Sherry Ellis Author Interview!

Hello again! As you may remember, I reviewed a lovely little book last week titled Bubba and Squirt’s Big Dig to China. Today I am back with an interview from the Author, Sherry Ellis!

From your biography on your website, it says that you are a musician. Does music play an important role in your writing process?   
It does. But it’s not about listening to music as I write. I prefer silence, so I can hear the voices of the characters in my head.  (Crazy, right?) It’s about the rhythm and flow of the words. Sentences need to have a certain cadence. My musical background helps me choose the right words to find that flow.

Speaking of writing, what does your writing process look like?
You’ll laugh. I do the old-fashioned pencil and paper routine. I come up with an idea, characters, setting, problem, etc. and begin outlining. I am not a “pantser.”  I need to have a clear idea of what’s going to happen. Then I do research, which I’ll talk about more later. I literally write each chapter in a notebook, erasing and revising as I go.  After I finish each chapter, I type it into the computer as a Word document. Inevitably, I revise more as I do it. When the entire thing is done, I read it and make additional changes. Of course, after the critique group looks at it, it needs more revision.  I keep revising until everyone who reads it thinks it’s good. This takes a very, very long time!

What inspired you to set this book in China?
When I was a kid, I tried to dig a hole to China. Maybe because my parents said I couldn’t and I wanted to prove them wrong. Since I lived in Florida at the time, I got nothing but a hole full of water.  But, what if you could dig a hole to China? What might happen? I bet a lot of kids wonder the same thing. So, I made a story that starts with a hole to China.

How much research was put into the writing of Bubba and Squirt’s Big Dig to China? A lot! One of my goals in writing the story, was to teach kids a little about the history, culture, and language of China. I read many books and took several pages of notes. China is a fascinating country. I enjoyed learning about it!  I’m currently working on creating discussion questions and activities that teachers can use in their classrooms that go along with the book. Another fun thing I did, was research Chinese ghost stories and superstitions. Kids like those kinds of things.   

The end of Bubba and Squirt’s Big Dig to China made it seem as if there was a possibility for a second book. Are you planning on continuing the series?
I would like to. It really depends on how the first book does. I’m working on the second:  Bubba and Squirt’s Mayan Treasure.   Hopefully kids, parents, and teachers will like Bubba and Squirt and want to read more of their adventures.

What’s your favorite thing about writing for kids?
I’d have to say my favorite thing is going out to meet the kids through library, school, and bookstore visits. I enjoy creating the characters and stories in my books, but the best thing is seeing that kids enjoy what I have written and are inspired to write their own stories and read more books.

Thank you for your time!
Thanks for having me as a guest!

Sherry Ellis 300DPI

Sherry Ellis is an award-winning author and professional musician who plays and teaches the violin, viola, and piano. Ellis has previously published Don’t Feed the ElephantTen Zany BirdsThat Mama is a Grouch; and That Baby Woke Me Up, AGAIN. Ellis, her husband and their two children live in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information about her work, she invites you to visit her website at www.sherryellis.org
If you would like to pre-order Bubba and Squirt’s Big Dig to China, you can here: amazon.com
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25 thoughts on “Sherry Ellis Author Interview!

  1. The idea of burrowing to China must be a shared universal among western hemisphere kids. Like Sherry, I dug my hole, but I only got a lot of rocks. 😦 . I can’t write with music, either, but I kind of wish I could because I love music and I could do two things I love at the same time. Great interview, Sherry.

  2. I enjoyed your interview with Sherry Ellis. I liked knowing she likes silence when she is writing so she can hear the characters. I can relate to that. And, I enjoyed how she uses her musical background in the rhythm of her writing. Look forward to checking out her book.

  3. I’ve always written everything by hand first. I write less inhibited that way.

    I’m certainly hoping the first one sells like crayzy!

    1. The other thing I like about writing everything by hand is that I can do it anywhere. I don’t have to have a laptop with me. You and I are both hoping it sells like crayzy!

  4. Hi Sherry and Library Cats … loved this – and what fun to think about writing stories while digging a hole to China – not quite what you did … but near enough … fun – and yes – silence … clever set up – cheers Hilary

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Hilary! I don’t know how people write with music on. For some it helps, but not for me. I find it too distracting. I would end up paying more attention to the music than writing.

  5. Hi, Sue & Sherry!

    I enjoyed this interview and learned from it. As I recently told Sherry, my mind functions much the same as hers. I prefer the old school method of writing ideas down on paper before transferring them to a Word document. I am linear and methodical and try to stay organized. I draft outlines, fill them in, and make many revisions before arriving at the finished product. When I am engaged in creative writing, I am easily distracted by noise and that includes music. Listening to music as I write derails my thought process.

    When I was a boy I too imagined digging a hole to China. Although I never attempted it, as did Sherry, I envisioned completing the hole, jumping into it, falling through the center of the earth, coming out the other side and landing softly in China. Knowing that Sherry conducted extensive research on China, I am certain her new book will be an entertaining and educational adventure tale.

    Thank you, Sue, for interviewing my friend, the multi-talented Sherry Ellis!

    1. Hi Thomas!! Thank you so much! I am glad that you could learn something :). I too, personally enjoy writing things down on paper first. Although, if need be, I can also write on a digital document.
      Your writing process sounds very efficient! I have a hard time focusing in general, and music either helps or distracts me.
      Her book was definitely entertaining and I learned new stuff!
      Thank you so much for your time!

  6. Yes, I also think it’s very important that “sentences need to have a certain cadence” which affects the entire flow of the piece.
    I’ve moved away from writing by hand, simply because it takes that much longer. I have to admit that I prefer long hand though, and my “writing ideas” are far better than when I type stuff.
    I need to find a balance.

    I enjoyed your interview, Sherry!

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