Welcome, back, Cheryl. Tell us about your salvation experience.
I came into an authentic relationship with God in my mid-twenties thanks to His people reaching out to me. While I wasn't raised in church, my parents did raise me to know there was a God and that He was both a force to be reckoned with as well as caring enough to hold us in His hand and care for us. I remember my mom used to sing an old song and the words went something like, "He's got the whole world in His hands." Dad would often remind us that, he may not be watching, but Someone bigger always was. That sorta put the fear of God in me. LOL! I mean as far as having a healthy respect for God.
But I didn't really understand God's desire to have a close, personal minute-by-minute relationship with us until I was in my late teens, early twenties. I went to a few Bible studies in High School, but I was going for the wrong reasons (Read: Cute guys led the Bible study! LOL) so it didn't really stick. But in my twenties, I had a profound experience with God that changed my life and I have never looked back.
In those moments where God met me and I had a tangible sense of His love, acceptance and His presence of mercy, I could not begin to even put that feeling in words other than to say it beyond overwhelmed me. From that point on, I have looked Heavenward.
I said to God in that moment, "I don't know You at all, but, if this is You...I want to!"
And He has never ceased to be faithful. I live for the day I will get to see the one face to face who so loved me unconditionally. I pray each person reading this has that kind of life-changing encounter with the living God. I'm so glad He left his spirit here with us to wrap around us like a warm blanket, literally, The Comforter. I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that I had faithful people who stormed Heaven on my behalf and through prayer, God met me in a place of brokenness and literally rescued me. I think that's why I write rescuers because I have a strong sense of being rescued by God.
How did you and your husband meet?
He he. I met him at a Coffee House in Illinois. He didn't notice me at first because he was tweaking knobs on a sound board. He's an audio guy for many Christian and other bands and I loved music and concerts. So I saw him often at the same venues I'd volunteer at. Then one day one of my girlfriends said he'd been asking about me. I didn't think he'd noticed me. By that time I was sorta dating someone else but we broke up and I was brokenhearted. So my husband befriended me/pursued me for the next two years. He had great character as a Christian and he's an absolute riot as far as being funny and witty. He's the kind of person who brings everyone up around him and his humor is so contageous. Didn't take me long to fall. :-) We've been married for almost 12 years .
I love being around your husband, too. You’re planning a writing retreat where you can only have four other authors. Who would they be and why?
Just four? Ack. I positively CANNOT choose just four. So how about 10?
--Camy Tang because she's an excellent brainstormer and knows strong story structure plus I love to hear her laugh more than almost anything. And she's one of my best buds.
--Danica Favorite McDonald because she is so uplifting as a friend and honest in her critiques. And she's one of my best buds.
--Cynthia Hawkins because she's such an encourager and I don't get to spend nearly as much time with her as I'd like to. And she's one of my best buds.
--Robin Miller because she offers brutal honesty, free of charge. LOLOL! She comes up with great plot twists and she's one of my best buds.
--Margaret Daley because she has a strong handle on writing romances and she is a mentor to me as well as a friend.
--Pammer because I miss her.
--Tosca Lee because I admire her and her writing so much and am convinced she is a modern day CS Lewis. She is the coolest, prettiest potato peeler on the planet and I'm thankful for the friendship God is building between us.
--Cynthia Ruchti because she is so very inspiring and would be a blast to brainstorm with.
--Karen Ball because she is an absolute riot and her mind is as twisted as mine and I don't meet many people that way. Plus I love her stories.
--Lena for being so gracious and letting me bring all these people to the brainstorming retreat. LOLOL!
Okay I said 10 but if I could bring more, I'd invite my friend Marcie Scheumaker who writes non-fiction and I'd invite my Seeker sisters http://www.seekerville.blogspot.com/
Sounds like a group I'd love to be a part of. Do you have a speaking ministry? If so, tell us about that.
