Today I’m delighted to feature bestselling author Sheryl Browne. Sheryl writes taught, dark, twisty psychological thrillers and contemporary fiction. Her latest book The Second Wife was published earlier this year by Bookouture. Our social media friendship developed over a shared love of Jack Russells. Sheryl has an adorable boy called Snoops, who would melt your heart.
A member of the Crime Writers’ Association and the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Sheryl has several books published and two short stories in Birmingham City University anthologies, where she completed her MA in Creative Writing. Sheryl has also obtained a Certificate of Achievement in Forensic Science and – according to readers – she makes and excellent psychopath.
So over to Sheryl:-
Which five pieces of music/songs which are included in the soundtrack to your life and why?
Gloria Gaynor – I will Survive. I think this iconic song resonates with so many people. For me, it’s not just about surviving relationship hell (and who hasn’t been there?). It’s about finding the strength within yourself to get through whatever life throws at you, rather than ‘crumbling’. There was a time when I might have. As a single mum, who’d suffered the loss of a little one, I was working a night job, trying to look after my young son. I was crumbling. Somehow, I came through it. Ever since, if I’m struggling when life does what it does… Yup, I can often be found belting out: “I’ve got all my life to live. And I’ve got all my love to give and I’ll survive. I will survive, hey, hey.”
Anything by Adele – a phenomenal powerhouse of a singer. Turning Tables is a particular favourite, possibly for similar reasons as above: finding that inner strength, telling yourself you’re okay, and that you can do this. These are the lyrics that do it for me: “Next time I’ll be braver. I’ll be my own saviour. Standing on my own two feet.”
Elgar’s ‘Nimrod’ is a piece of classical music I love. Often played on Remembrance Sundays, it has the power to move the strongest of people to tears. I chose to use this in the opening of ‘The Affair’, so it was a great excuse to play it over and over. I never get tired of listening to it.
Plan B’s, She Said – because I can’t resist the beat.
Something a little more upbeat to end with: Shania Twain – Man! I Feel Like a Woman! “The best thing about being a woman is the prerogative to have a little fun.” Right?
Highlight five things (apart from family and friends) you would find it hard to live without.
My dogs. I foster dogs with disabilities. I currently have a teeny Jack Russell who has very little sight, He’s my heartbeat, I swear.
My PC! For obvious reasons.
I wasn’t sure I’d ever say it, but my Kindle. It gives me so much scope to read authors I might not have otherwise. Plus, it’s a fabulous editing tool.
Cupcakes. Say no more.
My toolkit. I’m a bit of a DIY person – mainly because if I don’t do it, it doesn’t get done.
Can you offer the five pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?
Don’t view yourself through other people’s eyes.
Don’t focus on your tiny imperfections – look at the whole picture.
Know you are unique and special.
Feel the fear and do it anyway. Yes, it’s a well-known book. What I’m saying here is have confidence in yourself. Never let anyone tell you can’t.
If you don’t want to do it, then don’t. No, used assertively, rather than aggressively, is a very empowering word.
Tell us five things that most people don’t know about you.
So, I’ve just mentioned feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Don’t I sound brave? I wasn’t always. I was terrified of heights, spiders, finding my way to new places.
The first thing then, was tackling my height phobia. I threw myself out of a plane.
The arachnophobia was a bit more of a challenge (I kid you not. I was truly petrified of our eight-legged friends to the point of renting my house out, which had a rather large variety of hairy houseguest. I would even ask neighbours to come and put them out for me). I took a cognitive therapy course, and ended up holding, not only the house variety, but a tarantula! Yes, I do have a photo, but thought better of shocking anyone with the same phobia. The CT course worked, despite my threatening to throw myself out of a third floor window if the therapist brought my worst fear anywhere near me.
I know all of the lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody. A group of friends and I chose to perform as Queen at a New Year’s Eve party. Magnifico!
I also know all the lyrics to You’re the One That I Want from Grease. Yes, we we’re so fabulous we did it again the next year. I was John Travolta. A very short John Travolta and possibly not as good-looking.
The finding my way to new places wasn’t such a challenge. I bought a satnav.
What are the first five things you’d have on your bucket list?
Ooh, I have my characters in my WIP comparing bucket lists. They’re up for climbing The Andes in Peru. I tackled a smaller mountain, Snowdon, abseiling while I was there. So that’s one off my list.
