I am currently working on the audiobook version of The Guardians of Eastgate, 2nd Ed. I am also about 85% done the rough draft of the second book in the series, tentatively titled The Dragon Shifters at Southgate.
Who are your favorite authors?
My all-time favorite authors are Shakespeare and J.R.R. Tolkien. I also enjoy Orsen Scott Card, Sherrilyn Kenyon, J.R. Ward, J.K. Rowling, Annie Bellet, Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson and Sarah J. Maas. I also like to read some romance, and my favorite in that genre is Penny Reid, who writes "Smart romance."
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Outside of writing, I am also a teacher and a mom, so my days are very busy. I also self publish, so I spend a lot of time on learning the business end of writing and publishing, promoting my work, and so on. When I have time, I also write blog posts intended to give information and advice to new authors. I post these on my website, www.sherryleclerc.com. I post these articles on some of my other social media platforms as well.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I discover many of the ebooks I read through recommendations from friends, and many from the "recommended for you" section that pops up once a book is done. Sometimes I will look in a genre I like, and if the cover grabs my attention, I will read the book blurb and some of the reviews. I don't think that all reviews need to be 5 stars, since different people like different things. Instead, I look at what the reviews talk about, and decide if I think it is something that will interest me.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I don't really remember the first story I wrote, but I do remember an early compilation of horror/thriller stories I wrote by hand, drew covers for, and stapled together into a book. I wrote it to share with my friends and family for Halloween.
How do you approach cover design?
I think a well-made, professional cover is very important. Many times, it is the cover that draws the reader in and helps them decide on whether or not to give your book a chance. So, I hired a professional cover artist, Aidana WillowRaven, to create my series covers. She describes herself as a "tradigital" artist (a combination of traditional and digital). There is a lot of back and forth between us, where I tell her my vision for the cover, and she discusses what will work for a professional, attention grabbing cover. Then she does a draft, I give her feedback, and we tweek it until it is what I want. This was the process we used for the cover of the 2nd edition of the Guardians of Eastgate: Book 1 of The Seers Series, and I was extremely happy with the results.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I don't know if I can narrow it down to five books, but I can narrow it down to a trilogy and a series. I first fell in love with the fantasy genre when I read The Lord of The Rings trilogy. I was young when I read it, and the books are long. So, it took me a little while to get into the story. Tolkien gives a lot of detail and description. But, by the time I was done, I was sorry the trilogy was over, and I was glad for all the detail he gave. The Harry Potter books are next on the list. I would not be able to narrow it down to favorites in the series, since they are all one big story, or all parts of a whole, in my mind. I would say I love both TLOTR and HP for the same reasons. First of all, you travel to realms where you get to meet new and intriguing beings and characters, go to places you had never before imagined, and encounter situations you never would have dreamed of. It is very liberating and exciting to realize the depth and breadth of the human imagination, and how the possibilities are endless. Also, in both series, it is the little guy, the under dog, who ends up the hero of the story. This is very appealing to readers (like me) who identify with those underdogs, and who maybe start to imagine themselves the heros of their own stories as well.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read mostly fantasy, romance, and a combination of the two. I also enjoy science fiction, and have been known to enjoy mysteries and thrillers from time to time.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Kindle app on my Samsung Galaxy tablet. I like this set-up because if I read soomething that I find intriguing or that makes me wonder, I can just switch apps and google information to satisfy my curiosity.
Describe your desk
If you ask my husband, he will say my desk is a huge mess. I prefer to think of it as "organized chaos." There are 4 or 5 notebooks on it at any given time, numerous books on the writing craft and the business of being a self-published author, and my laptop. The books and notebooks are spread all across the desk, because I like to be able to just glance around to quickly find what I'm looking for. There is always a clear spot right next to my laptop, however, for whatever I am currently working on. To others, my desk might look like a disorganized mess, but I always know where things are. Whenever my husband feels inclined to give me a hard time over it, I remind him of that Albert Einstein quote: “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Back when I first dreamed of being an author, I couldn't afford to take the time or the chance to pursue my dreams because the traditional publishing route is long and arduous, and there can be a certain amount of luck involved. I was fresh out of university with a stack of student loans, so I couldn't afford to put faith in a process that might not get me anywhere. I needed to focus my attention on finding a fairly stable job that paid the bills, and my student loans. Fast forward to twenty or so years later. My mother was sick and in hospice for three months. I took time off work to spend as much time with her as possible. Sitting in that room with her gave me a lot of time to think, and to ask myself what regrets I thought I might have at the end of my life. One of these was not pursuing my dream of being an author. This time around, I didn't even entertain the idea of going the traditional route. I researched as much as I could on the topic of self-publishing, and I liked the benefits involved. I loved the idea of retaining creative control of my work, keeping the majority of the royalties, and not having to answer to someone else's deadlines. I also liked that my successes or failures would be a direct result of the quality of my own work and the effort I put in. If I succeed, it will be because of my hard-work and determination. If I fail, it would also be on me. And at the end of the day, succeed or fail, I will know that I put myself out there, and gave it my all.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I really love that Smashwords provides a platform to inexpensively publish quality work. This is important to writers like me who are starting out and haven't yet made a big name for themselves. Starting out can be an expensive endeavor and, with limited funds, first time authors will appreciate having a platform like Smashwords to turn to. It is also important to me that the Smashwords premium program enables my book to be made available online at major retailers, such as Barnes and Noble (Nook), Kobo, and iBooks. This kind of reach and visibility can be invaluable to indie authors like me.
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