Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
My name is TK Cherry and I’m a new indie romance author. My debut novel is titled “A Nocturnal Rendezvous.” It’s a standalone and the first of three books in a series called Nighttime Cravings. It releases June 7, 2019, on Amazon.
What is/are the story(ies) behind your book(s)?
Well, I’m a sucker for ‘happily ever afters’. The last time I read a book that was a beautiful love story with a sad ending, I cried for days. So, I guess it’s safe to say that for the foreseeable future, all of the stories I put out will have happy endings.
What inspires/inspired your creativity?
Life. Usually a conversation with a friend. For example, I had a cubical neighbor at work two years ago who told me a hilarious story about her and her aunt. That conversation ended up inspiring the synopsis for “A Nocturnal Rendezvous.”
How do you deal with creative block?
I really haven’t had severe bouts with creative block. Instead, I’ll have moments where things just don’t flow as well, or if I’m at a part of the story where it’s a bit slow. Sometimes I’ll just force myself to do a brain dump, and then I’ll go back later and read what I’ve written. Usually with a rested pair of eyes, I might get a new spark and then better ideas will generate out of that.
What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
I have a tendency to write how I might speak to someone, which means using a lot of filler words. I didn’t know that I was doing it until my editor yelled at me for overusing words such as ‘really’ and ‘very’. During this process of putting my first book together, I’ve been forced to choose my words carefully. I’m certain my second book won’t have as many faux pas prior to editing.
Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
Titles have always come easy for me. Although this is my first published book, I’ve been a writer for decades. So, I’ve conjured up many titles without breaking a sweat. My brain is just weird like that. I guess the best piece of advice I can give on choosing a book title is using the well-known business concept of ‘elevator speech’. Summarize in one sentence what your book is about, and then shrink that sentence down anywhere from five words to two. The thesaurus is your friend, so use it to substitute some of those words. Or maybe there is one word that encapsulates the whole sentence. Finally, I think it’s important for the title of your book to mean something, and not just sound pretty or cool.
As far as covers go, that was the one thing I struggled with the most. However, I have an awesome cover artist named Jeanette. She and I worked very closely to craft the perfect cover for my debut. As to how it came together, I thought about location, so that drove the backdrop. Then I had to search for the perfect model who was the essence of my character. Once I had those two elements, Jeanette combined them and produced a wonderful result.
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
I have yet to experience negative reviews as a published author, but I have years of experience with them as a fanfiction writer. I find that we better handle bad reviews over time. Today, I have a way of compartmentalizing them. There are those that are mean for the sake of being mean. Those get ignored right away. But usually if they are critical but not nasty, I often learn something from them. I always remind myself that the not-so-positive reviews are just as important as the positive ones. It’s the critical reviews that help you grow as a writer.
How has your creation process improved over time?
I have a certain rhythm and process that I stick to. I have Scrivener on my computer, but I haven’t quite gotten used to it yet. I’m still a Word and Excel girl. I usually lay down my synopsis in Word, and suddenly, dialog will pop in my head. I’ll immediately jot it down. Another cool thing I use for dialog is the Voice Recorder app on my iPhone, which has a decent transcription capability. And Excel is my go-to for timelines and character profiles, which I use to avoid plot holes. I also set daily word count goals for myself, even beyond NaNoWriMo. I write linearly, for the most part, but I often hop around different chapters when I think of a good scene.
What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?
The best—Actually starting the book, setting a timeline, and sticking to it until completion. I had my alpha reader dream team assembled by January 1st, and my 350-page novel was completed around the first week of March. It was hard work (I have a fulltime job, by the way), but everything just seemed to come together nicely.
The worst—After finishing my book, I asked for help in a large beta readers group on Facebook. I ended up connecting with someone who had no interest in reading my book at all in the first place. It was a very negative and complicated situation, and I vowed to never bring in another beta that I didn’t know ever again.
Most surprising—Ironically, it’s tied directly to my negative experience with the beta readers group. I did end up getting in contact with someone else who didn’t have ulterior motives. Their only goal was to read books and help out indie authors as a super reader. This beta was such a breath of fresh air and truly made up for my earlier mishap. This beta taught me a lot about what readers expect and what I should prepare myself for in terms of potential bad reviews.
Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
Before transitioning over to publishing, I’ve been very lucky that my goal and my readers’ goal have mostly lined up. I think it’s key that your readers understand who you are as a writer so that they know what they can expect out of you. Maybe they just know to ‘expect the unexpected’. There are many readers that enjoy the element of surprise. However, I feel that you can only push the envelope so far in the romance genre. If you write your main characters in such a way that your readers fall in love with them, you’d better treat them right in the end, or else your readers will give you an earful.
What role do emotions play in creativity?
Emotions are at the center of everything that I write. For example, I lost my mother to breast cancer two years ago. Not long after her passing, I was writing a scene in one of my stories where the matriarch had serious complications after surgery. The family didn’t know if she would live or die. I was able to project my real feelings into these characters standing at their mother’s bedside.
Do you have any creativity tricks?
I watch a lot of YouTube videos. Sometimes they are the most random clips, but they definitely get the creative juices flowing. I actually got an idea for one of my recent projects from a talk show clip. It’s also a good tool if you hit a creative wall while in the middle writing. One quick search on YouTube or Google can open up so many doors and get the creative ideas flowing again.
What are your plans for future books?
Well, I have plans to put out one or two more books before the end of 2019. I actually have five other stories sitting on my shelf, ready to be written and published. I do have a demanding full-time job, so it gets pretty tricky juggling that along with my writing and my family/friends. However, I’m glad to be writing. I’m thrilled to finally say that I’m a published author.
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
· I finally won an HQ Trivia game this year. It was only a few pennies. The category was old school hip hop.
· I can go weeks or even months without ever turning on the television. I’m usually working on a writing project or I’m reading. My TV drought recently came to an end once the final season of Game of Thrones started to air.
· I turned 44 years old on 4/4 this year. I’m not ashamed to tell my age because I often get confused for my son’s sister.