Tuesday, May 19, 2020
How Writing is like Singing: Author Interview with Sheri Richey
My first question is on your Eden Hall series. What made you decide to release all 5 of the books on the same day in 2010?
The Eden Hall Series was not originally written for publication. I wrote the series in 2008 as a gift to my mother who was a romance reader. Later I uploaded them to CreateSpace with print on demand as my only goal. They were then published to Amazon and have been there ever since.
How long did it take you to write that series?
The series took me eight months to write and I had two different editors that worked with me. I received differing advice from them, but ultimately I took the advice of one of them and did a rewrite to reduce the steam from many of the scenes.
Ten years ago, there was a spirited divide in the romance genre where erotica was growing and clean romance was just budding. Although the series was written in the middle of that road, the editors were pulling me in opposite directions. I did tone it down and deleted some scenes, but I feel the series is still firmly in the middle of that road. Several years following that series, I did write a clean romance called Willow Wood.
After all those books, what made you switch to writing cozy mysteries?
Mysteries are my preferred reading genre, so I enjoy writing them. The hardest part for me is finding the time. It is an endurance test sometimes. I work all day at a demanding job and then try to write in my free time. As I have many hobbies, there is competition for that free time!
Why did you choose the indie route to publish your books?
I have never considered traditional publishing and have never submitted an agent letter or manuscript to anyone. I have heard too many horror stories from other authors who struggle to get the rights returned to them from publishing contracts they signed, and I don't want anyone else to control my releases. I prefer to work at my own pace and release when I'm ready. I track my own expenses and income that way. I may also have control issues. :-)
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
The outlining. I want very much to prepare a detailed outline before I write a mystery. I try it each time and I always begin writing before it's complete. I have yet to be successful with it. Logically, especially for mysteries, I think it is the correct way to embark, yet my urgency to begin always usurps that plan. I have a skeletal idea before I begin, but it mostly evolves as I write.
What does your editor remind you to do most often?
To quit using "that" so much and add more commas. I write a lot of dialog in my cozies and I write like I speak. Apparently, I say "that" too much.
What’s the best encouragement you’ve had in your writing?
My only real encouragement comes from total strangers that email me or leave reviews saying they enjoyed my books. I wish more people felt comfortable doing that. It's really a lonely profession and reviews are the only feedback we get.
We have all experienced rejection. How have you learned to write past it?
It's disappointing to get a negative review and I don't think reviewers realize how much that hurts someone who has invested a lot of time to create a story for them. I know what I write is not going to please everyone, so I try to overlook those. If there comes a time when the negative reviews outweigh the positive, I will know it is time to quit publishing and keep my stories to myself.
What has surprised or frustrated you the most in writing/publishing?
I think I'm always surprised when someone buys my books. Having originally published the Eden Hall Series without any expectation that it would sell, I have been surprised and delighted to see it sell in the US and abroad. I'm also delighted with the cozy mystery readers. They are a warm and friendly group. I'm so glad to be a part of it.
The most frustrating part is marketing. I have no experience in that area and struggle to participate fully with it, because my free time is limited.
What do you know now about writing you wished you had known sooner?
I wish I had known about Scrivener when I first began writing. It is an essential tool, especially for series writing, because I can track all the different people, streets, and businesses from one book to another.
Readerlinks is also a fabulous tool once you begin marketing. I wouldn't want to be without either of them!
What is the best writing advice you’ve received or could give?
Write what you enjoy and put your best face on it! Although I know I can write in other genres, I am happier when I write what I enjoy reading. In addition, I've learned that a good cover is a powerful thing. A number of people will only give your book a try if they are attracted to the cover.
Are there any other points about writing you would like to add?
Writing is like singing. Everyone can do it. Some people just do it better than others. If it makes you happy, you should do it!
What is the next book coming out?
Book 6 of the Spicetown Mystery Series was released in April, Chicory is Trickery.
Can you give me a short synopsis?
It’s springtime in Spicetown and Mayor Cora Mae Bingham discovers there may be trouble blooming along with the rhododendrons!
With construction in full throttle in the new subdivisions and the income tax filing deadline looming over her head, Mayor Cora Mae Bingham is revamping the Annual Easter Eggs-Travaganza and trying to figure out who is in the Easter bunny suit this year, when a dead body has to be added to her To-Do list.
Are any other books in production?
I am beginning a sequel to Willow Wood, a small-town sweet romance. It is called Knight Events and will be published as a part of a Christmas Anthology in November 2020. In the spring of 2021, it will be released as a standalone book.
In addition, I have an appointment with my cover artist in June for the next Spicetown Mystery (Book 7), so I plan to release another Spicetown adventure later this summer.
I also have three other mystery series planned, two are spin-offs of Spicetown and I would love to get started on all of them now. One will involve Dorothy Parish, the owner of the Caraway Cafe' in Spicetown and the other centers around Peggy Cochran, the owner of the Carom Seed Craft Corner. The third series will be called Green Thumb mysteries and will focus on a gardening protagonist.
I have a couple of middle-grade mysteries in the back of my mind and a book of poetry that needs to be published when I find the time.
In the midst of all these plans, I just learned I am moving again. My day job moves me around every couple of years and the time has come. As you can imagine, moving a household to another state does sometimes cause a delay in plans, so I may not get everything done that I want to do, but I love a challenge!
Wow! For someone who says she doesn’t have time to write, you’ve got it going more than many writers I know. If you’d like to learn more about Sheri’s books, here are ways to do that.
Amazon Author Page: https://readerlinks.com/l/286713
Facebook Romance Author Page: https://readerlinks.com/l/302385
Facebook Mystery Author Page: https://readerlinks.com/l/420192