Interview With An Unpublished Author - Sheri Fuller
Welcome to my first in a series of interviews with writers on the journey to becoming published authors. Their stories are as unique as the individual and their experiences. I'm sure we can all relate to their hopes & struggles in pursuit of their dreams.
First up is Sheri Fuller, aka Stranded in Seattle to her Twitter friends. Let's see where Sheri is in the process what we can learn about this up and coming author.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Sheri Fuller and I wear many masks. I’m a writer and artist, world traveler and anthropologist. I also knit really cute hats (hidden talent #482). At point of writing this bio, I am forty-five years young and excel at procrastination. I’ve yet to publish a novel, but this won’t always be a fact about myself as I’m remedying this oversight.
2. When did you decide to become a writer?
When I began writing, it had been through a love of poetry which was a facet of the written word not well explored by me, though throughout my life I’d always been an avid reader of fiction, non-fiction, and cultural lore. I’d also dabbled in penning my own stories, but these were inconsequential and most remain unfinished. Thus, poetry became my primary focus and love.
I released a supplemental poetry magazine entitled The Hating Game back in 1997 which swelled to an international subscription of eleven hundred, and networked with more writers than I might count; some famous, many not. I was inducted into a creative collective called The Crowpunks that same year, and through this massive group of established writers, artists and musicians I had found my platform and the height of my poetry endeavors. I have published several of my poems though I’d never sought a traditional publication of a collection of my poems or anything of the likes. Then, one day, I ceased writing poetry altogether.
I turned to text-based role play online to continue exercising my writing abilities and became skilled at impromptu writing in a short story form. This is where I hid for many years, uncertain of how to proceed yet knowing I must continue to write or I would become positively mad.
It was through the support and goading by my current partner I began to write proper stories. I lacked the discipline and skill to pull these stories together, however. I’d spent years scribbling the same two stories over and over, unable to get them how I wanted them to be. The frustration was paramount and hindered any true progress. Thus, I read innumerable how-to books, internet resources, and turned to author friends to learn the process of writing stories better.
That leads us to my current state where I was recently propositioned to expand a short story of mine into a novella by a publisher.
3. Are you using a pen name and why?
Not at all, I find no reason to use a pen name. While my writing interests are diverse, I don’t feel the need to section off genres under different names nor desire the mayhem of keeping track of it all. I’ve considered using only my first two initials and surname versus my first and last name, but this is undecided and a minor point.
4. What should people know about you?
Above all, I am well known for relying on description to convey whatever it is I try to convey when writing. This infects all forms of writing I have entertained to date. When reading, if it is bereft of detail, I find it to be very lazy writing and uninteresting; I cannot immerse myself in the story. Because of this, I attempt to provide detail to weave my tales without going overboard and polluting my writing with too much backstory or character thoughts.
5. What inspired you to begin your current project?
My young adult soft science fiction story the Lockiron began as a cheeky adventure centered on one of my favorite roleplay characters I’d created. While it was fun to write, it was not until recently that I realized I had to remove that character and roughly 75% of the story to make it work. It was disheartening, but everything fell into place once I made these decisions so it was very much worth it. This is where I would like my focus to be currently, however as I referenced above, I have been propositioned to expand a short story I recently wrote called Blackbird and so my efforts are channeled there. This, too, is based on yet another roleplay character of mine and is a supernatural mystery with an elderly cast.
6. How’s the process going?
The Lockiron is fairly pinned down, my cast and the fictitious world is all fleshed out, the list of scenes nearly complete. I’d wanted it to be a single, stand-alone novel, but it might need to be broken into two separate books due to the volume of content spread out over six full acts – I am trying to resist this.
As for Blackbird, I have not begun the expansion/rewrite yet, though I managed to finish most of the scenes list. I still have to make a few imperative decisions before writing the novella draft.
7. Do you have an estimated date of completion?
Blackbird will be done in a few months hopefully, The Lockiron has no current ETA.
8, Do you plan to self-publish or query for traditional publishing and why?
Ideally, I believe most writers would like to have their efforts acknowledged by outside forces and to be picked up by a publisher or agent for traditional publishing. Realistically, I’ve no want to ping 500+ publishers or agents to see if just one has faith in my abilities while being rejected by the other 499. I find such masochism creates an attitude of defeat and often makes a writer question their writing ability or worth. Therefore, I’ve decided to self-publish The Lockiron. The offer for Blackbird was unforeseen, I had not solicited my work to them for review; they scooped me up and made the offer.
9. What is your goal as a writer?
Beyond becoming famous and wealthy (kidding), I would just like for others to find enjoyment in my storytelling in as many stories as I might complete for public consumption. Who knows, maybe some mythical agent or publisher will approach me and try to take me on. That’s the way it should be, right?
10. What is your goal for this book?
To begin and finish it. (Laughing)
All I can hope for is that someone might enjoy my writing, anything more is just icing.
11. Any advice for your fellow writers trying to survive their first book?
So often I am told to just keep writing and one day it will happen. There is truth to this, but I don’t really relate to that sentiment because to simply write does not mean you are writing to your best potential.
I would suggest: read. Read books which inspire your imagination, books which are well written and learn what not to do with your own writing. Read reference books and writing aids, learn what not to do. Once you know what you shouldn’t do, that leaves you with a wide range of what you can do, then make the most of it.
Also, consider not being a pantser like I once was, no one wants to read meandering drivel. The tools are out there, use them.
Finally, use an editor. Your readers will spot the difference between a diamond in the rough and a diamond covered in crap.
I'd like to thank Sheri for being my guest interview this week. You can follow Sheri on: