Thank you for taking the time to interview with us! Sherrie Hansen’s newest release is Night and Day. Her full length romance novel became available in paperback / e-book in March, 2009!
Coming Soon! www.BlueBelleBooks.com
When/how did you know you wanted to write?
I’ve been writing stories and plays since I was a little girl. I started writing novels about 10 years ago, after a reading blitz that occurred shortly after I’d taken a long hiatus from reading.
(I used to write plays with my older sister when I was a girl! Nice to know someone else did, too.)
How long did it take you to become published?
I’ve been submitting for about 8 years. In retrospect, I’m glad none of my earlier books / versions were published. I’ve learned much in that time. It happens when the time is right, and when a book is ready.
How long does it usually take for you to research a book? Write the book?
I research as I go, checking out facts and places as needed. But since I write contemporary novels about things I know and places I’ve been, research is minimal. It takes me 6 months to a year to finish a first draft. In some cases, rewrites have taken years. It’s usually about a year from start to finish.
Is there any character in your books that you can really relate to?
In one very real aspect or another, I am Jensen, Rae, Sherry, Janie, Allianna, Hope, and Rose. Names have been changed to protect the not so innocent.
What advice do you give to those who are just starting out or trying to become published?
Be persistent. Keep writing. Keep submitting. Learn all that you can from other authors. Don’t just talk about it, do it.
Where do your story ideas come from? Do you use people you know as characters sometimes or even sometimes a certain event from real life happenings?
Story ideas usually come to me from an incident I’ve experienced myself or hear about. Many of the events that occur in my book have actually happened to me in some form or another. Anders is based on a very dear friend I met online.
You just recently were published. How does it make you feel?
It’s been absolutely thrilling, and a little terrifying, too.
(I know the feeling! Isn't it wonderful?)
Getting back to your books coming out soon. Tell us a little about what to expect from them.
Night and Day is already available – expect old-fashioned romance and modern-day dilemmas, hard choices, trouble, trouble and more trouble, mystery, poignant revelations, a great twist at the end.
When and where can we purchase your books?
Night and Day is available at www.Amazon.com, www.secondwindpublishing.com, and at several shops – The Book Loft in Solvang, CA, Pottery Place Art Co. in Red Wing, MN, Hy-Vee Stores in Austin, MN and Mason City, IA, Sweeney’s on Main in Osage, IA, several shops in St. Ansgar, IA, and by mail from the Blue Belle Inn B&B, also in St. Ansgar.
What are you reading right now?
I just finished reading Julie Garwood’s Shadow Music.
Are there any authors (living or dead) that you would name as influences?
Maud Hart Lovelace, who wrote my favorites, the Betsy / Tacy books. Laura Ingalls Wilder of Little House on the Prairie fame. I attended a conference led by Madelaine L’Engle (A Wrinkle in Time and many others) and she was wonderful. I’ve heard LaVyrle Spencer, Jennifer Crusie, Julie Garwood, Jill Marie Landis, Debbie Macomber, Dorothy Garlock and Susan Elizabeth Phillips speak, and each inspired me greatly.
What was the book that most influenced your life — and why?
Several of LaVyrle Spencer’s books – The Gamble, Years, November of the Heart – touched me on a very deep level. I knew this was the kind of book I wanted to write – characters that touched you so deeply you felt like you knew them.
If you had a book club, what would it be reading — and why?
Night and Day, of course! I love to hear what people think of it, how it could be better, what works and what doesn’t. Anything I learn at this point can only make the next book better.
What are your favorite books to give — and get — as gifts?
I like to give and get anything that’s written by one of my favorite authors.
Give us three "Good to Know" facts about you. Be creative. Tell us about your first job, the inspiration for your writing, any fun details that would enliven your page.
I’m married to a pastor, and hail from a very conservative, Baptist background, so I am conscious of the fact that my books should be just steamy enough without crossing that always ambiguous line. I’ve lived in Austin, Minnesota, Chicago, Illinois, Bar Harbor, Maine, Augsburg, Germany, Lawton, Oklahoma, Colorado Springs, Colorado, and St. Ansgar, Iowa. While in Germany (1977 – 1980), I learned to disco dance with the best of them.
(Wow, that's an eclectic background!)
What else do you want your readers to know? Consider here your likes and dislikes, your interests and hobbies, your favorite ways to unwind — whatever comes to mind.
