Hi Cherie, I have just read The Soldier and the State Trooper and completely adored it. Can you tell me what gave you inspiration for this novel?
Sure thing, Lily, but first I want to take a moment to thank you for taking the time out of your very busy schedule to do this interview. It’s still amazing, wonderful and a bit surreal for me to even be able to say that I’m a published writer, so being accepted and encouraged by seasoned writers thrills and humbles me.
I began writing The Soldier and the State Trooper originally in response to an open call for an anthology. The call was for stories written with one of the main characters being a man in uniform…I read it, and got smacked in the face with a flat puppy—
Whoa. *laughing gently* Did you just say a flat puppy? Um, dare I ask what happened?
*grinning* Yes, Lily, I said a flat puppy. I know that most writers call those sudden bursts of inspiration plot bunnies, but after a rather funny incident that happened in New Orleans, I’ve taken to calling them flat puppies. You see, while they give me the rough outline of the story, they need life breathed into them. So I add time, love and care, and those flat puppies plump right up to become fully fledged, doggone good stories.
*snickers at the thought of resuscitating flat puppies cartoon style*
I got nailed with this particular puppy, spent a week penning the short story the anthology called for, and then sent the story off to the originally intended publishing house fully confident they would immediately send me a letter gushing over my brilliance and congratulating me for being clever enough to include TWO main characters who were men in uniform.
*snickers again, this time at previous self delusion*
The publisher sent back a very polite rejection letter. Christie (my adorable soldier) wept with me. Robert (the smoking hot state trooper) told me to get my tail in gear and finish writing their story. Robert is very persuasive, so I hopped right to it…
As you say above, in the book Christie is a soldier. I know you have a military background too, can you tell us more?
I served in the US Army’s Chemical Corps from 1998 until 2002 when family obligations necessitated that I leave the service in order to be able to provide a more stable living situation for my daughter.
I have to say that I made some of the best friends of my life while I was in basic training and at my first duty station. There is a distinct camaraderie intrinsic to military service which I’ve found nowhere else. The drill sergeants for my training company made sure we knew what we were doing, pushing us to and then beyond the limits of our strength. I clearly recall one particular training exercise were they drove home the bond we shared with every member of our platoon. We were told to put on full MOPP gear—the stuff you wear to protect yourself from biological, chemical and nuclear contamination—and run up the side of a mountain. Then, as we were running they told the strongest of us that if any member of the platoon failed to reach the summit of the mountain they would consider the entire training mission a failure. So whenever someone slowed, a faster soldier would drop back to encourage them to keep going. And when a soldier fell to the ground, gasping for air, the drill sergeants declared that person dead, and asked what we were going to do. We picked him up and carried his “body” to our rendezvous point. The drill sergeants told us at the end of the exercise that our mission was a failure. Then they told us it was intended to be a failure. They wanted to see if we would act with integrity in the face of adversity and certain failure…so, even though the platoon failed to achieve our stated goal, we grew closer as a unit, and stronger as individuals. I can never thank Drill Sergeants LaVersa and Morton enough for that object lesson. I’ve carried those principles forward into the rest of my life. I drew on the lessons they taught me, and the many and varied experiences I had as part of the Chemical Corps when writing Christie and Robert’s story.
You’ve had great reviews for The Soldier and the State Trooper. How does that make you feel to see complimentary things written about your work and do you have a favourite comment from a reviewer?
Well, I consider myself fairly sane. Er, most of the time. For a writer. *laughing* So when I get a good review, I’m delighted. My first and second reviews? I printed them out and hung them on my fridge. *grinning* They’re still up there. I can’t say I had a specific favorite line from the reviews though. I just love that the readers seem to like the book, and …no, wait. I do have a favorite line. One of the reviewers said I had a gift for humor mixed with a gift for storytelling. That actually got me teary eyed the first time I read it.
What drew you to writing M/M?
I love reading M/M romance. And Christie and Robert weren’t interested in anyone but each other. And the little buggers wouldn’t shut the hell up.
Have you ever considered writing M/F, ménage or BDSM?
I have a few works in progress which are M/F, a few which are BDSM, including one where Christie and Robert explore the lifestyle and decide if they want to make BDSM a permanent part of their lives, and one published ménage (Kiss & Tell—a short I wrote for the M/M romance group’s Don’t Read in the Closet Anthology), and three upcoming works. Two of those are also ménages.
Okay, ideal man –
Geez. So many to lick, so little time.
You have a new novel out just in time for Christmas – give us the gossip and can you share an excerpt?
Actually, Lily, I have two coming out in December. The first is a short sequel to the Soldier and the State Trooper titled Cuddle Time Chicken Soup
And the second is a sequel to my short story Kiss & Tell titled Christmas Rum Balls.
Cuddle Time is coming out December 12th from MLR Press, and Rum Balls comes out December 10th from Silver Publishing. Rum Balls will be my first release with Silver and I couldn’t be more excited.
You have readers all over the world, living in all kinds of places. Where do you live and what do you like best about it?
I live in Western New York, and the thing I like best about it is living one town away from one of those Army buddies I mentioned earlier. Liz and I served together in Germany, and having her close by means the world to me. In fact I call her my Army sister.
What are you working on at the moment?
*shaking head at self*
Lily, I always have a slew of irons in the fire…right now I have two …no, four wips (works in progress) that are demanding equal time from me. One is another story from the Soldiers of the 569th series, one is a full length novel for the boys from Kiss and Tell/ Christmas Rum Balls, one is a very humorous shifter story, and one is a little something set in New Orleans which was inspired during my recent trip to NOLA for GayRomLit 2011.
In fact—dammit guys, hold it down. Can’t you wait until I finish the interview?
*grumbling male voices*
Sorry about that Lily. I did say they wouldn’t shut up earlier, didn’t I?
I’m so sorry to have to leave, but they’re just going to get louder and more obnoxious until I finish their stories. I have to run, but please stop in over at my writing cave. I’d love to hear all about what you’re up to, and what you have planned for the holiday season…will you? I’ll keep the cave door open for you Lily.
Thanks so much for stopping by Cherie, its been great to hear all about the voices in your head. Keep writing those stories down and have a wonderful Christmas.
Find out more about Cherie Noel -