Pacific Northwest naturalist, photographer, poet, and author Cheryl Grey Bostrom has lived in the rural and wild lands for most of her life. It’s those surroundings that infuse her writing with rich imagery.

Cheryl’s work has appeared in a variety of print and online publications, including the American Scientific Affiliation’s God and Nature Magazine, for which she’s a regular photo essayist, and her blog, Watching Nature, Seeing Life. She has written multiple books, including her award-winning novel Sugar Birds.


If someone asked you to describe yourself with one word, what word would that be?


What started you on your novel writing journey?

Ha! The decision minced through the back door. I had wanted to write fiction since childhood but couldn’t envision the path. Stymied, I instead wrote poetry, essays, devotionals. When I didn’t pursue publication of those, friends submitted them, invited me to write columns, and nudged me to write proposals that resulted in short-form publication and two nonfiction books.

Stories heaped in my head after that, but fearing failure, I kept them there. Then my first grandchild was born, and I wrote a sketch about a girl who lights a fire. That’s when I decided. I cleared my slate of nonessential commitments, learned all I could, and wrote Sugar Birds.

Please tell us about your new book, Leaning on Air (Tyndale, May 2024). What inspired it?

The characters, hands down. When I finished writing Sugar Birds, Burnaby and Celia hounded me to continue the narrative—and to write them as adults, together.

“It’ll never work,” I told them. Until it did.

In Leaning on Air, I planted them in the breathtaking Palouse hills, gave them nearly insurmountable differences and circumstances, then watched and listened and recorded as they dealt with life’s hard and wondrous stuff in ways I never expected.

On your website, you mention that “Creation speaks daily.” What do you hope readers will extract from the Pacific Northwest setting in Leaning on Air

By inserting readers into the rhythms and beauty of the land and sky and creatures in the remote, rural Palouse, I hope they’ll tumble into love for the natural world and that awe will point them to its Creator.

Just as all good novels include a plot twist, the Author and Creator of our lives often writes in a twist that blesses us more than our original plan. Have you ever experienced such a “Divine Detour”?

Yes, yes, yes. A great grief in my early years weakened, then collapsed the bridge on what I thought was the only road. In a true cliff-hanger, I paced the chasm’s edge, considered the leap, and sped toward the brink, where my Author blocked me, caught me, and calmed me down enough to follow His beautiful map to a far better way.

When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?

Popcorn, please—air-popped—with a dash of Tabasco and salt.

In the story that is your life, are you the strong female romantic lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?

Until my late teens, I was a little girl in three-inch spikes, wobbling to present well, as if doing so would determine my safety or success or worth. But when I met my beloved Jesus, the romantic protagonist in me emerged. I kicked off those heels, wooed by holy love.

Thanks, Cheryl! It’s great to have you as a guest at Divine Detour.

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For more information about Cheryl, visit her website or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

 To purchase Leaning on Air, go to —