Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Cheryl Wyatt...When I Was Just a Kid

 

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Cheryl with her dad and "birth" day cake!

 

When I asked bubbly Cheryl to be interviewed for this column, she had plenty to tell us about! I enjoyed this interview about as much as I love a Steeple Hill novel--which Cheryl has now also written. Cheryl has great descriptions here, and that leads me to believe that she is going to be writing books for us to read for a long time. (I was so hungry after the favorite places to eat!)

If you would like to win Cheryl's book, A Soldier's Promise, just enter a comment to Cheryl below and let us know what she wanted to be besides a writer. PLEASE enter your email address so I can contact the winner for your snail mail address. You can use this format: yourname [at] your ISP[dot] com.

Now, let's hear Cheryl's story:

Childhood Ambition: My mother says I've always wanted to write and be a race car driver. LOL!

Fondest Memory (then): Right after my mother had a heart attack in her thirties and we weren't sure she would come through surgery okay because there'd been a complication according to doctors which required an emergent double bypass. My dad took my sister and I in the hall and just held us for hours. I'd never seen him cry before. Bereft of words other than saying one time, "we need to pray" all he could do was hug my sister and I.

He emanated strength and vulnerability at the same time. I remember how it felt when she came through surgery and the subsequent joy, bonding and relief in my family. Sounds strange to have that kind of memory be fond, but it let me see a part of my dad that he didn't often show. And it showed me a lot about life and taught me not to take people in it for granted. It was a huge defining moment.

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Cheryl with her poem

Proudest Moment (then): When the school chose one of my poems to read out loud at the end of the year. My parents were very proud of me and let everyone know it, especially me. LOL!

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Cheryl with Lisa (the "streaker?") and their horses

Biggest Challenge as a Child or Teen: Making friends who were girls since I was such a tomboy.

My First Job: McDonald's drive-through worker.

Childhood Indulgence: Seventeen cent popcorn balls from the Piggly Wiggly in Milan, New Mexico.

Favorite Outfit as a Child: A pair of shiny red Mom-made parachute pants. Didn't care much for clothes prior. Although I didn't streak my tricycle around the yard in the buff like someone else in my family. LOL!

Favorite Childhood Movie and/or TV Show: I never liked to watch TV much. When I did, I enjoyed Bonanza. Little Joe was SO cute. My favorite movie was The Outsiders. (Which is also a great book by S.E. Hinton.)

Little_Joe

Another author who loved Little Joe!

There must be some sort of psychological profile for so many authors to have liked Little Joe

Favorite Childhood Book: The dictionary. LOL! I honestly did read it for fun. Also loved Aesop's Fables and Dr. Seuss books, especially The Cat in the Hat.

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Imagine this blonde cutie shooting her sister with her pellet gun. Can't? Well, "can't" wasn't allowed in her vocabulary!

Favorite Childhood Activity/Pastime: Ride my motorcycle, miniatures, read, write, ride my bike, climb trees, shoot various things including my sister in the caboose with my Daisy Pellet gun when mom and dad weren't looking.

Favorite Places to Eat as a Child (What was special about it?) Loved to go to the Monte Carlo cafe in Grants, New Mexico because it was a special time with my family. MC had THE best tacos in the state. Also loved LOT-A-BURGER because it WAS a lot of burger. I remember the thing being as big as a dinner plate. My sister and I would share one and still have some left over. Loved to go the Canton Cafe in Gallup, NM and a greasy hamburger joint at Bluewater Lake in Thoreau, NM with my grandmother because she was as much of a thrill seeker as us kids were. Shhh... don't tell Mom and Dad. LOL!

Any Childhood Pets? Since we lived in a remote location, and the uranium economy had crashed, times were hard in the area. So people would drop their animals off all the time. At one point, we had 12 outside cats, 3 inside cats, a blind and deaf pig, 72 rabbits and about 4 dogs, one of whom was THE family pet--a huge black lab named Midnight who lived for 17 years.

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Cheryl with her dad

Childhood Hero: Dad, Evel Knievel and my Uncle Bucky who was wheelchair-bound from Polio.

Anything else you would like to share with readers about your childhood which affected the writer you have become? My parents always encouraged me to run hard after my dreams. Yet they instilled deep wisdom, perseverance and persistence too. Anything you wanted, you had to sweat for. I never remember my parents telling me I couldn't do something...well, other than shoot my sister with pellet guns that is. LOL!

They always spoke positive, uplifting words over us. Saying we could accomplish anything we put our minds and hands and feet to. They raised us with a strict, strong work ethic and made us strive for nothing less than the best. Whatever we did, we had to give it our all, no matter the outcome. If we played a game and lost, it didn't matter to them as long as we tried as hard as we could and didn't neglect to do our best.

In fact, my father would not allow me to say the words, "I can't." I remember in grade school PE I struggled with how to do squat thrusts and pushups. Our PE teacher was a retired drill sergeant. You'd have thought we were in elementary boot camp. I moped home cryin' one day and stomped through the house mad because I could not do a single pushup and the teacher had ridiculed me in front of the other kids. I thought my dad would call her or, better yet, go beat her up. LOL! But alas, he declined the invitation to my pity party.

