Welcome to the seven hundred and fourth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with Sherel Ott. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Sherel. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Sherel: Hello, Morgen. Thank you for inviting me to your site. I was a little introverted as a child and did a lot of reading, mostly Sci-Fi and Romance. I loved getting lost in other worlds. When I was in Middle School, for one of my English class writing assignments, we were assigned a project; write a story based on a phrase. My teacher (Mr. Daniel Pritchett), gave each of us a phrase, mine was “…and then there was one.” He was so impressed with my storyline and character development that it inspired me to want to write. I did write a ‘teenage love story’ based around my friends and I and the guys we liked at the time. I also wrote short stories but during high school I mostly wrote a lot of poetry. My senior English teach (Mrs Phyllis Lovett) encouraged me and entered me into a National Haiku Poetry Contest. Didn’t win it of course but it was fun.
Morgen: Wow, you remember your teachers’ names. I thought I didn’t but then remembered Mrs Davis (she might have been my English teacher?), Mr Philpott (the dreaded physics teacher) and Sister Etna (who we very irreverently called ‘Mount’). My favourite was Mike O’Toole who used to come in to my dad’s photographic shop. Anyway, I digress. Sorry about that. You write children’s books, was there a reason to choose this genre?
Sherel: I chose this particular genre because I had noticed that there weren’t books for girls of colour, plus most of the stories out there seemed to have the female heroine needing help, direction as if she couldn’t think for herself, make a decision on her own and that she needed to have a man guide her. I wanted girls to know that they are smart, brilliant and beautiful no matter what other people say. They should be proud of themselves for who they ae, love themselves and know they can stand on their own feet without depending on a man and wanted to present it in such a way that it isn’t preaching to them. I fell that sometimes lessons can be taught best when it is seen and observed instead of being made personal.
Morgen: What have you had published to-date?
Morgen: :) What age group do you write for?
Sherel: These stories are for middle grade / tweens. Although, I have heard great feedback from adults as well.
Morgen: I like ‘tweens’. Which authors did you read when you were younger and did they shape you as a writer?
Sherel: Wow! That is a tough one. I’ve read so many different types of books. Sci-Fi / Fantasy and Romance stories were the ones I gravitated to the most… Andre Norton, Mercedes Lackey, Piers Anthony, Debbie Macomber, Fern Michaels and Danielle Steele, to name just a few. They made their characters and world come to life for me…esp. the sci-fi / fantasy authors. I felt as if I was really there. They have made me want to create that type of feeling in my books.
Morgen: Which author(s) would you compare your writing to?