Updated: May 8
This Writer Wednesday, the spotlight shines on children’s book author Sherry Shearhart!
Be sure you are following Sherry on Instagram, as every Tuesday she hosts a virtual storytelling session called Tuesday Tales with Sherry. Every Thursday, you can find Sherry co-hosting a chat show called Tales from the Coffee Table.
A quick note:
During this interview, you might note that many of the questions include the word “we” as if “we” asked them. Well, we did. This detail is meant to include you, my dear reader, and I do hope you enjoy each interview published to this blog!
Additionally, please note that each interview answer is the author's own words and the interviews in The Intuitive Storyteller blog are intended for informational and educational purposes only.
Sherry is an author who brings joy, excitement, and imagination to her readers. Her humorous picture books and exciting middle grade chapter books are relatable and entertaining. Her books will be a mix of self-published and traditional publications.
Sherry is an author, poet, avid reader, and artist. She also crochets and enjoys taking photos of nature. She loves to read children’s books and adult books alike. Her favorite book genre is fantasy. She lives in Oakville, Ontario, Canada with her husband and four children. If you happen to see her, don't be afraid to say hi! She adores her young fans!
Sherry is writing two new children’s books, Winnipeg the Witch and the Trick or Treat Uprising and Mystery on Crystal Beach. Both titles are scheduled to release in late 2022.
About Winnipeg the Witch and the Trick or Treat Uprising
Winnipeg Cranch is a seven-year-old little girl from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. She has been bullied since kindergarten by her evil nemesis, Hildy Thumpkin and Winnipeg is tired. Upon a visit to the local dollar store, Winnipeg’s luck is about to change. A book falls from the sky, a book she feels is a sign of her true calling. Winnipeg believes she is now a witch and sets forth to stand up to her nemesis and change her situation for the better. After all, who would mess with a magical witch, right? Buckle up for this hilarious adventure, full of twists and turns in the mind of a seven-year-old little girl, who is a real witch, or is she?
About Mystery on Crystal Beach
Mystery on Crystal Beach will be the sequel to Mystery on Flower Pot Island. This story will take the readers into the past and start to unlock the origins of Magic found in Canada. Using magic, Megan and her friends travel back in time to find their younger brothers, team up with very temperamental blue pixies, rescue trolls, and battle a maniacal wizard. It is the next fantasy adventure that takes you into the past, exploring the world of the pixies and giving the girls their first experience with magic! This book is still a work in progress. Publication date unknown.
For updates on Sherry’s children’s books and their release dates, visit her website.
And now, the interview:
Sherry, when did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I wanted to be a writer since I was six years old. I loved putting stories together from a very young age and enjoyed escaping into a world of my own creativity as soon as I could put together sentences and draw a picture.
Tell us about the person(s) or event(s) that inspired you to write your latest work.
Winnipeg the Witch was inspired by two other books. I was working on other manuscripts and last year at Halloween I started reading a story called Ghoulia by Barbara Cantini, for my Instagram virtual storytelling, Tuesday Tales. I loved the layout of the book and thought I would love to do a Halloween picture book for the same age group. Mystery on Crystal Beach was inspired by a vacation and Book One, Mystery on Flower Pot Island.
What is your favorite genre to write and why do these types of stories appeal to you?
I love to write fantasy and adventure stories. They both provide an exciting escape to the regimented structure of normal life. Kids, like adults, spend a lot of time following a schedule and often sitting much too long. An escape is needed. When writing these stories, I get to try things I might normally be afraid to do in reality. I also like the characters to have a relatable and more modern personality.
Do you have a furry familiar? Tell us about them!
In this story, there is a cat named Hex. She is labelled a sidekick. The cat is more of an appendage in this book that is just introduced, but in another story the cat becomes more (yet to be decided but will happen in Book Two). I personally do not have pets as I am allergic to furry friends.
Tell us about your writing schedule and/or a ritual that is necessary for establishing and sustaining your writing mood and endurance.
