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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Spotlight on Cheryl Wyatt and A Soldier's Promise

Today, I have the privilege of introducing another brand new author to you, and be part of her multi-site blog tour during the month of January. She is also a client a mine, just like Jill from last week. It's great when our worlds intertwine like this and we can share our joys and successes in a variety of ways.

See the list of other places Cheryl will be stopping at the bottom of this spotlight.

Enjoy!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cheryl Wyatt's closest friends would never dream the mayhem she plots during announcements at church. An RN(registered nurse)-turned-SAHM (stay-at-home-mom), joyful chaos rules her home and she delights in the stealth moments God gives her to write. She stays active in her church and in her laundry room. She's convinced that having been born on a Naval base on Valentine's Day destined her to write military romance.

Prior to publication, Cheryl took courses through Christian Writers Guild. An active member of RWA, FHL and ACFW, she won numerous awards with multiple manuscripts. Visit her on the Web at www.CherylWyatt.com. Sign up for her newsletter for news and chances to enter contests with great prizes. Hang with her on the web at Scrollsquirrel.blogspot.com. You can also find her skittering around Steeple Hill's message boards as "Squirl" at www.steepleHill.com.

A SOLDIER'S PROMISE
by Cheryl Wyatt
Published by Steeple Hill, Love Inspired

BUY YOUR COPY TODAY

ABOUT THE BOOK

"My name's Bradley. I'm eight and have cancer. I want to meet a Special Forces soldier more than anything. Well, almost anything. Having a family would be nice."

U.S. Air Force pararescue jumper Joel Montgomery promised to make a sick child's wish come true. Well, not the family part—not with Joel's past. And so despite vowing never to set foot back in Refuge, Illinois, Joel parachuted onto the boy's school lawn to a huge smile. But another smile unexpectedly stole Joel's heart: that of Bradley's beautiful teacher, Amber Stanton, who was trying to adopt the boy. And trying to show Joel it was time for new vows.

REVIEWS

Romantic Times Review Quote

TOP PICK!

"Cheryl Wyatt infuses A Soldier's Promise (4.5) with kindness, compassion and love. Plus, each character in this strong story is multilayered. When young Bradley, a boy dying of cancer, writes to the Air Force Pararescue team, he gets to meet jumper Joel Montgomery, who connects with Bradley and feels an instant and shared attraction to the boy's teacher, Amber Stanton. This absolutely fantastic debut novel proves that while challenges and boundaries are not always easily resolved, they're definitely worth the work."

---Robin Taylor-Romantic Times Reviewer

BORDERS/BOKSAMILLION.COM QUOTE:

"Wyatt pens a warm, romantic tale in which a USAF pararescue jumper teams with a special needs teacher in order to make a seriously ill child's wish come true. As they bond over the child's plight, they also find themselves falling in love."

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

1. You've chosen pararescue jumpers as the principle heroes in your new series. This is also your first book. Congratulations! What gave you the inspiration for this story?

I have been fascinated with pararescue jumpers (PJs) and what they do for years. When I heard Jason Cunningham's story, it inspired me to write about these brave men who risk their lives "So others may live.". He died trying to save other soldiers. I love the PJ creed because it reminds me (on a much smaller level) of what Jesus did for humanity in dying to save us. The fact that they are so elite and are required to go through rigorous Special Forces training and that not many make it through that, commanded my respect. Not many people have heard of PJs. So I wanted to feature them in a series. My only disappointment is that many of the rescue scenes have been cut on revisions because the high-action detracts from the romance. I'd wanted to show what PJs do and how they stand apart from other careers. My editor realizes this so the next book or two should have more actual rescue scenes in it so people can actually see what they do. I do alter some things for the protection of the Airmen, such as I intentionally describe aspects of their uniform wrong so they can't be duplicated by someone with ill intent who may happen across one of my books.

Also, this particular story line was inspired by two friends who lost their daughters to leukemia after valiant battles. The thing I kept thinking all through their heart-wrenching plight and flight was how incredibly courageous their little girls (ages 8 and 9) were, even up to the moments of their deaths.
Talking to their mothers, who were literally living every mother's nightmare, I realized one thing: If courage could cure cancer, these two girls' faith and fight alone would have eradicated it from this earth.

So, to honor these girls' memories and their courage in the face of this devastating illness, I decided to write about a little boy with cancer. Only in my story, I could control the outcome. You'll have to read the book to find out the ending, but suffice it to say that I'd hoped and prayed with everything in me that Brandy and Nanette's precious girls' story would have ended as happily as did Bradley's, Joel's, and Amber's in A Soldier's Promise. In fact in a sequel, I have a secondary character mention that very quote, only he says it in regards to Bradley, the child suffering cancer in the book.

If courage could cure cancer, that child's fight and faith alone would have eradicated it from the earth.

I wrote this book from my heart for every family and every child who has had to face childhood cancer.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced the characters of Joel and Amber? What aspects became traits that were theirs and theirs alone?

The whole orphan aspect is definitely from my heart. The fact that Joel went on a humanitarian mission to Asia was based on my trip to south India in 2005 following the tsunami. Amber's trait of running every day is definitely hers. But since I was in a wheelchair and on a walker during much of the revision in this book, I made her be able to do things I couldn't and was frustrated about at the time. So she ran every evening at 6 and I got it out of my system, since I couldn't even bear weight on my operative leg to walk. LOL! The fact that Amber has a heart for abandoned things also comes from me. Joel's sense of loyalty and humor probably came from some aspects of my experience and character. But his bravery and struggles with unforgiveness toward his uncle, and his difficult childhood, as well as Amber's dad being gone all the time were completely foreign to me. It was hard to write about their pasts because my upbringing was far different. We had some tough times as any family does, but my parents pressed through it and we're still a family. A strong family at that. Amber's family...how I portrayed them in Joel's eyes at the hospital...is how my family is. Willing to champion one another's dreams and work at relationships, etc. You'll have to get the book to know the rest. LOL!

