Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the one hundred and eleventh, is of children’s author and poet Sherrill Cannon.
All four of Sherrill S. Cannon’s books are in rhyme and all try to teach something like good manners and caring for others. In less than three years, this former teacher has won nine United States National Awards for her books, The Magic Word, Peter and the Whimper-Whineys, and Santa’s Birthday Gift. Her fourth book Gimme-Jimmy, has just been released.
She has also written six published and internationally produced plays for elementary school children, which are available in the UK at lazybeescripts.co.uk. Growing up in the Willard Hotel in Washington D.C., she became an accomplished equestrienne in her teens; riding, training and showing horses in the Virginia and National show circuits. She later graduated magna cum laude from The American University, and continued to have a varied career. She was a teacher and coach for ten years; and then became a professional newspaper sports photographer and columnist; then a Dinner Theatre Company Stage Manager; then an Assistant Talent Manager; and finally a Business Administrator, customizing software programs for small businesses. She and her husband of 52 years are now retired, and travel in their RV from the east coast to the west coast each year to spend time with their children and grandchildren… sharing Sherrill’s books along the way!
And now from the author herself:
Having been a teacher, as well as a mother of four and grandmother of nine, I have had multiple opportunities to help me determine that good manners need to be taught to small children, preferably by example, as early as possible. Learning consideration for others, to “think more of others and less about you”, helps not only with a child’s popularity; but becoming a good citizen is the best way to practice the “Golden Rule”. Reading books with your children is a great way to help them learn. I like to write stories that are fun to read, but that teach something at the same time. I guess once a teacher, always a teacher…
My books have been fortunate enough to win nine awards in 2011-12: The Magic Word (about Please and Thank You) has won five: Readers Favorite Gold Medal, Pinnacle Achievement Award Winner, Reader Views Second Place, Global eBook Finalist, and Indie Next Gen Finalist. Peter and the Whimper-Whineys (about coping with whining) has won two: Readers Favorite Silver Medal and USA Best Books Finalist.
Santa’s Birthday Gift (answering the question, “But where’s Santa?”) has also won two: Readers Favorite Bronze Medal and Indie Excellence Finalist. My fourth book, Gimme-Jimmy (how a bully learns to share) seems to be doing very well with repeat buyers, and lots of new reviewers, which is also very encouraging. It has been a very rewarding and exciting time – mainly because it means that I seem to be sharing more and more of my books with children, and that’s the very best part of being an author! .
I love to write, especially poetry. My friends and family ask me if I think in rhyme and meter, and I have to admit that sometimes this is true! I have loved poetry and the music of the words for as long as I can remember. Definitely influenced by Dr. Seuss, I love that particular meter and rhyme pattern. When I get rhymes in my head, I write them down – even small snippets – which I will later go back and embellish. I really love to write in rhyme, although it is quite challenging and fairly restrictive. That is why I also use “slant rhymes” occasionally (like self and help) to maintain the flow and to keep a story from becoming too sing-song.
When I decided to write the story that my mother had told for many years to me and my brother and my children, because there was no written version, I decided to combine my love of poetry into writing that story for my children in rhyme. That is how Peter and the Whimper-Whineys came to be. Small children love the rhyming too. It seems to hold their interest. One parent wrote that when her daughter read The Magic Word for the first time, her immediate remark as she was read the first page was, “It rhymes!”. I look forward to sharing more of my story in my Blog Interview. Thank you for providing this wonderful opportunity… Sherrill.
You’re very welcome, Sherrill.
The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with novelist, short story and non-fiction author Elise Warner – the four hundred and sixty-third of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.
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Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) :) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.