I live in Northern California with my husband and two children. When I'm not writing, I like spending time with my family, watching movies, hiking, reading, and having adventures. I especially love spending time at the beach. BREATHING, which comes out April 16th, is my debut novel.
What got you started writing? What brought you to YA?
Writing started for me as a place to get down on paper everything that was cluttering my mind, a place to be creative and explore who I was. Years later, I started writing fiction and found that most of the characters that came up were teens. I think the teenage years are such an intense time of life, when everything feels so huge and so much seems to be happening. That's what draws me to write about it. Plus, I think there's a part of me that will always be about fifteen years old.
Tell us about your most recent/ upcoming release?
Breathing is the story of Savannah Brown, who is 15 and a hopeless romantic (although she prefers to be called a hopeful romantic.) She falls in love with an older boy named Jackson and becomes convinced that he is the reason for the improvement in her severe asthma. When he has to move back home, Savannah is forced to learn to breathe on her own. It's a romantic story about following your dreams and finding your way.
Do you plot out in advance, or just start writing and see where things go from there?
I don't do any plotting out or outlines ahead of time. I usually start with a character and a setting and then just write. I will do character sketches along the way to help me know more about each character. (Some of these can be found on my website in the bonus materials section http://www.cherylreneeherbsman.com)
Many authors have told me their characters talk to them, and sometimes even have different ideas of where the story should go than the author. Do you hear your characters?
Definitely. Hearing the characters is an important part of the process for me. I heard Savannah in my head more clearly than any other character I've ever written before. That helped a lot to make the story, setting, and characters come across as real. I try to step out of the way as much as possible and let the characters lead.
Who is your favorite character (of your own)?
I couldn't possibly choose. That's like asking a parent to choose who her favorite child is. You love each of them differently.
What hobbies do you have when you're not writing?
I love to read, especially YA. I enjoy hiking, hanging out with my family, going to movies, trips to the beach.
If you had not become a writer what would you have done instead?
I would always be a writer. I might not have been lucky enough to become a published author, but I would always write. If I hadn't been able to publish, as my kids got older, I probably would have been making a living in an area of counseling. But writing would always be a part of my life.
Where can readers find you online?
You can find me online at my website
on myspace http://www.myspace.com/cherylreneeherbsman
the class of 2k9 http://www.classof2k9.com/
the 2009 Debs http://community.livejournal.com/debut2009/
Authors Now http://www.authorsnow.com/
Your turn. What question do you have for readers of Want My YA?
Here's my question for you: What element in a book most makes you want to turn the page: Is it suspense, caring about what happens to the character, humor, romance, emotion, or something else? What makes you turn the page?
Thanks again Cheryl for stopping by. :) I know I'm going to be looking for Breathing when I get to work. It sounds like a great book.