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A Conversation with Sheila Roberts, Author of STARTING OVER ON BLACKBERRY LANE (Life in Icicle Falls)

Thanks so much for agreeing to be with us today, Sheila!

Thank you so much for hosting me!

 

What 5 things should readers know about you?

I’m a chocoholic, I love to play games, I’m a Christian and my faith has gotten me through money struggles, health struggles and the loss of a child, I’m a cancer survivor (yes, you can beat this horrible disease!), and I would love to go on DANCING WITH THE STARS. (Don’t you think writers can be stars? I do!) Of course, I’ve reached the point where if I went on that show and went down for the splits I’d probably never get back up again, so maybe it’s a good thing they haven’t called. 🙂

Writers TOTALLY count as stars! I can’t believe the producers haven’t called on any yet…an oversight, surely.

 

Tell us all about your main characters—who are they? What makes them tick? Most importantly, what one thing would they need to have with them if stranded on a desert isle? 😉

One of my main characters, Cass Wilkes, has made an appearance in almost every book in my LIFE IN ICICLE FALLS series. This time, she gets a starring role. What would she take with her to that desert island? A man! The poor woman’s been divorced for years. As for Stefanie Stahl, food photographer extraordinaire, she’d take her camera. Hopefully, she’d be able to concoct some exotic dishes to photograph. As for their friend Stefanie Stahl, maybe she should take her husband. With the stress of remodeling, living in a grass hut on a desert island might be just what they need.

I’m with Cass—especially if my “man” came with a permanently charged Kindle. He would, right?

 

Where did the inspiration for this book come from?

I wish I could tell you something I read or saw or heard inspired it. But I can’t. It seems that for this book the ideas simply dropped into my head. It happens that way sometimes.

That’s awesome—I’m jealous 🙂

 

How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?

I’ve been writing since I was a little kid. The desire was always there in me. As for writing professionally? Well, I needed money and there wasn’t much of anything else I was qualified to do.

That works out well for you, then 🙂

 

What do you like best about being a writer? What is the most challenging part?

I love being in charge of my day, love my commute (under a minute from my espresso machine in the kitchen to my home office!), I love the fact that I get to earn a living making stuff up, love seeing a book come together; helping with the back cover copy, seeing the cover art for the new book, getting to host book signing parties and talk about the book. And I really enjoy meeting readers. I have the perfect job. Oh, except for deadlines. That’s the challenging part. If allowed, I think most of us writers would forever fool with a book. There’s always more you can do to make it better. But at some point, we have to turn it in and let it be what it will be. It seems like I’m always in a deadline crunch and I hate that.

Perfect answers! I have to admit, your commute beats mine—my walk is a full 4 minutes…

 

What are you working on right now? What can readers look for from you in the next year?

I’ve just turned in a Christmas book that will come out this coming November and I’m very excited about it. So, keep your eyes peeled for the last book in this series, CHRISTMAS IN ICICLE FALLS.

Great! Can’t wait!

 

What authors and/or books have inspired you?

I love reading books about writers and writing. Stephen King’s ON WRITING really resonated with me. I read a lot of biographies, and one about Erle Stanley Gardner, who wrote the Perry Mason novels, really impressed me. He started as a lawyer, writing in his spare time. This was back in the days of the manual typewriter (and those keyboards required strong fingers!). He would type until his fingers bled, bandage them, and go back to work. Not that I intend to type until my fingers bleed, but his story did drive home the importance of hard work and dedication. Most dreams remain just that unless you put in the work to make them come true.

I’ve read ON WRITING at least a half dozen times…and once I found out that he narrates the audiobook version, I listened to it two more!

 

What are you currently reading? What are your thoughts about it so far?

I recently finished GIRL ON THE TRAIN and was mesmerized by the writing. It was a depressing tale but I couldn’t stop reading. When you can’t step away from a book – now, that’s good writing.

I agree—I listened to it on audio, and for once wanted my walk to work to be longer so I had more time to “read” en route to work!

 

If you had to “sell” your book in a single Tweet, what would you say?

Maybe I would simply tweet my motto: Read Sheila for a Good Time. I hope that’s what readers have when they read me.

LOL, works for me, Sheila! Thanks again for stopping by!

 

About the Author:

Bestselling author Sheila Roberts has seen her books translated into over a dozen languages. Her novels ON STRIKE FOR CHRISTMAS and THE NINE LIVES OF CHRISTMAS were made into movies for the Lifetime and Hallmark channels. When she’s not hanging out with her girlfriends or dancing with her husband she can be found writing about those things near and dear to women’s hearts: family, friends, and chocolate.

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Title: STARTING OVER ON BLACKBERRY LANE
Author: Sheila Roberts
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Pages: 384
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Romance

Stefanie Stahl has a husband with renovation ADD. He can’t seem to finish anything he starts and her house is littered with his “projects.” If he doesn’t smarten up, she swears she’s going to murder him and bury him under the pile of scrounged lumber in the backyard.

Her friend Griffin James is suddenly single and thinking maybe she needs to sell her fixer-upper and follow her career bliss up the ladder of success, even if that scary ladder is clear across the country. Getting her place ready to sell proves harder than she originally thought. She needs help.

She’s not the only one. Cass Wilkes, their neighbor, has an empty nest—with a leaking roof. When her ceiling crashes in, she knows it’s time to do something. When Grant Masters offers his handyman services at a fund-raiser auction, the three women go in together to outbid the competition and win their man. (Cass’s friends think she should win Grant in a different way, too!) Now it’s time to make some improvements…in their houses and their lives.

 

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