Message From The Author
First Impressions that Last
Meeting New Author Cherry Adair
by Cindy Schwalb
To overhear new romantic suspense author Cherry Adair talk about her past, one might assume she was plotting her next novel. Danger, adventure, love at first sightastonishingly, its all there.
The daughter of a magician and an opera singer, Cherry grew up in Cape Town, South Africaa beautiful city nestled in the countrys most southern peninsula where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet. During Apartheid, the South African government exerted immense power to protect the status quo; any perceived threat was taken very seriously. Cherry was in her early twenties, living on her own in Johannesburg, when she unwittingly crossed paths with the Establishment. It was quite terrifying. I was followed, interrogated and had my phone tapped by government officials. They thought
I knew something about someone they considered a subversive. I was oblivious about the whole thing. Government agents continued to open her mail, tap her phone and tail her for nearly six months before they lost interest, and Cherry was once again allowed to be a free citizen. While she jokes that the experience will appear in a future novel, Cherry confides that it tested her limits. Indeed, only years later could she laugh when her grandmother called her Mata Hari.
With her trademark sense of humor intact, She determined to make some bold strides of her own. The most daring of these? Moving to America and not knowing a soul.
My friends claimed it was because I loved ketchup. She teases, We believed everyone in America ate ketchup with everything. Whether she was disappointed to discover the truth about ketchup consumption in the U.S., or disappointed in other misconceptions about the States, Cherry never said. But she did learn what it feels like to be a foreigner in a new country. It felt strange to meet new people because it was as though Id never existed before. No one knew me or my past. I shared no history with anyone.
By settling in San Francisco, Cherry did find some of the geographic comforts of homea peninsula, bay area and mountainous rangeand opened a small interior design business. At the time, my business was my passion. I loved the creativity of working with colors, fabrics and textures. But then romance walked into my store and I met someone I loved even more. It was on a Wednesday, 23 years ago. David came in to buy wallpaper for his daughters bathroom. We went to lunch on Friday, dinner on Saturday and were engaged by Sunday night. They married two months later, which shouldnt have been too surprising since love at first sight runs in her family. Both her parents emigrated to South Africa from the UK before they met. Her father, the magician, happened to be meeting a friend at the theatre where her mother was rehearsing. He saw her up on stage and told his friend, Im going to marry that girlwhich in short order he did. Cherry inherited her fathers resolve.
As a newlywed, she sold her business to wrangle a ready-made family, beginning with two adorable daughters (ages six and nine), three cats, two dogs, a hamster (who lived in the stuffing of the sofa), three gerbils, a mouse, a chicken and a canary. Wrapped in that lovable bundle came her greatest and most rewarding challenge, raising our two daughters! she warmly exclaims.
Based on experience alone, it seems that writing suspenseful romances would be a natural fit, but Cherrys passion for writing began long before her Mata Hari days. She began to take her writing seriously at about the age of six. Id cut pictures out of magazines, write the stories and dialogue, then send them back to the same magazines I cut the pictures from, hoping theyd buy it. They were quite amused by my perseverance, and eventually one did buy a story for about $5.
Cherry has been writing ever since: in South Africa, and on
and off while raising her daughters. Her first book, The Mercenary, won the 1994 RITA for Best Short Contemporary and was published by Harlequin Temptation that same year. She then spent another five years writing before she signed with an agent. A string of successfully met challenges in her past and family support provided the backdrop to keep her writing on a serious level.
Her dedication has paid off, as evidenced by her second novel, KISS AND TELLthe first for Ballantine/Ivy. Marnie, a civilian out for rest and relaxation and Jake, a military intelligence agent, are stranded by a storm and forced to fend off a team of trained assassins. Set in the mountainous terrain of the Sierras, her action scenes are first-rate. To keep track of the intricate chase scenes involving a large cast, Cherry drew a detailed map of an imaginary setting. Before I started the book, I knew the exact placement of every tree, rock and dam on my mountain. Her painstaking efforts brought those scenes to life.
But the aspects of Cherrys writing that will become a signature of her style are her charismatic characters and the humor with which their personalities are revealed. In Kiss and Tell, Marnie and Jake feel an instant attraction. But accustomed to solitude, Jake has little patience for civilians and is ill-equipped with people skills. Toughened by four big brothers, Marnie is unfazed by him. In the following scenes, the two are trudging through the rain to his cabin. Jake cant decide which is worse, thinking about having sex with Marnie or having to listen to her sweet-natured chattering.
He thinks to himself, The woman had two speeds; on, at sixty miles per hour, and off Lord does she ever run out of juice?
Do you have an off button?he finally asks.
When Marnie does run out of things to say, Jake couldnt be less pleased about it.
he stopped talking but she wasnt quiet. Jake became excruciatingly aware of her, there, right behind him. The small grunts and groans as she placed each foot carefully on the slick ground reverberated in his gut. He wanted to turn around and tell her to shut the hell up. She sounded as though she was having sex. Good sex. Slow sex
When they finally reach his cabin Marnie remembers her decision to live life to the fullest, and makes her first pass at a man.
Marnies pulse skittered as Jakes eyes heated. He felt it, too. I think, she whispered, were in big trouble here.
It took him a lifetime to say roughly, You arent my type.
Yes, I am.
No. You are not.
Marnie stepped forward. He crossed his arms over his massive chest. She could feel his eyes moving over her mouth. Her lips tingled. She held his gaze as she moved closer.
Cant stand blondes.
Ill dye my hair.
Youre too short.
Not when were both lying down. Ill wear heels.
The most charming secondary characters are Marnies intriguing family, especially her four older brothers. Theres a doctor, a Navy SEAL, a photographer and a cattlemannone of whom are quite what they seem. But that is to be revealed in their own stories.
These days Cherry is sticking strictly to writing romantic suspense. Shes currently working on another Temptation, which will be released next year along with a second book for Ivy about one of the other characters in KISS AND TELL. With all the work her burgeoning career has brought, Cherry relies on her live-in companions for support: her three-month-old puppy, Max; her superior feline, Temporary Cat (turned permanent cat); as well as her husband and best friend, David. As for their romance, I asked Cherry what lies beyond instant attraction. She responded, Two people who bring out the best in each other. Its comforting to know that sometimes the lines between fiction, the world of possibility, and reality, the domain of fact, can seem to blurif angled in the right light or approached with the right amount of gusto.
Write to Cherry in care of Ivy Books, 1540 Broadway, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10036.
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