Robbie Cheadle in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF” w/ @NonnieJules? – @bakeandwrite @RRBC_Org #RRBC

Hello, and welcome to “WHO’S ON THE SHELF?” with yours truly, Nonnie Jules! Since we are a book club, you know we had to offer something that included a bookshelf. A lot of interviews merely cover an author’s work or an individual’s career stories. Here on this “SHELF,” we get down and dirty and ask the questions no other interviewer dare ask. We ask the questions that you want to open up a book and find the answers to on your favorite authors and fellow book club members, but, no one has dared to cover them. We get personal! Because, when you sit on this “SHELF,” YOU are an open book! Even if I have to pry you open!

Today, we have a very special guest on the SHELF with us, RRBC  member and our March “SPOTLIGHT” Author, ROBBIE CHEADLE! 

Picture for Whose on the Shelf

NJ:  Before we get started, are you comfy?  We’ve made a few changes since you were last here, and I want to ensure they are to my guests’ liking.  

Robbie: I love the design of the eagle carrying a book. The eagle signifies inspiration, victory, speed and pride, all of which are important qualities for writers.

NJ:  Well, thank you.  I’m glad you like our new logo.  I designed it myself!  Let’s start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name.

Robbie:  I use two versions of my name for publishing purposes: Roberta Eaton is my maiden name and Cheadle is my married name. I use Roberta Eaton Cheadle to publish my YA and adult books and Robbie Cheadle to publish my children’s books and poetry.

The reason I use two versions of my name is to prevent confusion. I wouldn’t like someone to purchase an adult book under the mistaken impression it was for children.

NJ:  OK.  Makes sense.  Tell us where you were born?  Do you still live there now?  If not, what city and state are you calling home these days?

Robbie:  I was born in Knightsbridge in London, UK. My biological father died of a heart attack when I was three months old, and my mother decided to move to South Africa. Her sister, Wendy was living in Johannesburg and she offered to take care of me while my mother worked.

NJ:  I’m so sorry to hear about your father, Robbie.  I, too, lost my father early.  Actually, I’ve never met my father.  He died while my mom was carrying me.  So, are you married, single, happily divorced?

Robbie:  I was married for 20 years on the 9th of February 2021.

NJ:  Robbie, we have so much in common already.  We’ll have to chat after the show.  Any kids?  What kind? Do you like them?

Robbie:  I have two sons, Gregory and Michael.  I am very fond of my children … most of the time.

Gregory is a loner, very academic and introverted. He gets these characteristics from me. He is also mathematical, scientific, and logical – he does not get those characteristics from me. He always asks me to test him on his IT, science, and maths. I concede, but I have told him that I think the person who donated the maths gene should suffer through testing him on these subjects – and it’s not me!

Michael is artistic and creative. He is also a last-minute Joe. He takes after me in the first instance and after someone else – maybe the milkman – in the second instance. It causes some interesting clashes to have a laid-back child like Michael living in the same house as three obsessive workaholics. We are lucky to have him to make the sun shine for us.

NJ:  They both seem extra special, Robbie!  But, that being said, if you’re not there already, when you’re old and cranky, which one will keep you at home to care for you themselves, and which one started seeking out the A PLACE FOR MOM franchise facility in your area when they were 9?

Robbie:  At the moment, Michael is planning to live in our house. His brother may continue to live in his bedroom [Michael, his wife, and four diverse adopted children will live in the other rooms]. My husband and I will live in the cottage where my parents currently live.

NJ:  Haha.  Well, at least there’s a plan in place already.  Any pets?  What kind?  They act like kids, too, so I have to ask the same question … do you like them?

Robbie:  Two cats reign on our property. Queen Push-Push bestows a visit on me when she feels she needs some petting. The rest of the time she ignores me and resides on my mother’s couch.

Queen Smudge only has eyes for my dad and follows him around like a dog. When he goes out, Smudgy cries for him until he gets home again.

NJ:  Robbie, I could coo and say something clever like, “Oooooo, how cute,” but, they’re cats, you know?  By the way, my daughter now has a cat and whether or not I’m moving over to the other side, is still up for debate in my home.  I can look at this cat, sometimes.  I still can’t look at other cats … so, there’s that problem.  Robbie, what’s the food that’s so good to you, you go to bed dreaming about it, and you forego breakfast just to get to it?  I know it’s not a food, but I dream about coffee and would probably go on a hunger strike if I couldn’t have any.

Robbie:  I am very fond of tea and would struggle to get going in the morning without it. I am not much of a foodie and sometimes I forget to eat if I am doing something very absorbing like writing. I enjoy making cakes for the artwork involved, but don’t have a very sweet tooth.

NJ:  WOW!  A cake maker with no sweet tooth?  That is so odd to me!  But good for you – can you imagine the pounds you pack on if you ate everything you made?  Robbie, what’s your favorite color?

Robbie:  Sunshine yellow

NJ:  Honestly, Robbie, you do remind me of sunshine!  That should be your nic-name – Sunshine!  Your smile is so warm and bright, it lights up the room for us virtually so I can imagine what it does for a real room!  Do you have a favorite sport, Robbie?

Robbie:  I am not very sporty, but if pressed would choose tennis.

NJ:  Oh, tennis is for me, as well.  How about a favorite TV Show?

