Interview with Sherry Donacy

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the heart of the Deep South in a small town. I spent the summers on my grandparents farm where I was allowed to be myself and pursue my own interests. The rest of the year I was with my minister parents being told all my interests were Satanic. When I was with my parents I had nightmares about my grandparents and when I was with my grandparents I had nightmares about my parents. It got to the point where I didn't know what was real anymore. The only way I could differentiate was to cling to my fantasy and create my own universe where everything made sense. I would hate to see what a Freudian would make of this mess but it let me keep my sanity. I have a fairly solid grasp of reality at the present but when I think back to those times all I can remember is the brightest lights and the darkest shadows. I know this is what gave my writing its voice.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I always loved to be read to as a child, although my favorites were the ghost stories my grandfather told me. But sadly I do remember the first story I ever read. Usually my grandfather would read age appropriate material or gloss over the most grisly parts. I picked up one of his library books that he had checked out to read to me. This was right after I had learned to read. I opened it up to a picture of a scarecrow and began reading a story obviously meant for young adults who were far older than me. I was riveted and couldn't stop reading until I was done. There were these two drunken brothers who made asses of themselves. They were killing their neighbor's cows and tanning their hides. Their neighbor came over to tell them to stop and they killed him and hung him out as a scarecrow. This "scarecrow" disappeared and popped back up in their bathroom closet. It chased them around for a bit before the one brother got away. He came back to the house only to find the other brother's flayed back drying on the roof. I didn't sleep at all that night. For probably a year after, every time I went to the bathroom I checked the closet for scarecrows.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
It was a ghost story that I tried to thinly veil to my hyper-Christian home school mother. I believe it involved a minotaur in a museum with that stereotypical Scooby-doo ending. I distinctly remember getting a C-.
What is your writing process?
It usually starts in the shower or while I'm cooking but always when I don't have a pen (you know, I really should buy one of those waterproof shower marker boards). I replay my idea over and over in my head until I can write it down. Sometimes it flows from there and I have a complete story in half an hour. Usually it comes to me piece by piece like a stop action movie over a few weeks and not always in order. I write down what I see as I see it and eventually have all the pieces to the puzzle. I find appropriate music to the subject matter, sit down at my desk, and start polishing away on my keyboard. Eventually it just feels right, all the words flow without stumbling over them and I know I'm done.
Describe your desk
There is always a coffee cup and a little mesh container full of pencils, pens and for some unknown reason, an eyeglass screwdriver that isn't mine. Off to one side is my latest paper model of a gothic house in the construction stages, currently haunted by the shadow of my oddly posed art manikin. On my other side, a little box full of scattered notes on topics I don't even know why I looked up is perched on a precarious stack of books I really need to put back on the shelf. In front of my keyboard is a short stack of notes and butchered segments of my stories in the works, mixed together with my concept art for my characters and monsters. To either side of my monitor, tiny little speakers are singing the crackly sounds from the Voodoo Blues jazz compilation.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
My stories are my children. I know that sounds cliché but it's the truth. When the idea is conceived in my head I have to birth it onto paper. If I forget the idea before I can find a pen then I feel a physical sense of mourning for my miscarried child. When that character I have guided and fed reaches maturity and goes out into the world, it is my greatest joy to hear strangers praise her attributes because she is a small part of my soul.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
All my friends and adopted family always praised my writing but with the exception of a few dull poems, all my stories were turned down by publishers. Earlier this year I started releasing a few of my "trash" stories I really didn't care about on various free e-zines and was surprised by the praising reviews. It was then I knew if I could just get my stories in front of my readers that I could make it as a writer. When I saw a local news story on KOMO 4 about Smashwords I jumped at the chance.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm a complete and total nerd. I am usually reading at least three books, game mastering a few tabletop RPGs, building models for my haunted paper town, and playing World of Warcraft.
Who are your favorite authors?
Edgar Allen Poe for his grace and expanded mind. H.P. Lovecraft for seeing beyond the veil and carrying back the terror lurking there. M.R. James for making us realize that no local is really as safe it seems. May your bodies rest in peace while your souls go on to bless us all in your next incarnations...
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Long Man by Steve Englehart because of its thrillingly entertaining insights into the nature of the "Goddess-ers". The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan for the best definition I have ever read of this tapestry we call Fate. So many books by Steven King! but Insomnia stands apart in describing the inner workings of our souls. The Lucifer graphic novel series for Mike Carey's tasteful portrayal of the Luciferian world view. And last but not least, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien for shaping my epic scope of writing.
How do you approach cover design?
I usually have a rough idea in mind of what is symbolically important and I'll do a rough sketch. I then start browsing all my public domain image sites for the tidbits. When I have all my jumbled puzzle pieces, I play around in my free software (I can't recommend GIMP and Inkscape highly enough). After a bit of cussing and hitting the undo key, I have my cover.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Most of my readers wont know this about me but I write more poetry than I do prose. However, I have rarely released these poems to the public. My newest book is an anthology, combining my currently published work and several never before released stories interspersed around my best and darkest poetry. The anthologies title takes its name from a line in my poem, Carnival Shell in which I describe Death's Cattle Car. Look for Death's Cattle Car available for preorder before Christmas and just to wet your appetite and set the mood, here is Carnival Shell:

