Today I’m welcoming author Sheryl Browne to Jera’s Jamboree.
Sheryl Browne grew up in Birmingham, UK, where she studied Art & Design.
A partner in her own business, a mother and a foster parent to disabled dogs, Sheryl has also been writing for many years, the road along the way often bumpy. She was therefore thrilled beyond words when Safkhet Publishing loved her writing style and commissioned her to write her debut novel.
RECIPES FOR DISASTER – combining deliciously different and fun recipes with sexilicious romantic comedy, is garnering some fabulous reviews and was shortlisted for the Innovation in Romantic Fiction Festival of Romance Award. Sheryl has since been offered a further three-book contract under the Safkhet Publishing Soul imprint. SOMEBODY TO LOVE, a romantic comedy centring around a single father’s search for love and his autistic little boy, launched July 1. WARRANT FOR LOVE, Blackmail, lies, adultery, entrapment – three couples in a twisting story that resolves perfectly – released August 1.
A Little Bit of Madness is Sheryl’s latest novel which is being published by Safhket Publishing on 14th February 2012.
Saving Charlton hall will burrow into your heart.
Celia is an art therapist at The Harbour Rest Home for Colonel Burrows and others. She loves giving her job, even if her partner, Martin, is disparaging of her efforts.
Martin, a solicitor, made speculative investments and needs to get his hands on his mother’s assets, her home, Charlton Hall, to bail himself out of debt. In order to sell the house, he has to get Rosemary re-housed at The Harbour and tries to convince Celia with lies. Meanwhile, Celia fights for gallery space for her charges’ artwork, and to keep The Harbour from being closed.
Police Constable Alex Burrows, son of Colonel Burrows, comes to her rescue when she crashes her car. Alex turns out to be considerate, caring and with a witty, wicked sense of humour, which makes Celia laugh. She ignores his reputation as a womaniser but cannot ignore his trying to influence his father’s will which makes Alex appear a liar like Martin.
Despite all efforts, The Harbour is doomed to closure. Celia decides to take Rosemary home and forestall Martin’s plan to sell Charlton Hall. Celia is soon joined by the rest of her elderly independents, who rally together to stop Martin evicting them. Colonel Burrows is ready to thrash the enemy to death with his walking stick when his son arrives in his uniform. Alex explains that Colonel Burrows is the buyer of Charlton Hall and finally does what he’s been trying to do for ages: ask Celia to marry him.
A Little Bit of Madness is an interesting title. How did you arrive at it?
There’s a point where Celia’s partner, Martin, goggle-eyed at her elderly independents’ antics, exclaims, ‘Good God! I really have no idea why you work here. It looks like a scene from One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest!’ Celia presumes he’s referring to her elderly independents, suitably clothed for their aerobics class. Colonel Burrows sports brand new Reeboks he’d ‘gone over the wall’ into town especially for, Eleanor Simpson is elegantly clad in Capri pants and slippers, May Binton in Adidas shorts, shoeless and couldn’t-care-less. As you might gather then, Martin thinks it’s madness, devoting time to working with a group of ‘senile delinquents’, particularly as the work is not very remunerative.
Later, hunky policeman Alex Burrows, thinks her efforts to bring media attention to the plight of her old people is complete madness. Given she’s about to abseil from a church steeple, careless of the fact she might end up splattered all over the pavement, he might just be right. Then there are the elderly independents themselves, a little bit eccentric and, as far as Martin is concerned, definitely A Little Bit Mad. The title fitted somehow.
Your heroine, Celia, fights for the elderly, for their art and for their home. Where did you get the idea for her amazing story?
Quoting Maggie Smith, who recently, starred fabulously in Downton Abbey, Quartet, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, I think stories need to be written around older people, catering for shifting population demographics. Readers want to read about people they identify with. In A Little Bit of Madness, I aimed for a multigenerational read, if you like, combining younger ‘boy gets girl, despite all obstacles’ romance with the relationships, lives, loves – and loves lost – of older people. People of the Queen’s generation, or as Celia – our heroine – prefers to call them, her elderly independents: A cast of colourful, sometimes eccentric people who still have lives to live and something left to give.
Celia is a caring woman who’s been burned. How did you create such a wonderful, multi-faceted character?
Did you ever know a woman who wasn’t multi-faceted? Seriously, women are mothers, lovers, carers, career people, counsellors… Caring and artistic by nature, it seemed natural that Celia would want to combine her talents into a fulfilling career which would allow her to be flexible for her family. And what more fulfilling career than art therapy? Using her skills to help exercise ageing minds, along with ageing limbs, thus her aerobics endeavours. Celia is vulnerable, because she is trusting. Yet, she is strong. She doesn’t become cynical and turn her back on love when it goes wrong. She learns from it, hopefully to love more wisely. Is that possible? We hope so.
What did you like best about, hunky policeman, Alex?
Oh, Alex *sigh*. Here is a man who doesn’t like himself very much. He’s made mistakes. He’s not perfect, which he’s at pains to point out. Grown cynical of love guaranteeing a happy-ever-after, he’s not worthy of such affection, or so he thinks. Certainly not worthy of the kind of love a person like Celia could offer him. That, in a nutshell, is what I like about Alex. He’s examining himself, recognising his imperfections. Growing? Well, he’s trying. He’s desperate to be the kind of father his disabled daughter needs him to be. Whether he can ever be the kind of man he thinks Celia deserves… We’ll have to read the book to find out!
Was any part of your story drawn from personal experience?
Good question. I think all writers draw from personal experience to a degree. I lost my lovely mum to early Alzheimer’s, a terrible disease. There were times, though, that we laughed until we cried. So, yes, I did draw on personal experience somewhat (I think she would have chuckle at that, to be honest) but, for obvious reasons, it’s not something I would write lightly about. I’ve also been a fool for love (as many of us have) and I do have an art degree, so…
Did you have to do any research for your book?
Most writers I know pride themselves on doing the research and getting the detail right, especially in a world where knowledge is freely available at your fingertips – and those of your readers. The abseiling scene I felt needed to be more hands-on, though, than fingertips, so I threw myself down a rock-face.
I would, however, like to thank the good people at Rock and Ice
who kindly filled in the detail as to how one successfully chucks oneself off a building!
Thank you for sharing with us today Sheryl. I’m sure all my blog readers will join in wishing success for A Little Bit of Madness.
A Little Bit of Madness is touring with Fiction Addiction Book Tours.
Follow the tour for entertaining posts and enter the giveaway:
|14th February||Miss Bookworm Reviews|
|15th February||The Little Reader Library|
|16th February||Me, My Books and I|
|17th February||Rhoda Baxter|
|18th February||Dizzy C’s Little Book Blog|
If you missed the Cover Reveal Tour you missed some fun posts!