For me to write I need to have quiet. I have a busy household. Pre-pandemic, I would write in the car while the kids were in their activities. Now, I write at night when the house is quiet. I often get ideas late at night or even in the tub. Truth be told, the ideas usually aren’t triggered by anything. [They are] a conversation or a vision of a scene. Sometimes I will think of a different outcome to a situation and say, “Well, what would happen if this went differently.”
Why do you write? How does the act of storytelling affect you?
Writing, for me, is therapy. It helps balance my stress. It is a safety net, because the thoughts I write are my own and it’s a place to put them. I can also choose if I want to share them or not. Telling my story to kids is the best experience. When I can keep a child’s attention with a story, get genuine feedback (because kids will tell you the unfiltered truth), and if they love it, their excitement lights up a room.
Think about yourself back when you first started writing. If you could travel back in time, what would you say to that version of you (about the writing process, publishing, the world, etc.) that might help prepare them for today?
Do exactly what you are doing! You will get off track and, sure, you won’t know everything. But your experiences in the in-between will give you the content to make great stories. Take it all in the good and the bad. There is a world of support when you get there, and when the time comes, go for it. Learn to silence the self-doubt and go for it. When the time is right, start again and it will work. It just takes time.
What are your recommendations for fueling your writing energy and promoting inspiration?
Coffee, nature, and positive self-encouragement. I say coffee because my creativity flows at night and you still have to get up the next day; coffee aids in the fatigue. Get out and explore the outside world. It provides you with information on creating worlds in your books. It is also good for your mental well-being. Positive self-encouragement. Be your biggest fan and talk yourself out of self-doubt.
How intuitive are you and does your intuition affect your writing?
I am intuitive. I’ve had good intuition of picking up people’s mood energy. I have also been pretty good about picking up on a person with good character or someone who is a person to avoid. I pay attention to mannerisms and details. This transfers over into me making my characters believable.
Tell us about your long-term writing and publishing goals.
I want to publish a lot of books. My goal is to get my books into the hands of as many kids as possible. I would like to make enough money to sustain being an author as a career and to be able to offer free books to children who live in poverty.
For what or whom are you most grateful right now and why?
I am grateful to my family and friends who have given me feedback, encouragement, helped with technology, and spread the word. I am grateful to those that haven’t supported me and made this journey a challenge, so I learned to stand for myself. I am grateful for the Instagram book community because they have been a source of help, support, and information when navigating this journey.
Besides writing, what activities bring you joy?
I like to create visual art, play guitar (beginner talent), read, crochet, take photos of nature, travel, and explore the outdoors. I enjoy going to see live performances and watching brilliantly written television series. In the winter, I like going sledding, playing cards, and board games.
Which book are you reading right now?
Journey to Zentobia, by Stacy D’Alessandro
What’s the best book you’ve read in the past year?
The Father Of Contention, by Lanie Mores
Fill in the blank: Magic is...
Magic is created by those who believe in it, work for it, and have the spirit of a child.
Stay connected with Sherry! Here’s where you can find her:
In my next blog post, I will discuss my history of using the tarot to inspire my own writing.
In her more than thirty years as a storyteller and visual designer, Amanda “Mandy” Hughes has written and designed over a dozen works of upmarket, literary, and women’s fiction under pen names A. Lee Hughes and Mandy Lee.
Mandy is the founder of Haint Blue Creative, a space for readers and storytellers to explore, learn, and create. Although she earned a Bachelor and Master of Science in Psychology, she has yet to figure out her family, much less herself.
When she’s not writing, Mandy loves going to the movies, theater, traveling, nature walks, birdwatching, margarita-making, and binge-watching The Office. She is a tarot enthusiast who uses the cards to promote wellness and enhance creativity. She lives in Georgia with her husband and four boys, two of whom are furrier than the others (but not by much). Visit her website at haintbluecreative.com and follow her on Instagram @haintbluecreative.