Fiona: Tell us your name. What is your age?
Sherrie: My real name is Cheryl Warrillow but I write under the pseudonym of Sherrie Lowe. And I’m 63 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
Sherrie: Staffordshire UK.
Fiona: Tell us a little about your life, education, family etc.
Sherrie: I’m a divorced mum of two sons with three lovely grandchildren, soon to be four. I left school before sitting GCEs as they were then and worked in retail until I had my children. I then did several years voluntary work in their school which led me to take a child care course, subsequently leading to my career in education. That was short lived as I became ill with M.E/C.F.S when I was 40 and newly divorced, absolutely devastating. Not only because I had to provide a living for myself and the boys but because I loved my job as a learning support assistant in a mainstream high school.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Sherrie: My latest news is my most recent publication Whisper To Me, available from Amazon in ebook and soon to be Smashwords and Draft2Digital once I get my head round to the uploading to them, paperback from feedaread.com. The inspiration for the story came from my mum’s spirit after my dad remarried following her death. She wasn’t happy! The characters in the story aren’t my family but are in the same situation and the book has the outcome I’d have liked in life.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Sherrie: I’ve always had a notion to write but never had the time when my children were young and I was working. The time came after I’d had to resign from my job due to my health.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Sherrie: I don’t even know that I do as it doesn’t earn me a living. I suppose if I thought about it it would be when I first published in 2011.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Sherrie: My mum’s death from breast cancer when I was two days off my 13th birthday. Not at that point, it was too raw but I always had it in my head that I must write about it.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Sherrie: The title is Shadow Across the Sun and that was what seemed to have happened at the time, that a shadow had crossed the sun.
Fiona: Do you have any specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Sherrie: I suppose I like any form of writing to be sensitively done. If I’m writing a love scene for example I prefer it to be sensual rather than sexy or maybe that’s because I’m getting old! Some of my earlier books have had their raunchy moments but I’ve forgotten all about that now! For me though it has to mean something.
I find metaphors challenging. Some people come up with some beauties seemingly effortlessly whilst I sit chewing my pen and staring out of the window wracking my brain. Occasionally a good one will come and I’m thrilled to bits with my creative mind!
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Sherrie: My first book Shadow Across the Sun is a memoir so true to life although the names have been changed to protect identities. Whisper To Me as I’ve mentioned is based on the scenario of my mum’s spirit, my dad and his second wife. The events in it weren’t real only the basic idea, the rest is fiction. I use a lot of anecdotes from life in my books though, friends’ experiences that have made me laugh for example – with their permission of course. I had some lovely ones from a friend about eyesight problems which I used in Free Flight, about her getting into the wrong car on a couple of occasions and tidying up what she thought was her grandson’s loose change when in actual fact it wasn’t his car! It cracked me up so I just had to have it for my character.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Sherrie: As I’m restricted by my health I do my travelling by good old Google, also from memory where it fits. The only time I physically travelled was to Gentleshaw Wildlife Centre nearby when I was researching Free Flight. It is also a rehabilitation centre for injured birds and the staff were very helpful and patient answering all of my questions. It was a lovely family day out. I hope to go and see the Spitfire at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery when it’s been restored and rehoused to give a bit of reality to my novel of 2016 Over A Spitfire. I had seen it there many years ago but wasn’t well enough to go during the writing of the book.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Sherrie: My early covers were water colour paintings done by an artist and writer friend Mary Bennett with an updated cover for Angel Breaths by Yvonne Thompson, an oil painting. My more recent covers are by The Cover Collection.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novels that you want readers to grasp?
Sherrie: Not a message as such. From my own experiences following my mum’s death as told in Shadow Across the Sun I have a strong belief in the afterlife which forms the basis for a lot of my novels but I wouldn’t force those beliefs on anyone else. There are stranger things in heaven and earth though as the saying goes.
