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A Few Minutes With Cheryl Brooks
e-interviewed by Martina Bexte (April, 2008)

SlaveCheryl Brooks lives in Indiana and has worked as a critical care nurse for thirty years, a career that she says is exciting in itself. But now she's looking for a different kind of thrill in her life. After "keeping family and friends entertained with my books for a number of years", she decided to turn to self-publishing in 2006. Her story about an intergalactic trader who joins forces with an enslaved warrior endowed with various interesting physical attributes soon caught the attention of Sourcebooks Casablanca.

Slave: The Cat Star Chronicles, the first book in Cheryl's new series, follows Cat's and Jacinth's adventures as they search for her sister, while eluding a race of killers bent on destroying them.

Q: Slave is told entirely through Jacinth's point of view - did you find this the most effective way to tell the story?

A: I prefer writing in first person, and many of my favorite authors have written that way. It's the way I think, and the way we all see the world, and I believe it is more suspenseful. Also, anytime I think I know what my husband is thinking; I've been wrong!

Q: The Slave/Master scenario is not a new plot device, particularly for the more sensual romances - what makes the plotline you've devised for Slave stand out from the others?

A: I liked the idea of a male slave who didn't quite have the slave mentality. Cat doesn't act like your typical slave, nor is he ever treated like one by Jacinth. She finds him in the beginning and frees him, thereby gaining his trust, and bringing them together as a couple very quickly. Jacinth has always avoided romance because it has an adverse effect on her judgment, but she cannot resist Cat!

Q: Cat is an enslaved warrior who may well be the last of his species - which of his feline character traits will readers find the most intriguing?

A: He can PURR! I love that about him! In addition to that, he has that desire for sensual contact that all cats seem to have, which makes them such endearing pets. His other intriguing traits have more to do with being Zetithian, rather than feline, and those Zetithians have taken sexual pleasure to an entirely new level!

Q: What's next in the Cat Star Chronicles?

A: Warrior is next. The story takes place on the planet Utopia, an Earth colony established to return to a lifestyle that is more in harmony with nature, with the custom of slavery being an unfortunate offshoot of that culture. The local witch, Tisana, is a healer who can control fire and communicate telepathically with animals. She is brought together with Leo, the Zetithian slave of her former lover, Rafe, when he brings Leo to her for treatment. Though Leo is near death and also an alien being, she is drawn to his sensuous nature, even though she knows that any time they have together will be short. When Rafe's children are taken by a neighboring lord and he enlists the aid of Tisana and Leo to find them, they set out on their quest through the snowy forest. Along the way, they encounter danger, excitement, and romance, as well as a number of animals who will keep you chuckling.

Q: How do you balance being a critical care nurse with your blossoming career as a writer?

A: Not very well. At this point, it's like having two full-time jobs, and though I'd like to be able to retire from nursing, the hospital is where my friends are. Not only that, but I get all kinds of ideas and support from them, as well as the patients I care for. I'm not sure I'm ready to give that up!
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