How did romance novelist Brittainy C. Cherry manifest so many of her dreams in a relatively short amount of time – all from little old, beautiful Milwaukee? It starts with love and ends with love for Cherry.
Note: This writer is the subject’s older brother, who loves and genuinely respects Cherry for so many reasons beyond her emotionally devastating yet humorous writing. Yet, all that follows is fact. All of Cherry’s remarkable accomplishments really paint their own picture of someone whose dedication and perseverance paved her road.
One of Cherry’s books, "The Air He Breathes," had the distinction of being number one on Amazon’s bestseller list. "I remember, my mom – the biggest cheerleader you can ever have – being like, ‘This book is going to hit the top 10; let’s shoot for the stars,’" Cherry says.
Shoot is exactly what she did as, by the morning after the day she self-released it, it showed up on Amazon’s mighty bestseller list at number one.
That is the type of scenario that many people dream and hope for – and she lived it. Cherry is effusive as she describes the feeling.
"I was like, ‘Well, I’m just going to cry for the rest of my life,'" Cherry notes.
What has happened for Cherry is not an accident. She says she wrote her first novel at 14 because she had a romantic comedy obsession that spiraled into stories tumbling out of her mind. Cherry spent the majority of her youth growing up on Milwaukee’s North Side – 16th and Atkinson, a hard scrabble neighborhood, full of love and pain, like so many other neighborhoods on Milwaukee’s North Side.
"I want my successes to show people who grew up where I grew up, that you can make it, no matter your circumstances," she says. "I think the beautiful thing about where I grew up is there was still a form of community … no matter where you are there is some kind of beauty, you just have to be willing to look at it."
From there, Cherry enrolled at Carroll University in Waukesha to try to attain a degree in Theater Arts.
"I was going to leave my sophomore year because I wanted a Creative Writing major, and they didn’t have it, but I came back after winter break and (Carroll University) had created a Creative Writing program," Cherry says. Things that seem ostensibly like luck to the average eye turn out to be tremendous preparation for being in the right place at the right time for Cherry.
When Cherry returned to writing novels after an almost eight-year break after her 14-year-old novel beginnings, she studied many of the great romance authors. That's when the magic started happening for Cherry.
"Colleen Hoover (a celebrated romance author) shared (one of my books), and I owe so much to her. She did not have to do that, but she is the kind of person who is willing to help everybody," she recalls.
When asked of her process, Cherry shows her passion and wisdom. "Comparison is the worst thing you can do and that includes me comparing me to my past self," she says. Cherry also talks about writing as a hungry person talks about steak. "I need to block out the noise and focus on finding my way through the truth as I write," she notes.
That singular focus has helped some of her readers through their trying times. One reader she met on one of her many, many worldwide book tours told Cherry that her books helped her with self-esteem issues, depression and loss.
Cherry recently signed a two-book publishing deal with Amazon’s in-house romance novel arm, Montlake Publishing. Astoundingly, this will be Cherry’s first foray into the traditional publishing realm. To the extent that data from the past can be believed, Cherry is poised to take her star to the next level.
Her next project is a novel titled "Southern Storms," which will be her 15th self-published release. It will be released on April 2.
"All my stories deal with heavy issues, this one is a … second chance love story. It’s a story about self-discovery and returning to who you really are," she explains.
Cherry is a beacon for Milwaukee and a beacon for following one’s dream in a relentless fashion. Again, Cherry is this writer’s little sister, and this writer loves her and is unbelievably proud of the person she has turned out to be. But the well-earned acclaim that Cherry has claimed is not something that this writer is inflating. It all happened – and is happening and continues to happen – for Cherry because of love.