Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Author Cheryl B. Dale, The Man in the Boat

Today's guest is author Cheryl Dale talking about her release, THE MAN IN THE BOAT, from MuseItUp Publishing.


Why don't you start with telling us a little about yourself? What genre do you write in and why?

Romantic suspense and mystery. My favorite reading is actually romantic mysteries without a Navy Seal/cop/FBI hero/heroine and without a huge emphasis on forensics, but there don’t seem to be many around. At least that I can find.

Tell me about your current book which you are promoting.

THE MAN IN THE BOAT is a romantic mystery. A woman goes to a lake cottage to decide whether or not she wants a divorce, but when a dying man rams his boat into the bank next to where she’s sitting, she suddenly has more problems than her marriage.

How long have you been writing?
Years and years. Decades.
What got you interested in writing, and what inspired you to write your first book?
I loved to read from the time I was in first grade. When I was twelve or thirteen, a neighbor said, “You like books so much, you ought to write one.” So I did.
Do you outline before you write? If not, what’s your initial process?

I have one or two crucial scenes that jump out at me. Then I have to figure out why the characters are there and what’s going on.

What comes first: the plot or the characters?
For me, it’s the plot. But the characters are the reason for the plot, so before the story’s finished, I have to know everything about them, too.
Which of your characters do you love/hate/fear/pity the most and why?

I know this goes against all current thinking (that characters must live and breathe and make you believe they’re real so that you fall in love with them), but they’re only characters. I enjoy them and have my favorites, but still, they’re characters. In the Boat book, I like the hero a lot because he seems not to take anything seriously but feels everything deeply. The heroine exasperates me because she’s about to end her marriage instead of realizing she needs time to get over the loss of a baby before chucking it all.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Revising. Takes forever. Like years.
Did your book require a lot of research? How long does it take to write a book for you?

I’m a slow writer. My first book was a historical (that didn’t deserve to be published and unless/until I redo it, won’t see the light of day) that sucked me in to the American Revolutionary period in the south. I’ve always enjoyed history and it gave me a chance to indulge myself. Which isn’t always good when you’re working on a manuscript. My next one was also a historical that took place during Charles II’s reign in England. Got sucked into it, too. Finally realized I’d better stick to contemporary. Except now I’m working on a vintage romantic mystery set in the 1960s. I’m trying hard to stick to the facts I need rather than digging further.

What are some of the challenges in your writing process?

Writing. The first draft is the hardest.

Describe your writing space.
Right now, I’ve turned an unused bedroom into my office, but anything works so long as I have a computer and chair.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Read, walk, travel, visit family and friends. Spend some quality time with my guy.
What books or authors have influenced your writing?

I’ve read so much and across so many genres it’s kind of hard to say. From Agatha Christie to Dick Francis to Tim Dorsey, Jane Austen to Georgette Heyer to Nora Roberts, Piers Anthony to Allen Dean Foster to  Joe Abercrombie, Zane Grey to Larry McMurtry to Cormac McCarthy, Mary Stewart to Kristin Hannah to Carol Goodman…and everything in between. I do prefer lightweight writers to acclaimed ones, however. I like to be entertained.

What do you see for the future of publishing and e-books?

Print books will never go away; too many people prefer them. But they’re going to be dwindling as e-books take up more and more of the market. The big box bookstores are not going to survive, but it seems to me this is a great opportunity for the local independents.

What are your current books out right now and what are the books coming up for release?

THE MAN IN THE BOAT is out in March. Also from MuseItUp, another romantic mystery, SET UP (July) and a gothic with paranormal elements, THE WARWICKS OF SLUMBER MOUNTAIN in November. Then I have a hardback from Five Star coming out in December, a light mystery: TAXED TO THE MAX.  I’m working on a sequel to that, too.

What is your marketing plan?

Darned if I know. The usual bookmarks and cards. Facebook, Linked-In, Goodreads, and all those groups. I have a lot of relatives/friends who’ve been waiting for another book since my first with Silhouette came out back in the 90s (TREACHEROUS BEAUTIES) and I’m counting on their spreading the word. I also belong to several groups that are supportive. I’ll pretty much do what I can to promote the book. Seems to me the best thing is to get as many books as possible out there so if someone likes one, they’ll recommend it to their friends and then buy more.

What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?

Don’t expect to make money and write the very best book you can.

