Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. Mahatma Gandhi

Cheryl Matthynssens Interview Published on: 22, Jun 2016

Tell us about your life, your struggles, your passion.

Wow, well I am 50 so that is not really a short story. My struggles? My life has been pretty good to me. Until two years ago, my struggles were pretty calm and hardly note worthy. Two years ago I receive a diagnosis of Colon cancer. Since then I have had seven surgeries as it had metastasized. The struggle isn't having cancer, that is what it is. The struggle has been to remain centered and focused during it. Okay, the surgeries are a really bummer too. I have managed to put three novels and one children's book out since I was diagnosised. I feel pretty good about this considering some days the brain just can't focus while on chemotherapy.

How long have you been writing and what inspired you to become a writer?

I have been writing in some capacity ever since I learned to write. I was reading just as much once the ability to see what I read in my mind's eye manifested. I produced a play as early as the fourth grade. I focused everything around becoming a writer, even in college. Then, when I graduated, I stopped writing. The fear of rejection overpowered my desire to put my writing out for more than friends. I didn't write for almost twenty years. One day a mentor of mine asked me what I had always wanted to do. The word write was almost immediately. This mentor pressed me that this is my inner self speaking and I could not ignore the strong desire. I shared my fear and her next words have stuck with me ever since. You can be 50 and a writer... or you can be 50 and not a writer. The choice is yours, but if you never try... you will never know. I have been writing non-stop since that conversation.

While choosing a name for your character, what aspects do you consider that determines what you finally call them?

I usually have a mind's eye of the character's basic traits and looks. I look for a name that helps cement that or is counter opposed to it. Take my death mage as an example. He is mono-toned, sharp in intellect and skilled at what his magic allows. He has the potential to be much more then a side character. So I simply named him Jon. My villain's name seemed cold and evil to me, so I apologize to all the Luthian's in the world who are not cold and evil.

Do authors in general and you in particular plan series beforehand or do they just happen?

I am what they call a pantzer for the most part. I just sit down and write. I do have an end goal, but the characters really lead me there. That sounds crazy to non-writers, but those that write as I do know exactly what I mean. Sometimes the story just seems to fall out of your fingers to somewhere you planned never to go. For example, I had made a villain, but I liked the character concept so much that he morphed into a bit of a hero. Considering he is a rogue, an assassin and leads a crime organization, this was a surprise to both of us I think. I am planning the last of the series for The Blue Dragon's Geas, but that is to make sure I catch all the loose ends in the final novel.

How do you choose which stories to tell?

I have so many stories to tell, that this is really hard. I usually grasp the idea that I can visualize. I am just really getting started in my writing career, cancer willing. My children stories have been a choice of messages that I wanted to leave for my grandchildren. The Blue Dragon's Geas has been in my mind's eye as long as I have been a game master for Dungeon and Dragons... about 20 years or more.

Do you have a “reader” in mind while writing?

Dragon lovers... that is the reader I am targeting. My dragons are more then feral beasts in need of killing. I even started a site called the Society of Enlightened Dragonologists. It is at dragonologists.com. It is for fun, and research. It is growing slowly. I can't put as much into it as I would like as writing has priority.

How do you get reviews? Which was the best review you ever got?

I do not purchase reviews for the most part. I promote my books and rely on the reader's revelations. I give away books occasionally to get those. This means my review growth has been slow, but I know they are unbiased reviews. I am cautious of paid reviews as I don't know if that is what they really think or are just writing up promotional material. All my reviews on Goodreads are real readers. I believe all but one of my Amazon reviews are as well.

What does the word “story” signifies for you?

A story is a journey of growth... entertaining the reader through the eyes of the protagonist. A good story will provoke an emotional response, from cheering on the hero to the tears of a lost character. If a book doesn't evoke an emotional connection, to me it is just a book, not a story. I think of myself as more of a storyteller. This means that those just looking for a quick hack and slash sword and sorcery book tend not to like my work. Those that are looking for a story with meaning, depth of world building and characters, tend to like my work more.

Are you currently working on anything?

I am currently working on the last novel to complete the Blue Dragon's Geas. The cover mock up is done, the bones are laid out, so I am in the first round of putting meat into it. I write at least three drafts.

Do you have a special time or place for writing?

I don't so much have a special time, but a special music. I tend to use music from movies and such in my background. If I am writing a fighting scene, I have that dramatic score from such scenes in other movies. If it is a death scene, I have a different play list. This keeps me motivated and on task for the most part. I prefer to write around 1 pm. I am not a morning person and my evenings are devoted to either family/friends or to roleplaying on World of Warcraft.

How do you promote your work? How will QuotesRain help you in your book promotion and sales, would you like to refer this platform to your author friends?

I look for sites such as QuotesRain. I find that these sites with a little personal investment into my success tend to be more effective then those that bury you deep in their website after the first month.

Would you like to share something with your readers and fans?

I am a down to earth person. I love meeting my readers and am open to book signings and speaking at events across the United States. I love speaking and sharing my love of fantasy with others. I also enjoy roleplaying with my readers. So if you are into a dark roleplay, come find me on the Silverhand server of World of Warcraft. If interested in seeing what we roleplay, we have a site at ordotenebrae.com.

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