Robbie:  I don’t watch TV, but I used to watch Friends. I would still be my favourite as I haven’t watched another series since.

NJ:  I loved Friends!  Phoebe, Rachel, Monica and the rest of the gang!   Favorite Actress/Actor?

Robbie:  Oooh, such a hard question when you don’t watch TV or movies. I like Olivia Newton-John in Grease. I wanted to be just like her when I was a girl.

NJ:  No way!  One of my favorite musicals – “You’re the one that I love, the one that I love, woo hoo hoo!”  We have way too much in common!  Do you like to exercise to stay fit OR do you not mind walking around with a beer belly?

Robbie:  I like to walk. Since the pandemic started, I have walked around my garden every day. I like to see the changes in the flowers, trees, and birdlife. I listen to audio books while I walk. I am currently nearly finished A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.

NJ:  Good for you!  I am one of the few humans in this world who absolutely LOVE EXERCISE!  I’ve a full gym right inside my home so I never have to leave to take up any new anything in the exercise realm.  Robbie, during this pandemic which we are all still living through right now, what is the one thing you find that relaxes you and calms your mind and spirit, aside from walking?

Robbie:  I like to write; it is a meditation for me. I am transported away from my work and home and disappear into a past situation and life.

NJ:  OK, what’s your favorite kind of music?  

Robbie:  I like Broadway music

NJ:  Favorite song?

Robbie:  Open a new door by Angela Lansbury as performed in Mame

NJ:  Slow dance or jumping around the floor making a fool of yourself?

Robbie:  Jumping around the floor, although I did attend months of ballroom dancing lessons when I was in high school.

NJ:  In 15 words or less, what is the most common thing that the people who really know you,  ALWAYS say about you?  For instance, everyone who knows me all say:  “You always know where she stands on things,” OR, “There’s not another like her in the world,” OR, the one I’m most proud of, “God broke the mold with that one.”

Robbie:  How do you fit in all the things you do?

NJ:  Biggest pet peeve that makes you want to spit nails?  (For the record, NJ does not condone violence, but she does believe in being honest, so she admits that there are those times and there are those people, who do cause her to want to spit a few nails in the direction of their foreheads.  Just being honest.  It’s the only way I roll).

Robbie:  I am a perfectionist, so I get upset about small things that don’t bother other people, especially on the work front. My job is pernickety and detailed, and I get upset when people think it takes 5 minutes to update an entire spreadsheet and the related documentation for a stock exchange filing.

NJ:  Perfectionist, huh?  I resemble that remark!  So, are you neat or messy?

Robbie:  Neat

NJ:  Me, too!  The only messy place in my home is my office, but you have to remember that a clean, uncluttered desk is the sign of a sick mind and my desk is way messy!  Robbie, are you nice or mean?  Is that your perception of you, or is that what others think of you?  I’m mean and I know it.  There’s no sense in denying it, because if I did, it would be a lie.  I doubt that many refer to me as nice and I’m OK with that.  Quite often, people mistake your directness for something else anyway, and, I’m OK with that, too!

Robbie:  I can be both. I try to be nice, but I am sometimes mean. This is usually when I am stressed and overworked. I try to help people and am patient when showing people how to do things at work and at home. I get annoyed if people are lazy though, and aren’t motivated to embrace learning and personal improvement.

I have been called a philanthropist by my colleagues because I like to help people in need. I am part of my firm’s outreach programmes and my family also do our own private outreach for select organisations.

NJ:  Good for you, Robbie!  Some of us have been encountering people lately who appear to be sweet, kind and gentle sheep on the surface, but then, there comes a time when they make the mistake of letting their real self shine through.  Have you run into any of those kinds online?

Robbie:  I try to be understanding about people, and not judge them when they do something out of character or that I don’t like. As an outsider, I don’t know what is happening in someone’s personal life that could make them lash out or be upset about something that doesn’t bother me.

Social media doesn’t reflect the truth of peoples lives as people don’t hang their dirty washing out for others to see. They share pictures of the good things in their lives, but rarely the negative things. I had a friend who got divorced and never once had I seen any hint that all was not well between her and her husband on social media. All the photographs were ‘happy family’ types.

It is also much easier to write doubled edged comments on social media when you don’t have the person you are hurting visibly in front of you. These are the downsides of social media, but there are also lots of positives. Like everything in life, you must apply your mind and make your own decisions about things you see and read.

NJ:  That sounds sweet.  I just have a knack for seeing people for who they really are and not for who they would love for the world to believe they are. I call that my “gift” and it serves me very well.  Now, Facebook or Twitter?

Robbie:  They have different purposes and strengths and I use both. I believe I get the best from both too.

NJ:  OK. Snapchat or Instagram?  By the way, I use neither.

Robbie:  I have never tried Snapchat. I do like Instagram. I like the small peeps into peoples lives that photographs offer. I enjoy seeing pictures of flowers, places, and even food and drinks.

NJ:  Now we’re getting into the hard questions – Coke or Pepsi, Robbie?

Robbie:  It has to be Coke. Pepsi isn’t big in South Africa.

NJ:  Diet soda or regular?

Robbie:  Diet, but only 1 a day. I can’t say I limit myself with my tea though. I have about 5 cups of tea a day.

NJ:  We’ve come to realize that the internet is giving way to tons of budding friendships.  Who would you say is the one person you’ve connected with the most…your internet BFF or buddy?

