Bestselling author Sheila Roberts has seen her books translated into over a dozen languages. Her novels ON STRIKE FOR CHRISTMAS and THE NINE LIVES OF CHRISTMAS were made into movies for the Lifetime and Hallmark channels. When she’s not hanging out with her girlfriends or dancing with her husband she can be found writing about those things near and dear to women’s hearts: family, friends, and chocolate.
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About the Book:
Stefanie Stahl has a husband with renovation ADD. He can't seem to finish anything he starts and her house is littered with his "projects." If he doesn't smarten up, she swears she's going to murder him and bury him under the pile of scrounged lumber in the backyard.
Her friend Griffin James is suddenly single and thinking maybe she needs to sell her fixer-upper and follow her career bliss up the ladder of success, even if that scary ladder is clear across the country. Getting her place ready to sell proves harder than she originally thought. She needs help.
She's not the only one. Cass Wilkes, their neighbor, has an empty nest—with a leaking roof. When her ceiling crashes in, she knows it's time to do something. When Grant Masters offers his handyman services at a fund-raiser auction, the three women go in together to outbid the competition and win their man. (Cass's friends think she should win Grant in a different way, too!) Now it's time to make some improvements…in their houses and their lives.
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As a book bloggin’ and book luvin’ Princess, I’m always curious to find out how authors got the ideas for their books. How did you come up with the idea for your book?
Sometimes a book is triggered by a specific image or thought, something I’ve read. Not so this time. I wish I could say something specific inspired it but I can’t. It seems each story line simply dropped into my head.
Can you tell us what your book is about?
STARTING OVER ON BLACKBERRY LANE is about, well, starting over – with relationships, with careers, with projects that have gone awry. As the saying goes, life is about change. I look back on decisions I’ve made in life or things I’ve said and wish I could start over. And then I remind myself, I can. It’s never too late to begin again, never too late to find love. Sometimes, it’s not even too late to say, “I’m sorry.”
Fiction Authors: Can you tell us a little about the main characters of your book?
I have three different women featured in this story – Griffin James, who must decide if she’s going to go for it and follow that career dream, Stefanie Stahl, whose husband has renovation A.D.D. and whose house is a disaster area, and Cass Wilkes, who’s facing another birthday – still single and stalled out. Enter Grant Masters, handyman, who’s going to impact each woman’s life in a different way. I had a lot of fun writing this book and I’m hoping readers will find it both entertaining and encouraging.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would that be?
Settle in on what you want to write. Early in my career I was all over the map, writing everything from Regency Romances to mysteries. (The mystery thing – yikes! I rewrote that book seven different times, each time with a different villain. After that I decided mysteries were not my forte.)
What would you say is one of your interesting writing quirks?
Well, this is sad. I don’t have one. Remember the movie THROW MAMA FROM THE TRAIN, all the goofy things Billy Crystal did when he was trying to get inspired? The tape on the nose cracked me up. But here in Sheila Land it is dull, dull, dull. I’m just sitting there at the computer, typing away. No one will ever make a movie about my creative process.
Do you hear from your readers? What do they say?
I love when I hear from readers. It does my heart good when a reader tells me she was going through a hard time and my book helped her get through it. Because, honestly, sometimes I think, I’m just telling a story. Isn’t there something more worthwhile I could be doing with my time? Of course, readers also tell me when they’re not happy. One reader gave me a verbal spanking for letting my character swear. I’m sure my mom was up in heaven, nodding and saying, “I told you so.” My characters are, for the most part, better behaved now.
What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
“You’re dating yourself.” A friend told me this after I’d used a term she said she hadn’t heard since her grandmother said it. Yikes! I just thought I was being clever and using a unique word. That was painful because even though my hair is now gray – thank you chemo! – in my mind I’m still thirty and a babe. Hahahahah.
What has been the best accomplishment?
So far the biggest highlights of my writing career have been seeing two of my books get made into movies. ON STRIKE FOR CHRISTMAS was made into a movie for the LIFETIME CHANNEL and THE NINE LIVES OF CHRISTMAS was a HALLMARK movie. Very cool. But best accomplishment? Getting my children safely raised.
Do you Google yourself?
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Probably about a half dozen. My first book never saw the light of day. I have other proposals and series ideas and a couple of finished books that still haven’t made the cut. But I’ll get those up and running eventually. Maybe I’ll even write that mystery one more time. J
Do you have anything specific that you would like to say to your readers?
Yes. Thank you! Thank you for choosing to spend your hard-earned money and your time with me. There are books galore out there to choose from and I’m honored when someone chooses one of mine.