Interview with RL Cherry


RL Cherry is the author of Foul Shot, Christmas Cracker and an avid collector. Visit his website at to find out about classic cars and follow along on his blog of many topics.

Tell us a little bit about yourself:
As a native Californian, I spent most of my life here, where I earned a Bachelors in engineering and Masters in history. However, living on the Isle of Man in the British Isles for five years gave me a less Americentric perspective. For over seven years I have written a column on cars for The Union newspaper in Grass Valley, CA. I have published a mystery, Christmas Cracker, and a suspense novel, Foul Shot.

What inspired you to start writing?
Isaac Asimov once wrote, “I write for the same reason I breathe. Because if I didn’t I would die.” I understand that sentiment. Like Athena in the mind of Zeus, my stories must be released. I started writing short stories in high school and, although I had an extended hiatus while running a family business, have been writing much of my life. I am currently trying to finish my next Morg Mahoney mystery. I keep getting distracted with other writing projects, like short stories, newspaper columns, promos for organizations I am in, etc.

What influenced the way you tell a story?
I admire the works Hemingway, Twain, Hammett, and O’Henry, to name a few. They are my mentors, my guides. Although I would never compare my works to theirs nor do I try to copy their styles, they inspire the way I tell a story, the dialog, humor and irony I use.

How do you approach the art of writing?
I am going to be disciplined and organized in my writing. Tomorrow. Currently, I write often, but irregularly. I might spend hours one day and minutes another. I write best for a deadline. That is one reason I host the Sierra Writers fiction group at my house: I will at least get one more chapter of my latest effort done every other week.

What do you read for pleasure? Growth? Latest recommend? Favorite author?
I am like a gourmand at a smorgasbord: I voraciously read anything and everything that I an grab. Well, that is not exactly true. I try to avoid too much of the news. I am not into pain. I keep stacks of magazines in my bathroom. If I were constipated I might finish more of them. What can I recommend that I have recently read? Hmmm. I hate to say it, but most of my reading lately seems to be kissing frogs. However, The City of Earthly Desire by Francis Berger was an interesting book. I don’t have a favorite author. Asimov, Hemingway, Twain, and Hammett are leaders in the favored group.

Your books are a mixture of historical and modern fiction. Do you have a favorite? Maybe an excerpt from one of the books that I can share with readers?
All the greats focus on one area of writing. That lets me know I will never be great. My mind takes me down one rabbit hole after another and my writing follows. While I am trying to edit my 7th century Celtic historical fiction, I am also writing my next Morg Mahoney mystery (modern day). Like a fickle lover, I cannot chose my favorite genre.

Foul Shot
Excerpt from Foul Shot:
Many times, if he woke in the night, he would notice she was not in bed. If he went to find her, she was often standing in the darkness, nude, gazing unfocused out the window as a wisp of cigarette smoke curled around her head in a distorted halo. The goddess of melancholy.

One morning, just before dawn, Vince awoke to find her side of the bed empty. The light was on in the living room and he found her curled under a blanket on the couch, looking through a large, tattered book while a forgotten cigarette smoldered in the ashtray next to her. He walked quietly up to her and put his hand on her shoulder. She slammed the book shut before he had a chance to see anything except that it was a photo album. When she turned to him, her face was distorted by tears and anger.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

“I . . . I . . . I just woke up and you weren’t there, so I went looking for you,” he stammered.

“What’s wrong? What did I do?”

Suddenly her shoulders sagged and the anger evaporated as quickly as it had come, leaving only the tears.

“Nothing . . . nothing. I’m sorry. It’s just that this is all I have to prove to me that my mother ever was. It’s very private to me. Promise me that you will never look in this album.”

“Sure, I promise. If that’s what you want, no problem. I’d like to see what your mother looked like. She must have been beautiful to have a daughter like you. But, hey, whatever you want.”

She went over to his bookcase and brought back a Bible.

“Swear to me. On this Bible. Swear. Even if you ever find it lying around, you won’t look inside. If you do, I’ll have to leave.”

She said this with such intensity, such determination, that he was afraid she might leave him then and there. Numbly, he took the Bible and put his right hand on it.

“I swear, by all that’s holy to me, that I will never look in your album, even if you leave it lying around or anything, so help me God.”She sagged down into the chair, eyes closed. He started to reach for her, to place a comforting hand on her, but hesitated and then withdrew it. She was wild and irrational. Anything he might do, however innocent and well-intended, might unleash the injured feline again. There was a distance, an unbridgeable gap between them at that moment. So instead, he softly withdrew to the bedroom. In the dark, he lay in silence, unable to get back to sleep, until the alarm rang. She had not returned to bed.

As they got ready for their respective jobs, she smiled, gave him quick caresses and talked of trivialities. Neither of them mentioned what had happened.

Any upcoming events?
I am going to meet with a local readers group who read Christmas Cracker and want me to be there when they discuss it. I am working on getting a book signing for local authors in a book store in the area.

Final words of wisdom?
Henry David Thoreau wrote, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” While I am not an advocate of dropping out of society and living by a pond, look for ways to make life interesting. The oft-quoted Latin proverb, “Fortune favors the bold” ( Audentes fortuna iuuat ) has an element of truth. Be willing to step outside of your comfort zone.

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