Not a significant one at the present. I will wait until my little ones get older. I have spoken at events and get asked to, but I have many prior obligations since my husband and I are involved in audio/music and NASCAR ministry together. Once my children are older, I will pursue the speaking more because I love to encourage people to follow their God-given dreams/destinies. That seems to be the common theme that comes out whenever I speak. Living up to their full potential in God and how/what God can do with one surrendered life can change the course of history. So I usually speak about great but obscure women of faith that most people may not have heard of, such as Jackie Pullinger To and other missionaries and trailblazers. As a bumper sticker I saw once said, "Most well-behaved women never make history." LOL.
Love the bumper sticker. Want one for my car. What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you and how did you handle it?
Oh my goodness. This is hard because I literally do something every other day that embarrasses me. I learned to laugh at myself a long time ago thankfully, otherwise I'd be in a world of hurt in the self-esteem department. LOL! A recent thing I did was to send a message to one of my editors via my BlackBerry which had the auto-correct function on. I didn't know how to disable it and to my mortification, it changed the word "Assistant" to "Assassin" and sent before I could stop it. So the header to the e-mail page said the name of one of my editors, then comma, then, "Editorial Assassin." Thankfully she has a great sense of humor, though I felt like a dweeb. It became quite funny. Sure, she's a spiffy editor with a great eye for detail, but I wouldn't go as far as calling her an assassin. Unless of course she's hacking up/killing off my extraneous/superfluous words. LOL.
People are always telling me that they’d like to write a book someday. I’m sure they do to you, too. What would you tell someone who came up to you and said that?
I would tell them to join http://www.acfw.com/ and dig in learning craft. I would tell them to write, write, write and to read, read, read. To always write as worship and to be willing, even then, to hear hard things about their writing in order to improve and to strive for excellence in craft. And once they do sell, to seek to make God famous and not themselves.
Tell us about the featured book?
Soldier Daddy was an unexpected treat. I had just had a car accident and was literally heading into my first of several surgeries for repair of fractures associated with the car wreck. I had turned in one book in a proposal and Melissa, my editor, phoned to offer not one but TWO contracts! She wanted Petrowski's story. Aaron Petrowski has been in the previous Wings of Refuge books, but never really onstage. He was sort of like "Charlie" from "Charlie's Angels." You never really see him, but you hear him and he's this force in control, this entity who gives orders and guidance to the pararescuers. You knew from previous books that he suffered the loss of his wife and left pararescue for a little while to raise his infant twins. But in this book, he's back and I won't tell you who the heroine is...but she brightens all their lives. This story was so fun to write because it has two toddler boys. This book was an unexpected blessing to me during a difficult time and I hope and pray that it brings the same kind of joy to readers as it did to me, the privilege of getting to write Aaron's story.
Please give us the first page of the book.
"Ooh, Aaron, she's so young! And pretty!" Mina Garcia, housekeeper and longtime family friend of U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Aaron Petrowski, clapped her dark hands together. She peeked out the Petrowski home window as the nanny applicant exited her car. The very young and vivacious applicant, very unlike the empty-nested grandmotherly types who'd interviewed so far.
Mina clutched Aaron's sleeve and continued to emit strange little squeaks as the trim-but-not-too-thin blonde crunched across a calico pattern of fallen leaves carpeting the yard he really should have raked. "Aaron Michael! Shame on you for not telling me how glaringly gorgeous she is!"
Glaringly gorgeous? That hadn't even entered his mind yesterday at the agency. What had attracted him were Sarah's on-paper credentials and her enthusiasm and gratitude over being chosen as a candidate for the job.
Trek paused, Sarah bent to pull a punctured leaf from her conservative but classy spiked heel. When she stood and eyed the house, catching a glimpse of them watching from the window, her excited wave and ready smile rivaled September's sun. Glaringly gorgeous?
Yeah, now that Mina mentioned it…
Copyright 2009. Used by permission.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
My Web site is http://www.cherylwyatt.com/. The best way to keep track of my new releases is to sign up for my quarterly newsletter there.
I also hang out frequently at http://www.seekerville.blogspot.com/.
I have a personal writing blog too which can be accessed from Seekerville. I hope folks will come over there and become Seekervillains--followers of our Seekerville blog. Those ladies are an absolute riot and their friendships are a tremendous blessing in my life.
Thank you, Cheryl, for spending this time with us.
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