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Interview with Sherell Bernard

A Little Something about Sherell Bernard

Sherell Bernard is a writer, an editor here at the company Idle Sky. She avidly collects and reads books - a self proclaimed book-nerd, grammar-nerd, and coffee-lover. She has worked with indie writers for five years now and has a background in Accounting and 10+ years in Education. She has a deep seeded love for the English language and the etymology of words. Sherell uses her knowledge, and passion for English to help indie writers understand how to use words appropriately in fiction writing so that they will be able to create stories that are not only entertaining, but also well-edited.

She lives on the twin-island of Trinidad and Tobago with my husband and our three teenaged daughters. Her family loves animals! They personally own a dog, a tortoise, and three cats. She looks forward to meeting new authors and readers.

Questions and Answers

1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I was 14, my English teacher told my mom I had a gift when it came to writing. I had always loved creating stories and composing poems from early childhood, but it was only when my English teacher spoke to my mom that I realized, hey I can be a writer and pursue something I was already so passionate about.

2. How long does it take you to write a book?

That depends on what I’m writing. My book, That Summer Of ‘88 (a small-town romance), was inspired by a short story I wrote more than 20 years ago, but once I started developing the story, it took almost a year. Now, my current WIP, a collection of West Indian short stories which I started in April, is scheduled to complete(edited & proofread) by September.

3. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

I’m a bit of a panster, so I find myself writing at any given time. Though I set aside 1 hour each morning solely for writing.

4. What would you say is your unique writing quirk?

I don’t know if this is unique, but I prefer to draft by hand.

5. Whether it be traditional, self, or story book apps. How do you find the publishing process?

As an indie author, I find the publishing process can be relatively easy if you if you utilize the available resources.

6. How much of your writing process involves research in your subject matter or plot?

In writing That Summer Of ‘88, because I was penning a setting I was not physically familiar with, I had to research American small-towns, 80s culture as well as 80s small-town life. (I got a lot of help from other members in the writing community) But now that I’m writing this collection of West Indian short stories, there is not a lot of research needed for my setting as I am from the Caribbean and the stories take place in villages I have either lived in or visited.

7. When did you write your first book and how old were you?

I first wrote and published a novella under a pen name when I was 32.

8. What do you like to do when you're not writing?

When I’m not writing, I enjoy collecting pins of abandoned places, gardening and of course, reading!

9. What does your family think of your writing?

My husband has supported me tremendously and at times even gives me ideas for my stories. My teen daughters love to read my stories and they have been inspired to write their own.

10. What is it you particularly like about the genre you write?

Whether I’m writing romance, Caribbean fiction or poetry, I love being able

to express my ‘inner creative’.

11.Do you have any suggestions to help others become writers? If so, what are they?

There’s a quote by Mark Twain: ‘The secret of getting ahead is getting started.’ So if you want to write, just begin. Give life to the voices in your head and create a world for them. Also, involve yourself in the writing community. There you will find other writers who are willing to share tips and ideas that can help you along your writing journey. They also share in promoting your work. Members of the writing community are very supportive and if you’re self-publishing, you’ll learn a lot through engagement. Another thing, take advantage of the resources available for writers. Sites such as Reedsy have a wealth of resources, online writing courses and even a professional book formatting tool that are all free. And very important, beware of trolls and scammers who prey on the inexperience of new writers.

12.Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

Yes I do and I love being able to interact with them. Apart from positive comments about my story, they also share insightful feedback that assists me with developing future story ideas. But it’s not always about my book, I share a friendship with my readers so we discuss other books, movies, music ,and just about anything.

13.Do you like to create books for your target audience?

Telling stories is what I love so yes, I like creating books for both romance

readers, poetry lovers and West Indian fiction readers.

14.What do you think makes a good story?

A lot depends on the genre, but in general, creating relatable characters. Of course setting, plot and dialogue are important elements but if a reader is able to connect with your characters then you have a win! It means you’ve successfully given life, goals and dreams to those voices in your head and created a ‘real’, relatable, easily-liked(or disliked) person.

15.How do you handle writers block and what do you tell other aspiring authors who may be fighting or fearful about hitting that wall?

I wonder if there really is such a thing? I like to think of ‘writer’s block’ as that point when you need to take a break from your manuscript to renew your creativity.

Final Note:

Sherell is an author that intrigues me. Through her dedication of her own work, she wants to take what she's learned in her own literary journey and help other indie authors reach their end goals. I like how she wrote a story about a time, a location, and a setting she wasn't familiar with, but did the work to get it as accurate as she could. It's a testament to her craft and she takes it seriously. She is definitely an author I am interested in getting to know more about and get familiar with her work. I will be adding That Summer Of ‘88, to my reading list.

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