Morgen: Hello, Sherri. Please tell us something about yourself and how you came to be a writer.
Sherri: When I was younger, I wrote in journals and created all types of poems and short stories. I’m from a large family, five kids and many cousins. We had extraordinary adventures, as children, since there weren’t any cellphones or computers. We played outside until the street lights came on, and we had to be imaginative to keep ourselves entertained. I always knew I wanted to be a writer. When I was 20 years old, I won the Golden Poet award in California and I knew that I was going to make it one day.
Morgen: Well done. 🙂 What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Sherri: I am published in and currently writing Paranormal Romances. This summer, I am going to venture into YA Steampunk, with romance, of course.
Morgen: Of course. 🙂 What have you had published to-date? How much of the marketing do you do?
Sherri: I released: Goddess Cottage on April 21, 2011. At the end of June, I will release: The Witch Ball. Both are Paranormal Romances, only available on Ebooks.
Morgen: What was your experience of that process?
Sherri: I use Bookbaby.com, and publish them myself, and the experience has been wonderful. They have excellent artists for your cover work, and they charge a one-time fee to publish, while the rest of your profits are 100% your own. Your book is sent to Kindle, Nook, Sony & iBooks. Then, you have a dashboard that tracks your sales from each outlet and your payments.
Morgen: That must be thrilling. 🙂 Can you remember your first acceptance and is being accepted still a thrill?
Sherri: I was never accepted, for a novel-length book. However, I have been writing for quite some time. I wrote for an online writer’s E-zine, Painted Rock. I also wrote for four years on my college paper. In 2008 I finished my first novel. April 2011 Kensington Publishing asked for my completed manuscript, but they chose to pass on it. Also, I have entered the Golden Heart contest at RWA two years running, receiving high scores, so I knew my work was ready. After submitting only twice and having the encouragement of a large group of writers and published authors, I decided to self-publish.
Morgen: It’s the way to go for a lot of people. Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Sherri: I was rejected twice. The first time, it was by a company that stopped accepting Paranormal Romances, but they hadn’t updated their publishing site. The second time was by Kensington Publishing, but their letter of rejection stated they loved my idea and writing but they were passing and wished me luck. It was confusing to me, but I shook it off and dove into self-publishing.
Morgen: What are you working on at the moment / next?
Sherri: I am finishing the edits for my second Paranormal Romance: The Witch Ball. Then, I will finish my next Paranormal Romance, which isn’t titled yet. After that, I plan to delve into a YA Trilogy of Steampunk-Romance that I have outlined.
Morgen: Do you manage to write every day?
Sherri: Yes. No lying there. I write every day, even if it is one page. Usually though, it is several. I have a PC in my home office and a portable laptop that I drag everywhere I go.
Morgen: What is your opinion of writer’s block? Do you ever suffer from it?
Sherri: I don’t believe in writer’s block. I don’t mean that people can’t have stalled writing, due to family duties or emergencies. However, I truly cannot admit to buying into being frozen, if your dream is to write. Most of my time is spent writing, thinking of writing or re-writing. But, that didn’t happen in such a full-time force until this past year. I had a whole separate life before I was able to write full-time. I raised a child, finished two college degrees and worked many hard jobs in Alaska. I was a bartender, dental assistant, mortgage specialist, tour guide and commercial fisherman. Now that our son is grown and married, my husband and I agreed it was time for me to focus on writing. We moved from Alaska after nearly 20 years to Nevada in 2008 and haven’t looked back.
Morgen: Lots of jobs as inspiration. 🙂 Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Sherri: I am a plotter. I have a binder I plot in, and I make all types of notes and enter them into the binder, if I am away from my home office. I like to have a structure to work from, before I start to write. But I let my stories unfold, as the characters begin talking to me in the typing stage. Also, I use the software program Write Way Pro. It is incredible. You can track your characters, scenes and word count. You can organize all of your books at your fingertips.
Morgen: That sounds great! Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
Sherri: Yes, but they are private pieces that I’ve written for my own ‘therapy’ so to speak.
Morgen: I have a few of those. 🙂 What’s your least favourite aspect of your writing life?
Sherri: The solitary time I spend with myself is my least favourite part of writing.
Morgen: That’s a shame, I love being on my own, but then I have a dog so not totally abandoned. And you’re favourite?
Sherri: My favourite thing about writing is seeing my work in its final form, printed and available for others to share with me.