Robbie:  Oh, Nonnie, I can’t give you one person. I have so many wonderful supportive friends in the blogosphere. I have found the writing, author, and blogging community to be a generous and supportive one and I have met many wonderful people.

I am in email contact with some of my blogging friends. I especially enjoy older people who have the time to share pictures and fun bits of information about their lives. I like that.

NJ:  Good for you, Robbie.  And you know what?  I enjoy the company of much older people than I do any other group of folks.  They have so much to share and their stories are always so interesting.  Who do you favor most:  Nonnie Jules or Wonder Woman? Be honest.

Robbie:  Ha! Well isn’t Nonnie Jules Wonder Woman?

NJ:  Well, I know that she used to be but, she’s getting way older now – not sure how much wonder is still left in that woman! 

Robbie, we all know that Wonder Woman has her truth lasso and Nonnie has … well, just her truths, in the no-nonsense way she forces us to be honest and tell it like it is, whether it makes others uncomfortable or not.  In your opinion, which one does a better job of making the world a better place?  You can be honest here, too.

Robbie:  I think that Nonnie Jules and Wonder Woman appeal to different groups of people. Wonder Woman is a fictional cartoon person aimed [I think] at influencing mainly young people to discover their truth and live a better life.

Nonnie, on the other hand, could positively influence young people, but her reach would be more among adults who have experienced more of life. I believe it is harder to make an impression on, and change the thinking of, people who are older as they have often been influenced by hardship and bad experiences. Young people are of an open mindset and embrace change with great passion. Older people are cautious and more difficult to shift in their ways. Of the two, Nonnie’s job is harder than Wonder Woman’s.

Robbie:  Thank you, Robbie.  By the way, I have mentored young girls since my eldest daughter was in 3rd grade – so, for about 25 plus years, I’ve molded young minds, believe it or not.  Name two favorite INDIE books that you’ve read by RRBC members.

Robbie:  Of my recent reads [end of last year and this year], the books by RRBC members which have impacted me the most are Mennonite Daughter by Marian Longnecker Beaman and The Jewel, a short story by Breakfiedl and Burkey.

NJ:  ONE good INDIE book you’ve read written by an RRBC member that was so good you wished the entire world would read it.

Robbie:  From a content perspective, it would choose Vanished by Mark Bierman.

NJ:  What was so great about it?

Robbie:  Mark deals sensitively, but revealingly, with the shocking topic of child trafficking. This is a terrible scourge in southern Africa and close to my heart. I can’t bear to think of children being mistreated like this.

NJ:  After you read books, do you post reviews?

Robbie:  Yes, always

NJ:  What do you think readers should base their reviews on?

Robbie:  I can’t comment on other readers review, but I base mine on the following 5 points:

  1. Uniqueness / importance of the topic and content. If it’s a fictional story, it should be unique and different. If it is a book with a non-fiction topic, like child trafficking or war, or a memoir, then it should be relevant and meaningful.
  2. Characterisation – How did I relate to the characters? Did I care about them and feel their pain?
  3. Use of language – Was the writing interesting and passionate? Did the writer care about the characters and themes of the book? Did this come across well?
  4. Research – Are there historical or other errors in the book? Was the author able to suspend my disbelief and keep me engaged in the story? Did the behaviour of the characters ring true?
  5. Formatting and editing – Were there errors in the book and was the formatting poor. These are things that distract me as a reader and are correctable. I feel it is necessary to mention poor editing or formatting as a warning to other readers who may find them more distracting than I do. This being said, if a story is engaging, I may miss these sorts of things as my eye jumps over them or automatically corrects them.

NJ:  Are you one of those who are afraid to be honest in their reviews lest the author gets upset with you, or is honesty your best policy, especially in reviews?

Robbie:  I do my best to be honest. As mentioned above, I read quickly and become very absorbed by stories. Things that may annoy other readers may not even blimp on my reading radar. My main objective when reviewing a book is whether I enjoy it and it kept me entertaining, informed, and engaged.

NJ:  Read any poorly edited or poorly written books lately?

Robbie:  No, none that have been very badly edited. Most authors seem to have ways of reducing editorial errors through writers’ groups, the use of private editing services, or Beta Readers. I have read a few books that have been disjointed and difficult to follow. The author has jumped around from scene to scene randomly with no common thread. It disturbs the flow of the book and sometimes the scenes never come together. This is more of a developmental editing point.

*How many poorly written or poorly edited books have you read that you gave high marks to in your reviews, when you knew they didn’t deserve the high marks?  Be honest, I won’t ask you to name the books here in public.

Robbie:  My ratings are largely driven by the quality and uniqueness of the story and the characterisation. I read for pleasure and rarely read a book that doesn’t teach me something new and interesting. I do not read with a writer’s hat on and things that might upset other author-readers do not bother me. I read a lot of classic books and those don’t follow modern writing rules. Many of them go into lengthily descriptions and do lots of telling and not showing, but that doesn’t deter from my rating or enjoyment of the story. Every person’s enjoyment of a story is individual and no two readers will express the same opinion about the same story.

NJ:  Robbie, I beg to differ on that last statement you made – I feel that readers can absolutely have the same opinions of one book.  Either they all notice the hiccups in a story, or they all notice none.  Either they all found that a book was a great read, or they didn’t. 

