Ceri: I was born in Minnesota but have lived in New Hampshire since the age of 11 (with time spent in Maine, New York, Florida and two weeks in Des Moines, IA that I would rather not think about.) I started writing when I was 12, but while I knew then I wanted to be a writer when I grew up, I also wanted to be an Olympic Grand Prix horseback rider, a museum curator, an actress and a paleontologist. I actually did go to college and majored in theater, but I decided I didn’t want to live in either New York City or Los Angeles. Now I’m settled in a small southern New Hampshire town with my husband, four kids, two cats and a dog. I work for a magazine publisher but I’m still working hard to become a successful writer. That’s the only dream that really stuck.
Callie: And a wonderful dream it is, Ceri, since we share it with so many. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Ceri: Everywhere. Music mainly, and daydreaming. I love to imagine doing something I’ve always wanted to do, be someone I wish I could be. This comes out mainly in my horse-oriented stories. I have also gotten a lot of ideas from writing prompts. I have a Yahoo group that used to always post a few prompts a week. Either a sentence or a scene and I let it flow from there. That’s where my book Where One Road Leads came from. Once two friends and I decided to each write a story that had a lighthouse in it. From that was born Sweet Forever. Sometimes I come up with a title that I love and I build a story around that. There’s inspiration everywhere!
Callie: Lighthouses are my favorite things. I have a collection of them (not genuine size, of course). What does your family think of your writing?
Ceri: They’re very supportive actually. Okay, the kids are still young enough that their needs have to come first (though there are times when they make their own meals because I get going on a story-and they don’t complain too much when I get sidetracked and we end up eating dinner at 7pm. They know very well that November means NaNoWriMo and are super about leaving me be to meet my goal. Sometimes I do have to wrestle my computer away from one of them. Pesky homework comes first rule.
Callie: I hear ya. My daughter has her own laptop, but for some reason, she’s always on mine. What are you working on now?
Ceri: I’ve got a lot of irons in the fire. I always do. Currently I’ve got a story called No Going Back in the crit process. It’s a story about a reformed Hollywood brat (picture Paris Hilton or the Kardashians) who moves to a tiny New Hampshire town to start a new life with her two young daughters, away from her abusive husband. In NH she discovers a hunky neighbor who rescues abused and neglected horses, a town full of quirky residents and a lovelorn ghost who died sixty years earlier.
I also have about half a dozen other stories in various stages of completion. I wish I had all the time I needed to sit down and finish one, then move on to the next. I have at least 4 “complete” manuscripts that need editing, have one that is so close to done it’s crazy. There’s not enough time in the day!
Callie: I just loved No Going Back. That’s one advantage to being in a crit group. You get to read all these wonderful stories before they’re published. Okay, now the biggie: Do you love or hate writing sex scenes?
Ceri: It’s definitely a Love/Hate relationship. Sometimes I feel uncomfortable writing them, like I’m peeking into the bedroom of two people who should have some privacy, but I know it’s something that needs to be done. Sex sells. I don’t write erotica (at least not yet) but I can write a good steamy scene. I do, however, have a document that has all kinds of descriptions that helps me out when I get stuck. LOL
Callie: I like my copy of The Art of Sensual Loving. It’s illustrated, so I can keep all those body parts in the right place, lol. Finally, tell us about your reaction when you got the first “call”
Ceri: My first real “call” was actually a letter. I sent my first query to Harlequin (that’s always been my dream-to be published by them). I remember the day I got a letter from them. I decided to open in in the car because I didn’t want to open it around people-didn’t want to cry in front of them. Imagine my shock when the editor requested the full manuscript!! I screamed with joy. It’s a real good thing I was in the car I guess. I whooped and hollered all the way to the store and back. Ultimately they turned the manuscript down, but I got a very “positive” rejection letter from them. They didn’t tell me to quit my day job. So I guess I was as happy as I could be given the circumstances.
Callie: I agree. Positive rejection letters soften the blow somewhat.
I want to thank you for being with us here today, and sharing a bit of your life with us. You can catch Ceri hanging around her website: www.cerihebert.com, or commenting on Facebook or Twitter – @CeriHerbert.