I love to travel, and love spending time in Canada, Wales, England, Scotland, Denmark, Norway, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Austria… I love to quilt, play the piano, walk, bicycle, travel, and spend time with my little nieces and nephew.
What are your experiences with publishers and agents?
Everyone at Second Wind Publishing has been simply wonderful to work with. I’ve met or submitted to several agents and editors at conferences who have all been helpful, but ultimately weren’t a good match for me.
What will the role of the Internet play in the future of publishing?
A huge one, I suspect.
What's your next project?
I’m in the process of rewriting a trilogy about Rae, Sherry and Janie Jones… three sisters who are very different from one another. I’m also working on a series set in Scotland. Blue Belle of Scotland is almost done, and Wild Rose of Scotland is in progress.
Why did you choose your genre?
I write what I like to read.
Have you ever gotten to a point where a story wouldn't come? If so, how did you get back on track?
For me, there’s always a story waiting to be written – the problem is finding the time to get it out of my head and on to paper.
What do you think is the most important characteristic of a prolific writer?
Determination (stubbornness?) and discipline.
If you could choose one thing to be remembered by, what would it be?
That I made my family proud and did right by them, and all the other people I love.
How do you come up with original story lines?
No clue – they just kind of come to me.
(Hm, I know that feeling, too. And usually at the most inconvenient times, too.)
Some authors start out with a plot in mind, others with characters whom they’ll follow to reveal the theme. What works best for you and why?
I start with a character to whom something life altering has happened, which essentially gives me both plot and secondary characters.
Do you use a pseudonym? More than one? Why?
Sherrie Hansen is my maiden name. I eventually hope to be published in the Christian Inspirational Romance genre and plan to publish any Christian Inspirationals as Sherrie Decker, which is my married name. (My husband is a pastor.)
Many writers have had success writing in different genres. Do you think it is difficult to switch over to another genre?
I anticipate a few problems, since some of my books will be steamy and some chaste. The reason I plan to publish under a different name is to avoid confusion over which books are appropriate for the church library and which are not.
When did you start writing?
I started writing 10 or 11 years ago.
Where did you receive your most valuable lessons in becoming a writer?
I belong to an online critique group, jCW, or just Cherry Writers. The things I’ve learned there have been invaluable.
You mentioned that you belong to a critique group. So you also have a specific critique partner? Which do you prefer?
I am active in my critique group and have no formal critique partner. Several friends (some readers, some writers, a school teacher) have helped me with critiques over the years, but no one consistent person.
Would you recommend critique groups to other writers? If so, what elements, in your opinion, make a successful writer’s group?
I have found them to be very helpful. My critique group is very structured and has specific rules for posting and critiquing. I think it is important to be honest, and to share both the good things as well as the things that need work.
Do you ever look back and think, "I wish I had written this differently?"
I suspect when my book has been out a few years, I may think this. Right now, I’m very happy with it. (Except for the night before it was released when I had a full-blown panic attack and thought it all needed to be changed!)
Is writing your full time job or do you have another job also?
I own and manage a Victorian bed and breakfast and tea house called the Blue Belle Inn in St. Ansgar, Iowa.
(Sounds wonderful. I love Victorian houses/architecture.)
How long does it take you to complete a book, from the time the idea for the book is conceived, to when you submit it to your editor?
We’ll soon find out!
How important is it to attend writing conferences?
I have attended several, have met some wonderful people and heard some very inspirational speakers. It’s a great way to network and make new friends.
Do you write more than one kind of book? Do you have a preference? Is one type of book easier to write than another?
I only write contemporary, romantic, single titles in one form or another.
What kinds of books do you like to read? Who is your favorite author?
I read primarily romance - single titles. I read some suspense. I like to read anything by LaVyrle Spencer, Jennifer Crusie, Julie Garwood, Jill Marie Landis, Debbie Macomber, Dorothy Garlock, Pamela Morsi or Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Nora Roberts and Sandra Brown are right up there. I’m also a huge fan of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books.
What do you do to unwind in your free time?
I don’t have a lot of free time, but my two favorite times of the week are Wednesdays, when I take my two little nieces (7 and 5) on an adventure. I’ve been doing this since the oldest one was born. I also love Sundays, at the 11 a.m. contemporary worship service, when I get to play the piano with our great worship team. When I play the intro to “We Are An Offering”, the drums come in and everyone starts to sing… what can I say? I love it!
Thank you for joining us here today, Sherrie, and sharing your publication story with us. ~ The Moonlighters