Where can people learn more about you and your work?

My website is and it has a link to my blog at


After Steve (Stephanie) witnesses a wounded man drive his boat aground, she and her husband Mark become targets of unknown assailants.


He came up and without warning took my arm in a viselike grip that dragged me off balance. "You don’t think you’re going to tell me this bizarre story and then run away, do you?" The lulling cadence next to my ear lied. A threat lurked beneath the words.
For one terrible moment, his eyes looked out at me, fierce and accusing. "You can pull your head in like a turtle about some things, Steve. But not about this. You can’t shrug off a dying man like he’s a piece of driftwood. Come back here and tell me exactly what happened."
"I’m not pulling my head in and I’m not shrugging anything off." I whipped up anger at his contempt so I wouldn’t have to admit to myself that the man in the boat might have been dying. So I wouldn’t have to admit that Mark’s aggression frightened me. "You don’t know he was dying."
"You don’t know he wasn’t."
I didn’t want to concede that. "We’ll be late."
His fingers cut into my arm.
"You’re hurting me."
"I’m beginning to doubt anything’s capable of hurting you," he said brutally. "Come back to the car."
I froze. Never during our entire courtship and marriage had Mark treated me with anything but lighthearted solicitude bordering on old-fashioned chivalry. This man beside me was a stranger. I didn’t know whether to be angry or affronted.
Or–insane thought–afraid.


  1. I love mysteries and this is an intriguing premise to your story Cheryl, Good luck with your other releases too.

  2. It's always interesting to get inside a writer's head and see the thought processes that go into creating interesting stories and characters! And these definitely sound interesting!

    Can't wait to read "The Man in the Boat!"

  3. Good interview and good luck.

  4. I'll confess. Or offer a Declaration of Interest. I've known Lady Cheryl a while.
    Hmmm. Maybe I should say, she's known me a while. And not only not actually had me assassinated yet - she's far too perceptive for my own good :-P.
    So why say that? Well, because Lady C is both intiutive and perceptive. She's a strong and vibrant force in a number of writer groups I know - and an ace at reading those who are looking for help, and presenting that help effectively and in a way they can take positively. Which, to me, shows why her characters are both real and strong.
    Did I mention I like what she writes? A lot? Even though it's not my normal writing or reading genre? Ah. Well, you see, I like what she... Oh. Right. I did that already (blushes).
    Worthy done, wise one. And my thanks indeed to Lady Penny's page here for giving me a chance to be able to say that :-).

    The Idiot

    1. Thank you, Graeme! Stop blushing now.

  5. Graeme, you're so sweet! And I won't be hurt if you don't read this; I know it isn't your preferred genre.

    I intend to read your fantasy when it comes out from Muse though! Even though I already have, kind of, before it was born. I can't wait to laugh out loud again!

  6. Thanks, Shannon! Hope you like it!

  7. Hey Chery. - what a great interview! Your story sounds awesome and I wish you all the luck in the world. Look at all your books coming! Impressive!

  8. Anonymous, thanks for popping in!

  9. Thanks, Penny! How nice of you to comment!

  10. Oops. Just realized I should be replying to each post. Sorry, people!

  11. What a great interview! Congrats on the release and all the upcoming ones!

  12. Cheryl, it's a pleasure to host you today and to see so many of your friends and fans stopping by to wish you well.

    1. You're too kind to invite me, Penny! Thanks so much for having me!

  13. Such an exciting premise for a story, Cheryl! Congrats on the release. And all those other forthcoming books? You are one busy writer! Keep 'em coming. Best to you, Pat

  14. Terrific interview, and a great excerpt, Cheryl!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Trying again!

      Thank you, William! Glad to see you here!

  15. Congrats on your release and a great interview, Cheryl!!

  16. I'm no expert, but I think you have a winner. The concept is fascinating, and the excerpt very well done. Can't wait to read this one. Movie of Week for sure.

    1. Thank you, Joylene! And I see below that you were a winner! How great!

  17. Almost forgot. My book arrived Monday! Thank you, Penny!

  18. Joylene, thanks for letting me know. Joylene was the lucky winner of Hidden New Jersey, offered by one of my earlier guests.

  19. Cheryl--this sounds great! I'll be looking for it.

    Sorry it's taken me so long to comment--I rarely go to WD anymore, and William never mentioned it....

    @%^$#&^ captchas!