Interview With Cheryl Robinson, Author of Until Ray

Title: Until Ray

Author: Cheryl Robinson

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Two people in the same city but worlds apart.

Until Ray is an unconventional love story of how two young people transitioning into adulthood find each other and develop a bond that will be tested through three decades.

HE IS LOST…

Ray lives in northwest Detroit in a four-family flat with his mother. When he’s not at home, Ray’s either at the mall selling women’s shoes or in the club. In both places, he’s focused on one thing—picking up women. Dissatisfied, dysfunctional, and leagues behind his peers, Ray’s ready for a change but isn’t sure how to make it happen.

THEN SHE ARRIVES…

At twenty-four, Sarita has an MBA, is a CPA, and works in upper-level management at GM. But all that success comes at a cost: she’s lonely and craves the one thing she’s never had—attention from men. Until now. Dr. Graham Emerson wants to marry Sarita, and her parents expect her to, but Sarita isn’t convinced he’s the one for her. On a blind date, she meets Ray Saint and is immediately drawn in by his good looks and sense of humor. But his reputation for being a ladies’ man raises several red flags. Ray swears he’s changed. Is giving up a sure thing for a maybe worth the risk?

Set in the mid-eighties, Until Ray explores life and love through the lenses of colorism, classism, and family dysfunction.

Interview

  1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

 I was born and raised in Palmer Woods—a historic residential district in Detroit—that my main character, Sarita Deering, also grew up in.

Like Ray Saint, another main character, I attended Cass Technical High School, which is a four-year university preparatory high school that, at the time, was in what was referred to as the Cass Corridor. The area has since been renamed Midtown Detroit and is now a mixed-use area with residential neighborhoods, businesses, a cultural center, and Wayne State University—my alma mater.  Before attending Wayne State University, I attended Howard University for two years.

At Wayne State, I earned a Bachelor of Science and majored in marketing, but I also took a fiction writing class as an elective. It is through that class that I realized I wanted to write stories for a living.  I have been writing fiction for the past sixteen years both independently and through a major publishing house.

Because Boone, one of the characters in the Until Ray trilogy, is into astrology, I will also add that I am a Gemini.

  1. Where do you get your ideas?

The Until Ray trilogy grew from something I heard had happened to a man. The situation he found himself in blew me away, and I wanted to know more. The person didn’t know anymore, so I started asking myself a series of what-if questions. That’s how the second book of the trilogy was born, which was going to be my only book, but it grew and grew and kept on growing.

  1. Do you work with an outline, or just write?

I just write. The times I have attempted to write from an outline only helped to get the story started. When my characters start to take on a life of their own, I have to just follow their lead.

  1. Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

Because I do not handle rejection or criticism very well, I didn’t send out a lot of queries to agents and publishers. In 2001, after receiving a few rejection letters for my first novel, When I Get Free, I made the decision to self-publish. When I Get Free is a novel about an ex-con, and it was based on the true story of a man I’d met while I lived in Texas. I thought he had an interesting story, and I had such high hopes for that novel. I was able to land a literary agent with that novel, and the agent really loved the book and felt confident he would be able to sell it to a mainstream publisher. I was told by my agent that a publisher was interested in me but not the book I had written, because it didn’t fit into their catalog. Instead, they inquired about the second book I had self-published, Memories of Yesterday. I was initially signed to a two-book deal, which included a re-release of Memories of Yesterday, which was renamed If It Ain’t One Thing as well as the sequel, It’s Like That. After those two books were published, Penguin/New American Library also published: Sweet Georgia Brown, In Love with a Younger Man, When I Get Where I’m Going, and Remember Me.

  1. If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?

I wouldn’t have written a sequel to If It Ain’t One Thing. Writing It’s Like That wasn’t an enjoyable process for me the way writing usually is.  I had to force something that was never meant to be, and I only did that to fulfill a contractual obligation.

  1. Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

The second book of the Until Ray trilogy will be released in January 2018, and it continues the story of Ray Saint and Sarita Deering. I will have a cover reveal and release the book trailer on September 18 on my blog and on my Facebook page.

From September 1-18, I will have a contest that I am excited about. Details of the contest will be on my blog and on my Facebook page as well.

  1. Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences or purely all imagination?

Until Ray is fictional and not at all based on my life or the lives of anyone I know. It’s the first book I have written that is entirely fictional and grew from my imagination. All of the places mentioned in the novel are real. I love to place fictional characters into a real setting and wait for them to come alive and begin to maneuver their lives.

  1. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

In Until Ray, which is the first book of the trilogy, I really enjoyed the chapters with Sarita Deering and Dr. Graham Emerson.

  1. What project are you working on now?

I am preparing to release the second book of the trilogy, and I am still writing the third and final book of the trilogy.

  1. How can readers stay in touch and learn more about you and your books?

Please visit my website: www.untilraytrilogy.com and subscribe to my blog www.untilraytrilogy.com/blog. They can also visit my Facebook page:  www.Facebook.com/untilraytrilogy.com

Author Bio

Cheryl Robinson was born in Detroit, Michigan, the youngest in a family of five. She grew up in Palmer Woods, a residential historic district that is now one of the settings in her forthcoming novel, Until Ray. For the past fifteen years, she has been busy writing contemporary women’s fiction. For  Penguin/NAL, Cheryl wrote six novels: If It Ain’t One Thing, It’s Like That, Sweet Georgia Brown, In Love with a Younger Man, When I Get Where I’m Going, and Remember Me. Cheryl is now an independent author and the owner of Rose Colored Books. With her company, she has published The One, Like Mom, and the forthcoming Until Ray Trilogy.

Cheryl currently resides in Florida.

To learn more about Cheryl and the Until Ray trilogy, please visit www.untilraytrilogy.com

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