There are some INDIE authors who have come onto the scene and have given our literary playing field a new look.  Can you name two INDIE authors who have done this in your eyes?  And, how have they changed the field for us?

Robbie:  I think Nonnie Jules has provided an excellent platform with RRBC for Indie authors to learn and develop, meet other like-minded individuals, and also learn from reading and reviewing other writers’ books. RWISA is an extension of this platform for writers who have taken their involvement and learning to a higher level within the club.

There are a number of individual bloggers who have helped me significantly with learning how to blog and respond to comments, put together blog tours, and meet other authors, writers, and bloggers through participating in writing prompts.

NJ:  Are you an author?  Are you a good one?  C’mon, we love honesty here.

Robbie:  I am an author, but I am new to fiction writing having published my first children’s book in August 2016. I am learning and can see the progress and development from book to book. I have only recently launched my first adult novel about the Second Anglo Boer War (Great South African War). I am good at research and my pernickety job has stood me in good stead in the genre I believe is my niche which is paranormal historical. I have written several non-fiction publications for work purposes and learned a lot through the editing and publishing process these large volumes went through.

I believe my story ideas are good, my research is excellent, and my writing skills such as dialogue and showing not telling have improved significantly so I think I can now say my books are an entertaining read. I believe writing is an area where you never stop learning and improving.  

NJ:  How long have you been writing?

Robbie:  I have been writing fiction since about June 2015 and published my first children’s book in August 2016.

I started writing non-fiction publications in 2012. My job, however, has involved writing circulars, pre-listing statements, announcements and other formal documents for companies listed on the JSE Limited (Johannesburg Stock Exchange) since 2001. Prior to that, I wrote due diligence reports for use by transaction companies. Reading this over, I see that I have always written large documents.

NJ:  This is the most important question that you’ll get here today.  Are you able to take constructive criticism of your written work?

Robbie:  Yes, as mentioned above, my work has always involved a lot of report writing and documentation and have always been subject to scrutiny and commentary from other advisors including more than one set of lawyers and tax advisors as well as the regulators at the stock exchange. I have learned to accept feedback and comments as a necessary part of learning and personal growth. These same benefits apply to fiction writing and constructive criticism [or in my case developmental editing] from others.

NJ:  How do you handle negative reviews of your work?  Are you able to shake them off and move on?

Robbie:  Yes, negative reviews fall into two categories in my opinion. Comments and criticism that I can address and use to improve or comments and criticism that relate to aspects that are outside my control.

If the comments relate to editing or writing methodologies, then I take them on board and either correct my book [editing issues] or try and improve in the identified areas going forward.

If the comments relate to the genre of the book, its themes or plot, or things like late delivery by the retailer, then I consider them, but generally accept that not everyone will like my book and I can’t control all aspects of its sale.

NJ:  Good answers.  Name two books that you’ve written? 

Open a new door, a collection of poetry 

Open a New Door by Robbie Cheadle

Sir Chocolate and the Condensed Milk River story and cookbook 

Sir Chocolate and the Condensed Milk River by Robbie Cheadle

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

Robbie:  They are not comparable as one is for adults and one is a picture book for children. I like to think they are both enjoyable. The poetry book is special to me because it is specifically about life in South Africa and the poems discuss poverty, corruption, beauty, corporate live, and family life. They are quite personal and meaningful to me.

NJ:  Do you have a blog or website?  I love GREAT blogs, so would you say that yours is written well enough for harsh critics like me to enjoy?

Robbie:  I have two blogs and I have been trying to ensure I read my posts more carefully before sharing. I am making an effort to avoid silly writing mistakes and spelling errors caused by hasted. I was given some advice in this regard and an endeavouring to implement that advice.

NJ:  Good for you, Robbie!  Which online resource or organization has helped you as an author the most?

I belong to a few on-line organisations including:

RRBC

A writer’s group; and

An on-line book club

NJ:  How were you helped by them?

RRBC is a supportive club for authors and writers and provides a platform for learning about writing through its on-line writing conferences, and other programmes. Members can also meet and engage with new authors and learn about their books, as well as participate in on-line meetings to discuss reviews of various books. There are all useful opportunities and I have benefited from them all.

NJ:  Since you’re sitting on the SHELF, you’re obviously a RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB member, so what do you think of the club?

Robbie:  As mentioned above, I think RRBC is a supportive community of talented writers who work together, under the excellent leadership of Nonnie Jules, to provide a lot of interesting discussion groups and learning opportunities for members. As I’ve mentioned before, the opportunities are there for the members to grasp and make the most of, it is up to individuals to do that and become involved to the extent possible for them, given their own life situations and circumstances.

NJ:  Have you come across any other online entities like it?

Robbie:  No, I think RRBC is unique.

NJ:  We definitely are.  Many have tried to copy our model but there’s only one RRBC!  Would you recommend it to your friends and family?

Robbie:  Yes, definitely!

NJ:  Why, thank you, Ms. Robbie!  Are you a member of the prestigious RWISA?  If so, what do you think of it?

Robbie:  I have not yet achieved membership of RWISA.

From my perspective, RWISA is an extension of the comradery and support provided by RRBC, offered to people who have worked hard at fine tuning their writing and taking it to a higher level.

