Below is an interview with my friend and debut author Cheryl Wyatt. Cheryl has a heart of pure gold, and I think you’ll see some of that in the answers she gives. Enjoy!
1) Your heart for the military is clear in this book. Where did that come from?
It came from an insatiable curiosity that grew in me over the years of Vietnam being such a taboo subject in our home. My dad, having served as a Marine there, wouldn’t talk about it until recently when I found out he’d been MIA for months and wounded in action during the most brutal era of the Tat Offensive in Danaing. Thankfully, he was rescued and recovered partially on a US military ship then transferred to a hospital in Japan to complete his recovery. He’d also contracted such a severe case of Malaria that he nearly didn’t survive. I would sneak in his closet while he was at work and go through his military stuff. I’m sure that’s where it started. In addition, I’ve been raised to have a high respect for our military and to hold those who serve in high regard. We’re a very patriotic family.
2) My father served in Vietnam and the first Gulf War, too. He didn’t talk about Vietnam until after the Gulf War. He had boxes of beautiful slides that he hadn’t pulled out. It was so awesome to get to see those. Now back to your book. You write with a very vibrant style, lots of action and description. Does that come naturally or did you have to develop that style? If you had to develop it, what did you do?
Thank you! Coming from an author as fabulous as you…I’m truly honored by your kind words! I didn’t actually recognize that as my style before you mentioned it. LOL! So I guess some of it comes naturally. I think it helped a lot that I’d taken writing courses through the Institute of Children’s Literature first, and then later took courses through Jerry Jenkins’ Christian Writer’s Guild. I’m convinced that the building blocks that program, and my instructors’ critiques, provided me with a solid foundation for my fiction today. Also, I like to write in Deep POV, so the reader gets to actually experience the story instead of just read the story. I also strive to not only endear them to my characters but to actually get them in that character’s mind, heart and skin. I try not to go overboard with setting description because that can slow a story down. But I do like to make sure I’m using all five senses plus automomic and parasympathetic character response in every scene. I try to write the setting so the reader feels like they’re right there in it.
3) If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you go and who would you take with you?
I would be back in India loving on the tsunami orphans. I went there in 2005 and when I came back, part of my heart stayed there. I think about those precious children every single day. I’d take my own children with me, and my husband, so they can see how other children in the world live. And hopefully, they’d come back with more of a heart for the orphans too. We’d all pack two suitcases each, fill them with a few clothes for us in one suitcase then fill the rest of the suitcases full of toys for the orphans. They love chocolate! One orphanage I went to had 1 toy (ONE!) for 375 children and they all shared it. I’d take a ton of pens because they’d never seen a pen write on paper before. They thought it was magic. LOL! I’d take a suitcase full of pens and crayons and paper and leave it all there, including the suitcases.
Thanks so much for having me, Cara!
BACK COVER BLURB
“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.