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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Authors To Watch: Sheila Roberts, author of 'Starting Over on Blackberry Lane'






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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Tell us a little about yourself.

Before I do that, let me just thank you for allowing me to hang out here with you and your peeps. Without readers where would we authors be?! As to myself, well, let’s see. Happily married for about a million years. The kids are grown so no one bursts into my home office while I’m writing needing me to settle an argument, help with homework, or tell them what we’ve got in the house to snack on. I kind of miss those days. I love dancing, traveling and chocolate. Have the best family in the world, fabulous friends and a wonderful church. As most of you, I’ve had both hard times and good. I’ve seen two of my books made into movies and have my fingers crossed that there will be more at some point in the future.  I’m a cancer conqueror and I’m thankful to still be around telling stories. And I’d say that about sums me up.

When did you begin writing?

I was writing stories when I was a kid. I’d even put myself to sleep at night telling myself bedtime stories.

Describe your writing process. Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? When and where do you write?

I like to pre-plot. My publisher appreciates knowing what the heck I’m up to, so I always start out with a synopsis. I add scenes and make changes along the way, but the bones of the story are always there before I begin.

Can you tell us about your most recent release?

STARTING OVER ON BLACKBERRY LANE is about, well, starting over – in careers, in relationships, in life. I put together three women friends, all in need of change and threw in a hunky handyman just to make things interesting. One of the characters, Cass Wilkes, has been making appearances in almost all the LIFE IN ICICLE FALLS books, and this time around she gets a starring role.

Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?

Probably Cass. I have a soft spot for her. She’s been a single mom for years, and has built a successful business. She’s a baker and a little on the pudgy side. Hmm. I think there’s a lot of me in Cass.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?

For me the most challenging part of each book is making sure I meet my deadline. Books are slotted into release schedules and everything must be done in a timely manner. This means the creative process has to move right along. Sometimes that makes my creative process a little cranky. J

What projects are you currently working on?

I just finished a Christmas story that will be out next November. This will be the last book in the LIFE IN ICICLE FALLS series and I think I’m going out with a bang. At least I hope I am. It’ll be worth the price just for the recipes! So, look for CHRISTMAS IN ICICLE FALLS this coming holiday season.

What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?

Learn all you can about the craft of writing. Buy books on writing, check them out from your local library. Attend writing conferences and learn about the business. Many authors are self-publishing these days. Resist the temptation to rush into that. Make sure you have a well-written book before you put it out there for all the world to see. (The best guarantee of future sales is a good book!) For most of us this is not an overnight success kind of career, so give yourself permission to take your time and do it right. And have fun with the whole process!

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