NJ:  I like your “not yet” …  that means you will one day join us.  I know of no other organization like RWISA where the standard of your writing is first and foremost regarded as top priority, so, I am extremely proud of RWISA

Robbie, what’s your most favorite program or place here within RRBC?  (#PUSHTUESDAY, RAVE WAVES Shows, Block Parties, Writers’ Conference & Book Expo, BOOK OF THE MONTH discussions, “ON THE SHELF” interviews, etc.)

Robbie: I liked the writers’ conference best. I learned a lot of new things during that period and met more members of RRBC.

NJ:  Robbie, it is our most anticipated event of the year.  Now, this shelf is getting hard on my hiney so we’re going to wrap this interview up.  Any final words for our audience today?

Robbie:  I hope that readers of this interview have enjoyed learning a bit more about me and my books and also the on-line platforms, like RRBC, which have helped me develop as a writer and learn about the craft of writing and about publishing and marketing.

Thank you, Nonnie, for this lovely interview and opportunity.

NJ:  Thank you, Robbie, for joining me here today – it was such a pleasure to have you again.  You were with me last October so it was a treat to see some of your changes .  Visitors, I ask that you pick up a copy of either of Robbie’s books above. Please be sure to leave her a comment below as she loves to chat!  

Have you joined RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB yet?  Well, here’s your chance!  And, since Robbie was on the “SHELF” today, tell them she sent you.

Until next time, take care.  We’ll see you in May, right here on the “SHELF” with another INTERESTING GUEST!!!

***

DISCLAIMER:  RRBC does not alter the writing of any guest who has participated in our interviews.  As we do not know the author’s intent in their writing, it is not our place to make any changes, therefore, we post material exactly as it is submitted to us.

Robbie Cheadle in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF” w/@NonnieJules – #RRBC @bakeandwrite @RobertaEaton17

Hello, and welcome to “WHO’S ON THE SHELF?” with yours truly, Nonnie Jules! Since we are a book club, you know we had to offer something that included a bookshelf. A lot of interviews merely cover an author’s work or an individual’s career stories. Here on this “SHELF,” we get down and dirty and ask the questions no other interviewer dare ask. We ask the questions that you want to open up a book and find the answers to on your favorite authors and fellow book club members, but, no one has dared to cover them. We get personal! Because, when you sit on this “SHELF,” YOU are an open book! Even if I have to pry you open!

Today, we have a very special guest on the SHELF with us, RRBC  member,  Author, ROBBIE CHEADLE! 

NJ:  Before we get started, how do you like the design and feel of my new shelf?  We updated it in 2017 and in all honesty, I can’t recall any accidents lately, so I think this redesign is working.  Are you comfy?

Robbie:  I love the design of the eagle carrying a book. The eagle signifies inspiration, victory, speed and pride, all of which are important qualities for writers.

NJ:  Well, thank you.  I’m glad you like our new logo.  I designed it myself!  Let’s start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name.

Robbie:  I write under the name of Robbie Cheadle for my children’s books and Roberta Eaton Cheadle for my adult books. Most people, including my work colleagues, know me as Robbie Cheadle. Roberta is my full name and Eaton is my maiden name. I use to variations of my name to clearly separate my children’s fiction from my adult fiction.

NJ:  Wendy Scott uses that technique, as well.  Good for you all!  I don’t think I’d be able to keep it all straight.  Robbie, tell us where you were born?  Do you still live there now?  If not, what city and state are you calling home these days?

Robbie:  I was born in Knightsbridge in the UK. My father died when I was three months old and my mother moved to South Africa. Her sister, my aunt, offered to take care of my while my mother worked. I still live in Johannesburg, South Africa. I have lived in George, a small town in the Western Cape for two years and in Cape Town for two years, both in South Africa.

NJ:  Robbie, I like to ask the hard questions here and I look forward to the honest answers.  Since you mentioned being from South Africa, I must say that I’ve found South African women to be a tad difficult.  You, on the other hand, appear to be such a gentle sweetheart, but, we know that there are those times when the folks behind the keyboard aren’t what they appear to be.  I mean, I’m not as nice as I seem (when I’m forced to go in another direction, if you know what I mean).   Is the picture that I have of you in my head accurate or would you fall into that category of those others I have encountered that I found to be difficult?  

Robbie:   I think how one develops as a person depends a lot on upbringing, position in society, economic standing, and your own character. As with all countries, South African women vary and there are some who are difficult and demanding. I suspect this is to do with being brought up to think they are entitled. This, of course, is not the case with all, or even most, South African women and there are lots of wonderful, kind, and caring women out there. I work in a multi-cultural environment and there are representatives from all eleven of our national language and cultural groups, including English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa, and the other seven main African ethnic groups in South Africa. There are also Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and Christian people and foreigners from other African countries including Ghana, Zambia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. Everyone I work with is nice and most people are helpful and committed to their jobs. I like to believe I am a kind and helpful person. I know that my colleagues, friends, and family all rely on me to help them with difficult situations and personal problems. I am a good listener and don’t offer unwanted advice, so people often confide in me. I also don’t break confidences. I hope this answers your question.

NJ:  Interesting.  Robbie,  are you married or single?

Robbie:  I will have been married for twenty years in February 2021. My husband and I are both chartered accountants and met at work in 1997.

