I’m very excited to introduce you to my author-friend, Sheri Swift. I met Sheri about three years ago in Galax, VA at the Writers on Grayson event hosted by Chapters Bookstore, and I look forward to seeing her every year. I know you’re anxious to get to know her, so let’s get started.
Hi Sheri. Can you share a little bit about what you’re working on now or what’s coming next?
I’m currently writing my third in the series ~ Legend of the Mer. I’m hoping to have it published sometime this summer. My next will be the fourth; each book is based on the Prentis children which there are four of them.
When you’re writing, who’s in control, you or the characters?
Now that is a question; sometimes I am and sometimes the character drives the story in a new direction.
Who are your favorite authors, the ones you read when you should be doing something else? Why do they appeal to you?
My guilty pleasures are J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. They appeal to me because not only are they fantasy writers, but they’re such deep Christian scholars. I not only am transported in a completely different realm, but no matter how bad the situation, good wins in the end. I finished reading J. R. R. Tolkien’s Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogy by the age of 9.
How long have you been writing?
I took my first Creative Writing class in the 7th grade and continued on each year until I graduated from high school. Legend of the Mer was actually a class project during my junior year.
I have come to learn that Bless their heart, does not always mean a blessing. Lol! My family moved to Virginia from California in 1995 and quickly fell in love with the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the kindness of her people. Also, three of my daughters married locals and have blessed me with Southern grandchildren.
How do you classify yourself as a writer? Fiction or non-fiction? Specific genre such as mystery, short story, paranormal or more general such as women’s fiction, Appalachian, etc?
I consider myself to be an Inspirational writer and write within the YA Fantasy genre. My Legend of the Mer series is a contemporary, while my Hart of Telendaria has some historical aspects. I also enjoying writing poetry when I can and in fact all of my books have at least two poems within the pages.
Encourage ~ within each of my stories I try and encourage others and bring about a positive aspect through the readers experience; whether it be humor, overcoming adversity, or simply the love and faith of a character/family.
Any teachers who influenced you…encouraged you or discouraged?
All of my English/Creative Writing teachers encouraged me, but it was a substitute in my Poetry class by the name of Mr. Detar who told me I could make a living writing poems. I was too shy back then to try, but it gave me confidence later in life.
Did the classics have any effect on you in your formative years? (Shakespeare? Alice in Wonderland? Gulliver’s Travels?)
Because of reading J. R. R. Tolkien, it made it easier to read Shakespeare even in junior high and I loved Romeo and Juliet. Because of having a love for fantasy of course Alice in Wonderland, Gulliver’s Travels, The Borrowers, The Borrowers afield, etc. helped to shape me for fantasy writing.
How do your characters “come” to you? Are they based loosely or closely on people you know?
Sometimes they come in dreams, sometimes they just come as I’m writing. All of my family members and also me in some way has shaped my main characters.
The first thing I do is research, research, research so I will have some aspect of knowing what I’m writing about; especially with my Merstories. I like to write out my table of contents first. I may not have all of my chapters filled in, but it gives me a guide to know where I’m headed and of course later, some of my chapter headings may change.
Why do you write?
Although I put my writing aside while raising my four daughters as a stay-at-home mom. I was able to dabble here and there, but always knew I would pick it up one day. After my baby entered college I began to write again, but it wasn’t until I was diagnosed with uterine cancer that I began to think of publishing my work. If I were to die, which we all do one day, I wanted to leave behind something for my grandchildren to know me and to know my heart. I’m currently cancer-free, but continue to write to encourage others. 😉
Thanks for joining us, Sheri. Blessings on your future writing endeavors! For more information, please visit: http://sherilswift.blogspot.com