Spotlight 37: Cherie Fruehan
Mark Dawson: I’m Mark Dawson from the Self-Publishing Show, and this is Self-Publishing Spotlight, where we shine a light on the indie authors who are changing the world of publishing one book at a time.
Tom Ashford: Hello, and welcome to the Self-Publishing Spotlight. We meet indie authors at all stages of their careers and ask them a series of five questions. Five questions about their process, their mistakes, and their successes. Five answers that will help you level up your own author career.
My name is Tom Ashford and I’m part of the Self-Publishing Formula. Don’t forget that you can get your self-publishing resource kit at selfpublishingformula.com/starterkit. This week’s guest is Cherie Fruehan. She’s written two books in the mystery and women’s fiction genres and she lives in Texas.
Cherie Fruehan: Thank you so much for having me.
Tom Ashford: Would you like to start by talking about the two books and the two genres that you’ve been writing in?
Cherie Fruehan: My first book, which was published last February, the title is The Suicide of Sophie Ray. And it’s actually a story about a detective, who when he was a young boy had a gift, he could see and hear the dead. But his very religious mom, told him not to listen to his voices or his intuition.
So he pushed them down and grew up very analytical and now he’s working on a case and a woman has died and he’s getting those same old intuitions coming back. And now he’s got to learn how to trust himself in order to solve a case and find a really bad guy.
And my second book, which is called Dinner with the Hawthorns, is actually releasing today for pre-order. And it’s about a woman who finds a secret her husband’s been keeping form from her, so she decides she’s going to kill him, and she gets home and realizes someone else has beat her to it.
Tom Ashford: Oh wow.
Cherie Fruehan: So it’s kind of a who done it. It’s a little bit of an ensemble cast of six characters. I wanted to play around with more than one character. There’s actually two points of view in this book.
Tom Ashford: Nice. Cool. I mean that sounds like a bit of a relief for a character to be like, get himself built up to murder her husband and then go, “Oh good. I’m completely innocent now.”
Cherie Fruehan: Yes.
Tom Ashford: Cool. Well let’s jump into the five questions.
The first one is why do you write? Was there a particular story that you wanted to get out there or was there a particular reason that you wanted to go into writing in the first place?
Cherie Fruehan: I wrote as a teenager. I wrote a lot of poetry and short stories, but never did anything with it. And then recently, a few years ago, I had an idea for what I thought would be a really great movie. And so I never really intended on writing a book. I wanted to write a screenplay and that was for The Suicide of Sophie Ray.
But when I sat to write the screenplay, I think because I’m an artist, and I think in details, it was really hard for me to condense everything in that nice screenplay format. So I actually sat down and wrote a book, and so I wrote the movie I saw in my head from basically page one to the last page, and enjoyed doing it and the story I think turned out really well, so I ended up publishing that. So that’s how I started.
Tom Ashford: Did you always want to be in mystery and women’s fiction or what did you, have you ever wanted to go into other genres?
Cherie Fruehan: I don’t know. I love a mystery. I love complicated plots. I love twists. So I think that genre is intended for me. I like that we can also do that in women’s fiction as well.
Tom Ashford: I’m going to presume that you’re self-published?
Cherie Fruehan: I am self-published, yes.
Tom Ashford: Did you look to get a traditional contract first or have you always just thought self-publishing is the way to go?
Cherie Fruehan: I honestly wanted to self-publish. The first book, I think I sent it to two different agents because I thought that’s what you had to do. And I got some really great feedback. I didn’t get picked up, but it was encouraging the critiques I got back.
So I took those critiques, and tweaked the first story, and the more I searched about having someone publish you and doing the self-publishing, I really leaned more towards wanting to self publish.
I love the fact that you have control over the cover and you can put it out when you want. I realized you have to self promote, but I’m actually learning how to do that now. I’m about to dive into Ads for Authors. I bought the course, so I’m really, I wanted to wait until I had two books under my belt and I’m going to start now figuring out how to do paid promotion and ads and things like that.
Tom Ashford: Would you ever go for a traditional contract, do you think?
Cherie Fruehan: I don’t know. I honestly really don’t know. Right now I’m working on adapting The Suicide of Sophie Rae into a screenplay. I’d like to own my words and I’d like to keep everything and actually try to get that made into a movie if I can.
Tom Ashford: Is there a particular route that you’d go in order to get it made into a movie?
Cherie Fruehan: I’m not quite sure. I do have a mentor that is a screenwriter and he’s had movies made. So I’m going to ask him when I finish, he’s been reading what I’m writing, and giving me pointers. And so I’ll ask advice once I’m finished, I guess.