NJ:  That’s amazing!  I love February for weddings.  I’m not sure why, though.  So, do you two lovebirds have any kids?  If so, what kind? And, more importantly, do you like them?

Robbie:  I have two sons, Gregory and Michael. They are both great lads and they both help me with my books and marketing. Michael is my co-author for the Sir Chocolate series of children’s books. Sir Chocolate, a little man made of chocolate, and Chocolate World, where you can eat everything was his idea. We wrote the first book together when he was six years old and later added the fondant, cake and biscuit illustrations and the recipes. These additions were at the suggestion of my brother-in-law who is in advertising.  I am proud of my boys and I do like them … most of the time.

NJ:  Robbie, they sound like awesome ‘lads!’ If you’re not there already, when you’re old and cranky, which one will keep you at home to care for you themselves, and which one started seeking out the A PLACE FOR MOM franchise facility in your area when they were 9?

Robbie:  My parents live in a cottage on our premises. Both my sons think this is the norm and seem to have a plan to live in the house and move my husband and I out to the cottage in the future. They make me smile when they discuss their future plans.

NJ:  Uh, not sure that I’d be smiling while they were discussing putting me outside in the outhouse and taking over my house.  Any pets?  What kind?  They act like kids, too, so I have to ask the same question…do you like them?

Robbie:  I have two cats which I share with my dad. Smudge is more his cat and Push-Push is more mine. She comes to visit me for cuddles every morning. I do like my cats but when they bring dead rodent or bird gifts into the house, I’m not very grateful.

NJ:  What cute names! (But I still don’t like cats.)  Robbie, what’s the food that’s so good to you, you go to bed dreaming about it, and you forego breakfast just to get to it?

Robbie:  Oooh, that’s tough. I’m not a big foodie even though I bake a lot. That started as an endeavor to give my boys healthier food that wasn’t full of chemicals and where I could control the sugar content. I always reduce the sugar in recipes.

I do like prawns but don’t eat them often because they are on the orange list – partially endangered.

NJ:  I love prawns and eat them as much as I can!  Sorry.  What’s your favorite color, Robbie?

Robbie:  I like yellow, pink and orange in that order.

NJ:  I love to attach colors to people and you look like a yellow, pink and orange kind of girl!  Love it!  Favorite sport?

Robbie:  I am not sporty and never watch sport. My boys play tennis so I’ll pick that as my favourite sport.

NJ:  Oh, but your photo above … I imagined you hiking through the mountains.  Oh, well, do you have a favorite TV show?

Robbie:  I never watch TV. I watched The Addam’s Family [movie], two weeks ago with my sons at their request. This is the first movie I’ve watched in two years. I do like to read.

NJ:  No … No … No  TV?  Like, no Housewives of anything?  No BRAVO of any kind?  Uh, how does that work?  Robbie, that’s almost sacrilegious.  OK, let me move on from that place of absolutely no understanding.  Do you have a favorite Actress or Actor?

Robbie:  As mentioned, I haven’t watched a movie for a while, but I do like Helen Bonham Carter. I think she is a great actress.

NJ:  Yeah, I get it, but I still don’t understand it.  Do you like to exercise to stay fit OR do you not mind walking around with a beer belly?

Robbie:  Haha, no beer bellies for me. I’m not much of a foodie and sometimes forget meals. I don’t do organized exercise in a gym or sports facility but I walk every day and I do housework and gardening. I’m a bit obsessive about cleanliness.

NJ:  Cleanliness!!!  Now, I like you even more!  So, during this pandemic which we are all living through right now, what is the one thing you find that relaxes you and calms your mind and spirit?

Robbie:  I like to keep to my routines. It is part of my obsessive personality. Lack of routine is very tough for me and makes me distressed. I have done my best to keep to my work and home routines as much as possible during this pandemic. My workload has been enormous due to the financial fallout created by the lockdowns, but I have tried to keep work boxed within its hours and not let it take over my life. I have been moderately successful with that, but have still had to delay the publication of my new adult paranormal historical novel because of timing issues.

NJ:  OK.  I wish you success in completing that next book baby.  In 15 words or less, what is the most common thing that the people who really know you,  ALWAYS say about you?  For instance, everyone who knows me all says:  “You always know where she stands on things. You’re never left to wonder with her.”

Robbie:  Haha, People always say to me that they don’t know how I do everything I do with working full time, raising a family, writing and blogging. I’m always left wondering what other people do with their time.

NJ:  I’m with you – where do people get so much free time and down time?  Biggest pet peeve that makes you want to spit nails?  (For the record, NJ does not condone violence, but she does believe in being honest, so she admits that there are those times and there are those people, who do cause her to want to spit a few nails in the direction of their foreheads.  Hey, just being honest.  It’s the only way I roll).

Robbie:  I also can’t abide dishonesty. It can cause so much heartache and pain to other people when someone lies. Lies can be very destructive.

NJ:  Lies are deadly at times, Robbie.  So, are you neat or messy?

Robbie:  I am neat.

NJ:  Yes, I know … I just wanted to hear you say it again!  I love it!

Are you nice or mean?  And, is that your perception of you, or is that what others think of you?

Robbie:  I believe I am nice, and I often overcommit myself as a result. I can take a hard line in my work environment thought. It is necessary to get the correct outcome.

