Name: Sherrie Henry
Age: Old enough to know better, young enough not to care J
Where are you from: Southern Indiana, currently living in the suburbs of Chicago
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc.:
I went to college at Indiana University, earning a bachelor’s degree in English and journalism; then continued on to earn my master’s degree in kinesiology from there as well. During my college years, I also got involved in martial arts and am currently and 3rd degree black belt in the Korean art Hapkido.
I’m currently an adjunct professor at the College of DuPage, teaching various physical education courses including health, nutrition, first aid, self defence, and of course, Hapkido.
I live with my two fur babies, Maggie and Rocky, a black lab mutt and miniature schnauzer, respectively.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I currently have two novels out for consideration for publication. One is a M/M young adult story about a sixteen-year-old trying to hide his sexuality from his conservative parents and his very close-minded town.
The other is the first of a trilogy about a vampire and his struggles with his family and undesirable vampires. In this world, there are humans and two types of vampires; born vampires, who have souls and can procreate and made vampires, former humans who have been turned by born vampires. Mades don’t have souls and can’t procreate. These mades are the ones humans are familiar with through myths and legends.
I’m hoping to hear about either one of them any day.
I have multiple works-in-progress, including a werewolf novel I’m co-authoring with New Zealand author, Johanna Rae. I also want to write my first non-fiction book, a guide for all those millennials who have no clue how to shop or cook. Over the past few years, after speaking with numerous college students, I’ve come to realize they know nothing about what older adults think is simple and easy. One wanted to know how to fry an egg! Seems moms and dads didn’t instill some of the basic skills onto their children, thus I want to give them a guide on how to shop for food, compare pricing/ingredients and offer some very simple go-to recipes.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I always liked writing, I have a very active imagination. I started with fan fiction way back in the 90s, then wrote my first novel (which is now languishing on an old computer) during grad school.
I wrote a short story, ‘Twenty-Four Hours’ during grad school as well. Once settled in Northern Illinois, I got involved with a group of writers on Facebook and one asked to read my short story. She showed it to her publisher, and the publisher wanted the short story if I’d expand it. I was floored! Thus my first published work came about in a very non-traditional way.
From there I wrote other short stories that were in anthologies, then had a novella and two novels published. For information on my writing, you can visit my website:
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think I considered myself a writer when my first novel, ‘Last of the Summer Tomatoes’ was accepted. It was a rush to get an advance on something I had created!
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Well, I’m going to go with my first novel, instead of my first ‘book’ as the novel has a better story. LOL ‘Last of the Summer Tomatoes’ came to me in October 2012. The farmers’ market had just closed for the season and I was down to the last tomato I had purchased. I savored that tomato, knowing I wouldn’t taste another one like it for many months. Then it hit me – how would a city boy react to the taste of real tomatoes? Very few city dwellers actually get to taste actual fruit and vegetables, instead having to live on the greenhouse imported stuff with no flavor that you find in grocery stores.
Thus, I developed a character who was a city boy who made a couple of mistakes and ended up in a summer program for non-violent offenders. He spends his summer at a dairy farm, learning what real food tastes like and what real love feels like. Near the end, the farmer’s wife had sent him a care package while he’s a college and he opens the last jar of preserved tomatoes, the scent and taste reminding him of all he learned and had to leave behind.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I think I’m trying to find my ‘style’; I’ve only been writing for an audience (instead of myself or fan fiction) for only four years. I think one of my next challenges might be to write a novel in the first-person. I just completed a flash fiction (short scene of 1700 words) in the first person and posted it on my newly-established Tumblr account.
I hope my writing resonates with both the young and old. While my young adult stories are definitely written for the young adult (ages twelve to eighteen) audience, I have found many older adults enjoying these stories as well.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Titles are always the hardest for me. The M/M young adult story I have out for consideration has a draft title on it now as I’m having trouble coming up with something appropriate. I can outline a story, write it all out, and still have trouble giving it a title.
‘Last of the Summer Tomatoes’ was probably the easiest title as the back story to its creation was so obvious. ‘Twenty-Four Hours’ was easy as well as it deals with a woman and a specific twenty-four hour period in her day.
