Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
My name is Sheritta Bitikofer and I’m just old enough to be dangerous 😉
Fiona: Where are you from?
Sheritta: I claim that I’m from Florida, where I’ve lived for the majority of my life, but I was born in Louisiana.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Sheritta: I’m a wife and fur-mama to two shelter rescue dogs that I adore! I love writing, reading, binge watching my favorite shows on Netflix, eating, doing Zumba to burn off all the food I eat, and spending time with my husband. We go out for breakfast every weekend and talk books and stories.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Sheritta: Latest major news is that the final book in my Loup-Garou Series is finally out and available on Amazon! Precedents wraps up a lot of mysteries that were introduced throughout the series and I’m super excited to get to share this chapter of Katey and Logan’s life as shifters.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Sheritta: I’m an only child, so when my mom was busy with work or sewing, I spent my time creating stories and playing pretend with my cousins who lived down the street. I’ve always loved wolves and werewolves, so that’s usually the kind of characters I liked to imagine. I was never afraid of the paranormal, even from a young age. I started out just writing little picture books for friends and family and then when I was in middle school, my English teacher encouraged me to write longer stories. I started my first novel in my freshman year of high school and the rest is history. I have about 18 titles out on Amazon as of right now, and that doesn’t include the manuscripts sitting in a folder on my computer.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Sheritta: I considered myself a writer as soon as I started writing short stories in middle school, but I never considered myself an author until I published my first book.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Sheritta: The Enigma, the first book in the Loup-Garou Series, was a story idea that I’d been playing with for a while, but I was looking for scene ideas to fill up the bulk of it. My freshman year of high school was incredibly special to me, since it’s where I first met my husband and I had some pretty amazing teachers that I based my characters off of. It’s a story about an orphan girl in an abusive foster home and suffers from depression. Though none of that could really describe my own childhood, I poured a lot of myself into Katey McCoy and it became something of a self-realization project. I even surprise myself when I write some sage advise coming from one of the older characters, like her alpha shifter, and it instantly pertains to something I’m personally going through as an author. So, in a way, I was writing it as a way to help discover myself through my characters, but I also wanted to write out the love story between her and Logan, which was an almost exact parallel to my own relationship with my future husband.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Sheritta: Back when I was first writing The Enigma, I was a huge fan of WWE wrestling and Jeff Hardy was/is my favoritewrestler. His nickname or penname (because he wrote poetry on the side) was The Enigma. I looked up what “enigma” meant and it’s a mysterious concept or person that is not fully understood. I thought that’s exactly what my character, Logan Keith, personified in The Loup-Garou Series.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Sheritta: I’ve definitely developed my craft and style over the years and I typically look for inspiration from the classics (Jane Austen, Edgar Allen Poe, Jules Verne, Charles Dickens, Hemmingway, etc.). I read how they’re describing characters, scenes, and emotions and I try to emulate that while still putting it in a contemporary fashion that readers will understand. Sometimes I can get a little wordy when I’m trying to put my point across, but I’ve been told that I paint a beautiful picture for the reader, especially when it comes to emotions. I strive to make my readers really feel what the characters are going through.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Sheritta: In my Loup-Garou Series, about 60% of the characters are based off of people I know. I’ve already said that I’m like Katey and my husband is like Logan, but the three other members of their pack – Darren, Dustin, and Ben – are pulled straight off three teachers I had in my freshman year of high school that had a huge influence on me. Likewise, Katey has two best friends who were based off of my best friends at the time, and there’s another shifter that was based off of an old crush I had. In The Enigma, a lot of the events were taken from my personal life as a high school student. The town, Crestucky, is based off of my hometown, as well as the high school. From Becoming the Enigma on, I get more original and start looking to my imagination for plot devices, but the characters remained the same. They’re incredibly dear to me.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Sheritta: I do all of my writing either at home or in my office during my lunch break. If there’s something I need to research, I go to Google for everything. One of my series, The Decimus Trilogy, takes place in Italy and I had to go onto Google Maps to walk the streets of Rome so I could accurately describe the landscape and city blocks. Same for one of my other books, Silver Screen, whose setting is in Edinburgh Scotland. I go as far as to mention street names, which involves a lot of clicking through the street view setting. If I could, I would always travel to these places for research.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Sheritta: A brilliant woman that I met through another author, Angela Quincoses Rivera. She has done just about all of my book covers and she’s a wonderful graphic artist. I highly recommend her to all of my author friends who are looking for a well made cover.