This week on my blog I’m talking with the romance author Cherie Summers, whose “Love on Fire” series takes us through a romance spanning decades.
Question: I saw on your website, (you can see it too www.cheriesummers.com.) that you began to make up stories in your head when you were a kid. Did you ever share your stories?
Cherie–The stories I made up were for the most part locked away in my mind. It may have begun because of my rocky childhood. Maybe I daydreamed to get away from what the real world was dishing out.
I could read for hours and I also loved television and movies. The stories I created in my mind involved me being on some television show or in a movie. I was the girl, playing Starsky’s girlfriend or Luke Skywalker’s REAL sister and I acted out the screenplays in my mind. I remember clearly in 4th grade being asked to write down what I wanted to be when I grew up and I said a singer (I cannot sing). When the teacher read this out loud, everyone laughed out loud. I was mortified and it destroyed something in me that thought I could grow up and actually be Starksy’s girlfriend or Luke Skywalker’s REAL sister. So, I never shared my stories or imaginings with anyone for a long time.
In junior and senior high, my “fan fiction” stories began to turn from actors to musicians But no obsession has matched the one for Billy Idol. I discovered him when I got MTV for the first time, and have been hooked since. My first novel, A Melody for Adrian came to me in a dream and I wrote it all down. I was eighteen at the time and most of the characters were inspired by people I went to high school with and other 80’s music icons.
It amazes me now that “fan fiction” is a thing. I imagine Billy Idol playing Adrian “Bolt” Hall in a movie of my novel.
Question : I love that your story hints at a fanfiction. If Billy Idol is a dead ringer for Adrian, what other real people do you picture when you think of your characters? Do you adopt their voice and mannerisms as well?
Cherie–In some ways my characters do mimic their more famous muse, but then again, not really, such as….
Keith “Kat” Williams – inspired by John Taylor of Duran Duran.
Anthony “Ringo” Barber – Jon Farriss of INXS.
Douglas “Dagger”Meyers – inspired by Brian Setzer and has the looks.
John “Buzzy” Thomas – inspired by Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran.
I imagine the female lead as a Jessica Simpson type, very down to earth but sexy and curvy.
So I’d say I mostly copy their looks, not mannerisms. Although Adrian Hall has the sneer, pout, fist pump, swagger, that Billy Idol does as well as the spiked hair and blue eyes. (When I met Billy, I wasn’t given a lot of time, but let him know he inspired me to write and my first novel was being published).
Me now, this really happened. Photographic proof at top!
Question : Since so many of your characters find their origins in the faces of musicians, does music itself play a part in how you create your world? Are there any songs or pieces of music that you find to be creatively influential?
Cherie–Definitely. For my “Love on Fire” Series, I’m always playing Generation X, the punk rock band Billy Idol fronted back in the late 70’s/early 80’s, as I write. The songs just capture the youthful exuberance that I see in my characters. And since it is about a punk rock band, all the more reason it makes sense. I also listen to Billy’s solo songs as well.
Question: tell us about your “Love on Fire” series. What makes it different from other novels in its genre? What about the plot and its characters make it unique?
Cherie–The “Love on Fire” series will span a few decades. It begins in 1981 as Melody and Adrian meet as seniors in high school. In book 3, the year is 1996. I plan to continue to follow the couple and any offspring they and their friends have for as long as possible.
When I wrote the first book, I looked at it as Melody’s story of falling in love with this badass punk rocker who was completely opposite of her. But as the story grew and changed with rewrites, it really became Adrian’s journey. He has the most emotional baggage from his childhood and all that is confronted over the course of the series. Melody stays the same wonderful person but she learns to help Adrian through emotionally charged times when his anger gets the better of him. As I finish up with book 3, I’m quite impressed with how he has changed and grown as a man.
For me, even though this is erotic romance and is filled with explicit scenes, the sex only enhances the story, it is not THE story. You do have two people very deeply in love AND lust with one another, but you also have people working toward their dreams and working through their drama. I put these characters through emotional hell and so not only will they bring the heat, but they’ll make you laugh and cry as well.
Question : What have you planned for writing after “Love on Fire”? What are your long term plans? Anything beyond romance?
I want to stay in the romance genre. I have a few partially finished things I started in the past I could move on with. Romance was always something I loved reading growing up and as an adult. I think it’s what I’m best suited to write. It’s funny that my favorite author is Johnathan Kellerman and I love criminal psychology, but I don’t see myself going in that direction at all. While the subject fascinates me it’s not something I plan on writing. But, then again you never know.
(Me again) You can find Cherie’s books on Amazon.com and on her website, www.cheriesummers.com. Her second novel A Melody for Adrian, was released recently yesterday on publisher’s site (eXtasy Books) and is available for pre-order on amazon.
Next week, I’ll be talking with another great author. Just come back and see.