Hi Sherri, first of all, could you tell us a bit about yourself.
By day, I work in professional licensing for design professionals. At night, I’m an independent author. I primarily write mysteries but have also written sci-fi and non-fiction.
What do you think makes your genre special?I believe the mystery genre is special because it engages the mind – it makes you think, and the stories tend to stay with you even after you finish reading the book. I believe a good mystery also helps us to see the world around us with new eyes, and broadens our perspective. Nothing is mundane when you’re a mystery fan. You always look for the details in things, to tell you more about what it all means.
What do you think makes a great story?
The ability to take you outside yourself and your life and put you in another world. I think a story that captures you and really makes you think is the best kind of story there is, no matter what the genre.
What is your latest book called and could you explain to us in 20 words what it is about?
My latest book is titled Anywhere But Here. It’s about a young woman who battles the demon of depression – literally!
Which kind of reader do you think will enjoy your book?
I wrote the book mainly for the 18-35 year old age range, but I believe it can appeal to a wider audience. I believe young adults would like it because they can relate to the struggles of finishing school and starting out in life. I think we can all relate to our expectations not working out and having to make life over, as we all go through those times when everything falls apart and we have to pick up the pieces and start over. I also hope that people with depression or those supporting loved ones with depression will find inspiration and hope in it. It’s a battle, but it’s a battle that can be won.
Is it a Standalone, or part of the series? If it the latter, how long do you think will it go on?
This is a standalone book, although I’m not opposed to returning to Palmetto Beach or visiting Jana Lanning for future adventures, if the inspiration strikes.
What influenced or inspired you writing it?
I recently blogged about the incident that was the catalyst for this novel. One time several years ago, I was out with some people, all of whom struggled with depression. They were discussing treatment options when one of them realized I hadn’t said a word. They asked what anti-depressant I was on, and I said “none; I don’t have depression.” The entire conversation shut down immediately. I was disappointed because it was the first time I heard people actually suffering from depression talk about their struggles candidly, and discovering one “outsider” halted it. I was learning so much from them, and another opportunity arose. I went home and searched “depression” on the Internet and literally got tens of thousands of hits. I found it ironic that there’s so much information out there, but it’s never discussed publically. I already had an idea about a story of a young woman struggling to start out in life and thought that people might receive the message better if they read a fictionalized account of one person’s struggle. If people won’t talk about it, I hope this novel will at least get them thinking about it.
Why did you choose especially this title? Was it your first choice?
Frankly, titles usually give me a migraine. To me, the hardest part is summing up the entire plot in just a few words. Usually, something a character says in the course of dialogue once they’re in the thick of their conflict strikes me as “the perfect title.” That was the case in this novel. Anywhere But Here was my first choice, and I’m glad it stuck. I still think it sums up the plot well because it’s about a woman that wants anything but what she has in life.
What was the hardest part for you working on your book?
The hardest part was keeping Jana’s fantasy world and reality straight. In this novel the protagonist, Jana, receives an enchanted music box that causes her depression to take form and create a fantasy world that sucks the life out of her. The fantasy world started out mirroring her expectations for life, but altered to draw closer to her reality by pulling in people and events as it occurred, drawing the worlds closer. This was a challenge for me. At one point, I actually had to draw up a two column timeline of what she was thinking and what was actually happening to make sure I was pulling the two worlds together right. That was a special challenge!
Was there a scene that you didn’t want to add or remove in your finished work?
I was fortunate in that the events of the book stayed pretty much as I planned. I did a lot of brainstorming and planning prior to writing the novel. Of course I had ideas and inspirations for things I didn’t plan, but they fit in with the overall plot structure. I was lucky with that particular element on this novel.
Do you already know what to do next?
I’ve signed a contract to publish a sci-fi novel titled Splinter through Whiskey Creek Press in the next year. This is an apocalyptic novel about 1,000 survivor’s of Earth’s destruction. They think it was an unfortunate collusion of a solar flare and the Earth’s magnetosphere reversing, but dark matter rips open parallel universes and the survivors start to get glimpses of events suggesting that Earth might have been destroyed on purpose by a Doomsday cult. I’m also working on another mystery novel tentatively titled Move. It’s about a young woman that unknowingly makes a deal with a djinn (genie). Unfortunately, the djinn takes the concept of “reaping and sowing” very seriously and his way of solving the problems creates more trouble for the protagonist.
Where can we find more about you and your books?
People asked me why I didn’t do a Christmas letter and I said “I have a blog, and I’m all over social media. Finding out what’s happening in my life on a day to day basis isn’t hard.” This is true. I love social media. You can find me online at:
Website and Blog: http://www.sherrithewriter.com/
Facebook Page at http://www.facebook.com/sherrithewriter
Twitter at http://twitter.com/SherritheWriter
Any last words?
Give independent authors a chance! There’s a lot of talent out there that traditional publishing passes on because it doesn’t fit their “formula.” Sometimes the best writing comes from breaking the mold and stepping out of the box. E-publishing has brought a lot of that talent out for the public to enjoy. Who knows? You might find your next favorite author in the indie market!
Meet Jana Lanning: A recent college graduate who can't seem to get a grip on life. All of her plans for the future have fallen apart within two weeks of graduation. The only comfort she finds is in a mysterious music box sent to her by a friend. At first she looks to it for comforting memories of her past, but soon she's having strange dreams of a life where she's the queen of a world where everything she desires comes to pass. It seems ideal until elements of reality and her dream world start to merge, leaving her ill and confused. When she's confronted by attacks in both worlds, she must face her demons and choose which reality she prefers; and what price she'll pay to keep it.