NJ:  Facebook or Twitter?

Robbie:  Facebook

NJ:  Who do you favor most:  Nonnie Jules or Wonder Woman? Be honest.

Robbie:  I am only vaguely familiar with Wonder Woman, but I do know Nonnie Jules and how hard she works to support other writers. I’ll definitely go with Nonnie.

NJ:  Robbie, I knew I liked you for various reasons!  LOL!  Seriously, thank you for your kind words.  We all know that Wonder Woman has her truth lasso and Nonnie has … well, just her truths, in the no-nonsense way she forces us to be honest and tell it like it is, whether it makes others uncomfortable or not.  In your opinion, which one does a better job of making the world a better place?  You can be honest here, too.

Robbie:  I am a big believer in the truth and the need for people to acknowledge the truth of situations. That is one of the reasons I write historical fiction, so that people can remember and appreciate the truth of historical events. Here again, I have to go with Nonnie and her belief in the truth.

NJ:  Name two favorite INDIE books that you’ve read by RRBC members:

Robbie:  No Pedigree: A Really Short Story by Nonnie Jules

Vanished by Mark Bierman

I enjoyed these books because they both highlighted a specific issue in society and they both had good outcomes which, although not always the case, allows the reader to believe people can make a difference.

NJ:  Why, thank you, Robbie!  So happy you enjoyed NO PEDIGREE.  It is one of my personal favorites.  After you read books, do you post reviews?

Robbie:  Yes, I post a review of every book I read.

NJ:  Good for you!  What do you think readers should base their reviews on?

Robbie:  I have a formula for my reviews. I comment on the overall plot and story line. I comment on my favourite, or least favourite, characters and the character development by the author. Depending on the nature of the book, I may quote a few lines or stanza’s if the book is a poetry book. I try to appreciate a book based on its nature. For example, I am not a reader of self help books, but if I do read one, I will analyse it from the perspective of a self-help book and not let my personal genre likes and dislikes influence the review. In other words, I try to be fair and balanced when reviewing a book.

NJ:  How interesting.  Are you one of those who are afraid to be honest in their reviews lest the author gets upset with you, or is honesty your best policy, especially in reviews?

Robbie:  I believe I am honest in my reviews. I do look for the best in a book as well as the weaker elements. A book may have a great plot idea but be badly written. In a case like this, I will mention both points i.e. that the plot has a lot of potential but the book needs editing.

NJ:  Hmmmm, ok.  Read any poorly written books lately?

Robbie:  No, if a book is really poor, I will put it aside and not finish it. I don’t review books I haven’t finished reading.

NJ:  How many poorly written books have you read that you gave high marks to in your reviews when you knew they were horrible reads?  Be honest, I won’t ask you to name the books here in public.

Robbie:  I don’t do that. I usually read books that are written by people whose blogs I’ve followed and read for a while, so I know I like their writing style. Most of the Indie or small publisher books I read are well edited. There is usually the odd error but I find errors in books published by large publishing houses too.

NJ:  There are some INDIE authors who have come onto the scene and have given our literary playing field a new look.  Can you name two INDIE authors who have done this in your eyes?  And, how have they changed the field for us?

Robbie:  I have only been in the writing world for a few years so I can’t really comment extensively on this. I am fortunate as organisations like RRBC have always existed since I started writing so I only have to make the effort to find people like you and embrace the help and advice offered. I know it hasn’t always been like that and I realise that I have benefited from other people’s efforts to gain recognition for Indie and small publisher authors.

The author community on WordPress has been welcoming and helpful and I have learned a lot from posts about writing, marketing and publishing. I have recently started attending on-line sessions and workshops to improve my writing skills.

NJ:  Are you an author?  Are you a good one?  C’mon, we love honesty here.

Robbie:  I am an author. I believe I have good story ideas, but I am still learning how to convey them well and to use the available writing tools to build tension and provide for a professionally written story. I attended a few of the sessions at the recent RRBC writing conference and I learned some new things, especially around filter words and composing short stories.

NJ:  How long have you been writing?

Robbie:  I have always written, but I’ve only been writing fiction for four years. As a girl I wrote poems and descriptive passages and I have written several non-fiction publications about investing in Africa. The most difficult challenge I had with moving from non-fiction writing to fiction, was learning to show and not tell. In non-fiction writing you mainly share facts so it is a different mindset.

NJ:  Robbie, are you able to take constructive criticism of your written work?

Robbie:  Yes, I get feedback from my mother and she is a surpringly good critic. She is a huge reader and is good at picking up areas where I get to bogged down in detail or to convoluted in my story telling. She also picks up typos and that sort of thing for me.

My last two books, as well as my work in progress, have gone through a developmental editing processes which has been hugely useful to me. I have tried to ensure I implement previous advice in my new work and I think I am starting to get it right as the feedback in respect of my new book was much less invasive than the two previous books.

I work with public documents in my day job, so I am used to having a number of people, including lawyers, work through my sections with a fine-tooth comb and send back a lot of changes and edits. I am used to criticism but prefer it to be constructive rather than just negative.

NJ:  Usually when I ask questions like the last one I asked above, I close it off with “…and don’t include your mother.”  LOL.  Name two books that you’ve written? 