Morgen: Isn’t it great. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Sherri: Do not give up. Most importantly, so that you won’t give up, join writer’s groups that match your genre and goals. I joined RWA in 1997 and became a Pro member in 2008. I also belong to FF&P. Writing groups are critical for success, in my view. It is the one place that you can turn to for advice, sympathy, friendship and hope.
Morgen: I belong to four writing groups, and I’d join more if I had the time. 🙂 What do you like to read?
Sherri: I read every genre. My favourite is romance, of any type. Secondly, horror would have to be earmarked. Last of all, I like to read autobiographies and historical accounts.
Morgen: I’m not a fan of non-fiction (unless it’s about writing :)) and history was my worst subject at school. Are there any writing-related websites and/or books that you find useful and would recommend?
Sherri: The best money I ever spent on a writing book was The LERA Writer’s Guide. It is a collaborative book by 48 authors in the RWA community. It has been a bible for me. FF&P, I like for its website, best.
Morgen: In which country are you based and do you find this a help or hindrance with letting people know about your work?
Sherri: I am in the USA. However, when I released my book ‘Goddess Cottage‘ in April, it remained in the low 9,000’s on the list for Amazon.UK and I have had many people from the UK contact me about my book. I must admit, I’m happy for their attention and their praise. From the UK Author, Linda Sole AKA Anne Herries, I was read and reviewed and given her esteemed award: Red Roses For Authors. I believe the UK has chosen to read me because of the title of my book, more than it being because they’ve heard of me. But, I am humbled and overjoyed by their attention.
Morgen: The saying goes that readers remember characters rather than authors. I’m sure there are a few people out there who know of Harry Potter but not who wrote it. Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how invaluable do you find them?
Sherri: I have a website www.sheropatra.com. Also, I am on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.com as Sheropatra. I am very conscious of my readers and I answer all my emails and queries ASAP. I have had tremendous luck with readers and their wonderful reviews. Also, this is the third Guest Author blog I have completed in two days. I am open to being a guest on any site that will garner my work and my genre attention.
Morgen: 🙂 Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Sherri: If you sign the (Contact Me) form on my website, just once, then you are entered into my monthly giveaway contests. Last month, my winner received a large basket of goodies that would have been sold in the ‘fictional’ store in my debut novel. On June 30th, I will choose another winner and it will be for a $20.00 Barnes and Noble gift card. Each month, there is a different prize. And, I will ship to the UK or anywhere else the winner may happen to live.
Morgen: Thank you, Sherri.
UPDATE: Sherri released ‘The Witch Ball‘ in July 2011. Congratulations Sherri!
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the information. They do now (January 2013) carry a fee (£10 / €12.50 / $15) for the main blog (http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com) but everything else there is free (see Opportunities on this blog). If you go for the interview, it’s very simple; I send you a questionnaire (I have them for novelists, short story authors, children’s authors, non-fiction authors, and poets). You complete the questions, and I let you know when it’s going to go live.
For the free interviews (here) I just post the interview as a Q&A. For the chargeable interviews, I add in comments as if we’re chatting, and then they get posted. When that’s done, I email you with the link so you can share it with your corner of the literary world. And if you have a writing-related blog / podcast and would like to interview me… let me know.
** NEW!! You can now subscribe to the main blog on your Kindle / Kindle app!
or http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008E88JN0 for outside the UK **
You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internet, view my Books (including my debut novel, which is serialised on Novel Nights In!) and I also have a blog creation / maintenance service especially for, but not limited to, writers. If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating and choose an optional free eBook.
For writers / readers willing to give feedback and / or writers wanting feedback, take a look at this blog’s Feedback page.
As I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do. I welcome critique for the four new writing groups listed below and / or flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays. For other opportunities see (see Opportunities on this blog).
The full details of the new online writing groups, and their associated Facebook groups, are:
- Morgen’s Online Novel Writing Group (http://novelwritinggroup.wordpress.com / http://www.facebook.com/groups/508696639153189)
- Morgen’s Online Poetry Writing Group (http://poetrywritinggroup.wordpress.com / http://www.facebook.com/groups/388850977875934)
- Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group (http://scriptwritinggroup.wordpress.com / http://www.facebook.com/groups/319941328108017)
- Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group (http://shortstorywritinggroup.wordpress.com / http://www.facebook.com/groups/544072635605445)
We look forward to your comments and contributions.