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Sheritta: My biggest theme throughout all of my novels is that love inspires courage. Before I knew what love really was, I was so timid, shy, and unsure of myself. I still am to a certain extent, but when I’m with my husband, I know I can take on the world as long as I’m with him. I like to emphasize, especially in my Loup-Garou Series, that you are never alone. You always have a “pack” to support you. You just have to find them.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Sheritta: To my chagrin, I don’t read a lot of the newer authors. My go-to authors are long dead. My most recent favorites, though, are Susan Krinard who inspired me to write paranormal romances in the first place, and Paige Tyler. Paige actually lives rather close to me, so we’ve been able to hang out on occasion and talk books, which is awesome. I love her writing style and she’s coaxed me into writing more sex into my romances, which I was hesitant to do before. All of my romances are considered clean or sweet, but I’m starting to expand my style a bit.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Sheritta: My friends and coworkers have been amazingly supportive. One friend, whom I’ve have since high school, is also an author and we encourage one another all the time. Likewise, as soon as my other friends read my work, they turn into such amazing fans.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Sheritta: Absolutely. Though I’ve got a lot of titles out there, I’m still working on learning the craft and the art of marketing – which I honestly suck at. I treat my writing as both a hobby, therapy, and as a job with deadlines.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Sheritta: I would try to make it a little longer, maybe be a little more poetic in my prose if I could. Precedents is the shortest of the Loup-Garou Series instalments by at least 10,000 words, but I hope that the lower page count didn’t diminish the emotional impact on readers.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Sheritta: I won’t give away too much, but I had to do a lot of interviews with mothers and expecting mothers to get some finer details correct. I also learned that this should not be the final book in the series. It nicely ties up some loose ends, but there’s so much more I can do and I hope to get around to writing book five some day.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Sheritta: I would absolutely love for Hannah Baker to play Katey. She’s got the right hair, eyes, and everything.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Sheritta: If you love the craft, don’t give it up. I stopped writing for three years for a silly reason and it messed me up, mentally and emotionally. I suffered from severe depression and anxiety, which has carried over into the rest of my adult life and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Writing is my escape, and if it’s an escape for you, then don’t listen to anyone else’s opinions of you. You do you.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Sheritta: Call me! No, seriously, I love hearing from my readers. I’m totally into chatting about books or life or whatever. It makes my day when someone chimes in on Facebook to say how much they loved the series or asking when the next book will be out. Lets me know I’m doing something right. I hope my readers who fell in love with The Loup-Garou Series will also carry on to read its prequel novella series, The Legacy Series. My werewolves can live a long time so I created an 18 part series that covers all of their historical backgrounds. It’s epic and I hope they enjoy it too.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Sheritta: Right now, I’m reading through one of Paige Tyler’s SWAT Wolves books. It’s freakin’ amazing!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Sheritta: Well, apart from the Dr. Seuss books and typical readers for kids, I remember reading a lot of the alternate fairy tales. I remember reading a version of Cinderella that was from China and another from Africa. I liked the idea of taking an iconic story and twisting it to a different setting.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Sheritta: My dad makes me laugh, and an empty tummy makes me cry (okay, it’s more like a hangry sort of cry, but still…)
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Sheritta: I would love to sit down with Jane Austen. She’s the one who made me fall in love with love and I think it’s so tragic that she never married. I think we would have been best friends.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Sheritta: Writing, writing, and learning about writing. Well, you can add Zumba in there. I also jump around different hobbies like calligraphy, painting, spinning wool, Tae Kwon Do (I have a black belt), and video games. I also love history so I’ll watch documentaries all day long if allowed.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Sheritta: There’s a lot of shows I’ve loved, like Supernatural, Anne With An “E”, Charmed, Bitten, The Munsters (yes, I have an old soul), The Cosby Show, Beauty and the Beast, the Underworld series, anything Star Trek… I could go on for days.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Sheritta: If you give me French fries, I will love you forever. Give me chilli cheese fries and I’ll worship you. My favoritecolor is blue – which becomes a reoccurring eye color for a lot of my characters. My music interests are just about as eclectic as you can get. My playlist has opera, pop, punk rock, Disney tunes, hard rock, Irish folk songs, country (the older stuff), 80s rock, 90s pop, lots of classical, and soundtracks from movies. I think the only kind of music I don’t care for is rap unless the beat and lyrics are good.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Sheritta: Just kill me now, because I’m not going back to that lifestyle. Losing dexterity in my hands is a huge fear of mine, so I have to take care of my wrists and joints.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Sheritta: “Love Inspires Courage”. It really is a my mantra. Either that or “Here Lies A Dreamer”.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Sheritta: Absolutely! I try to post regularly on my blog, www.moonstruckwriting.wordpress.com.
They can also go to my reader group page on facebook, www.facebook.com/groups/sweet.shifters
Amazon Authors pages