This week we sit down with author Sherry Rentschler to discuss her work and what motivates her to write.
Please enjoy this edition of A Perfect 10.
If you want to check out past interviews, you can find them in the following links:
A.C. Flory, Steve Boseley, Kayla Matt, Mae Clair, Jill Sammut, Deanna Kahler, Dawn Reno Langley, John Howell, Elaine Cougler, Jan Sikes, Nancy Bell, Nick Davis, Kathleen Lopez, Susan Thatcher, Charles Yallowitz, Armand Rosamilia, Tracey Pagana, Anna Dobritt, Karen Oberlaender, Deby Fredericks, Teri Polen, Darlene Foster, Robert Rayner, C.C. Naughton
Also, if you are an author and you want to be part of this feature, I still have a few slots open for 2017. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
I write every day whether I feel like it or not, always beginning with a few exercises to wake the muse. Some days I can’t get the material out of my head fast enough. Other days I feel as though I’m trying to create the world from scratch. Those hard days I wonder what I’m doing but they pass. In the end, I am better when I write and miserable when I don’t. I’m exhausted only when I don’t.
Do you ever write under a pseudonym? If not have you considered it? Why or why not?
Yes, I have. Currently my name Sherry is a nickname so technically it qualifies as a pseudonym. I’ve also published as a few other names, small works. I think a secondary name works best if you are in a profession where you don’t want your real name to cross with your writing (say a lawyer who writes about serial killers or vampires), or if you write childrens books and perhaps also erotica, you need different names. Otherwise, some do it trying to pick a memorable name. I think if you are Mr. Mxyzptlk that’s original. But the only thing that makes you memorable, no matter the name, is the story. So, write good stories and worry less about the name.
Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not?
My dad used to say that having a big ego wasn’t conceit if you really were as good as you said (or thought) you were. But that most of us were just full of hubris. I think the more successful you are, the more humble you should be. Because fame is fleeting. Let your fans swell with pride. You just keep on doing good work and remember where you came from.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
In a cover for a book. First impressions are critical. Pay for the best and stand out from a crowd.
What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?
On any given day, I may answer this differently. One day success is being a best seller (which I am not). One day it is getting lots of reviews (which I need). One day it might be praise by another author (which makes me geek out). One day it may be winning an award (which I have). But the biggest success to me was realizing my dream of being published. Now I have six books. I don’t have a national best seller or a huge following but I voice is clear and out there. And my books are in the Library of Congress. I am immortal. Can you beat that for success?
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use?
Poetry requires little research. It is the wellspring of the heart and mind and our environment. It simply is. For my fictional memoir, it was spending time going back and examining the popular culture, politics, music, fashion, morals, world events – it was daunting sometimes. It took me years. For my fiction, because the best fiction is rooted in fact (when you write urban fantasy), it is easier to lock in on a time period and then simply recreate the style and idea of the time. A few weeks, or a month or two. Historical fiction is probably the most daunting and I am avoiding it because I fear I would get lost in the research and you’d have to send a posse out for me!
How do you select the names of your characters? Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?
Characters usually find me. When I have to create a new one, I sometimes troll baby names or famous persons in ancient history. I try very hard to avoid cliché names. For example, when introducing a new, male vampire I run away from names like Vlad, Stephen, Dimitri, Nicholas, Xavier, Marius, Ambrose, Greggario, because they’ve been overdone and make my stories seem trite. I try to pick a name that reflects heritage. Sometimes when developing traits, a name will jump out to me. I try it and it feel comfortable (and my character doesn’t change it midway through the story) then it’s golden. I have regretted names in some short stories. Those tales await the rewrite!
What is the hardest type of scene to write?
Lovemaking or dying. Both can get you into trouble with overworked actions or stereotypical descriptions. I read a vampire book where every time the woman had sex with her vampire lover (about every 30 pages in a 400-page book), “his velvet touch and black eyes seduced her.” Ugh. No matter the scene always go for the unexpected. Be real, even in fiction, be genuine. Readers will respond to you when you give them honesty and originality. And use a variety in your language. Language is a beautiful thing that waits the deft hand of the writer to paint a picture. Diversify the colors and let language do the work it was intended to do.
If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?
John Wayne. When I was young, he was my idol because I knew he was a patriot. His movies embodied the standards I believed in. I know he was a gun-toting, chain smoking fella with narrow views but he still holds sway in my memories.
Katharine Hepburn. A ground breaker for working women. She was ahead of her time and I would love to talk to her about the world today and get her advice.
Abraham Lincoln. to ask him how he overcame one of the harshest prejudices this country ever faced and how he dealt with a divergent country.
Maya Angelou. a poet, an educator, and civil rights activist. She wrote with logic and humor and her insights into people are invaluable. I would love to sit down and listen to her philosophy about women today and how to capture it in my writing.
What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books?
Live, in person sales. Online publicity is good but for me, so far, I sell more in person than on any other platform. It is difficult to pitch online when you are not a bestseller. I wish more successful authors would mentor and put forth others. I try to do that for as many as I can but this isn’t a shared philosophy (especially between traditionally published vs Indie published). But I recommend every writer use every medium available, and concentrate on three to five online areas where you have the most visibility. Remember that social media is about being social first, and pushy about you last. Authors tend to forget that.
My newest release is a fictional memoir, Breaking the Glass Slipper. The true story of how I broke down my fairy-tale ideas about sex and love, went a little crazy, and finally discovered that happily ever after really can happen to you once you find yourself. The story is haunting, funny, insightful, and honest plus appeals to baby boomers or today’s young women.
And check out the new Gothic urban fantasy novella with the same vampire from my first novella, Midnight Assassin – A Tale of Lust and Revenge. The new book, released in May 2017, is a prequel to a vampire series (anticipated to begin Nov 2017).
You can find information about all my books on my website:
While there, you can read my blog, sign up for my newletter, click links to purchase books, request a signed, print copy, find out where I’ll be signing, or send me a personal message.
Or purchase my books on Amazon:
Barnes and Noble (includes Nook for Paper Bones and By Light Betrayed)
Connect with Sherry: