Hello, and happy Monday! Today’s guest (another online-turned-real-life friend, but I’ll let her tell you about that) kicks off our VERY LAST WEEK of Super-Duper September (insert super-duper sad face). Let’s meet Cheryl!
Me: Tell us a little bit about yourself, friend.
Cheryl: My name is Cheryl Pickett, I live just north of Detroit Michigan and my family story is a little different than most that have been featured so far. Instead of a house full of little ones, I have 3 sons by love and marriage (a.k.a. stepsons) who are 26, 23 and 21. The oldest works in emergency management, middle is a Marine currently stationed in North Carolina (has not been deployed yet) and the third is a senior in college majoring in theater. I have been a part of their lives though for about 15 years and I am very proud of the people they’ve grown up to be. My husband Dave has his own business teaching all things percussion.
As for me, I have done a variety of things over the past 6 years or so after working full time, getting laid off and hitting the job market just about when things fell apart. I’ve also done something writing related since 1999 at least part time.
Marla and I share a love of animals and zoos and we actually know each other because of a tweet. At some point in 2009 I was either doing research for my book or for promoting it and I saw a tweet from someone I follow about the 52 Zoos adventure. Had to check it out immediately! Later, when I found out they were doing their wrap up event in Columbus and needed donations for door prizes, my husband and I decided to take a road trip of our own. We’d wanted to visit the Columbus Zoo for ages but just hadn’t gotten there, so we thought how much fun it would be to be able to do that, plus meet some new Christian friends and kick off my book promotion too. The Tavianos are officially my first met online then met in real life friends.
Me: Tell us about your passion for writing, when/how it got started, and how your book(s) came to be.
Cheryl: Like my career path, my writing path has taken a variety of twists and turns. I wrote stories in grade school and even won a short story contest in high school. At some point though, I discovered I liked research and writing too so that started me on the non-fiction path I guess. After college, I didn’t write a whole lot until about 8 years later when I wanted to earn extra money and saw a job opening for a freelance writer for a local paper. I found two actually. I didn’t get the first one, but I got the second and wrote for that paper and a handful of others for a few years.
Somewhere around 2007, things were starting to slow down in the newspaper business and freelancing was getting a little harder. That’s when I started thinking about writing a book. I’ve always been a pretty avid reader, mostly non-fiction, and I thought it was a logical step from my freelance experience.
Long story short, my first book was ended up being about publishing. I couldn’t find a resource to answer many of the questions I had, so once I put all the puzzle pieces together, I figured I could help other future authors too. I launched that one in early 2009.
The book we’re featuring today could not be more different than that first one. Creation Inspirations: A New View of the World Around You is an activity and devotion book for families and kids ages 4 to 9 or so depending on the child. The main goal for it is to support families who needed an easy resource they can use at home to encourage their children’s faith. It’s also great for homeschoolers, church libraries and children’s ministries. It’s all based on animals and each section has some fun facts, a short devotion and an unplugged/tech free activity.
This one also came about differently than the first in that it was clearly a nudge from God that prompted me to write it. At first, I chose to ignore that nudge or prompting, whatever you want to call it. I acted a lot like Moses, saying things like “Lord, you can’t mean me, or I’m not the right person to write something like this”. This probably went on for at least a year.
In March of 2009 (after just launching the first book), I finally gave in and sat down to start my research. I know God had things in mind because about 3 months later, I had a rough draft done. I’m a good writer, but not necessarily fast so getting done that fast was not normal at all. I also had books in hand by September, which is also fast in the printed book world. I could not feel more blessed to be a part of what God has done with this book so far.
Me: Any other projects in the works?
Cheryl: Actually yes. Creation Inspirations will be a series of some kind. I haven’t started the next one yet, but I have been collecting information for at least a couple more. I’m pretty sure what the next topic will be. I’m also getting ideas for something to do with Christian witnessing. I thought of that topic a while ago too, but I’m getting stronger feelings that it might be time to act on it in the near future. Pretty sure I’ll be writing again soon.
Me: Any words of encouragement for aspiring writers out there?
Cheryl: Absolutely. The first thing would be if you have a sense that you are being led to a particular project, pay attention. A lot of people say they’d like to write “someday”. I say someday may never come and if you have a message to share or something to teach, it is your responsibility to do so. Also, there are so many ways to get a book out there now that there really aren’t many excuses for not doing it if you really want to. And that would be my last point. If you’re going to do it, take the project seriously, plan to have professional help if you intend to do more than give it away to friends and family. There’s no getting around it, a book is a lot of hard work, but the rewards are definitely worth the effort. I also plan to launch a brand new site for non-fiction authors authors-to-be very soon so lots of support is on the way!
Today, Cheryl is giving away a SIGNED COPY of CREATION INSPIRATIONS! It’d make a really great gift for that animal-loving kid in your life!