Hi, my name is Cheryl Wanner, and I am the author of See Me As I Am, a YA contemporary romance releasing from Immortal Works Press on May 16, 2023. Many thanks to the Author’s Lounge for asking me to do this write up on my debut novel!
About My Book:
See Me As I Am is a wish-fulfillment love story told through the unseeing eyes of a blind narrator, weaving her day to day high school life with family dynamics, first love, and the glitz of the big time music industry.
Back Cover Blurb:
Being blind doesn’t stop seventeen-year-old Jenny Ryan from going after what she wants. Journalism byline? Horse sports? Rock climbing? No problem. Meet Liam O’Shannon, frontman for hard-rocking Irish band (also named) O’Shannon? Jenny’s got a plan for that, too.
She’s already landed a backstage pass for the Portland tour stop where she hopes to interview her idol for a write up in her school paper. Instead, she finds herself in an unexpected convo with the band’s junior publicist, Jamie Conway. Not exactly her dream. But Jamie is sweet and thoughtful and later offers to arrange an interview for her with Liam.
Throughout O’Shannon’s tour, Jamie and Jenny keep in touch, and their long-distance friendship deepens into something that challenges Liam’s place in her heart. But Jamie is hiding a secret; one that will shatter the growing trust between them and force her to question everything she knew about him—and what it truly means to love someone.
What Inspired Me to Write This Story:
See Me As I Am was inspired by a literal dream—the only one I’ve ever had with characters and a plotline, and where I was nowhere to be seen. A plot-twist romance I could not walk away from, this story has been decades in the telling, including three full novel-length versions with no lack of shelving/rewriting (repeat!) and other projects written in between. See Me As I Am was a RevPit (Revise & Resubmit) 2019 winner and as such underwent additional rewrites before returning to the query trenches. It was picked up by Immortal Works Press in 2022.
My advice to other writers? No matter how long it takes, never give up!
My Target Audience:
As an upper level YA novel, See Me As I Am is primarily targeted at teen girls and adult readers of YA, but will also appeal to anyone who loves a slow-burn/friends-to-lovers romance with a focus on music and fandoms. Written entirely from a blind perspective (including Jenny’s personal blog entries), See Me As I Am provides a window into the world of the visually impaired, which has been among its strongest appeals to ARC readers.
What I Want Readers to Get Out of My Book:
I write to impact as well as entertain. In addition to being a love story, See Me As I Am is a disability representation novel, bringing readers into a new appreciation of what it’s like to function as a whole person while navigating physical challenges. Themes of trust, working through tough issues, forgiveness, and second chances are crucial takeaways along with the importance of being seen for who you are and not how you’re labeled.
Future Goals and Plans for This Book:
My goal is that Jenny and her love interest will leap off the pages of See Me As I Am and touch the lives of those who read their story. To that end, I am active on social media (linktr.ee/cherylwanner) and on my website (www.cherylwanner.com). I’m also promoting this book through interviews/podcasts, write ups, library and bookstore availability, and in-person school visits.
See Me As I Am will be available on May 16 from Amazon, Barnes&Noble Online, and through my publisher, Immortal Works Press. A number of reviews (all of them strong) have been posted to Goodreads.
I am a YA author and long-time contributor to Oregon Coast Magazine whose passion for telling stories stretches back to my childhood. Besides crafting words into images and creating characters that won’t let you go, I love photography, music, and, of course, the Oregon Coast. I’m a former host mom of exchange students from all over Europe and Asia. My husband and I have two grown children and live in the forests of northwest Oregon.