Tom Ashford: Nice. Sony and Netflix have been doing a lot of a snapping up from things like Wattpad and things like that from self published authors.
Cherie Fruehan: Yes.
Tom Ashford: So it’s certainly possible.
Cherie Fruehan: Yes, definitely. I’m optimistic. I think it’s going to happen.
Tom Ashford: Question number two is, how do you write? Do you tend to plot your stories out before you start or do you pants them?
Cherie Fruehan: I started as a 100% pantser. I honestly write in movies. I see movies in my head. And so I kind of pants my way through the first scene to the last scene. But that was mostly what I did with the first book.
But the second book, you have to plot a little bit. You definitely have to figure out, okay, this scene is going to cause this to happen. So when this happens, what’s going to happen next? I think I’m a hybrid and I do a little bit of both now.
Tom Ashford: Is there any software that you use, like Scrivener, Word, that sort of thing?
Cherie Fruehan: Yes, I use Scrivener. I love Scrivener. The first book I wrote in Pages on my Mac and using Scrivener now, I did not realize how blindly I was writing. So it’s so nice to have that all laid out in front of you. I love it.
Tom Ashford: Is there a particular time and place that you like writing?
Cherie Fruehan: I like to write at home and when I am writing a book, I really treat it as a full time job. I’m lucky enough to have the time.
I’ll get up in the morning and after my coffee I’ll sit and I will just write and write and write all day, kind of until my brain gets tired. I’ll take a break for lunch, I’ll take a break and make dinner. But I pretty much write all day.
Tom Ashford: Nice. That leads into question number three.
Are you a full-time author? If you are, how did you get there, and if you aren’t, what steps are you taking to make it happen?
Cherie Fruehan: I’m writing all the time. I do not consider myself a full-time author yet because I’m an artist and I paint as well.
When I’m not writing, I’m painting. But I definitely want both of my books and my art to be my profession. So if I could make a living being a writer, writing all the time, I have many more ideas in my head, I would love to be able to do that.
Tom Ashford: What sort of sort of paintings do you do?
Cherie Fruehan: I think because I’m writing in black and white, I’m painting in color, so they’re very colorful. Some are abstract and some are a little bit more… I like to paint faces, but definitely not photorealistic faces. I like to do them more like a pop art and use a lot of color.
Tom Ashford: Question number four is what mistakes do you think you’ve made and what have you got right?
Cherie Fruehan: Mistakes. Well, you learn as you go. I have an actual mistake on the cover of The Suicide of Sophie Ray. I didn’t catch it. It’s an auto correct that changed the word empathic to emphatic. And so I thought about changing it. I did not want to have a second version of the book just for that one word. So I figure when I become a famous author, those books are going to sell for a lot of money because they have an error.
Tom Ashford: Yeah.
Cherie Fruehan: So that’s the biggest mistake. It’s kind of embarrassing in a way. But at the same time, it’s like whatever, I mean, we’re human. We do this. Our eyes sometimes get used to what we’re seeing. And we read the word differently than what it is actually.
Tom Ashford: At least it auto corrected to an actual word.
Cherie Fruehan: Yes it did. And actually, the word fits. So it’s not that the word is wrong, it’s just not what I intended.
And then I think my biggest success is just finishing the books. I was really proud when I finished that first book. It was such a milestone for me and it made me know that I could just write more and more.
Tom Ashford: The fifth and final question is, what’s your final piece of advice for authors starting out in indie publishing?
Cherie Fruehan: Definitely my advice would be find your tribe, join writing groups, go to workshops, go to conferences, be inspired by those around you.
Share your work don’t be afraid. Get feedback and just write, and write fearlessly, and without self-judgment. Just get it down on paper and just follow your intuition, wherever it may take you.
Tom Ashford: Well as they say, writing a book is the hardest part unless you count marketing.
Cherie Fruehan: For sure.
Tom Ashford: Well, awesome. Those are your five questions. It’s been great having you on.
Cherie Fruehan: Oh, it’s been so nice to be here. Thank you so much and thank you for shining the spotlight on authors that are emerging, as well as people that are already established. It really means a lot.
Tom Ashford: That’s it for this week’s Self-Publishing Spotlight. Don’t forget that you can get your free self-publishing resource kit at selfpublishingformula.com/starterkit.
And if you want to appear as a guest on this show, send us brief details about yourself and your writing at selfpublishingformula.com/spotlight-guest. I’m Tom Ashford and I’ll see you again next week.
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