3. What themes exist in A Soldier's Promise that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

There was a whole theme with the yellow flowers that I hope people pick up on. They're prophetic perennials (LOL) in a sense because they wilt as Bradley gets sicker. None of the other children's flowers n the class are dying. Teacher Amber is distraught about this. Joel mentions to Amber in an early scene that she may want to transplant the flower in better soil and suggests that maybe it will thrive then. These flowers represent Bradley, and Joel's statement actually foreshadows something that happens later on in the book. Folks will have to read the book to find out what. Big grin.

The whole promise aspect was an accident. I didn't realize that theme until the vision team at Steeple Hill asked me what I'd think about A Soldier's Promise being the title. They summed it up better than I could. LOL!

4. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

Most difficult part is eeking out the mess draft. Getting the actual bones of the story down. And the synopsis. Once that part is finished, it's more enjoyable. But eeking that first draft out feels like torture by sugar sometimes. Reminds me of those old washing machines where the women had to push the clothes through these tight rollers and s-q-u-e-e-z-e the dirt out. It was hard work and time consuming and took a lot of effort. That's what pushing the rough draft out feels like to me. LOL!

My favorite part is the layering. Sharpening sensory perception. Deepening point of view. Thinking of hooks. Layering in a strong core of emotion. Finding just the right words for a particular scene or sentence. Creating vivid word pictures that are unique. I also love turning stereotypes on their heads and making the book be as anti-cliche as possible. I like to place my characters in comedic situations too or have them say unexpected things that will catch my reader off guard and help them genuinely laugh.

5. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

My next book comes out in March, 2008, and can be pre-orderd now on most online booksellers. It is book two in my "Wings of Refuge Series" and titled A Soldier's Family. Book two features another Airman on Joel's (hero in A Soldier's Promise-book one-Wings of Refuge) team named Manny. We also revisit the fictional town of Refuge, Illinois in the story. Celia, the best friend and co-teacher of Amber (heroine-book one) is the heroine. Manny is in Refuge to recover from a skydiving accident, and he befriends Celia and her troubled teenage son. This story is about second chances and about believing in God's goodness, and also about not letting fear or guilt rule our decisions and outlook. For more info on when the rest of the books will release, readers can visit my Web site and sign up where it says, "Join Cheryl Wyatt Author Mailing List."

* * * * *

Thanks, Cheryl, for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE copy of A Soldier's Promise. If you simply wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post. Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname dot.com/net) or that it's available for viewing in your blogger profile. Wouldn't want you to miss out on winning a book. :)

This week, the contest is open to anyone worldwide.

* * * * *

Follow Cheryl on the rest of her blog tour:

Jan-23 Sally Bradley
Jan-24 Pattie Reitz, and her blog
Jan-25 Deena Peterson
Jan-26 Shauna Sturge
Jan-27 Dineen Miller
Jan-28 Marjorie Vawter
Jan-29 Donna Fleisher
Jan-30 Michelle Rodgers, and on ShoutLife
Feb-29 Margaret Daley

11 comments:

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Tiff,

Thanks so much for spotlighting me on your fabulous blog!

Was great to see you this past week.

Cheryl

Pamela J said...

I'm thrilled to get to be here and tell all of you what a great book this is. I have mine already and am looking forward to the next one out in March, so please do not enter me in the drawing... this time. I will be watching for drawings on the next one to be sure, or if I run into it in Wal Mart, I probably will snatch it up and not wait beyond reaching my easy chair at home to read it.
Pam

Julie Lessman said...

Cheryl Wyatt is a true talent! I am LOVING A Soldier's Promise and plan to pre-order the next book ASAP!!

Cheryl, you go, girl!!

Hugs,
Julie

windycindy said...

Hi, Thanks for the chance to win Cheryl's new book. I have read many good things about it! Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

The Surrendered Scribe said...

Thanks for introducing us to Cheryl and her book, I'm interested in reading more of her work. I am a CWG graduate as well. Sounds like she has a very bright future ahead of her!
jarduini (at) sbcbglobal (dot) net

http://thesurrenderedscribe.blogspot/

Maureen said...

I would love to win this book.

mce1011[at]aol.com

gammawfox said...

I would truly love to be entered in the contest for Cheryl's book. She seems like a really sweet person and I just want to read one
of here books. Thanks, Lela(gammawfox)

bubbysgammaw@peoplepc.com

sue h. said...

great interview...please enter me for the book drawing.

gbgnative@yahoo.com

Tiff (Amber Miller) Stockton said...

Cheryl's a wonderful gal and a great friend. Whoever wins this book is going to be doubly blessed, but even if you don't win, get a copy for yourself and enjoy the read. Great stuff from a talented new author.

Winner to be announced this coming Wednesday. Stay tuned!

Tiff (Amber Miller) Stockton said...

We have a winner, folks! And it's:

MAUREEN!

Congratulations. I've emailed you for your shipping information. Get that to me ASAP so Cheryl can mail out your FREE book.

Everyone else, check out the new spotlight up today. And don't forget to post a comment on Friday's spotlight. Drawing to be held tomorrow.

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Congrats, Maureen!

Everyone else...there's a drawing going on here on Tiff's blog for book two in Wings of Refuge...zip up and enter for a chance to win a copy of A Soldier's Family!

Thanks, Tiff for hosting me!

Hugs,
Cheryl