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“After all the edits and tweaks, I fall in love with it again”: Interview with Sheila Roberts, author of Angel Lane

Sheila Roberts

Joining us today is multi-published Sheila Roberts, author of the women’s fiction novel, Angel Lane (St. Martin’s Press).

Writing since 1989, she has had twenty-four books published both in fiction and non-fiction under different names and in different languages. Her books are making best-seller lists on a regular basis and her novel On Strike for Christmas is becoming a Christmas perennial, and will be in the stores again this year for the third year in a row. When she’s not speaking at conferences or hanging out with her girlfriends she can be found writing about those things near and dear to women’s hearts: family, friends, and chocolate.  You can visit her website at www.sheilasplace.com.

Thank you for this interview, Sheila. Can you tell us what your latest book, Angel Lane, is all about?

Sheila: Angel Lane is a about three friends who decide to bring their community together by launching a grass roots good deeds campaign . . . and quickly learn that no good deed goes unpunished. Poor Emma Swanson helps the town mooch and slashes prices at her quilt shop to the point of teetering on extinction. Sarah Goodwin, who is going through granddaughter withdrawals, decides to offer a baking class for local little girls and winds up with a future baker who has very sticky fingers. Oh, yes, and she also finds her new neighbor the lounge lizard is determined to mistake neighborliness for a bad case of Desperate Housewives disease. Jamie Moore, who owns the local chocolate shop, is determined not to fall in love again, but well, you know what they say: never say never. Lost cats, mixed signals, and backfiring good deeds – is it worth it? Absolutely.

Angel LaneIs this your first novel?  If not, how has writing this novel different from writing your first?

Sheila: No. I’ve been doing this for a while. One thing never changes: my process. I start out loving the book, reach a point where I realize I’m working and hate the book, then, finally, after all the edits and tweaks, I fall back in love with it all over again. I’m proud of this book and think it’s both fun and encouraging. In short, a good read! (And I must say, the recipes are fabulous.)

Q: How difficult was it writing your book?  Did you ever experience writer’s block and, if so, what did you do?

Sheila: Like I said, it was work. But I didn’t experience writer’s block, and I think that is because I had pretty well planned out where I was going. I think writer’s block is often a case of getting lost in your own story. Really knowing where you want to go helps avoid getting lost. Not that things don’t change along the way, but still, when you’ve got your route mapped you can afford to stop and explore some side roads.

Q: How have your fans embraced your latest novel?  Do you have any funny or unusual experiences to share?

Sheila: Too early to know that. I sure hope they will like it. I will say that some of the experiences in the book were based on my own. I have a scene in the book where one of my characters gets bitten by a dog when she’s passing out invitations to the organizational meeting for the “Put the Heart in Heart Lake” campaign. Well, guess who that happened to! I was going around the neighborhood passing out fliers for our first ever community picnic and got bitten by someone’s dog. I felt almost as badly for the dog’s owner as I did for me. (Almost.) The poor woman was mortified. Needless to say, that was the last flier I passed out. Ever.

Q: What is your daily writing routine?

Sheila: I work hard but I don’t have set office hours. I usually get started around mid-morning and then log in about four hours. Or five. Or six. It all depends. I always make a point to schedule my writing around my social life. In September I traveled around Germany with my husband and son. I sat in the backseat and worked on my new book, writing it out long hand in a notebook. This beat looking out the window at all the crazy drivers roaring around us trying to kill us.

Q: When you put the pen or mouse down, what do you do to relax?

Sheila: Oh, wow. So much. I love tennis, volleyball and dancing. I love to go to chick flicks and play games with my girlfriends and snuggle on the couch watching the tube with my hubby. I love to entertain and read and I am addicted to “Dancing with the Stars”.

Q: What book changed your life?

Sheila: The Bible.

Q: If someone were to write a book on your life, what would the title be?

Sheila: Dingbats Among Us.

Q: Finish this sentence: “The one thing that I wish people would understand about me is…”

Sheila: Gosh, I don’t think I can answer that. I’m pretty much an open book. Oh, wait. How about this? I tend to speak before I think. (When you talk as much as I do this can happen.) Sooo, if I ever say something dumb, know I’m not really dumb – I’m just not thinking. There is a difference, right? J

Thank you for this interview, Sheila.  I wish you much success on your latest release, Angel Lane!

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Books! Books! Books!

Well it’s that time of year again – summer is in full swing!  It’s buzzing here on the island – boats, jet skis, people riding bikes, you name it, are all whizzing by my front door.  It’s crazy, I’m telling you, and in a couple of weeks, I’ll be vacationing in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina…just can’t get away from the ocean, lol.

But I love it.  We had a disastrous trip to the Smokies last month what with the rental breaking down and the cabin being haunted – creepy stuff, so hopefully this one will be filled with nothing to do but relaxing stuff.