While the Bombs Fell 

Through the Nethergate written under Roberta Eaton Cheadle

My books are all available from Amazon US here: https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

Robbie:  They are very different genres so I can’t really say which is better. They are also aimed at different age groups.

While the Bombs Fell is a fictionalized autobiography of my mom’s life, growing up as a small child in an English town during World War II. The idea for the book was a cross between the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder and My Naughty Little Sister by Dorothy Edwards. Each chapter in the book tells of a different event in my mother’s life such as Christmas Day or going swimming in the manner of My Naughty Little Sister.

Through the Nethergate is a supernatural fantasy and is my first darker novel. It followed on the heels of a number of horror and paranormal stories I wrote for various anthologies. Writing these short stories planted the seed that I could write a supernatural book and so I did. It also includes historical and political elements all tied together by a common thread.

NJ:  And who didn’t love the LITTLE HOUSE series?  They sound interesting.  Do you have a blog or website?  I love GREAT blogs, so would you say that yours is written well enough for harsh critics like me to enjoy?

Robbie:  I have two blogs.

Robbie’s Inspiration shares posts about baking, poetry and fondant art as well as reviews of poetry and children’s books.

Robertawrites shares posts about writing, extracts from my adult and young adult books, photographs of places my family has visited and reviews of classic and adult books.

I often do things in a rush and sometimes run out of time when writing posts. When this happens, I make typing and other errors. I am trying to slow down and read my posts over more critically before publishing them.

NJ:  Which online resource or organization has helped you as an author the most?

Robbie:  RRBC has helped me and also a number of my blogging friends.  Blogs like  Nonnie Jules’ three blogs and several others all share writing tips and ideas for marketing books. It all helps and I read as many as I can.

NJ:  Robbie, I’m happy that you find my blogs helpful.  My apologies that I’m behind on my publishing schedule.   Since you’re sitting on the SHELF, you’re obviously a RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB member, so what do you think of the club?

Robbie:  I enjoy being part of an on-line book club and I especially enjoy the live sessions especially when they are on a Saturday and I can easily join them. I like interacting with other writers and reviewers and hearing their views about books. I learn a lot that way. 

I am more of a listener than a speaker when I attend but that works for me and I gain a lot from hearing what others have to say.

NJ:  That’s good to hear.  Have you come across any other online entities like RRBC?

Robbie:  I have not come across another organization like RRBC. It is a huge undertaking to run an organization like RRBC and for Nonnie to have her fingers in so many pies. I know there are a limited number of people involved. I can see how much hard work it is, and I don’t think there are many others who would be willing to do this. Or who would be able to organize it all as successfully.

NJ:  Thank you for noticing the hard work that goes into running such  a huge, well-oiled machine like RRBC – and you’re right, I haven’t found any who would be willing to do what I do here (believe me, I’ve looked and tried to recruit them to take over!) but although many have tried to mimic the successful growth and organized processes of RRBC, none have come close to scratching the surface of what goes on here. (Even when they were entrusted with the RRBC kitchen sink and then ran off with it, they still couldn’t do what we do here.)  I’m so grateful to my right-hand Paula, who is the absolute greatest at what she does, to John F. who handles Membership and helps me with anything I need help with daily, to the hosts of RAVE WAVES (Shirley, Joy, Rox, and Guy) who are the ultimate show hosts and who we look forward to getting “good show” from every month – we are grateful to all of them.  Lastly, we wouldn’t be who we are without the amazingly supportive “core” group of members who have taken up residence here within RRBC.  I could go on and on about those dedicated and committed members who proudly wear the label of  RRBC Author, but, this is your interview and I’ve taken up enough of it, Robbie.   Yes, very few hands keep this huge machine going, but you wouldn’t know it unless I told you, because it all flows so well together.  Robbie, would you recommend RRBC to your friends and family?

Robbie:  Yes, I would recommend RRBC to other authors and writers. I do try to participate in promotions and blog posts that tell others about its benefits when I can. I also juggle a lot of balls so I can’t always do everything.

NJ:  That’s awesome.  What’s your most favorite program or place here within RRBC?  (#PUSHTUESDAY, RAVE WAVES Shows, Block Parties, Writers’ Conference & Book Expo, BOOKS OF THE MONTH discussions, “ON THE SHELF” interviews, etc.)

Robbie:  I have only been a member for nine months, so I am still learning about all the things on offer in the club. I really did enjoy the writing conference and I like the live sessions and join when I can. I also have a six-hour time difference which makes evening sessions difficult for me.

NJ:  This shelf is getting hard on my hiney so we’re going to wrap this interview up.  Any final words for our reading audience today?

Robbie:  I’d like to thank you, Nonnie, for this opportunity to showcase my books and thank you for all the hard work that goes into running RRBC.  I appreciate the time and effort the team goes to under her leadership.

NJ:  You’re too kind, Robbie, and it was such a pleasure to have you join me today .  Visitors, I ask that you pick up a copy of either of Robbie’s books above. Please be sure to leave her a comment below as she loves to chat!  

Have you joined RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB yet?  Well, here’s your chance!  And, since Robbie was on the “SHELF” today, tell them she sent you.

Until next time, take care.  We’ll see you in November, right here on the “SHELF” with another INTERESTING GUEST!!!

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DISCLAIMER:  RRBC does not alter the writing of any guest who has participated in our interviews.  We post material exactly as it is submitted to us.