Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I was born in Galt, Ontario, Canada. The youngest of four children, at seven, my family moved to Burlington, Ontario, where I spent my teenage years. Out on my own by seventeen, life was no picnic. As my debut novel, REASONS is a creation formed out of the challenges I faced as a young woman; and further enhanced by the lessons I learned. Although the story draws from my life experience, it is a work of fiction.
In my early twenties, I completed post-secondary education in sales and marketing. For years, I enjoyed my work as a Project Manager in both the Exhibit and Signage industries. And for twelve years, I was a partner with my husband in a sign manufacturing company.
I have fond memories of my role as a business owner—but life soon saw me venture onto an alternative career path. I currently live in Peterborough, Ontario, with my husband, Robert (and two cats: Shoelace and Wingnut), where I continue to pursue my writing career.
I have published my debut novel titled: Reasons, Three Lives One Soul, and I’m currently working on a second novel tentatively titled: To Cast a Shadow, and a non-fiction book tentatively titled: 42 days of isolation—lessons learned for a lifetime of happiness.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My life experience as a teenager and young woman inspired Reasons: Three Lives One Soul. Although the story draws from my experience as a victim of intimate partner abuse, it is a fictional story—that includes some magical realism and is a story about second chances, renewal, and hope.
Here’s the book’s description:
Combining wisdom and wonder into an inspiring tale of self-discovery, Reasons tells the touching story of Reason who, shown to us as a teenager, an elderly woman, and at thirty-five, yearns to leave her troubled past behind and to live without shame and fear. Her quest will lead her to a magical land, thrilling encounters with peculiar guides, a terrifying test, and a transformation far more remarkable than she ever thought possible. Reason’s journey shows us there’s wisdom in introspection and serves as a great reminder that people will help us along the way if we slow down and listen.
REASONS follows three versions of the heroine—each an independent life, all three forever linked.
ONE: As a troubled teenager, Reason starts a new life after escaping an abusive relationship—only to fall victim to the same man when he kidnaps her.
TWO: As an elderly woman, Reason approaches the end of her life—and struggles with Pain while searching for hope after trauma.
THREE: As a 35-year-old, Reason is led by a Raven into a mysterious world where she embarks on a quest with peculiar guides. As the guides clandestinely prepare her for the Stickman, a spine-chilling creature born of her fear, Reason tells her story.
Given a chance to reconcile her painful history, she wrestles with its ruthless effects. But success will mean reliving every detail… and conquering her fear.
If she can endure, a marvelous discovery awaits, and with it, an opportunity to meet with the younger and older versions of herself—and a chance to save them all.
The reader is transported into the heroine’s story—into a part whimsical, part dark, and emotionally intense journey. Both heartbreaking and heartwarming, the story is thoughtful, inspiring, and relevant to today’s world. It is philosophical while allowing for differing belief systems. A story of hope, the novel doesn’t shy away from the dark side of human nature—to show and courageously face that which, for some of us, is the tragedy that leads to self-realization and renewal. The story mirrors real life with its adventure, uncertainty, failures, triumphs, and discoveries—while also including a wee bit of magic. It’s not the magic of wizards and witches and such, but the existential mysteries of life that, while defying explanation, spur us forward into second chances and new beginnings.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I do not think so…
What authors, or books have influenced you?
My book genre preferences are as wide as my imagination, as are my author preferences. When I was a teenager, I read Stephen King’s books. One day, I found Mila 18 by Leon Uris; that book moved me. It may have been the first time I cried while reading a novel. I’ve read many, many books; I can’t remember them all.
Another book that moved me deeply is Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky. Other favorites of mine are The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (which inspired my wish to create novels about hope and renewal), Dracula by Bram Stoker (which is delightfully creepy), and Pilgrim by Timothy Findley (which stirred in me a lean toward the metaphysical). And I’d be remiss not to include War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (which took a long time to read) and The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky (which, like War and Peace, is an exquisite study on how to write about humanity, character, and emotion). This list, a brief look into my reading, should prove that my tastes are certainly eclectic. If a book is engaging for me, I’ll read it cover to cover no matter the genre.
What are you working on now?
I have tentatively named my latest novel To Cast a Shadow. One day, I was worried about my husband becoming ill during the COVID-19 pandemic, and I feared life without him, wondering how I would ever live without him. From there, the story of my next novel came alive.
The inspiration for the non-fiction book I am writing comes from my experience of being isolated in my bedroom for 42 days at the beginning of the pandemic. The act of isolating started as a scary and overwhelming experience but became a retreat of sorts; it became a lesson in mindfulness, patience, and compassion. I ended up with a stack of notes, and ideas collected after hours of reading, watching and listening to free online offerings about mindfulness, resilience, compassion, and much more. When I crossed the threshold between my bedroom and the rest of the house, I had a stack of notes, and my take on them. I am writing a book about the experience to share what I had learned.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
This, for me, is an ongoing process.
I created an author platform while I was still writing Reasons, and since publishing the novel, I am continuing to build my author presence.
My author platform so far includes my website where I promote my work and author a blog, a Facebook author page, a presence on Twitter, and author pages on Amazon, Goodreads, and Bookbub.
I have also read much material about book marketing, and have taken part in online courses about book ads and promotion.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Write. Write. Write. Edit later. Get the story formed first and fix it later.
Believe in yourself. Trust yourself.
Do not be afraid to share your work with other writers and to take part in a critique group or exchange work with a critique partner. This is a worthy step and will improve your manuscript.
Set up ARC readers well ahead of your publishing date. Those readers need time to read your book and plan a review. Reviews are critical and hard to get.
Before you publish, make your book the best it can be. Be patient. Edit. Edit. Edit.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Write first. Edit later.
What are you reading now?
I just finished reading Conclave by Robert Harris, and am now on a non-fiction kick reading: Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words by David Whyte, The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker, Ask the Awakened by Wei Wu Wei, and Rainer Maria Rilke edited and translated by Stephen Mitchell.
What’s next for you as a writer?
As a newly published author, I work on marketing my current book, Reasons… while also drafting a second standalone novel and a non-fiction book.
What is your favorite book of all time?
Really? Just one? Yikes. Okay, well… if I must choose one… The Heart Aroused by David Whyte.
Author Websites and Profiles
Sherry denBoer Website
Sherry denBoer Amazon Profile
Sherry denBoer’s Social Media Links
A great interview, Sherry!