Cheryl Faye recently returned as a resident to Harlem, New York, where she was born and raised. As an active member of First Corinthian Baptist Church, where Michael A. Walrond, Jr. is the senior pastor, she currently holds the position of Vice Chair of the Trustee Ministry.
A legal secretary by profession, Cheryl is the proud mother of two sons, Michael and Douglas, and grandmother to Mikayla.
Who Said It Would Be Easy? is Cheryl’s sixth published novel; her five previously released novels are: Be Careful What You Wish For for Strebor Books International, an imprint of Simon and Schuster; First Love and A Test Of Time for BET Books; A Time For Us and At First Sight for Arabesque/Pinnacle Books, an imprint of Kensington Publishing. Her short story, A Second Chance At Love, was included in a Mothers’ Day anthology Mama Dear, for Arabesque/Pinnacle Books.
Known for creating realistic characters who face true to life situations and circumstances, Who Said It Would Be Easy? is her first foray into the Christian fiction genre, but Cheryl believes she has definitely found her niche.
Cheryl is currently working on her next inspirational novel, tentatively titled, Saved By Grace; the story of a widow, Ruth Morgan, and her teenage daughter, Grace, who consistently encourages her mother to “get a life,” forcing Ruth to examine the true reason she is so reluctant t give her heart again.
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All of Cheryl Faye’s titles can be purchased at www.amazon.com www.barnesandnoble.com. Who Said It Would Be Easy? and Be Careful What You Wish For can also be purchased at www.zanestore.com.
Who Said It Would Be Easy? is a departure from the stories written by Cheryl Faye in the past. While romance is still a very prominent theme, this story delves deeper into the matters of life relationships in general. Love is a key theme throughout the story—romance, friendship and parental, as well as agape love that is exhibited by God for Stefàn and Charisse. Followers of Cheryl Faye’s writing will be intrigued by the new path she has taken, but will enjoy and identify with the very real personalities of her characters. The events that take place in the story are also very realistic and not based on fantastic notions of life being perfect and “everything’s wonderful now that I’m saved.” Real life is hard, but can also be extremely rewarding when you can move past the pain of today and look forward to the joys of tomorrow. Who Said It Would Be Easy? is a journey along the path of life’s tests, trials, tragedies and triumphs.
Despite the fact that this particular Saturday in mid-July boasted temperatures in the high nineties, it was a perfect day for a wedding. There wasn’t a cloud to be seen in the cerulean blue sky, and the air was free of humidity.
Charisse Ellison was happy about that. She had spent three hours at her best friend’s salon yesterday getting a manicure, pedicure and facial, plus a new cut and perm and would have been fit to be tied if she’d had to worry about her style shriveling up.
Standing among the throng at the bottom of the steps of First Canaan A.M.E. Church in Queens, New York, Charisse took in her surroundings. Looking around at the many members of her large family who were in attendance, she realized that the only time they got together nowadays was either for a wedding or a funeral. During her childhood, her parents, uncles and aunts did not need a reason to get their collective families together on a fairly regular basis. Most lived in the New York, New Jersey area, and others were spread out between there and Baltimore, for the most part, so it was never difficult for anyone to get to the others. Sadly, as the elder members of the family got older and died off, the younger generations seemed to be too wrapped up in their own lives to make time for simple family gatherings. That was probably one of the reasons the turnout for Jewel’s wedding was so large.
As Jewel and her new husband, Terrance Wilson, emerged from the church, the crowd in front broke into applause. Remembering the conversation she’d had with Jewel the night before, and knowing how happy her cousin was to finally be married to the man of her dreams, Charisse’s face was lit by her bright smile.
Despite a twinge of envy because she was still waiting for God to send her husband-to-be, Charisse looked forward with eager anticipation to the day she would start her own family. Unbeknownst to most of the Ellison clan, Jewel and Terrance were already on their way to becoming parents. Jewel had confided in Charisse at the end of her bridal shower last weekend that she would be three months pregnant this coming week. It didn’t matter, either, that she was thirty years old; Jewel’s parents were old school and legalistically religious. Aunt Jean was the eldest of Charisse’s father’s siblings. Charisse and Jewel both knew that she would not have been happy about her daughter being pregnant on her wedding day, but that was water under the bridge now.
Suddenly, from her immediate right Charisse heard her own mother’s voice, “Johnny, why’d you bring your camera if you’re not going to use it?”
She turned as her father replied, “I’m getting the pictures, Barb. Besides we’ve got all afternoon to take pictures of them.”
“But you should at least get a shot of them leaving the church.”
Charisse smiled as she watched her parents’ playful bickering. Having tied the knot right after high school, they had been married for thirty-eight years. They were both quite youthful looking fifty-six year olds, as well as being an incredibly handsome couple. Childhood sweethearts, the elder Ellison’s had met in the ninth grade when John had been assigned as a math tutor to Barbara.
