Friday, October 16, 2009
FEATURED AUTHOR: Sherryle K. Jackson
Sherryle Kiser Jackson is a graduate of Salisbury State University. She is a Reading/English teacher in the middle schools. Soon and Very Soon was her first novel published by Urban Christian/Kensington in 2007. She resides in Maryland with her husband and two kids.
Deidre Collins can’t help but compare her fourteen year old son, DeAndre, to his father and her estranged ex-boyfriend who walked out of their lives eight years previous. Even after rededicating herself to the Lord, she’s having a hard time forgiving and forgetting. Lately she can’t understand where the child she has raised has gone, and who is this disobedient and disrespectful person that has replaced him.
After the sudden loss of his own absentee father, Andre Hicks resurfaces in Deidre and DeAndre’s life with a determination to compensate for the time lost with his son. A follower of revolutionary gym owner and former Olympian, Bo Donavan, Andre has changed more than his physique. Reluctant to see him as the answer to her prayers, Deidre finally must yield her reservations about their troubled relationship to let DeAndre stay with his father during his suspension from school.
DeAndre Hicks keeps on foot in church and the other foot in trouble. In his last year of middle school he finds himself divided between following the lead of his two best friends, the Dempsey twins, experiencing the novelty of first love , and toting the line at home with his mother. With pressure from every side, DeAndre finds a satisfying escape between the pages of his sketchbook where he harbors a talent yet discovered.
Father and son forge a bond that puts Deidre in constant contact with Andre. Old feelings are brought to the surface. Can they leave behind the disappointments of the past in order to do what is right for their son’s future? What ideology will they adopt to raise their son? Can they submit their will to the possibilities of what God has in store for all of them?
Who said there isn’t a manual for life, relationships and raising kids?
What would you like readers to take away from your book?
There is a message that we are not here alone. We need each other and that people are placed in our lives for a reason. The ultimate message is that there are basics to our faith, ones of love, forgiveness and sharing our beliefs with others. Deidre, one of my main characters has to learn to do all three.
Why did you choose to write this book?
I am a teacher in the Middle schools, and I see our teens everyday. Some of our young men are man-ish and get themselves in all kinds of predicaments because of immaturity or a sense of immortality. They are patterning their lives behind what they see. In the case of the book my third man character, the son; DeAndre is destined to make the same mistakes his parents had in the past. His parents are too stubborn to even be cordial to one another that they almost miss the potential train wreck in their off springs life.
What was your favorite scene/chapter from the book?
Almost every scene with the teenaged son was a favorite. Hiss voice was very strong to me because I worked alongside these teens everyday. Most are not bad to the core just precocious. I also loved weaving the intricate dance of the parents, Andre and Deidre. Each one of their interactions was swayed by the emotions caused by disappointment, passion and expectations.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
Writing is a solitary act unless you collaborate or co-write like DeBerry/Grant. It is bravery to tussle with word so that you can evoke the right emotion in your readers. Most non-writers don't realize that writers are always working because it takes place as thoughts before it is down on paper. Some of those thoughts are so powerful it wakes you up out of your sleep.
What is the best lesson you have learned from another writer?
I learned about pacing from several writers at the 2009 Faith and Fiction Retreat. They explained how writers are no longer writing those long novels. Some even start another chapter when they start another scene. Scene/set-up is a formula for chapter development that I'm using when writing my third novel.
What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?
The toughest test is the balancing act of having the full time job, being the full-time mom and carving out time to write. Other than that getting that first deal was a task. I wrote my first book back in 1997. At that time I had a shell of the book that is now Soon and Very Soon. I flushed it out with a writer's group that I am still apart of. It got picked up by a major publishing house in 2003 that held it up of two years before dropping it from their roster. It didn't get published until 2007.
What is something readers would be surprised you do?
I am a self-taught quilter. I just don't have time to hone that craft, but I love the myriad of designs that go along with the story and history of this lost art form.
How do you reach new readers?
I reach readers through face to face encounters (store signings and book festivals) and through social media (facebook, myspace, ning sites, twitter, and blogtalkradio. I maintain a website at www.sherrylejackson.com
If you could have dinner with 3 authors to talk with about their writing (living or deceased) who would you invite and why?
Earnest Gaines I think he makes the most complicated themes assemble on the page. He is a classic storyteller.
Pearl Cleage Her writing is so intelligent.
Terry McMillian I think Terri is the master at dialogue. The voice of her stories are undeniable.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
Do- Continue to be a student of the craft.
Don't- Rely on your publishing company to care more about your novel than you do. Edit your work or hire someone. Similarly, hire professionals to help market and promote your work for you.
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
Search Facebook.com for my reader's group called, Sherryle Kiser Jackson readers for contest and updates.
Our theme for this month is The Business Of Writing. What are three things you wished you’d known earlier that might have saved you some time/frustration in this business?
Make connections-I've learned that no matter what you do in life, you are in some way in the business of interacting with people. The most unlikely people can result in 5-10 book sales. I believe in six degrees of separation. You are only six people away from an answer to your question or even going on Oprah! Now there are many variables in that chain link of people, but if you make positive interaction, be ready to promote yourself with a 2 minute pitch and have a top-grade product (your book), you can be successful
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
Soon After is the sequel to Soon and Very Soon. It picks up where my debut novel leaves off. Investigations are underway for the Harvest Baptist church fire. Everyone is a suspect as an overzealous reporter latches on to Willie Green to find the person responsible before the fire official.
Would you like to win a copy of The Manual? Leave a comment for Sherryle.
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