Fiona: Are there any authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favourite writer and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Sherrie: Winston Graham, author of the Poldark series. A superb writer with a brilliant use of words. Frank McCourt for Angela’s Ashes, I loved his humour even though he had a difficult childhood. Jilly Cooper’s Rutshire Chronicles, her writing is very visual. J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter series for the attention to detail although I wasn’t as thrilled with her adult books. All the James Herriot books I loved, his warmth and wit and the TV series and films that came from them. Nowadays I tend to read indie authors, there are some very talented authors out there who haven’t been given a chance by the big publishing houses. However I can’t read as much as I’d like because I have lots of severe headaches, part of my health condition.
Fiona: Outside your family name one entity that supported your commitment to become an author.
Sherrie: I’d say the support of a good creative writing group sets any author off on the right foot. People who will give you constructive criticism and tell you how something sounds.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Sherrie: Sadly not anymore. It’s way too competitive. When I first became ill that was my aim as I was physically unable to do the job I’d trained for. I had my hopes built up several times when an agency asked to see the complete manuscripts of three of my novels after I’d submitted sample chapters, only to have them dashed when they decided no thank you. Happily self publishing has enabled me to do what I set out to though and get my stories published and read. It’s a fabulous feeling to be able to hold your book in your hand.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again would you change anything in your latest book?
Sherrie: No, I’m happy with the way it evolved.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from the writing of your recent book?
Sherrie: Not so much Whisper To Me but I learned a lot during the writing and research of Over A Spitfire and also the sequel, details I didn’t know about World War Two and also The Black Death and The Great Fire of London, the last two being in the sequel.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film who would you like to play the lead?
Sherrie: Aidan Turner would have been brilliant for my Nathaniel in the Willow’s Dip series although I did have the image of Johnny Depp in mind as I wrote it. I’d like Lily James as someone but I don’t know who. They are all too big a star now for my little stories though. I’d like a well known name somewhere in it to attract attention but I’d also like someone new to help their acting career whilst helping my own writing career.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Sherrie: Keep at it. Self publishing has come into its own and allowed an author to do what they set out to do and that is to be read but polish your book, don’t just throw it out there because you can.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Sherrie: Thank you so much for buying my book! I really appreciate you spending your hard earned cash deciphering what goes on in my imagination! It is humbling when someone chooses your book. I’m always pleased to hear feedback and very appreciative of a review.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Sherrie: Saving Ebony by James Paddock.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Sherrie: I think Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, my dad’s well read and battered copy. I can still see the front cover with the stable fire.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Sherrie: Teeth make me laugh, more specifically false ones, dentures. When my dad had his he looked like The Snowman in the animated film trying them on. Cry? People losing loved ones for whatever reason or pets.
Fiona: If there was one person past or present, who would you love to meet? Why?
Sherrie: William Shakespeare. I’d ask him what it was like to write in his day.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Sherrie: I like to potter in the garden, I love fuchsias. Also a little baby knitting for my grandchildren but not often and only when they’re small.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Sherrie: TV dramas, Poldark, The Yorkshire Vet. Films, depends what grabs me. This year I’ve seen The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Book Club and Mama Mia Here We Go Again.
Fiona: What are your favourite foods/colors/music?
Sherrie: Food sandwiches, nice soft fluffy bread. Colours red as a child, sky blue now. Music Abba but lots of others depending on my mood, some classical, some pop. Some old some new.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Sherrie: Be very bored. If I didn’t have M.E I’d dance and sing. I loved both when I was young.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live. How would you spend that time?
Sherrie: With my sons and their families.
Fiona: What do you want written on your headstone?
Sherrie: She tried.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Sherrie: Website: http://www.sherrielowe.co.uk/
My furry friends live in my blog as well as other stories and my inane ramblings. I don’t know how to do special offers but from time to time I have a free promotion of one of my titles which I usually promote on twitter.
Thank you Fiona for allowing me onto your blog, I really appreciate you taking the time. I’ve enjoyed answering your questions, it’s been fun!