The other things would be:
See a blue whale flip out of the water. That would be amazing.
Deep sea dive (I did it once, but they hadn’t got enough ballast to weight me down. I floated off. They found me! Needless to say).
Visit the ruins of Pompeii. We almost made it there once. Unfortunately there was an accident on the treacherous road leading up to it. We never made it. The downward trip was somewhat hair-raising. The coach reversed down the bends. Eeek!
Thanks so much for sharing with us Sheryl, not sure I’d have been as brave in conquering my fears as you have been, but wow – respect! I love your music choices I’m a big Adele fan and ‘Nimrod’ is also one of my favourite pieces of music, it is a very moving piece. I visited Elgar’s birthplace last year, and spent most of the week afterwards humming it. I hope you get to tick off some of your bucket list, I must admit a whale would be pretty special. I was beyond excited when I saw my first dolphin!
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She made her bed. You’ll lie in it.
Rebecca only wanted to help out – to be kind. Richard seemed so alone after his wife, Nicole, died, and Rebecca wanted to make sure he knew he had someone to rely on.
But now she’s in Nicole’s immaculate house. Drinking from her favourite crystal wine glass. Keeping shoes in her orderly closet. Comforting her sweet and grieving step-daughter. It feels like Rebecca is living another woman’s life.
And as she gets to know the neighbours, Rebecca hears stories that make her wonder: was free-spirited Nicole happy in this perfect life, or did she feel trapped? Did she feel, as Rebecca is beginning to, that something wasn’t quite right?
The moment she opened her eyes, she knew everything had changed. The stale taste of alcohol; her uneasy stomach. She looked at her husband sleeping peacefully, and knew she would never tell anyone what happened last night.
You will think you know what happened to Alicia that night.
You will see a desperate wife, lying to her husband.
You will watch a charming lover, trying to win her back.
You will judge her, just like everyone else.
You will assume you know what happens next. But everything you think you know about the past, the relationships, what drives Alicia and her husband to lie… is wrong.
You trust her with your family. Would you trust her with your life?
Mark and Melissa Cain are thrilled to have found Jade, a babysitter who is brilliant with their young children. Having seen her own house burn to the ground, Jade needs them as much as they need her. Moving Jade into the family home can only be a good thing, can’t it?
As Mark works long hours as a police officer and Melissa struggles with running a business, the family become ever more reliant on their babysitter, who is only too happy to help. And as Melissa begins to slip into depression, it’s Jade who is left picking up the pieces.
But Mark soon notices things aren’t quite as they seem. Things at home feel wrong, and as Mark begins to investigate their seemingly perfect sitter, what he discovers shocks him to his core. He’s met Jade before. And now he suspects he might know what she wants …
Mark is in a race against time to protect his family. But what will he find as he goes back to his family home?
DI Matthew Adams Series
Tormented to the edge of sanity …
Just when DI Matthew Adams thinks he’s left the past behind him, it comes back to haunt him once again; this time in the form of the Conner family.
Like Matthew, the Conners have lost a child in tragic circumstances – and they’ve also found themselves in the hands of one of the most depraved criminals to walk the streets: ‘Dead-eyed’ Charlie Roberts, a drug addicted low-life with a penchant for extreme violence.
Matthew’s greatest affinity lies with Daniel Conner, the brooding father who still blames himself for his youngest child’s death. But when Daniel’s wife and daughter are tortured and tormented by Roberts, can Matthew prevent him from completely ruining his own life for an act of revenge particularly when, once upon a time, that’s exactly what Matthew would have done too?
What if you’d been accused of one of the worst crimes imaginable?
Detective Inspector Matthew Adams is slowly picking up the pieces from a case that nearly cost him the lives of his entire family and his own sanity too. On the surface, he seems to be moving on, but he drinks to forget and when he closes his eyes, the nightmares still come.
But the past is the past or is it? Because the evil Patrick Sullivan might be out of the picture, but there’s somebody who is just as intent on making Matthew’s life hell, and they’re doing it in the cruelest way possible.
When Matthew finds himself accused of a horrific and violent crime, will his family stand by him? And will he even be around to help when his new enemy goes after them as well?
He’s killed your child and kidnapped your wife. What would YOU do?
