Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance. This week, I am so happy to introduce to you Sheri Fredricks. Sheri writes Modern Mythic Romance – and the plot of her current release sounds absolutely intriguing. She is a former engineering secretary who “wanted to move away from inflexible right angles and create an unboxed world with no boundaries.” Please enjoy her interview as much as I did!
Hallee, thank you so much for having me here today! I have a fabulous prize for one lucky commenter at each of my tour stops, so don’t forget to leave your email address! Among other goodies, my swag pack includes bookmarks and pens, and your name will go into a drawing for the grand prize of a $20 Amazon gift card at the end of my book tour.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in a small town on the beautiful central coast of California—about twenty minutes from the beach and two hours from the slopes. After I married, we moved 15 miles north to an even smaller town, population 1,259.
About ten years ago, I left the world of working parents to join the ranks of the SAHM. A few years went by before I felt the call to do something just for myself. Now I write full-time, work in my husband’s home office part-time, and cater to the kids, livestock, and ranch around the clock.
Tell us about your current release.
Remedy Maker is about Rhycious, an ex-military centaur medic whose battle scars are hidden beneath the surface. Moments of high stress trigger hallucinating flashbacks, a condition he continually fights to overcome. When he meets Patience, a beautiful wood nymph and the race of the late enemy of his people, he learns about unconditional love…and the healing power of a single touch.
Together they must battle human hunters who wish to enslave the mythological beings, rebels taking over the centaur kingdom, and the affection they have for each other in a mythic world filled with prejudice.
Here’s the blurb:
Man by day, Centaur by night, Rhycious is a remedy maker who needs his own healing.
He’s the royal physician, famous for his cures. War and posttraumatic stress disorder has broken his spirit, preventing him from finding true happiness. Then a direct order from the queen to investigate an uprising forces him out of his secluded cabin at the edge of the forest.
Patience is an optimistic, good-natured Wood Nymph who works as a mediator to ensure harmony within the Nymph sector.
Environmental pollution in the aquifer stream that feeds the taproot tree of her heart is slowly killing her. Resigned to the fact she will not live long, she sets out to discover the mysterious disappearance of her sister. Experience has taught her to deny herself the love of a male, but the gruff Centaur is different. He doesn’t push his expectations on her, only his healing nature.
When Rhycious loses his grip on reality, he believes his inability to control his disorder will drive Patience away. Nevertheless, desire flares, and Patience draws him close. Kidnapping and betrayal turn their mythic joint venture into a deadly bout.
Will their love endure when survival hinges on trusting each other?
What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write?
My husband inspired me to pick up the pen. If he hadn’t suggested I try my hand at writing, I’d most likely be a frustrated farmer eeking out a garden in my border collie filled backyard.
I’ve always been a book reader — a habit inherited from my father. In high school, I learned people would pay me to complete their English writing assignments. (Naughty, I know.) That also carried into college when various members of the football team would ask for “help” with their Creative Writing assignments. Hey! It helped pay the bills. Wish I had kept some of those stories.
Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write?
I like to write an outline first. I’m not so detailed that I create bullet points for every chapter, but I write something like a synopsis so I have a map to follow. Though I know where to go next in the story, I allow myself creative freedom in how to get there.
Character charts are a necessity for me so I’ll have a clear understanding and feel for who my hero and heroine are. I need to be inside their head as I write in their Point Of View and look through their eyes. My charts are very detailed and most information isn’t used. Minor characters also get a chart, but are in less detail.
Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book?
I didn’t with the first two unpublished books I wrote. When I started Remedy Maker, I set a word count goal and was very happy when I achieved it. Well, actually, I went over—waaay over—and cut 20,000 words to stay within my goal range.
Some of the books I’ll be writing will have preset word count. I finished one of those books already and enjoyed the challenge of coloring within the lines very much.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Find a critique group, join, and interact. Not only will you have an extra set of eyes to edit your work for submission, but you’ll gain valuable friendships with other writers who’ll share their tips and knowledge with you.
Whether face to face or online, I understand a crit group isn’t for everyone. But I would encourage you to give it a try. Your friends, spouse, or family members won’t tell you where your writing is weak or if there are plot holes in your story. Either they’ll be too kind, or they just won’t know to look for those type of things.
Your crit partners are your best allies between you and a possible publishing contract.
What is your preferred method of writing? (computer, pen & paper, etc.)
After awhile, my handwriting tends to slide toward a sloppy mess, and it can never keep up with the speed of my thought process. I type 90 wpm so every thought has screen time prior to edits. Plus it’s so much easier for me to plug-in a word or description here and there, rather than write it out longhand in a side margin, circled with an arrow.
Who were some of your favorite authors as a child? (Book series, maybe?)
I was wildly in love with the Black Stallion series by Walter Farley.
Our library’s Bookmobile would park near my house and every week I’d rush out to get the next book. When I read to the end of the series, I was crushed there wasn’t more written.
I’m always intrigued by how writers get started…did you always have these books inside you and knew that you wanted to write them or did the idea just pop into your head one day and you decided to put pen to paper?
Wish I could say a moment of utter brilliance came upon me, and without further adieu, I had my rough draft. Not quite the way it happened.
I signed up for an online writing class and the assignment was to put our character in a pitch-dark room and write from his/her point of view. Participants in the class turned in the same old rhetoric: people who were blindfolded, struck with blindness, in a cave, etc. I wanted something different and somehow a centaur came to me.
And then I asked myself the all important question – what if…?
What do you do when you hit a roadblock and have NO idea what to write?
With an outline in place prior to writing, I don’t normally have this problem. If I’m having trouble moving a scene along, I’ll work more on the outline – like a sketch pad – and it always comes to me.
