#IndyAuthorTalk with Sheri-Lynn Marean!

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I don’t think of myself as romantic, and never thought I was very imaginative, but now I write romance and have had people tell me they can’t believe my imagination. What? LOL. My new series, my spinoff of the Dracones is a paranormal/Fantasy, a romance set in another realm, and I am having a blast with it. You don’t know what you can do until you try. I’ve been an Animal artist since I was 12, and have sold my artwork all over the world, thanks to the internet. I still have an Etsy store but don’t do a whole lot with it, and once in a while, a print sells. 😊  My mother used to say, how do you do that? Then she tried drawing and painting, and what do you know, she drew and painted some amazing stuff.

Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something! Just go do it!

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After a thousand years, immortal shifter Saberthorn despaired of ever finding the one person to make his dragon soul sing, until he locks gazes with Tirah. His mortal enemy.

When the Ilyium druids lure Saber’s niece into a magical witch circle and murder her, then send his brother to a hell realm, Saber vows vengeance. Within days, he’s tracked and disposed of all but the last witch responsible. Ten years later, and on the verge of losing his humanity, Saber has finally found her. Only there’s a problem—she makes him feel alive and he can’t stand the thought of ending her life.

Born of mixed blood and hated for her difference, Tirah suffers the abuse of her brother, superior, and fellow trainees in silence. Determined to reach the top of the soldier ranks and hopefully find some peace, Tirah’s elated when she’s suddenly promoted. But her happiness is soured when she’d sent on her first mission and catches sight of the enemy, one of which sets her heart racing.

Then her superior commands Tirah to do something thats despicable, and clearly wrong. Now she has a choice to make. Obey her superior’s orders, or forfeit her life.

For Fans of Sherrilyn Kenyon, Nalini Singh and Christine Feehan, Saberthorn is the first in the Dragonkind ~ 52 Realms series, and brimming with shifters, witches, and other magical beings.

 

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Where are you from? Does the area you live in influence you writing?

I’ve lived in a lot of places, mainly Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Alabama, Texas and now in British Columbia, Canada, right near the Idaho border. I would have to say Yes, it has, as I set my Dracones Series in Washington State, north of Spokane. We often go shopping down in Sand Point Idaho, Coeur d’ Alene, and Spokane. It is the closest, a large city to us, and while I thought of using Calgary, that wasn’t going to work for what I needed.

Tell us your latest news!

I’m about to re-release Saberthorn. It was previously in the Scorched Boxset, and I have expanded it from 270 pages to over 365 pages! Wasn’t expecting that, but am very happy with how it’s turned out. It releases on Feb 15th.

Plus, the first book in the Dracones has just been made into an Audiobook. I am very excited. The couple I had produce it; Tor Thom and his wife Charley Ongel did a fantastic job.

I’m also working on doing up the series in Clean Versions for readers of any age. (My daughter wanted to read them, but was too young for the steamy versions,) I now have up to bk4 in the Clean Version out.

When and why did you begin writing? What inspired you to write your first book?

I started back in 2008. I have always been an avid reader, reading 5-6 books a week, carrying a book with me everywhere, etc. I’ve also always made up stories in my head after a book, TV show, Movies, etc, what if they did this, or that…So when I read a book that really annoyed me, I decided to write my own.

What book have (s) / author(s) influenced your life and writing?

Sherrilyn Kenyon is my main one, you fall in love with her characters! She is also a master of making you hate a character, then in another book, showing you their side of the story and making you love them. Her stories keep you reading, and I really love the large cast of characters, and seeing past characters in future books as well. JR Ward is my 2nd, she too has character you can’t help but love, and books you read way past time to go to bed. Again, large cast of characters and multiple POV’s, another thing I love.

Seanan McGuire was another, her October Day series, she has such an amazing imagination, that I realized that anything can go. Yes, rocks can talk!

My friend Donya Lynne has also been a positive influence, she helped me out, always willing to answer questions, giving advice, and even helped me find Beta Readers for my first book.

Tell us about your characters and how they came to be? Have they been in your head for a long time?

Yes! I am a huge Supernatural Fan, so of course I love Dean and Sam. My characters started out as them, but morphed into Jaxsaron and Samarias, immortals who once they go through their awakening will be able to shift into dragons. Soon they took on their own personality, though in my head I still hear their voices a lot like Sam and Dean. All my characters play out like an ongoing TV show, it never, and I mean NEVER stops! Often makes it very difficult to sleep!

What motivates you to write?

I have to get it out of my head, lol. Plus, I love creating stories, apparently. Never thought I did, until I started writing.

What is the hardest part of writing?

Focusing, and not answering messages, checking emails, checking the various groups I’m on to see if there are any promos or swaps I can put one of my books in. I try to ignore it all and write in the morning, but find it very hard to do that, I worry that I will forget to go back later and deal with all the marketing stuff.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Tons! I started writing my first book in first person, and when I went back over it and changed it from a Young Adult to Paranormal Romance, I switched it to third. It gives you a whole lot more leeway, and from everything I’ve learned since, it is recommended that first time writers use third person.

My characters were growing and finding mates, and YA wasn’t going to work anymore. It was a hard decision to make to change it to PNR, but I was happy when I did with how it turned out.