Sometimes the title just hits me, other times I waver back and forth and then ask for help from my Facebook fans. I think some of my titles could be better, but I hope my readers read the stories for their up-lifting stories, not because of a catchy title.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I hope that through my writing readers can be transported to a different world, if just for a little while. That the worlds I create let them leave their own troubles behind and once they finish the story, feel a bit better about themselves. I hope my readers can relate to my characters and their struggles and find happiness and fulfillment in celebrating my characters’ triumphs with them.
I write odd characters, those that don’t quite fit in. Kyle, in ‘Last of the Summer Tomatoes’ is just discovering his own sexuality, which is fodder for his step-father’s anger. He’s also identifying as on the emo side with his dark clothing, music, and love of art. In ‘A Wolf’s Bane’ I have a younger male werewolf/older female human coupling and the pull of tradition and the old ways. Those are just two examples of the outcasts I write about, and those outcasts resonate to some degree in all of us.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Well, I’d say my vampire and werewolf stories aren’t realistic as vampires and werewolves don’t exist, but their feelings, their experiences, are very human. My young adult stories are extremely realistic; the one out for consideration is based on true life events.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Some of my stories have a grain of truth, some have larger grains that others.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I have read thousands of books in my life. Stories that have been around for hundreds of years, some stories published much more recently. I think each and every one of them influence me in a way; I either learn how to write more effectively or I learn how not to write. I review most of what I read on Goodreads; I try to give constructive criticism, but I’ll be bluntly honest if the story has obviously not been edited or spell-checked.
As for a mentor, author Allison Cassatta has been a wonderful mentor for me; she’s the one that got me started on the ‘published author’ path.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I just finished a couple of trivia books; the next on my list is book 2 of the ‘Therian Secrets’ by Johanna Rae titled ‘The Fury.’
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I’m not a huge ‘follower’ of anyone, author, singer, or performer, so not sure who’s ‘new’ and who’s been around for a while. I tend to not be a ‘fan’ of famous (or not-so-famous) people as I’ve been around so-called ‘celebs’ and they are just that – people. They aren’t flawless, or faultless and I can’t stand the way the paparazzi goes after them.
So unless I actually actively go look at someone’s background, I don’t know if they’ve been around for a while or not.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’ve named a few above, but I’ll give a run-down of a few WIP novels here:
“Fractures” – werewolf/human novel co-authored with Johanna Rae
“The Romance of Gael” – science fiction novel
“Elliot Must Die” – action/thriller/romance novel
And of course, numerous little scenes that I hope to build stories around eventually. I think every author has that file of ‘ideas’ that hopefully will spark the next great novel.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
One of my best friends, Danielle.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I’ll never leave teaching behind, but I’d love it if the writing could pay all the bills and teaching was just for fun. I always hope for that one story to make it big.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
My last book ‘Two Red Leaves’ was a sequel to ‘Last of the Summer Tomatoes.’ I wish I’d expanded the ending a bit more; I jumped to the HEA way too fast in my now opinion. However, I’ve been asked for one more book showing Kyle and Sam after college, so maybe that’ll be my next challenge.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
As a kid growing up, I lived basically in the middle of nowhere in Southern Indiana. Didn’t have a lot of friends, so I made up my own friends in my writing. Back then, didn’t have a computer, so I wrote all these little short stories long-hand. I wish I still had them; some of them might have been the spark for another novel.
I had no idea what I wanted to do so I got an English degree in college. Boy, did that wake up my writing! I had to write so much, it became second nature. I didn’t do much writing after grad school except for some fan fiction, but really ramped it up the past four years.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
From my vampire story about Lucien da Monte; he’s estranged from his daughter (Liz) and had tracked her down to New Orleans. Warning – foul language!
The clock chimed five times, telling Lucien it was nearly sunrise. He stacked his papers, logged out of his computer and was crossing the foyer to his bedroom when the doorbell rang. Hoping to get to it before it woke Esther, he opened the door to find a very angry Liz standing there.
“You want to come in?”
Liz stepped in, her eyes throwing darts at him.
“You want a drink?”
“You want to sit down?”
Lucien took a deep breath. “Okay, what do you want?”
