Hello Sherry and thank you for doing a Q&A and providing me with an e-ARC of Immortal Eclipse, your latest stand-alone novel! (The review is up on my BookBag blog!) Let's start with a little bit about you…
Is Sherry Soule a pseudonym (or just a splendid name for an author)?
LOL! It is my name.
How many books have you written so far, in which genres?
Well, I have written ten books, but only three are published thus far. I write both young adult and adult novels in the urban fantasy, horror (zombie), and paranormal romance genres.
I see several WIPs on your website: do you work on more than one story at once?
[P.S. A WIP is a Work In Progress...] I used to do that but now I force myself to focus on only one story at a time.
Which book are you currently working on?
I’m finishing some rewrites on Immortal Eclipse [at the time of this interview; the new edition is currently available], then I’m starting edits on the next book in my YA series, called Destiny Disrupted.
You wrote on Goodreads that you've worked on Immortal Eclipse for almost a decade. How come?
I actually wrote the first draft of Immortal Eclipse (aka IE) about nine years ago. A year later, I also made the mistake of sending it out on submission to editors and agents, but received no offers of a publishing contract or representation. However, I did get some really nice and helpful rejection letters.
IE's story has evolved over the years. The basic plot elements, however, remained: the story featured a young woman relocating from New York to California and moving into a supposedly haunted house, and then later discovering a story about girl that died on the property, who mysteriously resembles the main character.
I knew in my gut that it was a good story, but it needed more revision. A lot more. And an insightful professional editor. But before I found the right editor for IE, I found an amazing critique partner… So, Immortal Eclipse has been a very long labour of love for me (almost a decade), and to see it finally published after all these years is an accomplishment that I am immensely proud of. [Excerpted and edited from Sherry’s blog]
How much time does writing a book usually take?
About six months to a year for me. That includes working with critique partners, beta readers, and freelance editors. And I wish I could write faster, but I also need to take time off from writing whenever a new book comes out to help do the marketing and promotions.
Does everything you write have a supernatural vibe?
Pretty much. ;-)
Where did your interest in the supernatural come from?
Great question and I wish I had an answer. It’s just always been something that interests me. I’ve loved watching scary movies since I was kid.
What is your writing routine like?
For me it takes about four to six months to finish a novel. Once I finish a second draft, I find at least two beta readers that I can convince to read my drivel. With their feedback, I revise. If I get writer’s block or can’t think of a clever way to describe something, I go to Internet and read online poetry. That helps, because then I’m full of pretty prose and ideas. I revise again. I’ll continually do this until the story is finished.
Next I put each chapter into the AutoCrit Wizard software. It catches a lot of overused words and phrases, passives and telling words, info-dumps, dialogue tags, and so on. So after I paste in my chapter and go through each tab, I revise the text. Then I paste it into the Wizard a second time to make sure I’ve successfully reduced the problem areas.
When I finish that, I upload the entire manuscript into a different software program called Serenity Software. It finds clichés, redundant phrases, spelling errors, and offers alternatives, which is great, and suggestions on polishing up wordy areas. (It is worth it for the redundant phrase finder alone.) Then I save the report and do a search for all of the redundant phrases in my MS. Sometimes the report can be 25 to 50 pages long. But I go through and revise them all. This takes about two to three days.
Now it is time for my critique partners to review my work. With my CPs, I usually exchange chapters at a pretty fast rate. Two a week. Once that’s done, I start listening to the entire manuscript that is read out loud to me by using Naturalreader. If I catch an error, typo or a missing word, I pause the program and fix the problem. Sometimes I’ll re-listen to a scene of dialogue several times until it flows smoothly before moving onto the next section of text. A very tedious chore, but one I cannot recommend highly enough to new writers. [Excerpted and edited from Sherry’s blog]
Do you make outlines and plot everything in advance?
No, I’m more of a pantser. But I’m going to try to outline the next book in my YA series.
Is there such a thing as just sitting down and the story will write itself?
Of course. But then you’re looking at a LOT of rewrites. I like to write stories that I would enjoy reading, and then I sincerely hope that others will enjoy reading them, too.
Do you believe in "Write What You Know"?
Nope. I just write what I’d like to read in a novel. And hope others will, too!
Want to read more of Sherry’s adventures in writing, her writing tips, blog posts or her books? You can start with an Immortal Eclipse excerpt here http://sherrysoule.blogspot.com/p/immortal-eclipse.html and visit her blog http://www.sherrysoule.blogspot.com!
[The image left is a draft cover for Immortal Eclipse, the first image above the final cover. So cool to see that difference, isn't it?]