I'm thrilled to welcome a wonderful author to the blog today who's celebrating the release of her latest book!
Sherryl Clark has more than 70 published children’s and YA books, including novels, chapter books, picture books and verse novels. Her books have been published in Australia and overseas, including the USA, UK, Spain, Mexico and China.
Her crime novel, Trust Me, I’m Dead, is published by Verve Books UK, and was picked up in a two-book deal after the novel was shortlisted in 2018 for the CWA Debut Dagger.
Sherryl taught creative writing at Victoria University TAFE for 23 years and is now running her own workshops and master classes. She has an MFA from Hamline University in Minnesota, and a PhD from Victoria University. Her website is at www.sherrylclarkcrimewriter.com. Follow her on Twitter
Trust Me, I’m Dead is available on Amazon Australia
Print copies available from the Sun Bookshop in Yarraville, or from the author.
Hi Sherryl! Welcome to the blog! Who are you and what do you write?
I’m a writer and a teacher, a reader, an editor, a mentor. I write a lot of things – been writing children’s and YA fiction for many years, but always coming back to my crime fiction when I can. I also write a fair bit of poetry, and I write blog posts and articles (most recently for Medium).
Where and when and how did the writing life begin for you?
I wrote a lot of poetry early on, and my first (truly awful) crime novel when I was about 35. I did an Arts degree at Deakin because at that point it was the only way I could get good feedback on my writing, through the assignments. My first published pieces were poems and some short stories. My first book was a collection of poems. Those early publications were so important – they gave me the confidence to keep plugging away at it.
How has the journey to this point been? Can you give us a basic rundown?
When I look back, I’ve always been writing crime. I have at least three unpublished novels (and I still have some of the rejections I received!). I wrote several crime short stories for anthologies, one of which now pops up a lot in high school texts. You never know where things will go. I started writing children’s and YA in 1996, thanks to the encouragement of a friend, and that kind of took over my writing life. I have 71 books published now in that area, including a MG crime novel.
Teaching writing has been important to me – I learn from my students, I learn more about writing by having to distill and teach it to them. I always want to discover more, and then share it. I love seeing students get published! But I’m glad now to have left TAFE and the compliance nightmare, and have the time and creative headspace totally for my own writing at last.
What's been the hardest part of your writing/publishing experience so far? And the most enjoyable?
The hard part is always the rejections, but I think I’ve grown a thicker skin over the years (you have to, to keep going). I think rejections with no real explanation are very hard. But we all get them, so … The most enjoyable is teaching, helping people grow in their writing, but also in their knowledge about the publishing industry so they understand how it works. The champagne to celebrate a contract is great, but so is celebrating the completion of a first draft! Love the first draft.
Would you go back and change anything?
No, I don’t think so. It’s been up and down, but the ups are worth it.
Where would you like to be in 5 years time? And 10? Or, what are your plans for the future?
In 5 years I’d like to be still writing both of my series because I love both characters and I know I have ideas for them (Mal’s first novel hasn’t been accepted anywhere yet). In 10 years, I think I’d still be writing, but maybe something different! I always want to be travelling, and reading, too.
What's one piece of advice you'd give to new writers just starting out?
Learn about the industry and the market, and what you need to achieve to break in (the quality of your writing and the originality of the concept). If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that ‘really good’ isn’t enough anymore – you do have to try to ‘break out’ in some way, have a strong voice or character or story concept.
Ketchup or Mayo? Mustard!
Night or Day? Day, preferably dawn even though I don’t often see it.
Inside or Outside? Probably inside, with air con or heating so I can write in comfort.
Dogs or Cats? Cats.
Twitter or Facebook? Facebook mostly.
Ebook or Paperback? Paperback.
Walk or Drive? Walk. I see and hear so much more.
Sun or Rain? Sun (but not mid-summer in Melbourne, thanks).
Keyboard or Pencil & Notebook? Mostly keyboard, but pen and notebook for poems.
Comedy or Drama? Drama.
Chips or Chocolate? Chips – with a glass of wine!
Want to guest blog or be interviewed? Got a cover reveal or book coming out?
Get in touch today!