Always thrilled by watching them together, Charisse’s heart swelled with pride and joy. Even after all these years, her parents’ mutual adoration, admiration and affection was still very evident. She believed their loving playfulness was what kept them so young looking and young at heart.
Dressed today in a Christian Dior gown, Barbara presented a striking picture of maturity with her stylishly coiffed silver hair. Looking polished in his Armani tuxedo, John got many second looks from women in the crowd—young and old alike—but he had eyes for no one but his comely wife.
Interview with Cheryl:
1. Tell us a little something about your latest book, Who Said It Would Be Easy?
Charisse Ellison is a single young professional in her late twenties who is new to her faith, having only recently joined a Christian congregation and is now taking her relationship with God very serious. She is looking forward to the day she will meet her future husband and settle down and raise a family. Stefàn Cooper is an extremely handsome, self-assured real estate broker and certified bachelor with no intentions of changing his marital status or his womanizing ways. The two meet at a wedding and despite the differences in how they are living, are inexplicably drawn to one another. The story plays out how they embark on a cautionary friendship, then are swept up in a whirlwind romance that leads to eventual marriage, and teaches them that despite outward appearances, God can turn our mourning into dancing.
2. Your earlier novels were not Christian based. What inspired the change in genre?
I began writing Who Said It Would Be Easy? in 2001 and at that time I was in a very different place spiritually, and it was a very different story—title and all. The original manuscript was near completion, when I experienced a renewal of my faith and felt I could not publish the story as I originally intended. The main characters, Charisse Ellison and Stefàn Cooper, went through a metamorphosis along with me because I enjoyed their personalities so much, that I couldn’t just do away with them.
3. Has being a published author always been a dream of yours?
Actually, no, it wasn’t. I’ve been writing just about my whole life, but mainly as a catharsis. I remember writing my first short story when I was in the 10th grade in a black and white composition notebook. It was a teenage love story. I wasn’t very popular in high school, but I let a classmate read the story and she told someone else about it, and before I knew it, kids I didn’t even know were asking if they could read my story. I used to write poems all the time, usually inspired by whatever boy I was infatuated or in love with at the time. The first full-length book I set out to write was on a bet with my ex-husband. He was sharing some funny stories about his parochial school education and antics and stated that he would write a book of his memoirs. I bet him $100 that I’d write a story and have it published before he ever got started. When I began writing that first story, which turned out to be A Time For Us/A Test Of Time (my 2nd & 3rd titles), it was like a floodgate was opened. Incidentally, it was at the suggestion of co-workers who were reading it as I wrote it, that I actually made the effort to get the story published. And by the way, you know I collected my $100.
4. Are any of your stories based on actual events in your life or people you know personally?
No, all of my stories are purely fictional. I have always had a very active imagination and was always dreaming about my perfect romance. Although I grew up in a relatively large family and was the second of five children my late parents, James and Barbara Smith, raised, I was always something of loner. That being, I was the odd-ball in my family. During my mid-teen years, while my siblings were ripping and running and playing outside in the project we grew up in, I voluntarily sequestered myself in my bedroom, listening to my Jackson Five albums (I was had an major crush on Jermaine back in the day) and imagining life with my perfect love. I’m not ashamed to say, I’m still looking for him; not a perfect man, but the perfect man for me.
5. Is it fair to say that going forward, you will be writing solely Christian fiction?
I’m not sure if everything I write going forward will be labeled “Christian fiction” but I can say for sure that everything I write will be inspirational and have some type of message for the reader to take away and learn and grow from. I am seriously considering writing my autobiography because I truly feel as though some of the things I have gone through in my life can be used as lessons for so many young women today.
6. Would you mind clarifying that?
Some of the mistakes I made in my younger years were due to a lack of self-esteem and self-worth, as well as a hunger for true love. I was victimized at a very young age and as a result of that, most of my interaction and relationships with men have been colored by that experience. What is profound about the whole thing is that I have only very recently come to realize the affect that one period of my life has had on my entire life. I’m hoping that with the telling of my story, I can save some young girl or woman from a lot of the heartache I had to bear.
7. It’s been six years since your last book was released. Will we have to wait another six years for the next one?
No, I am currently at work on my next novel, which is tentatively entitled, Saved By Grace. It is the story of a widow and her teenage daughter, Grace. Ruth Morgan has raised Grace alone and has foregone any relationship prospects for the sake of her daughter. But as Grace gets older and begins to question why her mother doesn’t have a love interest, Ruth has to examine whether the excuses she’s made are really what’s been keeping her from giving her heart again. Also, a devastating accident forces both Ruth and Grace to lean on their faith in a way neither of them have ever had to before.