When I am asked about the stories I write, one question arises quite often. Why do you write in multiple genres instead of just one?
To answer this is not as simple as it first appears. It is linked to my process of writing. I allow the story to evolve as I write and do not steer it in any specific direction. Enjoying where the characters take me is, for me, the best part of writing. I may have an idea what the story is going to be about but more often than not, it diverts into another direction – many times to somewhere I have not thought of. There are many writers that need a lot more structure to their writing, such as complete plot notes from start to finish and I admire that but it is not something I can do. It stalls my creativity. Once the first draft is written then I begin refining the narrative and decide on the genre it suits best.
For example, my Edmonton Best Seller, The Twesome Loop began as a light-hearted romance with a few characters finding their soulmate. However, the complexity of writing in two time periods required a significant amount of detail to be incorporated to allow my readers to understand the backgrounds and personality traits of these people from their past lives to the present. Other secondary characters also began to take on a life of their own and the subsequent narrative follows several love stories intertwined with the main characters.
In my YA novella, Clickety-Click, I had what I though was a definite plot arc but young Alice, the central character and the circumstances of her finding out about her true self went in a surprising direction. It still deals with self discovery and self confidence but also has a twist that I hope will delight the reader.
As a reader what captures you about a book?
Do you prefer one genre over another?
Past Presence by Nicole Bross
Absolutely loved this book! Well crafted characters, a sense of place and a great plot, I didn’t guess the culprit! Woven with regression tales, which is an interest of mine it has wonderful elements in the story to propel you onward.
Can’t wait for the next book, Nicole.
I’m retired now, but my first career was as an elementary school teacher.
One year I had a boy placed in my class who didn’t like me and unfortunately, the feeling was mutual.
Believing the boy would be much happier with a different teacher, I suggested to administration that they place him in a different class. The Assistant Principal informed me that I’d be good for the boy and left him in my class.
As the year progressed, we grew to like each other very much.
In June, when all the other kids had left for summer holidays, the boy stayed at his desk and he said point blank, “I didn’t like you at the beginning of the year”.
(Don’t you love how kids get right to the point? I love their honesty.)
I thought a moment and decided to be honest with him too. I shared that he wasn’t my favorite student at the beginning of the year, either.
We both accepted the idea that we could change our minds. We had a newfound mutual respect and appreciation.
Over the years, I never forgot that boy. I decided I needed to write a story about a woman who didn’t want a particular child. I wanted to show the love, understanding and self-confidence that grew in both characters as they got to know and love each other.
How did you come up with the title?
The title for the trilogy is Bringing Jamie Home. I got this idea when the ten-year-old boy gets lost in Jamie’s Choice, the first book in the trilogy. The hero tells the heroine that they will find the child and bring him home. There! I had it—the title for the book.
At this time, I didn’t know that the one book would lead into a trilogy.
When I finished book one, I knew that one character appeared to be a “piece of work”, as one reviewer called him. I had to figure out why the character was so cynical. This lead to a mystery that had to be solved in the second and third books. All three books work with the idea of “Bringing Jamie Home”.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
As I mentioned above, I wanted to show the love, understanding and self-confidence that grew in both characters as they got to know and love each other.
How much of the book is realistic?
When I describe the mountains and the snow storm in Jamie’s Choice, I’ve actually been on slippery roads and in snow storms in the mountains. I know how quickly the weather can change.
Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?
I don’t have a blog, but I’d love people to visit me at my website: SherileReilly.com
Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?
The Bringing Jamie Home books are a trilogy. After them, I wrote a Victorian Paranormal Romance called The Curse of the Lord of Darkness. It’s a stand-alone book. I’m now working on a series which will also be Victorian Paranormal Romances. My books are currently available in print and as eBooks from Amazon.com.
Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
My favorite characters are always in the story I’m working on. I’m deeply involved with the characters—just like when I’m reading a book.
Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?
I write Clean, Contemporary Romance and Victorian, Paranormal Romance.
Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?
I love planning my stories. I get ideas and I jot them down on paper. At this point I’m just gathering ideas. I have lots of pieces of info about the characters and the plot.
Next, I think about the order of the scenes. I like to see the story laid out in front of me, so I put the ideas on cards or post-it-notes and arrange them on a two by five foot board. From here, I’m able to see what the general layout of my story will be. Of course there are many changes to this outline, but I really like knowing where the story is going and if the characters are changing and growing.
What is your best marketing tip?
I don’t know about a marketing tip, but I think authors always have to keep learning the craft–listen to podcasts, read blogs and educate yourself. Join a writing group if there is one in your area. Write the best book that you can and then get it edited by a professional.
Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?
Social media is a very big topic and I’m learning what might work best for me.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
I love planning and putting in lots of conflict. Creating characters is exciting. In my Victorian stories I’m always learning more about that time in history. My Victorian stories are set in the United States and it’s interesting to learn about the social restrictions on women in that era.
What genre are you currently reading?
I read across a wide variety of genres. I recently finished a detective novel. Before that I read a Victorian mystery/romance. I can’t keep up with all the books I’d like to read.
Do you read for pleasure or research or both?
I read for both.
Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?
I’ve had tremendous support from my husband who drives me to locations so I get a feeling for the setting.
When she was alive, I also had tremendous support from my mother. She’d have been so pleased with the publication of the Bringing Jamie Home Trilogy.
My sister patiently listens to all my new ideas and offers suggestions.
My friends have helped me so much with my technology problems, blurbs, plots and many other facets of the whole writing process. I also belong to two writing groups that offer excellent workshops.
Best of all, my writer friends are fun and great to hang around with!
Where is your favorite writing space?
Lots of people think they’d like to write on a balcony with a beautiful view of the ocean and the sound of the waves. Rather than encouraging me to write, I’d find this a huge distraction. I’d want to be walking along the beach or visiting the local tourist sights.
I’m quite happy being in a room in the basement, surrounded by books and other writing materials that I need.
Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?
I belong to the Alberta Romance Writers’ Association and also the Calgary Chapter of the Romance Writers of America. The groups are called ARWA and CaRWA. Both are terrific for teaching people about writing and industry. Of course, there’s a fantastic group of fellow writers.
If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?
I love living right where I am. I love the four seasons and the wonderful changes that each brings.
Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?
When I’m writing, I don’t nibble. If I brought food into the computer room, I’d constantly keep eating and get nothing done. However, I do nibble while I watch TV!
Author, artist, and retired teacher, Sherile Reilly has jet boated in New Zealand, climbed the Temple of a Thousand Columns at Chichen Itza, ballooned over the table lands of Northern Australia, and poised for a photographer among the columns of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece.
As a teacher, she read to children and as a world traveler, she collected stories and soon began to create her own, first for her students, and then for adults.
Not tied to any one genre, Sherile writes Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction and Paranormal Romance. Most recently, she published a trilogy, Bringing Jamie Home, and The Curse of the Lord of Darkness.