There’s nothing quite like the thrill of hearing you’re going to be a published author. That’s what happened to Sherry Gloag when The Wild Rose Press contracted her novel, The Brat, last year. Here she tells us about her writing journey and how she’s learning the ropes of being a published writer. www.sherrygloag.com
Susan Palmquist (SP)-On your Web site I see you credit your husband for giving you the final push to start writing? Do you think it’s important for authors to have support from family and friends?
Sherry Gloag (SG)-Yes, I think it’s important to have family support. Writing can be a lonely occupation, especially when you’re facing a blank page. They understand when their dinner is late, or perhaps go do the washing up for you. It’s in a look they share with you when you’re out and they want to say, ‘but hey my wife/husband/partner just had their book published, why aren’t you rushing out to buy it?’ LOL
Well I can dream, can’t I?
Seriously it’s the ‘knowing’ they are there for you that is important and makes the difference. I’m not saying I couldn’t write without his support, but it’s so much better knowing he gives it to me.
SP-You started with short stories, do you think that’s the best way to begin and then graduate to longer works?
SG-I have to correct you there, the short stories developed one day when I got stuck on a scene in the then full-length current WIP. When I get stuck, I will open a new doc and title it ‘freewriting’. This title gives me the freedom to write whatever I like. Sometimes, because I’ve stopped stressing about the blocked scene it will reveal itself and them I can slot it into the main story. But on this particular day, I ended up with a complete short story.
It felt great. New. Powerful and complete, so I honed it up and sent it out. I struck lucky first time. The problem story gifted me a new branch of writing I would never have tried if I hadn’t become stuck on that scene. –No, don’t ask which scene, I can’t remember!
SP-What was the hardest thing about getting published?
SG-I imagine you expect me to say ‘the rejections’ and yes, I’ve had plenty. But the truly hardest thing about being published is the work that comes the moment you’ve signed the contract. I had to learn to create a website, a blog, join places like Facebook and Twitter, both of which still leave me feeling quite dumb most of the time, LOL.
I’m glad to say I’ve discovered that many writers feel the same way I do. I like my writing cave! Putting myself out there was just so scary. I can’t put it into words how scary it felt.
The Brat was accepted at the end of last year and the following months have included some of the most intensive learning curves I’ve ever faced.
But… and there is a huge but here.
These months have also gifted me some fantastic new friends. The ‘writer’s world’ is full of people willing to share their experiences and hold out a helping hand if you need it. The gifts of friendship I’ve received over these months have made the sometimes rocky journey worth every second.
SP-I saw that you have some links to writing sites. First of all have you ever taken part in NaNo? If so how many words did you write?
SG-Yes, this will be my fifth (I think!) NaNo this year. The first year I did not meet the 50k word target, but I have met it every year since. My largest target was 80k two years ago. Unfortunately a couple of weeks later my hard drive crashed and what I thought was a back up file turned out to be the scrambled version of the word count verification so I lost that story.
SP-And the Internet Writing Workshop, maybe you can tell us about it and how you got involved.
SG-The Internet Writing Workshop is and I quote –
“The Internet Writing Workshop is a set of mailing lists (groups) that communicate in English by email. We are:
A community where writers can submit and critique written works.
A forum to discuss and get help on all aspects of writing.
A public service educational organization, staffed by volunteers and free of charge.” http://www.internetwritingworkshop.org/
The members of the L-Story List I joined have impacted my writing in the most positive way. I had great pleasure in acknowledging their help in The Brat.
There is something at IWW for everyone, and the respect shown to each other is awesome. I owe IWW and its members so much.
SP-Do you think it’s essential to be part of a community of writers?
SG-I can only speak for myself on this one, and the answer is ‘yes’.
SP-How about critique partners, do you have one?
SG-No, I don’t have a one-to-one CP but that doesn’t mean I’m not looking for one.
SP-Your first novel, The Brat has just been released with The Wild Rose Press. Tell us about it and the idea behind the story.
SG-The Brat evolved from a single thought. How would a woman face sexual intimacy when she’d been abused as a child? I can’t remember whether the idea came first or Gina arrived first, but I think Gina came first, and asked the question. From the moment I abandoned the then current WIP to work on The Brat it took on a life of its own. Yes, I had to ‘stop’ to research certain facts, but the main characters, Gina and Ben, kept the pace up for the first half of the book, then everything went silent.
I had no ideas of how to proceed or which way to go next, and that’s how it remained until NaNo, when I just ‘went with the flow’. I don’t know whether the main characters were miffed or pleased, but they turned up again and by the end of the month the first round of the book was completed.
They will always have a special place in my heart.
SP-Are you working on a new novel?
SG-I have gone back to a story I started in 2006. It was rejected recently, so I have gone back to the drawing board with that one.
SP-Any particular story you’d like to write in the future or any genre you’d like to tackle?
SG-A best seller? LOL. I am experimenting with a Regency romance, and a mystery romance, but both have been put on the back burner right now. I am most comfortable with contemporary romance. I’d like to write a successful Regency romance one day.