Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I started writing just before I had quadruplets. When I got a check in the mail I didn’t recognize, between diaper changes and feedings (and there were a LOT of those) I contacted the distributor and found out that an article I’d written for Proter & Gamble had been accepted and published and the check was my payment. Since then, I’ve been a freelance writer and editor for over twenty years. Before writing, I was a NICU and labor & delivery nurse. I’m also a violinist and I have fun performing here and there with my folk group or with a string quartet or orchestra.
What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have a day job?
I’m lucky enough that my day job has been freelance writing/editing. I’ve worked with several publishing companies on work-for-hire projects, plus I’ve been a magazine editor and a fiction judge for an annual international contest. Though my real love is writing fiction, it’s still really nice to be able to get paid for writing, working from home, and on my own schedule.
Do you have a preferred genre you write in or do you blend them?
I have two favorites: speculative and historical. I love blending them, as I have in Chloe’s Guardian and Chloe’s Watcher, books one and two of my Nephilim Redemption Series. But I’ve also done straight historical. But another I did, The Clone’s Mother, is a medical thriller with sci-fi characteristics. The beauty of Indie publishing is I don’t have to be pigeon-holed into one genre and I can build my title list how I want.
You have two books out on The Nephilim Redemption Series. What’s it all about?
Chloe’s family is shattering into pieces, and when she walks in on her boyfriend loving another girl, she can’t take any more heartbreak and she becomes suicidal. Horatius is a Nephilim who wants to switch from flying with demons to the pursuit of virtue, and he needs to perform a good deed to show the angels his good faith. He decides Chloe is his chance to prove himself. But his drinking, poor judgment, and impulsive behavior only puts Chloe in worse trouble. With time travel, magical powers, curses, and just plain bad luck, Horatius and Chloe struggle together—and sometimes against each other—to cope with their lives, find love and acceptance, and discover what really matters.
Can you tell us what inspired the idea for this series?
With one of my work-for-hire projects, I was doing some research and I came across a Bible passage about Nephilim that I’d never heard of: Sons of God having babies with daughters of man (Genesis 6). I thought, “Wow, that would be a cool protagonist, a half angel, half human. If the Nephil changed into angel form, he could fly through the dimensions outside of time (time travel), and in his human form, he could desire to be human and have the privileges humans enjoy. If his Nephil characteristics clashed with his human hopes, he would be a character with a lot of internal conflict and be multi-dimensional. And of course, I needed a second character that all of his endeavors would mess with. And so Chloe, my dual protagonist was born.
What character traits do you feel are important in a story’s hero/heroine?
They have to be likable or relatable, but believably flawed. Stories with bad bad people and good good people can be so flat. I want characters that are confusing and keep a reader not only guessing, but sympathizing at some point with the “bad guy,” and angry at times with the “good guy.” If you always know who is going to end up winning, why bother finish reading?
What are some of your favorite books in Fantasy/Science-Fiction? Any Indies?
Time travel is my all-time favorite form of speculative fiction. Time and Again by Jack Finney, Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, 11/22/63 by Stephen King, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger are my favorites. Timebound by Rysa Walker, is a time travel book by an Indie author that I’ve enjoyed.
You chose to go the self-publishing route over trad-pub. What led you to this decision?
After many years working with traditional publishers, and with several near successes lost because of bureaucratic or circumstantial issues, and after doing all the right things to get published in fiction without success, I discovered the door is just too narrow to let in enough people, even if the quality of writing is there. I’ve read too many traditionally published books that are not good, and too many Indie stories that are, to keep faith that trad-pubbed books are truly the only ones worth bothering with. Then as the culture/stigma changed with Indie, and more options opened to authors, I finally leapt off the perceived cliff of Indie publishing.
If you could go back and give advice to your pre-published self, what would you say?
I would have said, “Don’t wait so long!” I wish I’d done this five years ago. Now it’s so much harder because of the inundation of new titles available everywhere, and many of them for free. Standing out in the crowd is the biggest challenge. Contests and blogs and social media can help, but so much energy must be taken away from the actual art of writing to utilize those platforms. I wish I could time travel and go tell myself years ago not to listen to the trad-pub voices that told me Indie (formerly lumped in with vanity presses) publishing was an embarrassment or failure or defeat or humiliation. It takes so much MORE to Indie publish than with an entire house behind you and a team of people working with you to polish and produce the final product. Kudos to everyone who gets that far without the formal traditional team!
What are you working on now?
Book Three of the Nephilim Redemption Series, Chloe’s Odyssey. It is due out this autumn. Chloe goes in search of Horatius in the past before her timeline went awry and left everything wrong. She is going back to ancient times, boldly and courageously, but ignorant of the true peril she will encounter in an age so different from anything she imagined. The first book, Chloe’s Guardian, is free in ebook for five days on Amazon, so now is the time to get started on the series in anticipation of Book Three!
Chloe’s boyfriend cheats on her and she just wants to die. But it’s not so easy to end it all. An amazing winged creature swoops in and saves her mid-jump. The angelic intervention must be a sign her troubles are over! But things only get worse. Missing her plane, losing her passport, crashing her car are nothing compared to when gangbangers jump her on a dark, empty street. She’s too paralyzed with fear to even scream for help. But her amazing half-angel creature reappears and saves her again—flying her right up through the heavens!
But they soar directly into more trouble. Horatius, her Nephilim savior, has a heap of his own problems. His beer habit doesn’t help a bit when he has to fight against his demon father, who targets Chloe with his evil rage. Chloe needs to be protected, and Horatius transports her to sixteenth century Scotland to hide her. But a curse renders him powerless and medieval Highlanders kidnap Chloe. Separated from Horatius, she has to depend on her own wits to escape and survive, and then negotiate with demons to get back to her own time and life.
Connect with Cheri and explore her other work on her website: CheriGillard.com
This author also won 2nd Place in the short story writing contest. Read her winning entry here!