I had about 10 beta readers, they all moved my characters, but one. She hated my main male character. Now, I know not everyone will like my story/books, characters. That is okay, I’m fine with that. My books are generally dark and they all deal with some kind of issue. (What is the worst you can do to your character? Figure it out and do. Well, I do! lol) Still, I decided to go back in and see if I could make him, and all my characters even better. I went back and re-read some of SK’s books, studied what it was that made me fall in love with them, then went to work on mind. So far so good!

Before I send to an editor, I edit, then send to beta readers. The first round is to check storyline, then I send to an Editor, then after I accept or decline those changes/suggestions, I usually send back to the editor for another pass. Then, when that is done, I format it into the different files and send either to my ARC readers or the betas who check for any typos we missed.

First, always get a professional Cover, the cover is huge. But, if getting someone to design your cover, make sure you have a contract, with a finish by date and 2 or 3 revisions. Don’t pay it all upfront. I always pay half, then the Then, make sure you get a GOOD Editor!  Ask other authors who they use and then get a sample edit, make sure you can work with that Editor, and that you understand why they recommend certain changes.

Where do you get your ideas?

Books, TV, Movies, everywhere…crazy things my kids say, stuff happening around the world…I take ideas and think of what I can do to make them even better, or more twisted, etc. The nittier and grittier the better.

What does your family think of your writing?

They are all super supportive! My mom loves my books, my dad and daughter read the clean versions… my hubby isn’t a reader, but he’s always supportive, my brother is now thinking of trying his hand at writing…my daughter had already started…

What is the best advice you would give to inspiring authors?

First, get a professional Cover. If someone designs your cover, make sure you have a contract, with a ‘finish by date’ & 2 or 3 revisions. When you check the cover over, you do so very carefully.

-Then, make sure you get a GOOD Editor!  Ask other authors who they use and get a sample edit, make sure you can work with that Editor. I’ve had a few who I thought were good. I was new, what did I know? I know a whole lot more now and am now using an editor that my friend is using and swears by, plus I’ve read her books and know they are well edited! You learn as you go, but also need to take criticism/critique and use it to your advantage. All too often I hear people getting angry over something a reader/reviewer or beta reader said instead of thinking about it and turning it to their advantage. (No, you can’t please everyone. Don’t even try, but is there a way that you might be able to make your story even better than it already is?)

I don’t do a lot of plotting, but I do have a timeline for my series, plus I always do a GMC chart. (Goal Motivation and Conflict. Debra Dixon has a great book on GMC, and I highly recommend it. If you do nothing else, at least do that.

Another great resource is KM Weiland’s Structuring your novel. Before I put out my first book, I got a copy of this and while I didn’t have to worry about my structure, I found some great tips and advice in this book. In fact, it helped me figure out how I was going to write my 2nd in the series, as I was having a problem with it.

I also do a very basic story ARC.

You need reviewers, I initially found most of mine on FB, in the various groups. But, the key is to check back with them, nicely, to see if they’ve had time to read your book, thank them for doing so, and let them know how much you appreciate it.  I am very lucky, and grateful, to now have a kick ass review team which is run by my VA, Angelique Seal. She is fantastic at getting advance review copies out there and reviews back in.

Also, don’t take every review to heart. There will be bad ones, but your book may not be everyone’s cup of tea, so it is very important to look for reviewers who like to read your genre.

Now Blurbs! Learn how to write a blurb! Your first part/sentence is hooking your reader, making them want to read more. It is not a synopsis. If you give it all away, no one will buy, they will already know what happens. I have a great resource, that I hope is okay to share here. http://www.betternovelproject.com/blog/back-cover-copy/

However, at the end of your blurb, you also need a call to action these days, there are millions of books out there, so what is going to get a reader to buy yours?

I spend over 8 months on http://agentqueryconnect.com/index.php? and it was a valuable experience. That was before I took a 3 hr course at our local college on Self-Publishing. That completely changed my mind in how I wanted to publish and I don’t regret it at all. If anyone has an interest in self-publishing and would like more info on how to do so, please contact me and I’d be more than happy to help.

What book are you reading now?

I don’t have a lot of time to read anymore, so when I do, it is only my top fav authors. Right now, I am slowly re-reading JR Wards Black Dagger Brotherhood for the 3rd time, along with working my way once again through Sherrilyn Kenyons’ Dark Hunters for about the 4th time. Her League books I’ve also read about 4 times. I NEVER re-read books, but those two I can read over again.

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Sheri lives at the base of the Skimmerhorn Mountain in British Columbia Canada with her husband, kids, dog, cats and chickens. Sheri surprised more than a few people when she decided to write a book. Having grown up riding and working with racehorses, drawing and selling animal artwork, it was a huge change. Sheri fell in love with reading at age twelve when she read The Black Stallion series by Walter Farley. One day, after nearly tossing an unsatisfying book out the window, she decided to write her own, with characters doing what she wanted them to do. Jax, Sami and Tierney came to life in her head, the Dracones were born and Sheri never looked back.

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  • Shelley

    Great interview! I love hearing how authors grow into themselves.

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