“I want to know how it is that you always ruin everything in my life!”
“If this is going to take long, I’m getting a drink. Sure you don’t want one?” Lucien gestured back toward his office.
Lucien led the way back to his office. “Please sit down.” He poured them Scotch, handing her a glass. He sipped on it, waiting for the wrath that is Liz.
“You hired David.”
“You hired him to find me.”
“You had him follow me.”
Liz popped back up, the amber liquid in her glass sloshing out. “Is that all you’re going to do, agree with me?”
“Well, so far I’ve answered your questions. And watch the Scotch, it’s eighty-years aged. Good stuff.” Lucien sipped his again.
Liz threw the glass against the wall, shards flying in all directions. “There’s your precious Scotch!”
Lucien rubbed the back of his neck. “What is it you want from me? Yes, I hired someone to track you down … again. It’s the same thing we’ve been doing for quite some time now. You run, I seek, we settle down for a while until you get pissed and run again. Isn’t that our game?”
Liz sat back down, clasping her hands between her legs as she stared down at them. “You have never hired a human before. And you’re never hid that you were searching for me.”
“I never hid this time, either. I honestly didn’t know where you were after you entered the States. I hired more than one PI, in several cities, until one spotted you. That one happened to be David.” Lucien took a cautious step forward, placing his hand on her shoulder, happy she didn’t shrug it off. “I will always search for you. I do love you.”
“But this time … dammit, I really cared about him!”
“Cared? You stopped caring about him this evening just because I hired him?”
“No … yes … hell, I don’t know.” Liz stood up, distancing herself from Lucien. “I thought … I thought I could make a go at this, with him, at least for a while. Now that I know we’re together only because of you.” She spat out the last word.
“You hate me that much?”
Lucien stepped back, as if her anger was a tangible thing. “I’m … I’m sorry. What can I do to make it up to you?”
“Bring Mama back!”
Lucien’s eyes grew wide. “Elizabeta … mia bella figlia … pó forte il mio guerriero …”
“Stop it! Don’t you dare! I’m not your ‘anything’ anymore. You want to help me? Bring Mama back, Love Mama again!”
“I have never stopped loving her, I swear.”
“You could have fooled me! I remember it so well, Mama had only been gone what, three years, before you brought home your first whore?”
Liz turned her cold stare onto him, her eyes alight with blue fire. “Deny it! I dare you!”
“I won’t deny seeking female companionship; I actively mourned for three years after her death. I still mourn her, but I refuse to stop living!” Lucien felt his anger rise, could feel his eyes glowing, turning from brown to amber.
“And this is how it is, you and your whores over me and Mama!”
“Never!” Lucien felt his anger manifesting itself, becoming tangible. Tiny sparks erupted from his fingertips.
“You could have fooled me!” Liz pulled a dagger from her jacket, throwing it at Lucien. Lucien dodged, the knife embedding into the wall behind him.
“It’s going to take more than a dagger to kill me off!”
“Might just have to try something else then!”
“Try your best … remember who taught you!”
“Well at least you were good at something other than fucking!”
That’s all it took for Lucien to lose his control. A red ball of energy coalesced in his hand and he threw it, igniting the contents of the fireplace. He at least had presence of mind to not throw it at his daughter, no matter how mad she made him.
Liz looked at the smoldering ruins of the fireplace. “Fuck you.” She turned, slamming the door of his office as she left. A few seconds later, he heard the slamming of the front door. He stood in the middle of his office, clenching and unclenching his hands as he got his temper under control.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
My one OCD quirk is making sure everything is spelled correctly and formatted correctly the first time. It does slow me down when I have to stop and look up how to spell a word, but I can’t just take a guess and keep going. Same thing for formatting; if I need to off-set something (like a poem, or if the character is writing a letter, etc.) I have to format it before I can move on. I know you’re supposed to just get it out and format and edit later, but I have a huge issue with that.