One scene I spent a great deal of time on was the ceremony involving Rhycious, Patience, and a transfer of spiritual residence. Without giving away spoilers, I’ll just say I cataloged a list of twenty items that could happen in this scene. Everything from laugh out loud bizarre, to stuff too dark to write. Visually seeing the list helped me work through the problem, and I’ll use that system again should I get stuck.
What is one thing that you “never saw yourself doing” and either do it now or have done?
I’m not naturally an extroverted person. I’ve always been private and very happy to sit in a corner and observe the world around me. Perhaps that’s a reason I was drawn to writing—it’s a solitary endeavor, and I’m all right with that.
Enter marketing. I took a few classes, read up on it, and watched what worked for others. There was no way around it — I’d have to interact with others to make this career work. Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and a website account later, I’ve faced my fear. While I’ll never embrace it wholeheartedly, I am more comfortable in the promotional sphere.
Do you remember where you were or what you were doing when you started this story?
I sure do! It was right after I bought my laptop and received encouraging feedback from the online class I took. The dining room table was my work area as a change of pace from the computer hutch. Originally, I had no intention of writing a mythic romance. But once the idea hit, it really embedded itself in my mind.
I let the dinner dishes sit in the sink while I started outlining the beginning of the book. Excitement never felt so good.
Thank you so much for having me here today. You asked many great questions that really made me stop and think. I want to remind everyone to leave their email address in the comments for a chance to win the swag package prize!
He cleared his throat. “Hey, whatever you’re cooking in there smells great.”
Rhy glanced at his watch, praying for a daybreak hours away. The twinge south of his belly had nothing to do with food this time.
“Hope you’ll like it,” she said. “I’m throwing stuff together in a stir-fry.”
He propped his front hooves on the top stair and peered in at Patience. She’d pinned her long hair up in a messy bun, chopsticks sticking out at odd angles. Loose tendrils hung on either side of her beautiful face, the curls bouncing while she worked. Off to the side, his screwdriver she used in her hair lay on the counter.
The long, elegant slope of her neck bent as she performed her task. Like a stark tattoo, the bark imprint stood out and he waited for the familiar burn of disgust to roil through him. When he’d last studied her mark with Samuel at his side, hateful memories spewed forth and slugged him in the gut.
Staring at her markings now, it wasn’t revulsion that rose to the surface. Neither were there reminders of his traumatic past. What he felt now was deeper, stronger. All consuming.
Patience piled a dinner plate high with food and grabbed a fork. “Think Alek would like a beer?”
Famine of a different sort curled his stomach, cramping his abs. He had waited years and years for a mate to come into his life. Feared it wouldn’t happen—sick with thinking of what he’d do when she finally did.
And in those centuries of solitude, he’d never guessed she would come in the form of a dream-quality pixie.
His enemy for two hundred years.
The fact staggered him. Shook him to the core.
Find Sheri Online:
I’m always fascinated by other writers’ processes. I too have to do the character interview sheets and a few other basic things. But I story board all the way through my story. Keeps me organized.
Your story sounds interesting and fresh. And your cover is great! I know you’re going to do well.
Thank you, Teresa. I tried using index cards to make a story board once…Ugh. And that’s all I’ll say. Now I plan the book out by writing the storyline and that seems to work best for me. Maybe I need storyboard lessons. 🙂
Another fantastic interview, Sheri!
Hi Heather!! Thanks, girlfriend 🙂
Thank you for the very lovely and very interesting interview some really great questions ! I love the title and the cover looks great ! Thank you for the lovely give away !
desere_steenberg (at) yahoo (dot) com
Thank you for all your compliments! And thank you for coming by today.
What a fascinating interview! I’m like Teresa. I love to hear everybody’s processes but can’t imagine doing them myself. I usually have an idea in my head where I want to go and I just write. For the most part it works. 😉
Oh, LOVED the Walter Farley series when I was a kid. Read the Black Stallion and the Girl too many times to remember, and I wanted to BE that girl. Thanks for the flashback!
Your book sounds fantastic!
jm madden @ gmail .com
JM – I’ve tried writing from the seat of my pants before and…well…it didn’t turn out so good. LOL I wrote myself into a corner I couldn’t get out of. *le sigh* Good thing it happened in the third chapter and not half way through. I used to dream of riding the black stallion too! Galloping along the beach with a mane whipping in my face. My dream partly came true when I married my cowboy husband. I ride a gelding and love to gallop on the beach.
Thanks for coming by!
I didn’t see the interview, but I know small towns!
Yes you do!! Thanks for stopping in.
Fantastic interview. And join a critique group is the best advice for beginning authors – heck even for experienced ones!
I know the crit group did more than teach me how to become a better writer. The group introduced me to positive, motivated writers–some who are my closest friends now.
Thanks for your comment!
Who are you kidding, you bullet point everything! LOL Just kidding hon. Great interview, I’m so thrilled for your success!
Sydney! Hellloooo!! Okay, so I did bullet point one itsy bitsy part. But that’s it, I swear! LOL Thank you 🙂
I’m so glad you found your inspiration Sheri. Lovely interview!
Every time ice hits the glass, I find my inspiration. LOL! Thank you so much for all your support. It means the world to me.
Another awesome interview.
I loved The Black Stallion series–read them over and over in school. But my all time fav book from Walter Farley is Little Black, a Pony. I wish I had that book now.
You have a real Little Black in your life. One the whinnies and bucks, poops and nickers. But I know what you mean, the books we fell in love with as kids carry forward with us as adults. The memories never go away. Big hugs to you, Brenda. You’ve been a huge help to my and my writing.
Thank you SO MUCH for having me on your beautiful site. Best wishes on your writing career, and keep on smiling!
I was so happy to have you, Sheri! Thank you so much for joining me. God bless you and your writing career.