Today we sit down with award-winning author Sherry Rentschler. She is going to tell us about her interests, inspiration and a bit about herself.
Please enjoy this edition of 20 Questions:
Q1) When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I started writing early, both poetry and fiction, with my first poem published when I was 5 yrs old and my first newspaper article at 13 years earning me $5. I was like, “I can get paid for this? Wow!” After that I never felt whole unless I was writing. I grew up when using your imagination was how you played, so telling tales came naturally.
Q2) How long does it typically take you to write a book?
I have one book that I’ve been working on for 10 years. It’s a big one and involves 16 generations. And then my books of poetry took less than a year. My novella, Midnight Assassin – A Tale of Lust and Revenge, was written during National Novel Writing Month in 2014. That was a very intense thirty days and I would rather not rush. The fictional memoir I’m publishing later this year has taken me two years. So, I guess the answer is it varies. In my opinion, a good book with professional edits, beta readers and several personal edits would take 2-3 years.
Q3) What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I am very narrow of focus when I want to complete a project. I am a retired US Air Force officer with a husband who works, so I have the luxury of not holding an outside job. But I am a domestic goddess who must do the usual housework and that can be distracting if I let it go too long. So I set days aside during the week to meet my house duties (spread them out) and that allows me time during the day to write. I am fortunate to have this schedule and grateful for it.
Q4) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I need to be emotionally invested or I can’t write. I need to feel it. So I have to have my fake fire burning, classical music (Rachmaninoff is my go-to, or any epic soundtrack from a dynamic film), and I need to be able to write longhand. Yup, my books get written twice. Long hand and then typed.
Q5) How are your books published?
I have been self-published and Indie published. And yes, there is a difference. Self-published is with a large publishing company that offers you extras (that you pay for ala cart) and can give you things that you can’t get when you do all the work yourself (Indie). My first two books of poetry were self-published. My novella was Indie and so will this upcoming book of poetry (The Book of Now, July 2016). I think Indie is the way to go because that is the only way you can have total control and reap the greatest royalties.
Q6) Where do you get your ideas for your books?
As I mentioned, I’m a long time imagination dancer and so I have characters with me all the time. I love legends and myths and they are always great inspirations. Most of the time, I get a dream and I wake up and start making notes. Sometimes I get ideas in the oddest places, usually when I’m driving.
Q7) If you don’t mind sharing, when did you write your first book and how old were you?
Other than the books I wrote as a kid, and we won’t count those, my first “real complete” book was a collaboration with a good friend. We tried hard and we had so much to learn about storytelling. We never attempted publishing and it so it sits in a drawer, needing to be loved. Maybe one day. That was about 20 years ago. Since then I’ve done dozens of stories, studied the craft and have several books in various stages. They will be published.
Q8) What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love to read, urban fantasy mostly with gothic and paranormal leanings. I’m a vampire scholar – have studied cultures around the world for over 40 years – and so I love vampire tales. I also love movies! Listening to music. Going to wine tastings. Cooking.
Q9) What is your favorite book?
I think Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. So many wonderfully diverse characters!
Q10) What do your family and friends think of your writing?
My husband and sister are very supportive. I think my friends are supportive too, many of them are writers themselves. My sister is an author too, so she believes in me.
Q11) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
How much detail there is in creating the covers and interiors. I used to think you just “plugged into” a template and you were off and running. Oh no no no. Designers and formatters earn their living. I love them.
Q12) What do you hate most about the writing process?
Editing. It seems no matter how many times I do edits, I keep finding more stuff. And then you can have several beta readers read and yet each of them will find stuff but then they don’t find the same things. That’s good but also, makes me wonder what am I doing?
Q13) How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I have one photography, two poetry, one fiction novella. I love fiction. I’m doing a series next and I can’t wait to just live in this world.
Q14) Do you have any suggestions to help us become better writers? If so, what are they?
So many folks think that because they studied English that they are ready to write a book. Innate talent is good, an ability to sense a good story but if you don’t actually study the craft of writing, you won’t TELL a good story. You have to understand what makes a good strong character, what a plot arc is and how to track your subplots. Success is in the details. Study study study. Learn from other authors. And then write and write and write. Don’t expect to be a best-selling novelist immediately. The JK Rowlings of the world are few and far between. Ray Bradbury said something about if you keep writing stories eventually you’ll write a good one. Just study and write.
Q15) Do you get feedback from your readers much? How and what kinds of things do they say?
Feedback is critical. Whether it is good or bad, writers NEED it. You grow a thick skin with time and learn to take criticism. And then you listen. And you grow. Readers are the pulse. They will tell you what they hope for and that is valuable. I don’t have a huge cadre of readers that give me feedback but what I have heard made a difference in how I approached my writing.
Q16) What is your preferred reading audience?
The avid, hungry reader. I guess I write for ages 25-45 but I think anyone can read my books. It just depends on if you like the genre. I try not to target just men or women. I want everyone to find something in my books.