I guess it does help, as it means when I go back to edit, it’s usually pretty easy.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
My favorite author changes constantly. Currently I’m re-reading the ‘Harry Potter’ books and so JK Rowling is my current fave. I love how she created this ‘other world’ within our own. Even with the bad wizards, she made her world so believable and loveable that a lot of people would love to live in her world. I’d love to be able to do that.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I don’t really have the money to travel. I’ve done one convention last year and enjoyed it very much. I was surprised how many people wanted my autograph!
If my finances end up changing for the better, I’d love to go around at least in the Midwest and do conventions. I love meeting new readers and authors!
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The two books I have with Dreamspinner were done by their in-house artist, Aaron Anderson. ‘A Wolf’s Bane’ was done by Soxsational Cover Art. ‘Twenty-Four Hours’ was done by Allison Cassatta. ‘Michael’s Journey’ was created by me.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Motivation! Actually opening up Word and doing it – once I have Word open it’s easy, but it’s hard to take my attention away from the TV, or from the household tasks, or from my dogs. I’m a procrastinator by nature.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned a lot about the editing process and how to show more visualization. I’m pretty good at dialogue, but tend to forget to add descriptors and action within the dialogue. Guess I’d be good at scriptwriting. LOL
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
WRITE. Don’t procrastinate, just write. Don’t worry if it’s good or even readable. Doesn’t have to be on the computer, either. I have an author friend who keeps multiple journals around to write out long-hand if an idea strikes her. I love journals, I just wish I liked writing long-hand more!
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I want to thank them for taking a chance on a fairly newbie author and for all their kind feedback, comments, and reviews. I appreciate each and every one of them.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No, not really. I remember buying all those paperbacks during grade school; you remember those? I remember getting the catalog and picking out a few books each time, using my allowance to buy them. I probably had a couple hundred paperbacks before I entered high school.
The first book that made an impression on me was ‘Child of the Silent Night: The Inspiring Story of Laura Bridgman, Both Deaf and Blind.’ I was fascinated on how a girl could learn when she couldn’t see or hear. (She was before Helen Keller.) I remember the book had a guide on the sign language alphabet in the back; I learned how to finger-spell through that.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I’m fairly emotional, so any good emotional scene can get me to cry. Romantic scenes, stories about rescued animals, triumph over tragedy.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Oh wow, just one? I think it’d have to be a tie between Bruce Lee and Albert Einstein. I’d want to satisfy my martial arts curiosity and my intellectual curiosity.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
I’ve never thought about it, truly. I know people put profound statements on their headstones, but I’d probably go funny, something from Mel Brooks perhaps. Like ‘All hail President Skroob!” along with the funny hand gesture from ‘Spaceballs.’
Or ‘There should have been only one.’ In reference to ‘Highlander’ and that they should have stuck with just the first movie. LOL
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Photography. I just got my first digital camera with multiple lenses I’m learning how to use. I do want to do a coffee table book on the Morton Arboretum that’s located near where I live.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Well, on TV I’ve always been a huge ‘X-Files’ fan so I’m so psyched about their mini-season coming in January. I’m currently hooked on ‘Grimm’ and I can’t miss me some Mark Harmon on ‘NCIS.’ I do watch other shows, but I can take or leave them.
Film, I’m a superhero girl, through and through. Anything from Marvel or DC, with the exception of the Christian Bale ‘Batman.’ I just couldn’t get into those. All other superheroes? Let me at ‘em!
Oh, and don’t forget ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Star Trek.’ ‘Lord of the Rings’ was and still is a huge favorite.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Foods – sushi. Can’t get enough of it, mainly because I can’t afford it too often.
Color – purple. Or basically any primary color. Can’t stand pastels, especially pink.
Music – all kinds, except country. My fave bands are Pink Floyd, Muse, and, I know I’ll get some hate for this, Nickleback.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Well, I am a teacher, so probably would have stuck with that. Perhaps I would have written textbooks instead of fiction. Heck, might still do that!
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
http://www.sherriehenry.com is my website; a link to my blog is on there. I have buy links to all my books on there.
You can find me on social media as well:
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSherrieHenry – Facebook
https://twitter.com/AuthorSHenry – Twitter
http://sherrie0824.tumblr.com/ – Tumblr
https://www.goodreads.com/sherriehenry – Goodreads
You can email me as well: email@example.com I love to hear from my readers!