I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Canadian author Sherry Shearhart via Instagram, and we instantly clicked. What an amazing woman!!! Talented as both an author and illustrator, she is also a kind, hilarious, and generous soul. And that is why I chose Sherry to be the first Indie author I interviewed on my blog. Please welcome, author Sherry Shearhart!
Interview with Sherry Shearhart
- Thank you, Sherry, for joining us today to talk about your books and writing in general. Can you tell us about the inspiration behind your debut children’s book, I Am Going Camping with MOM?
You’re welcome, Lanie. I am so thrilled you asked.
The inspiration for my debut book came from My son. I was working on another much larger manuscript at the time. We were in lockdown, and he kept bugging me to go do things we weren’t allowed to do. He was three at the time and had watched an episode of Blippi or Ryan’s world where they were talking about going camping. For the next two weeks he persisted to ask me to take him camping. Since no places to camp were allowed to open it struck me that if I couldn’t go camping, I could create an experience for him in the form of a story. I had many years of camping experiences from my childhood and with his siblings. This led to me writing a one-page rhyming story about a little boy going camping with his mom. Immediately upon finishing it I knew I needed to write another version of a little girl that camped with her dad, because mom’s and dad’s camp differently.
- Are you currently working on any new projects?
I am working on many projects. I Am Going Camping with Mom has inspired a series of upcoming “I Am Going” stories. ” I Am Going Camping With Dad” Will be released this year. The next two stories in the series are I Am Going To the Parade. “I Am Going Camping with Mom” is also in production to become a 12 episode YouTube series. Beyond I Am Going I have a middle grade mystery/ fantasy series for kids 9-12. The first Story “Mystery On Flowerpot Island” is at the stage of me needing to make a query letter for an agent. The sequel to this story has the first draft of the manuscript done. I have another Manuscript being edited for 6-9 years old’s, “Winnipeg The Witch and the Trick Or Treat Uprising”. It’s about a little girl that confronts her bully on Halloween. I have 4 manuscripts for a series of Monster stories for children ages 3-5. As well as a new story about a famous bear for children ages 9-12 and a fantasy chapter book series for children ages 12 and up. These are all being worked on at various stages.
- When did you realize you wanted to be a writer/illustrator?
I have wanted to be a writer since I was very young. I started writing when I was seven or eight with a passion for writing simple stories. Later in high school I wrote chapter books. But the illustrator was really only over the last 3 years when I learned a lot about how to better my art just before and during the pandemic. I was inspired by a Disney artist that I met at fan expo, Jimmy Mulligan. I watched him when he went live on Instagram during lock down and at times he even critiqued my work and gave me tips. His kindness truly helped to improve my artistic abilities. Not all of my books will be illustrated by myself. I do know when it’s a story I am capable of portraying the images the way I want and when I need to put the illustrations into more capable hands.
- Do you have any favourite authors and what is your favourite genre to read?
My favourite Genre to read is Fantasy. I do enjoy other genres but my go to genre is always fantasy. I have a lot of favourite authors. Robert Munsch, Ann Rice, Lucy Maud Montgomery, C.S Lewis, Ronald Dahl. Newer authors I have discovered and enjoyed are Lanie Mores, Sonja F Blanco, Danielle Marietta, Richard Clark, Joel Thomas Feldman, Melissa Roberts, Brigiette Cromley and there are a whole lot more.
- Do you have any writing quirks?
In order to write I need quiet. Generally, what happens is an idea or character conversation hits me and I have to write it down right away. If it is part of a much longer story, I have to then plot out what I want to happen in the entire story. I write almost everything in a journal first. On occasion I write it in the notes on my phone. I have a phobia of accidentally deleting what I have written so from there it either goes directly to my computer or right to a notebook. I actually have certain notebooks for certain stories. If the cover or design of a notebook doesn’t feel right I actually use or search for a notebook to reflect the feeling I am having in regards to what I want to write. The other place I love to write is outside weather permitting. And I need a pen that feels good. It has to feel smooth. If I use a plastic bic pencil it’s because I couldn’t find another pen. But if the pen isn’t comfortable it’s a distraction and often hurts my hand after writing for a bit.
- How much time do you devote to writing (daily/weekly)?
I devote so much time to my books and marketing. But ironically I only write occasionally. Right now I am trying to get better at finishing a story before I start another one unless I am hit with an idea. So for the projects I am working on right now the illustrations take up 4-6 hours a day, marketing at least 2 hours. This will change depending at the stage a story is in. When I am not illustrating, the time I spend illustrating is replaced by writing.
How to Connect With Sherry Shearhart
You can follow me on Instagram @sherryshearhart.
I am also on a mighty network called LetsWriteLetsRead https://letswriteletsread.mn.co/members/10564348.
My website is https://sherryshearhart.wixsite.com/my-site.
There are also downloadable activities on my site for my books once you sign up for my mailing list.