,000!
It took a very long time to get going and to actually make some sustainable money at it, but I’ve always been stubborn, so I didn’t quit. Now, I’ve written and published over sixty novels. I’m glad I took this path, and it’s been a good career for me. But it was never easy.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I have been lucky in my career, and I’ve been able to quit my “day job” and write full time since the year I published my 13th novel. I get up in the morning, have coffee and read the paper, exercise, then get to work. I typically release three novels per year, so I write all the time. It’s a home business for me, and I’m very, very busy. I have very little free time, and I’m nearly always locked away in my office.
I don’t find time to write. It’s what I do to earn an income, and it’s my passion too. I love writing novels, I’m really good at it, and I have tons of fun working. It’s difficult though, and really mentally draining.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I’ve never been a “quirky” person, so I guess I would have to say I have no quirks!
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be rich and famous!
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Yes. Thank you for taking a few minutes out of your day to read more about me and my books. I’m very, very grateful for your kind attention.
Thanks for being here today, Cheryl.