Sherry Derr-Wille [derrwille]
What is your profession? What is your title printed on your business card?
Writer - Author
What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
I first read Little Golden Books and then spread out. I've been creating stories all my life and started putting them on paper in 1961, My English teacher, Mr. Earl Brockman.
What is your favorite genre? Can you provide a link to a site where we can read some of your work or learn something about it?
Whatever genre I'm working on right now. Especially, historical, time travel and mature heroines. www.derr-wille.com
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
My creative process is plopping my butt in the chair and starting to type. After that the characters take over. It all depends on which character is yelling the loudest as to which book I decide to work on any particular day. I do try to write 1,000 words a day.
What type of reading inspires you to write?
Anything light. Something where I can get lost in the characters and put myself in the story immediately. That's what I want my work to do for my readers.
What do you think are the basic ingredients of a story?
Plot and interesting characters the readers can relate to. Being a baby boomer, I do enjoy writing stories showing that just because we have a little gray in our hair, we aren't completely over-the-hill.
What voice do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
I have done first person but much prefer third person.
What well known writers do you admire most?
James Mitchner, Cassie Edwards, Sandra Hill, Madeline Baker
What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?
They have to be real. In other words, they need to have all the bumps and warts that we all have in our personalities. I creat mine by becoming the character. I put myself into the situation and ask what would I do or say at this time. It works for me. The comment I get most often is that reading my books is like hearing from an old friend and catching up on what is going on in their lives.
Are you equally good at telling stories orally?
I like to think I am. I do well when asked to speak and usually don't need notes. I can weave a story for whatever situation I find myself in. In other words, just try to shut me up once I start talking.
Deep down inside, who do you write for?
If the truth be known, I write for myself. I consider myself lucky to be doing what I wanted to do when I was fifteen. I may not be getting rich but I'm having a wonderful time and isn't that what matters the most in life?
Is writing a form of personal therapy? Are internal conflicts a creative force?
Most definitely. I can look back on my books and see that many of them are healing books. TRANSPLANTED LOVE was my healing book after going through my husband's kidney transplant in 1991, and HER TENANT after my mother's death in 2001. Not looking forward to 2011, since tramatic things seem to happen in my life every ten years.
As for internal conflicts being a creative force, I would have to say yes. I can see that in much of my work. Looking back I can tell you what was going on in my life at the time I wrote each book.
Does reader feed-back help you?
Always. When I seel a book at a signing, I always ask for feedback. I don't always like what the people have to say, but I do love hearing from each and every person who reads my books. At my last class reunion I wrote, read my books - become a fan. I find that usually when someone reads one of the books, they come back for more and that's the best compliment I can receive.
Do you participate in competitions? Have you received any awards?
I have entered the EPPIES for the past 5 years. During that time I finaled with SUMMER'S CHILD and HATTIE'S PREACHER and won for OUTLAW'S DAUGHTER and TALES OF THE TREASURE TROVE.
Do you share rough drafts of your writings with someone whose opinion you trust?
I have a pre-editor. She reads everything I write and does an edit of it before it is submitted to a publisher. To be honest, I am a first draft writer. Other than minor problems, there is rarely little that I have to change when I receive her edits.
Do you believe you have already found "your voice" or is that something one is always searching for?
Oh yes, I have found my voice. I don't think I could have 43 books in print with another 9 scheduled for 2009 if I hadn't.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
As I said earlier, I try to write at least 1,000 words a day. In that way I can write at least 3-4 books a year. If the characters are really chatty on any given day, I can do as much as 5,000 words. Just recently I did a challenge where I had to write 50,000 words in a month and exceeded that amount, finishing a manuscript that is being considered by Red Rose Press.
What do you surround yourself with in your work area in order to help your concentrate?
I'm a product of the 60's and have a television going whenever I'm on the computer. The noise is a good distraction and helps me to concentrate on what I'm writing. If it was quiet, I probably couldn't write a word.
Do you write on a computer? Do you print frequently? Do you correct on paper? What is your process?
I do write on a computer. The printing I do is for my pre-editor and yes she does correct it on paper. I then go through and make the corrections before sending it out. Once it comes back with edits from the publisher, I do those on the computer.
What sites do you frequent on-line to share experiences or information?
I belong to several groups, including those sponsored by my various publishers, WHISKEY CREEK PRESS, WINGS, AWE-STRUCK BOOKS, RED ROSE, CLASS ACT BOOKS, MOJO CASTLE and LOOSE ID. I am also on several loops for authors.
What has been your experience with publishers?
I have had very good experiences with my publishers. I have had five that I ended up pulling my work from. Two because of internal problems between myself and the company and three because my work wasn't generating any revenue. With the exception of one book, which is scheduled for publication in June, all of the books I have pulled have been reissured.
What are you working on now?
At present I have 7 books in the works, but the one that is yelling the loudest is a contemporary romance called RED HAWK. It is an inter-racial book with a Native American heroine and a white hero.
What do you recommend I do with all those things I wrote years ago but have never been able to bring myself to show anyone?
Pull them out, dust them off and find an objective reader. Friends are great but they aren't always the best people to critique your work. They feel they have to tell you something is good even if there is room for imporvement. Someone who doesn't know you is the best judge of your work. Once you have your work to the point of getting ready to go out into the world, research the publishers and find out which one is best for you. Don't get hung up on New York. If you write outside the box, think about e-pubs. They are the way of the future and a great experience for the first-time writer. also don't get disappointed if the editor says they can't accept your work at this time. It doesn't mean it's not good. If they give you sugestions about how to improve it, take them to heart. Even in the 3-pub world, only 10-15% of submitted manuscripts make it into print.
Janesville - USA