Meet Sheri Bell-Rehwoldt the clever author of the children's book "You Think It's Easy Being the Toothfairy" about a tooth fairy with a big attitude. Plus many other children's books.
I was quite excited when Sheri agreed to do the interview with me, and here's came of it -
Heather: To start off, tell us a little bit about your background:
Sheri: My background includes stints in public relations and meeting planning. As an author, I've published nine children's books (two more on the way), and helped to co-write/edit three books for adults, including a Ripley's book, a book of essays about turning sixty, and a NASCAR track guide. My first picture book, You Think It's Easy Being the Tooth Fairy, has sold 15,000 copies since its August 2007 publication. For more info, check out my websites: http://www.bell-rehwoldt.com/ and www. 4Kids.Bell-Rehwoldt.com. You can also find me on Jacketflap.com and PolkaDotBanner.com.
Heather: How Long Have You Been Writing?
Sheri: I've been a freelance writer for about 10 years. I started out with newspapers and magazines, but made the leap to books when I decided I wanted to see my books on a public library shelf. I *Love* public libraries. I hope they're always funded and highly regarded by the community.
Heather: what started you writing for publication?
Sheri: I wanted to get pregnant and be able to work from home. I figured writing was one way to have a fulfilling home-based career. Looking back, I think, "WERE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND???!!!" As you know, authors don't make a lot of money. So go this route only if you can't imagine doing anything else with your life. Otherwise, keep the big-bucks job with great insurance benefits (hard for self-employed writers to obtain without going bankrupt).
Heather: Do you have a set time when you write, or just whenever you get the urge?
Sheri: If you write only when you have the urge, you will get very little writing done!
Heather: Who is your favorite author?
Sheri: Egad, I couldn't offer up just one. But I love Deborah Wiles (Love, Ruby Lavender), and picture book author Eileen Spinelli.
Heather: Have you ever had writer's block, and if so how do you get rid of it?
Sheri: You plunk yourself in your chair and tell yourself to write about "X." Maybe it's a mother-daughter scene. Or maybe it's a wino talking to a cat. Doesn't matter. But you set the timer and you write dialogue until it goes off. After warming yourself up like that, writing comes a lot easier.
Heather: What do you recommend to aspiring authors?
Sheri: Don't show your drafts to relatives or friends. Their comments will skew your reality of your manuscript. Get thyself to writer's conferences instead, taking advantage of one-on-one reviews with editors. Trust what they say a MILLION times over what your mom says.
Heather: How do you invent your characters?
Sheri: Beats me. They show up on their own. Sometimes looking at photos of kids in magazines helps. Right now I've got a photo of an adorable little girl tacked to my wall. She's maybe seven, and smothered in her mom's makeup. The aqua eye shadow and bright lipstick are what first jump out at you, but then you're drawn to the trust and joy in her huge brown eyes. I want to hug her so bad! So maybe she'll appear in one of my future books. ;-)
Heather: I know a few authors who keep records (almost like police records) of height, weight, background, etc. of their characters, do you keep tabs on your characters, and if so, what do you usually make note of?
Sheri: Some authors are meticulous in building the back-story for each of their characters. I do that to a certain extent, but I don't go crazy. I mean, I don't think about the color of their underwear.... oh, wait, that brings back a great memory! My grandmother once bought me underwear with the days of the week embroidered on them. For a while I faithful keep to the days of the week...but you know how it goes, laundry starts disappearing on its journey from the hamper to the dryer. Hmmm....I'll have to use that in a story! HA!
Heather: Some authors say that they feel as though his or her characters are real, do you feel this way, and what do you think about this?
Sheri: I think the characters you love become real. The weirdest thing is to hear a character talking inside your head. You kinda feel like you should check yourself into a funny farm!
Heather: Do you have anything in the works?
Sheri: A novel based on my dysfunctional childhood. (I had an evil twin sister. Need I say more? HA!)
Heather: What would you say is the neatest thing you know?
Sheri: I know the secret to life. ;-)
Heather: Has music ever inspired your writing?
Sheri: Not really. But it's great for getting you in a certain mood. If I need to write a sad or sappy scene, I definitely put on something melancholy. And for happy scenes, you can't beat going with some of the big band classics!
Heather: Do you like to write in complete silence or does it have to be noisy?
Sheri: I listen to instrumental music when I write. I love the Japanese pianist Keiko Matsui. It's soulful and calm and engaging, but it doesn't bring mental images to mind. It's like white noise, if you know what I mean.
Heather: Keyboard or pen?
Sheri: I don't write by hand, mostly because I have trouble reading my own writing. HA! But I use a Wacom tablet/pen, rather than a mouse. I *love* it. Best thing in the world for wrist-weary mouse users, trust me. The pen also lets you sign contracts electronically, which is huge benefit.
Heather: What do you think is the hardest part about being an author?
Sheri: That publishing has become such a profit game. I'm irked that traditional publishers have, for the most part, sold out. They'll put out a bio by some wacko female politician, but not a riveting book by a "regular" person who has helped to make the world a better place. And I fault publishers for publishing too many books each year. How in the heck do they expect authors to make a living when there's so much competition and "noise" in the marketplace? Especially when they're only willing to throw marketing dollars at that book by the wacko celebrity?! Authors must wear many hats today: writer, editor, publicist, speaker, blogger, etc., etc.
Heather: What do you usually do while writing?
Sheri: Knit? Just kidding. Kind of a silly question, don't you think? ;-)
Heather: What were the circumstances surrounding your decisions to become an author?
Sheri: One day I opened my big mouth and said, "I'm going to write five books." Then I actually had to do it, so I wouldn't call myself a liar. HA!
Heather: Some people say that you need to live life before you write a book, do you think that it’s experience that writes a book or imagination?
Sheri: I think if you have a fabulous imagination, you've got real-life experience beat. Because most readers want to read about something fantastical.
1. I like the colors of: Flowers
2. The sky is most beautiful when it’s: Sunset
3. My favorite feature of a computer is: "save".
4. I think inventors should invent a: Teleporter
5. Thing I love most in the world is: Joy
6. Thing I hate most in the world is: Selfishness
7. My favorite type of electronic device is: Quiet
8. My favorite thing that has been available before the year 1900: Clothing!
9. My favorite thing that has been available since the year 1960: Email
10. The oddest thing you have ever written on (hand, wall, etc.) is: Lemon
Learn more about Sheri Bell-Rehwoldt by following these links -