Instead of letting me wallow in whining despair and the agony of defeat, my dad ruffled the top of my head in 0.3 seconds of comfort then jabbed a finger at the carpet and ordered me to the floor to give him twenty. LOL! Night after night my dad would get in the floor with me and try to teach me how to do a push up. He worked with me every single evening for weeks (okay it may have been days, but to a kid it FELT like weeks).

This continued until I could finally do pushups like a guy, because heaven knows our drill instructor wouldn't let girls do girlie pushups. LOL! This is one example of how my father relentlessly pushed and prodded me to aim for excellence. He refused to let me succumb to failure or quit when I got discouraged.

We had some near-knockdown drag outs over stuff at times because he wouldn't let me do things halfway or flake on something I started. It was tough at times but I know God gave me the perfect parents for me. Their manner of parenting instilled a titanium tenacity and a pit bull determination in me that I may not have otherwise formed.

My mother was and still is the most encouraging person I know. She was the best listener and always knew the right thing to say to make me feel better. Her words were always a soothing, healing balm and I could talk to her about anything. She always said things to build up my confidence and self-esteem. Always. My parents were, and still are, two of the greatest blessings in my life. You'll understand my acknowledgements page a little better now that you've glimpsed a little of what my childhood was like with them. I was, and am, extraordinarily blessed.

Cheryl's web site:

 http://www.cherylwyatt.com

Cheryl's Blog!

http:// www.scrollsquirrel.blogspot.com

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Cheryl with her debut book,Wings of Refuge series:

 

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Link to purchase her book:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0373874669

Would you like to win a free book? Sure! Who wouldn't, especially this one! Enter a comment here . See details above.

16 comments:

Mary Connealy said...

Cheryl, Great post.
Bummer about the push-ups. I'll bet your dad did it mainly to get you to never come home whining again. Think long and hard before you complain about not being about to do something to DAD!!!

Also, are you SURE the pig was deaf and blind? He might have just been stubborn. I've known some pigs like that.

And don't include me in the contest. I've already got two copies of A Soldier's Promise and I loved it. I can't wait for the sequel.

And Hi, Crystal. I love the blog.

Myra Johnson said...

What a marvelous idea for an author interview! How fun, Cheryl! And I can see how you acquired your confidence and self-discipline. You are truly, truly blessed to have been raised by such loving, supportive, encouraging parents. Love the pix!

And hey, you cannot POSSIBLY be old enough to have gotten hooked on Bonanza! I was still pretending to be Little Joe (or his girlfriend) when I was a young teenager!

Doreen said...

I enjoyed reading Cheryl's interview and seeing the pics! I think the answer to the question is that Cheryl not only wanted to be a Writer but a 'race car driver'? LOL Hope that's the answer you may be looking for! LOL

Tina M. Russo said...

Awwwe, that was so sweet. Really. I loved your post.

Now I have to take you off my list of people to harass because you are too nice.

Cara Putman said...

This is a fantastic book, Cheryl. Congrats on the release!

Cherie J said...

Besides a writer, a race car driver. Enjoyed the interview! Would love to win this book.

cherierj(at)yahoo(dot)com

Pam Hillman said...

Loved learning a bit about your childhood, Cheryl. What fun!

Crystal, what a unique blog!

Donna Moore said...

That was a great interview. I love learning about authors not just their journey but who they really are. I am sure you are blessed being a writer but wouldn't it be great to hear the roar of the engines as your race with Tony Stewart or Jimmie Jonhson. I think the career choice was probably pretty tough. I would love to win a copy of the novel.

lwatkins said...

Great interview Crystal and Cheryl! I loved the format, and your willingness to share your life with us Cheryl! I was especially touched to hear how your Dad held and prayed with you and your sister when your mother was in surgery after a heart attack.

I cannot wait to read your book, whether I win it or not. Oh, and your mother stated that if you did not write you would be a race car driver! LOL...may be we are related somehow...lol. I LOVE fast cars too!

God Bless,
Lisa

mydimples6 [at] yahoo [dot] com

Pamela J said...

The more I read interviews about Cheryl, the more I see why her book has such great reading in it. Don't enter me in the drawing, I have mine and love it. I'm thankful along with Cheryl that her folks supported, encouraged and pushed her into who she is today.
Pam

Pammer said...

Loved those pictures! And the stories. Your dad reminds me a lot of my dad. God gave you great parents.

I also don't need to be considered for the contest.

Great read and so is the sequel.

Lucie said...

Cheryl,
Great interview! Really loved seeing the photo's to go along with it...whenever I read books with photo's in the middle I am constantly looking back at them as I read about them.

I believe the answer to the question is that you wanted to be not only a writer but also a race car driver - maybe got some ideas from watching Evil Knieval, I totally remember growing up watching him! How funny, haven't thought about him in years!

Please enter me in your contest.


God bless you in all your endeavors.

~Lucie

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, Cheryl!! My favorite book was the dictionary too ... uh, that is AFTER Gone With the Wind ... :)

Great interview, you sweet thing!

Hugs,
Julie

stampedwithgrace said...

I enjoyed reading about your family and loved the pics! please enter me in the drawing, thanks!

Anna said...

No wonder writers come up with such interesting stories. Their own lives are so colorful.

Please enter me in the book contest. Thanks.

Missy Tippens said...

Great interview!! Crystal, this is a great blog.

Cheryl, how fun to read about and see pics of your childhood. :) Cute, cute, cute!

I already have the book and LOVED it! So don't enter me in the drawing. I look so forward to the next one.

Missy