Our interview today is with Cheryl Rogers. Thanks Cheryl for being here and for agreeing to do this interview.
Answer: You can say I began preparing to write young adult mystery and adventure as a child, when I voraciously read Nancy Drew Mysteries along with The Hardy Boys, The Dana Sisters and every mystery I could lay my hands on. They made such an impact on my life that I decided to become a writer.
Because I wanted a practical writing career, I decided to pursue a career in journalism and worked for newspapers for many years. But when I was pregnant with our first child, I left the newspaper business.
Now, as a freelance writer, I am pursuing my first love, fiction, although I also enjoy writing nonfiction, working as a self-publishing assistant, and recording audiobooks.
Question: Tell us a little about your real (Non-writing) life, family, job, or church life. Does it give you inspiration for your writing? Does it get in the way of your writing, or are there times when you get help, from people or circumstances?
Answer: I grew up in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area of south Florida. Church was always something we did together as a family, every Sunday. But although I attended church regularly, I didn’t know God not until a serious illness gave me a real wakeup call. God found me, healed me and changed my life.
I realized I needed to use those talents and abilities he’d given me to serve him. He?s blessed me with a vivid imagination, but knowing him has led to even more inspiration and creativity not only to write books but to write songs and design Scripture posters and products (which I never expected to do).
Question: Have you done anything writing-related, but besides your books, that seemed to get a lot of positive response? Something that encouraged you?
Answer: When I left the newspaper industry, I learned desktop publishing and began working as a subcontractor for print shops designing and typesetting posters, booklets, stationery and business cards.
Later on, I realized my design skills had prepared me to self publish. I decided I would not wait for a publishing house willing to take a risk on a new writer. Using that same software, updated, I was able to produce print-ready book files. I quickly learned how to format for digital publishing as well.
By this time, God also had given me a number of Scripture songs which I had self published with a lot of help from my church’s worship leader at the time. That experience prepared me to record my own audiobooks.
Question: Tell us about your newest book. Make us want to read it.
Answer: I recently released Alone in the Woods, the second in my Bible Camp Mystery series for preteens and teens. It’s the story about a boy’s youth group who camp in the Florida backwoods and face all kinds of unexpected challenges that demonstrate biblical principles in action. In this book, they encounter a woman with a severe immune disorder who is living deep in the backwoods to avoid electricity. When two boys wander from the hiking trail and find her, her life is forever changed.
Answer: Many of my books encourage people to seek God, or surrender their lives to God. I love writing about those aha moments when people realize they need God. Many of my books are for preteens and teens, but I write for all ages. Some are fiction stories with messages, others have discussion questions and Scripture citations, still others are non-fiction. I have a devotions book, Fast track to Victory, A Christian Guidebook, plus a free seven-day Bible reading plan derived from it, Jump-Start Bible Study. A short teaching on how to really love and forgive others is called Trees Walking, A Guide to Truly Loving and Forgiving Others … and Ourselves.
Question: What ¡s your next project? Tell us so we can’t wait for it to come out!
Answer: I already have begun developing the plot of my third Bible Camp Mystery about Chet Harrigan, a former New York gang leader, and his boy’s fellowship, The Boy’s Den.
The group of novice campers are always in for more adventure than they bargained on, but they don’t quit! The third Bible Camp Mystery, a river adventure, is no different. The overnight canoe trip turns into a nightmare for Jeff and Chang when their canoe becomes separated from the pack as the river forks. Chet and another youth, Zack, beach their canoe on the island in the middle of the river, and drag it across to the other side to catch them. But the current whisks Jeff and Chang too far upstream, leaving the group split in three. Heavy rains and winds pummel them all as an unexpected tornado touches down nearby!
As always, the group is forced to live in faith as they grow in their relationship with God. They demonstrate the biblical path to salvation — and God?s mercy.
Question: What is your current WIP?
Answer: I am currently putting together a children/young adult anthology of short stories to encourage young people to live for God. I’ve had interest from contributors across the globe. The short stories will encourage young people to surrender their lives to God, accept the Holy Spirit and walk in obedience to God. The stories will teach important lessons from God?s word like: You can?t keep a secret from God, you should never wish ill on anyone and you should always choose the good. Through fictitious, the stories share very important truths and whet readers appetites for supernatural encounters. I expect this to be available as an ebook by Thanksgiving, with releases in paperback and audiobook following.
Question: How many books do you have out?
Answer: I currently have 18 titles, all available as ebooks. Many of them are short reads, which I believe are compatible with today?s busy lifestyle.
My devotions book, Fast Track to Victory, A Christian Guidebook, is available in print as well. Four are available as audiobooks including Lost in the Woods: A Bible Camp Mystery, Just Like Jonah Wail Tales, Just Like Jonah Wail Tales Workbook and The Lesson of Jonah: There?s a Price to Pay When You Disobey. More audiobooks are planned.
Question: What are your future projects?
Answer: I have a number of projects just waiting to come to life, including a devotions book for grandmothers based on Scripture and a book on combatting heart disease through prayer and natural means. I have a couple of testimonial books I?d like to do as well. I am hoping to gather some powerful testimonies from people who have defeated fear and/or experienced the power of prayer in their lives.
Question: What is your writing style?
In Journalism school, I was trained to keep it simple and write tight. Although I’m no longer a full-time reporter, for the most part I continue to write as I was trained for the fifth grade level. Even with fiction, I believe every word and character has a purpose.
Question: Are the characters/stories/scenes/etc. based on anything in real life?
Answer: The Bible Camp Mystery series is based on some very real experiences I had in the Central Florida backwoods. I know firsthand what it?s like to brave no-see-ums at dusk, find an alligator in my path on the hiking trail, run into a spider web hanging from a tree, or be in the woods during a Hurricane Watch. All of these happen in Lost in the Woods.
I also know the sound of deer snorting in the night, the solitude of the deep backwoods, the smell of smoke from a nearby forest fire, and the perils of paddling on the river with a tornado nearby.
Like Sandy in Alone in the Woods, I was delivered by God from Environmental Illness.
Cheryl Rogers publishes New Christian Books Online Magazine, a free online publication featuring the latest kingdom building books for children and adults. Songs from the Word
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