There’s evil and then there’s Patrick Sullivan. A drug dealer, pimp and murderer, there are no depths to which Patrick would not sink, and Detective Inspector Matthew Adams has found this out in the most devastating way imaginable.
When Patrick’s brother is shot dead in a drug bust gone wrong, the bitter battle between the two men intensifies, and Matthew finds it increasingly difficult to hold the moral high ground. All he wants is to make the pimping scum suffer the way he did … the way Lily did.
But being at war with such a depraved individual means that it’s not just Matthew who’s in danger. Patrick has taken a lot from Matthew, but he hasn’t taken everything – and now he wants everything.
Sometimes help comes from the most unlikely places …
Living in a small village like Hibberton, it’s expected that your neighbours help you in a time of need. But when Andrea Kelly’s house burns down, taking all her worldly possessions with it, it’s the distant and aloof Doctor David Adams – the person she would least expect – who opens his door not just to her, but to her three kids and slightly dotty elderly mother as well.
Andrea needs all the help she can get, dealing with the aftermath of the fire and the suspicious absence of her husband, Jonathan. But as she gets to know David and his troubled son, Jake, she begins to realise that maybe they need her help as much as she needs theirs …
Disillusioned in life and love, boy-in-blue PC Paul Davis is moody, broody and not great relationship material. He comes from a broken home, his wife is divorcing him, he’s got no place to live, he’s losing custody of his son, and his sergeant, who’s sleeping with his wife, is a bully who constantly baits him.
Leanne’s caught her about to be ex cheating on her again, but as she’s about to impart her thoughts on the subject, she’s wrongfully arrested for soliciting – by Paul and his partner. Despite his thundering faux pas, a relationship blossoms and things could be looking up for Paul, if only he can overlook the fact that Leanne’s friends, beleaguered mum Nicky and financial Goddess Jade, are about to embroil Leanne in a plot to blackmail her ex. Leanne wants closure. Paul wants a home. Nicky and Jade want revenge. Blackmail, lies, adultery, heartache. Will it all work out in the end or will Paul uphold the law?
A Little Bit of Madness – White Knight in Blue rescues The Harbour Rest Home.
Celia Summers, intrepid mother of two, is too cuddly for sweatpants, she suspects. But then, her class at The Harbour Rest Home are similarly clad. Celia loves her work as an art therapist. She’s proud that she gives her elderly independents something to look forward to, even if her partner is dismissive of her efforts. Martin has other things on his mind – telling complicated lies to Celia so he sell his mum’s house from underneath her to pay off his debts.
Unaware and trusting, Celia fights to secure gallery space for her geriatric charges’ artwork, and to keep The Harbour from being closed. She’s even ready to abseil from a church steeple to bring attention to the plight of her old people, no matter that she might fall and end up splattered all over the flagstones. When she does fall, however, it’s much more painfully. Will PC Alex Burrows, the man who’s stolen her heart, be her white-knight-in-blue and ride to her rescue?
Performed on stage at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre!
Sigh with contentment, scream with frustration. At times you will weep.
Dumped by her husband for a blindingly blonde twig, single mum Donna is getting on with her life, albeit not very confidently. In her dreams, she’ll meet a drop dead delicious hero who will love her and her three-legged dog without question. Alas, in reality, they don’t exist. Dashing policeman Mark does what men do: hides his hurt well. Mark has a lot riding on any sort of relationship he might enter into. He has a special needs son. But should he tell Donna, the quirky, sassy, caring woman he’s fallen in love with? Or will he scare her away?
Could Mark be the hunk Donna needs? Could Donna be the rock Mark can lean on? If they look hard enough, can they find Somebody to Love?
You can’t run away from commitment forever …
Adam Hamilton-Shaw has more reason than most to avoid commitment. Living on a houseboat in the Severn Valley, his dream is to sail into the sunset – preferably with a woman waiting in every port. But lately, his life looks more like a road to destruction than an idyllic boat ride…
Would-be screenplay writer Sienna Meadows realises that everything about Adam spells trouble – but she can’t ignore the feeling that there is more to him than just his bad reputation. Nor can she ignore the intense physical attraction that exists between them.
And it just so happens that Adam sees Sienna as the kind of woman he could commit to. But can he change his damaging behaviour – or is the road to destruction a one-way street?
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