Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Author Interview: Sherry Perkins
Sherry Perkins, BWG president, has published more than 75 articles, poems, and fiction pieces. She keeps a regular blog here.
1) How did you develop an interest in writing? As a teenager, going through the weird stuff we all go through, I found writing down my thoughts, feelings, insecurities, and other things helped. Coming from a big family, five children in all, there wasn’t much personal space. Writing helped me create my personal space. My friends at school encouraged me and liked my stuff (Naturally, what are friends for?). Once, a friend asked me to write her a book. I did it longhand in a five-subject notebook. She still has it. I’d love to read it because I don’t remember what I wrote.
2) What genres do you write? Diversity is my thing. As long as I’m creating something, I don’t have a preference. I’ve written articles, newsletters, poetry, fiction, and flash fiction. I’ve made brochures and flyers. I’ve completed a plantation photo book, a children’s book, and a biography on my great-grandpa, which aren’t published, yet. Although I’m proud of every piece I write, even the unpublished ones, the most challenging has been my four screenplays.
3) What authors do you admire? I admire different things from different authors. I admire the way Nicholas Sparks writes romance; the way Rick Bragg makes me feel - he took parts of my life and wrote about it; the way Sam Shepard uses small words and small sentences, then opens the sky with razor sharp description. The way James Lee Burke pulls me in from page one makes me admire his writing as well. The soft appeal and regret of Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights” makes me dream of Heathcliff. Margaret Mitchell and Harper Lee make my list too. Each wrote only one book and “Gone With the Wind” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” are considered literature, not just novels. Lastly, my favorite writer is Laura Ingalls Wilder.
4) What music, places, people inspire you? Inspiration is everywhere. The soul-wrenching fiddle sounds of Bluegrass music pulls me into a world of simplicity, longing, and respect. The edginess of hard rock makes me want to shout my stuff from the rooftops so everyone can hear. Seeing people on the sidewalk wave at passers-by stirs something else. A conversation with a co-worker has turned into a piece. Although inspiration comes from many places, it also seems to come out of nowhere.
5) Are you a part of a critique group or writers’ guild? Being a member of Bayou Writers’ Group has opened many doors for me, and given me more courage than I thought I had. Sharing my passion with others is fulfilling and encouraging. To be among talented writers and poets challenges my writing skills. Although we each have our own niches, we lift each other up. The support the group provides is genuine. We each want the other to succeed. It’s a wonderful thing to share that feeling.
6) What is your writing process like? Since I work full time, sadly my writing suffers. It fits between working, grocery shopping, dentist or eye doctor appointments, and the errands of life. I write every chance I get after supper and sometimes up to bed time. I’m an early riser, so I write about an hour each morning before I get ready for work. I’m always working on something; new stories, old stories, newsletter pieces, poetry, loglines and synopses for my scripts. In between all that, I’m transcribing my uncle’s novel which is written out on lots of legal tablets.
7) What are you reading now? Just started “All Over but the Shoutin’” by Rick Bragg. I cannot put this book down. Recently, I finished “Day Out of Days” by Sam Shepard and “Escape from Andersonville” by Gene Hackman and Daniel Lenihan.
8) Favorite book from childhood? As a kid, hands down it was “Where the Wild Things Are.” Because it is my favorite childhood book, I have no desire to see the movie. As a teenager, my favorite was “The Outsiders” by Susan Hinton. She wrote that when she was 17 years old. No wonder it resonates with young people.
9) Have you ever attended a writing conference? I’ve attended the last two which were hosted by Bayou Writers’ Group in Lake Charles. They are such fantastic events to not only hear excellent and important information, but to network, meet people, and pitch your stories. I encourage all writers to attend a conference. You never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll learn. If you’re serious about writing, a conference is a must just like your dictionary and thesaurus.
10) Have you submitted anything yet? What started out as getting published in my local newspaper has grown into being published over eighty times. I’m fortunate that my articles and photography appear in magazines, newsletters, blogs, in two E-book anthologies, on a producer’s website, in the Reminiscent Writings at the Calcasieu Parish Historical & Genealogical Library, and in brochures. I’ve comprised three marketing flyers and wrote two book reviews on Amazon.com. I’ve even pitched my screenplays to producers. Although I’ve received excellent feedback, none have sold – yet! Although my list of published pieces is long, my list of unpublished pieces is longer.