I do want to mention I’ve gotten in lots of wonderful books lately, so because I’ve had my nose in tours for weeks on end, I thought I’d take the time now to let you know what goodies arrived at my doorstep.

Oh where do I begin…not necessarily in the order of preference they are:

Too Many Visitors 2Too Many Visitors for One Little House by Susan Chodakiewitz.  I will be giving it a review on the 31st, but it is sooooo cute.  Beautiful cover and inside, the illustrations are masterfully done.  It’s a beautiful little picture book.  Susan is in fact one of our clients on virtual book tour this month and what a joy she has been to work with.

Gracious Living on Social Security by Valerie Kent.  Cheryl Malandrinos is in charge of her tour but I asked if I could have a review copy so I could review it here.  Cute cover with an old lady and old man dancing and in the prime of their life so that gives me the impression this book is going to help me when I’m at that ripe old age which isn’t that far off!  I haven’t even attempted to read this yet and I think I better check to see when I have to review it for the tour, but it shouldn’t take too long.  It’s roughly 130 pages so I should be able to do that in a couple of sittings but I do have to mention the illustrations inside are really, really cute.

Coming for MoneyComing for Money by F.W. Vom Scheidt.  Another one of Pump Up’s clients and another book I’m really looking forward to reading.  The book is labeled a literary fiction and I can now see why…this guy knows how to write!  I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to review it before his tour ends in August, but the review will be forthcoming!

Summer HouseSummer House by Nancy Thayer.  Yep, another client.  Look, this woman I have admired for years ever since I bought her book The Hot Flash Club.  And omg, I have started reading this….no wonder she’s a NY Times Bestselling author!  I’m taking this book with me to South Carolina and hopefully while I’m sitting on the beach, I can finish it.

Writing as a Sacred PathWriting as a Sacred Path by Jill Jepson.  Another client…Jill will be touring in August and let me tell you this is a wonderful lady.  Her book is EXCELLENT.  I’ve only read a few pages just out of curiosity but I’m hoping to have her a nice review before the end of her tour.  Another book I’m taking with me to Myrtle Beach.

Angel LaneAngel Lane by Sheila Roberts.  Sheila is an old bud of mine and I was so excited she was coming back to Pump Up in October.  Love this woman!  But look, this book is so up my alley it’s not even funny.  The main character moves to a scenic lakeside community and they all decide to do one good deed a day, or at least that’s what I’m getting from it.  It is from this  good deed doing, she falls in love.  I haven’t even started into this book, but I think it’ll be another one I’ll take to the Carolinas.

Affordable Paradise by H. Skip Thomsen.  Even though he spells his name quite different from the way I do, he can’t be half bad with the same last name as me!  Skip emailed me a few months ago about a tour which we’re getting ready to set up, but he wanted to send me his book so I could see just what it was all about.  Okay, who wants to move to Hawaii?  Me!  Me!  I wish I had the guts to move all the way across country but it sure is tempting.  The thing is, we all think it’s expensive to live in Hawaii, right?  Well Skip says he has found ways to live in Hawaii and not have to spend your life savings doing it.  Really looking forward to reading this book!

Distant ThunderDistant Thunder by Jimmy Root, Jr.  Jimmy (doesn’t it feel weird calling a pastor by their first name?), but Jimmy is so down to earth and not only that, this book is excellent. I’ve only skimmed it so I’ll let you know more later when I review it but whew this guy can write.  Jimmy is touring with us in August and September so you’ll be hearing a lot about him over the course of his tour.

Night of FlamesNight of Flames by Douglas W. Jacobson.  Who doesn’t love books about WWII?  I was frothing at the mouth to get this one.  Douglas will be touring in September and October I believe, but omg, this looks like a great read.

American LionAmerican  Lion by Jon Meacham.  Talk. About. A. Huge. Book.  This book is almost 500 pages but I LOVE biographies and supposedly you’ll be hearing about all kinds of things Andrew Jackson did in the White House that you never knew about.  Jon, btw, is editor of Newsweek and get this…American Lion was the winner of the Pulitzer Prize.  So you know I have to read this one.  He’s also been touring with us this week, so check out some of this reviews, guest posts and reviews…excellent writer and what a fantastic historian.

The Spies of WarsawThe Spies of Warsaw by Alan Furst.  Another Pump Up client touring this month.  And another book that was based on history – WWII.  It’s gotten excellent reviews.  The L.A. Times says, “…one does not so much read them as fall under their spell,” when talking about Furst’s books.  I cannot wait to read this one either!

Homer's OdysseyHomer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper.  Another one of Cheryl Malandrinos clients at Pump Up and I just had to email her to see if I could review Gwen’s book.  What’s not to like about a cat story, you know?  But it’s no ordinary cat.  Homer is blind and supposedly he teaches a woman how to love, so there’s going to be a love story in there, too…sounds terrific!

Well that wraps it up.  Too many books, so little time, but my suitcase is going to be really heavy come the first of August!

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