Interview with Sherry Alexander

What are you working on next?
My ebook The Great Camel Experiment of the Old West is ready to be published through Smashwords, and my first tween novel is scheduled for release in January 2016 from MuseitUp Publishing.
What do your fans mean to you?
They mean everything. They encourage and inspire.
Who are your favorite authors?
This is easy--Shannon Hale, Kelly Hashaway, Katie Clark, Claudine Guesh, and Gary Paulsen.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Kids! Mine are all grown, but there are so many kids out there who either need a writer to pay attention to the problems they are facing, or one who can encourage them on their journey. As a children's advocate, mother and grandmother, this is extremely important to me.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
We have a small farm which keeps me busy--but my enjoyment time is with grandkids.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I look for announcements of new releases, through Overlook which is the ebook search for our library, from blogs of my fellow writers, Goodreads, and here on Smashwords,
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes--I was six and it was called "Daddy come home". It was a five page story about a little girl who was sure she did something wrong to make her daddy leave.
What is your writing process?
Research--research--research! I am working on historical novels, so that means lots of research--hundreds of hours sometimes. But before that I write out an outline--it changes all the time, but it helps me get started. I also do character profiles so I can keep them straight in my head. Then I write--
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story I read on my own was probably Cat in the Hat. It made me laugh during a very tough time, and it introduced me to a world of reading that could transport me to another time and place.
How do you approach cover design?
It has to be an image of what the book promises the reader. For my Great Camel Experiment book, it was an easy decision. The book is set in the mid-1800s when camels were brought to America to see if they could adjust to the harsh territory in the southwest. Horses and mules didn't fare well, and the government was looking for cheap and efficient transportation. The ideal cover picture had to be a trooper with a camel. Thanks to Doug Baum with Texas Camel Corps that is exactly what I got--and it is wonderful!
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Princess Academy--Shannon Hale-- love the premise and the metaphoric writing
The Haymeadow--Gary Paulsen--the story line--boy faces challenge and grows
Old Man's War--John Scalzi--for introducing me to another genre
My Sister The Moon--Sue Harrison--the setting, the story, and the writing
She Who Remembers--Linda Lay Shuler--the writing, the story and the history of a people I love
What do you read for pleasure?
Right now--Middle Grade novels, YA novels, and American history
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Nook which I love, but I am also buying a Kindle Fire soon.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I'm just starting marketing--blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Goodreads, so I'll have to let you know if any are successful later.
Describe your desk
Crowded--covered with notes, files, two computers, and it's too tall with a bad chair.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in rural Oregon which is why I love history and the adventure of the outdoors.
When did you first start writing?
At age 6 for myself and for my little brother. In high school, I wrote for the school newspaper. However, it wasn't until the 80's that someone dared me to write a book (I don't take dares lightly), and I did. My first book was The Home Day Care Handbook which led to a parenting column in a newspaper and hundreds of articles for newspapers and magazines. But in 1990 I gave it all up and quit writing until 2012 when I found my muse again.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I found a picture of a camel in an artist's rendering of a mining district in Nevada in the 1860s. That made me want to know where the camel came from and why it was there. The research led to my book The Great Camel Experiment of the Old West and to my first tween adventure novel, Search for the Red Ghost.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I'm not one yet, but soon will be. Publishing has changed so much. It is difficult to get a major publisher to even look at your work without an agent. I want my next books to be read--so becoming an indie author is right for me.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Hearing that someone read my book.
How will Smashwords help you in the future?
I am relying on Smashwords to guide me through the process, so my next book will be successful. I've seen them do it for other authors, so I know that together we can do it for my books.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Hasn't as yet--but soon will.
Published 2015-12-14.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Great Camel Experiment of the Old West
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 27,690. Language: English. Published: December 14, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » History » American, Nonfiction » Children's Books » History / United States / 19th Century
In the mid-nineteenth century, the southwest was inhospitable to horses and mules. The Army needed a mount that could go without water for days, eat only the available vegetation, and carry heavy loads. There was only one animal that could meet their demands. The Great Camel Experiment of the Old West is the true story of that noble beast's journey from the Middle East to the United States.