Cheryl A. Cornell

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Having been born and raised on Long Island, New York, my husband and I were both eager to leave the urban lifestyle behind us and explore our futures. With his encouragement, I’m living my dream of writing romance novels full time. Our new rural setting allows us time to enjoy each other and leaves me guiltless hours in my imagination indulging my writing passion.


Q: What is your writing day like? 

A: Being retired allows me to live guiltlessly on my own time frame. I usually straggle out of bed around nine and check e-mail while enjoying my first cups of coffee. Another luxury is having time to make breakfast each morning, a full meal I neglected for too many years. After that, I turn my telephone to the machine, shut off the television or radio and head to the computer. 

If I have edits or timed work, that comes first. On Mondays and Fridays I spend time sending out promos. I always have several projects in the works, all at different stages. If I get stuck on one, I pull another project forward and work on it. 

Family and friends know between eleven AM and five PM I will not acknowledge their calls. By five I’m usually bleary eyed, so it’s time to close up the work folders, give the e-mail one last check and walk away from the machine. 

Several nights a week, I find myself doing paper edits of what I worked on that day or making notes to work from the next.

 I do try to limit my evening work as I consider that private time for my husband and I.

 Q: What is your work environment like?

 A: My computer is in a small, separate office where I can be creative and messy without guilt, although I only have one project open and scattered around me at any given time.

 Q: Do I outline my stories?

A: Most times yes, especially if there’s any historical information.

 Q: What do you like about writing?

 A: The control factor.

 Q: What don’t you like about writing?

 A: I have a love/hate relationship with my computer and the internet. It’s marvelous when it all works right, a monster when it gives me problems. I used to hate the internet because I was on dial up, but last Christmas my husband put me on satellite. That has made an amazing difference with time management. Unless it’s raining over DC or Maryland!

 Q: Why write romance novels?

A: I’m a romantic at heart. Some of my novels have a mystery or historical twist, but I understand reading is a privilege of time for most people these days. I want readers to want to spend their time in the worlds I create and come away with a renewed hope of romance and love, and a bit of lust too.

 Q: What is your ultimate writing goal?

 A: It used to be just finishing a novel. Than I wanted to be proud to put my name on it. I’m very happy to say I have several now. In the future, I hope to continue to be creative and write novels that people look forward to reading, enjoying the escape usually with an erotic twist.

 Q: Where do your story ideas come from?

 A: Each story is unique in it’s own right. Some have started with a quote or snippet of conversation. Others by seeing a person on the street or in a store and the way they interact with others. Some stories are just inside me, fighting to work their way to paper. One story started with the heroine’s name. Her story unfolded in my mind when I pictured her face. Some start with a news headline or are borrowed from an incident in someone’s life.

 Q: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned about your writing?

 A: By making my writing a priority in my day, others finally began to take it seriously too, finally ending the, ‘it’s just a hobby, why not come to lunch’ syndrome.   

Q: Do you have any rituals about your writing?

 A: I always use peppermint and citrus scents in the office, they clear my mind and relax away any stress. On release day, I frame a color print of the cover art and hang it in my office. 

Q: What do you do when you’re blocked?

 A: I’ve learned to walk away. Some days a few minutes to make a fresh cup of coffee will give me the jolt of inspiration. Other days, I literally walk away. Throw on a coat and walk through the woods. I’ve learned to keep a note pad and pen in coat pockets, inevitably in the deepest depths of the forest, I find the perfect line of dialogue or the twist to continue. 

  Q: What other job would you like to try?

 A: Probably producing and directing movies. Again, there’s the control factor at work. I wouldn’t however, want to be in front of the camera.

 Q: What do you hate about being a writer?

 A: I was never comfortable being the center of attention in large crowds, so doing book signings bring a lot of anxiety. I’m realizing just talking about my novels calms me, but I still prefer not to be the center of attention.

 Q: What do you tell your friends and family about your novels in process?

 A: I usually warn new people I’m introduced to that I am a writer up front and some part of their conversation might show up in print one day. I’ve also been known to stop a conversation to say, “Can I use that line” or “That will show up somewhere one day.” Otherwise, I usually don’t talk too much about my novels until they’re contracted. That’s when I tell anyone who will listen about my upcoming release.

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