Behold the object of your admiration
Stagnant water in a plastic shell
No one claimed your cast off idol
I was told they never cared
Here is the temple to your carnal image
Broken by a misread spell
Can you feel the building vibration?
Death's cattle car come rolling in
All you are is a passing freakshow
On the way to Neverland

Copyright 2010, 2013 Sherry Donacy
Published 2013-10-18.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Old Nick's Imp (a holiday flash fiction story)
Series: Weird Supernatural Horror, Story 7. You set the price! Words: 1,630. Language: English. Published: December 24, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction, Fiction » Holiday » Christmas
"Honey, you know the true meaning of Christmas. It's not Santa Claus and it's certainly not some Shelf Elf summoned by a magic book." Her parent's would not hear Kristy's childish pleas to believe a little magic still existed in the world... but another entity certainly had.
Cannibal Lovers (a flash fiction story)
Series: Weird Supernatural Horror, Story 5. Price: Free! Words: 430. Language: English. Published: October 6, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction, Fiction » Poetry » Female authors
A little piece of dark, experimental avant garde noir. By 'little' I mean one paragraph. Make of it what you will and let me know if you like it. I generally write prose or poetry, this is something in between, more stream-of-conscience.
Difficult Child
Series: Weird Supernatural Horror, Story 4. Price: Free! Words: 2,830. Language: English. Published: October 1, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction, Fiction » Horror » Undead
"Alouette, gentille alouette. Alouette, je te plumerai..." The jack-in-box began to play against the impact of his finger tips, its cloth body spasming on its spring in laughter at the terror in his eyes. "You wouldn't want to get locked in now would you?" ~Jayden doesn't belong, he has never belonged. An old soul born in the wrong age, plagued by undefined dreams bleeding into his reality.
Crimson Veil
Series: Weird Supernatural Horror, Story 3. Price: Free! Words: 1,520. Language: English. Published: September 27, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy
"Tod's final exam in World Religion was coming up and he had decided to write it on western occult theory. Cool right? Wrong. Tod was a bit... impressionable. Spending the last eight weeks looking up every quack in Seattle who wore robes as an excuse to go commando had obviously fried what little brains Tod had left." Strong language warning.
A Halo Too Deep (a flash fiction story)
Series: Weird Supernatural Horror, Story 2. Price: Free! Words: 1,070. Language: English. Published: September 27, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction, Fiction » Children’s books » Monsters
An horrific cautionary tale invoking the attractions, rebelliousness, and fears of adolescence. A nine year old boy spends the day with his mother and grandparents at the beach, concerned what the girls from his school will think. But his glimpse of the sun halo known as a sun dog will change his young life forever. Will he learn that beautiful creatures are not always good before it is too late?
Isaac's Bible (a flash fiction story)
Series: Weird Supernatural Horror, Story 1. Price: Free! Words: 1,270. Language: English. Published: September 9, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction, Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
Why is it every fifty-five and a half years on the solstice, children in Florence Parish start to go missing only to turn up with no memory of the event on the day after? (Addressing some of my initial reviews, I have updated the story. The sentence structure and astromathematics remain unchanged but my misleading descriptors are updated or properly hyphenated. My thanks for the suggestions.)