Q17) What do you think makes a good story?
A little bit of truth and excitement. If an author is excited to tell the story, that comes across in the writing. But in every story there exists an element of truth. Whether it comes from the author’s life, memories, dreams or expriences, the author draws on something familiar and real. Even characters come from the people who have influenced us. That’s really what people mean when they say, “write what you know.” They mean to draw from your own experiences and people and create what people will feel drawn to because it whispers to them from real places.
Q18) As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Teacher, ballet dancer, ballroom dancer, singer, actress, language translator, lawyer.
Q19) Where can we find your books?
Amazon, B&B, Books-a-Million, Ingram – wherever online retailers are. And one is even on iTunes (By Light Betrayed, Poetry of the Vampires).
Q20) Will tell us a bit about yourself?
Sure, here is my bio:
Sherry Rentschler is a multi-award-winning, multi-genre author. Currently, she has authored one photography book, two books of poetry and an dark urban fantasy novella. She has several upcoming releases including a book of diverse and controversial poetry, a workbook for writers who need help building their daily writing routine, and a fictional memoir.
A retired US Air Force non-combat veteran, Sherry Rentschler completed her bachelor and graduate degrees while serving her country. Her background includes bylines in newspapers and online journals, plus previous work as an Assistant Poetry Editor, Amateur Poetry Journal (online), and as a photo journalist. Rentschler has been a featured author in Southern Writers’ Magazine and Focus on Women Magazine, as well as a featured guest speaker on numerous radio shows. Also, Rentschler is the Charlotte, NC Regional Municipal Liaison for National Novel Writing Month, promoting writing and literacy for all ages.
Sherry’s guilty pleasures include indulging in fine wine, creamy cheese, dark chocolate and old b&w movies. She’s a recognized vampire scholar and a dragon collector. She and her husband are living in Mint Hill, NC and are waiting the return of the dragons.
Additional information, copies of books, and other media packets available on request by email or phone.
Find Sherry’s Books:
Books may be ordered from sherry’s website: www.sherryrentschler.com
Or from Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/sherryrentschler
Barnes and Noble: www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Sherry+Rentschler
I’ll be running a couple giveaways in October, readers should stay tuned to my social media for updates!
THE BOOK OF NOW ( 2016)
In her third volume of poetry, award-winning author Sherry Rentschler rips topics from current events: Terrorism, Politics, Domestic Abuse of women and children, Nature (both human and Mother). The subjects and events exposed from real lives are the focus of this honest, contemporary book of verses. Neither timid or sweet, these poems examine events as they have unfolded, and define them with bluntness, compassion, and her unique talent to expose and explain the unimaginable. This is nonfiction. The events are real, sometimes haunting and often controversial. Topics traverse bigotry, racism, sexism, misogyny, xenophobia and domestic violence, as well as ecological destruction, international slavery, and immigration. Rentschler suggests that with understanding there is a key to unlocking a better future. Readers will discover this key as they pass through the volume designed to replicate a terrible grimoire, a book succinctly defining the four elements of chaos destroying our world. A better future awaits and needs your help. Find the key. Enter Now.
I WISH YOU JOY (Blurb Books, 2008)
Hardover, softcover, and iTunes ebook
Photography taken over 30 years from around the world, with an uplifting message
Available online through Amazon and Blurb.com
PAPER BONES (AuthorHouse, 2013)
Hardcover, softcover and ebook
Contemporary poetry reflecting current issues including domestic violence, teenage prostitution and suicide, HIV, yellow journalism as well as housework, love and childhood.
Available online: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, and others
BY LIGHT BETRAYED, Poetry of the Vampires (Bookstand Publishing, 2014)
Hardcover, softcover and ebook
Dark, compelling poetry from the mind of seductive vampire. His words will open a new vista into the vampire’s soul
Available online with Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million and iTunes
MIDNIGHT ASSASSIN: A Tale of Lust and Revenge (CreateSpace, 2015)
Softcover and ebook
An urban fantasy novella with a noir flavor and a seductive “bite.” A fast-moving tale of murder and revenge including a dangerous redheaded vampire.
Available online through Amazon and Kindle ebooks
2013 AuthordB Cover Contest Gold Medal
2014 Readers Favorite International Book Awards Honorable Mention
2014 Readers Favorite 5 Star Review
2014 National Indie Excellence Awards Finalist (Poetry)
2014 Global Ebook Awards Gold Medalist (Poetry)
By Light Betrayed: Poetry of the Vampires
2015 National Indie Excellence Awards Finalist (Poetry)
2015 Global Ebook Awards Gold Medal (Best Overall Ebook Cover)
2015 Global Ebook Awards Silver Medal (Best Ebook Photography – no gold given)
2015 Global Ebook Awards Silver Medal (Poetry – no gold given)
2015 Readers Favorite 5 Star Review
Midnight Assassin – A Tale of Lust and Revenge (as of April 2016)
2016 Readers Favorite 5 Star Review
Connect with Sherry: