Please welcome Sherry Ellis to my blog. Good morning, Sherry! I’m happy to have you on my blog today. Shall we get comfortable with a cup of coffee? By the way readers, I met this awesome writer in November 2019 at the Reader’s Favorite Book Awards in Miami, Florida.
Please introduce yourself to those reading this blog post.
Hi, Mary. Thanks for having me as a guest! As my bio states, I am a children’s author with eight published books. I love writing picture books, chapter books, and middle-grade stories. I’m also a musician. I perform, teach, and work as the Executive Director for an orchestra.
Has writing always been part of your life and when did you “know” that it was time to start writing your first book?
I’ve always loved reading. Writing started when I was about 8 years old, but honestly, it never crossed my mind to be an author. My daughter encouraged me to become a published author after hearing one of my stories. She was 3 years old at the time. (Smart daughter you had age three, Sherry!)
How difficult was it writing your first book?
Not difficult at all. In fact, my first book was the easiest. It was a poem that popped into my head while I was sitting with my 3-month-old son in the rocking chair one night. The poem ended up becoming That Baby Woke Me Up, AGAIN!
Have you ever wanted to give up and what stopped you?
Yes! I’ve been writing for fifteen years. It took 10 years to see Bubba and Squirt’s Big Dig to China published. Receiving letter after letter of rejections got discouraging. But I gave it one more try and participated in a Twitter pitch. I’m glad I did, because it got picked up by a traditional publisher and has even won several awards.
Who is the most supportive of you and your dream to be a writer?
My daughter. She’s eighteen now, but she still encourages me to keep writing and sharing my stories.
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
If you have a dream to accomplish something, go for it. Learn what you need to do, work on improving, and never give up.
What is the best advice given to you (book or otherwise), and by whom?
I don’t know who told me this, but the best advice regarding writing was to join a critique group. It’s very helpful to get other writers’ thoughts on your work to help you gain a fresh perspective and make improvements.
What is your target audience and what aspect of your writing do you feel targets that audience?
My target audience, of course, is kids. My picture books are for kids ages 3-7 and my Bubba and Squirt books are for kids in grades 2-6.
Did the cover evolve the same way, or did you work with someone to make it come together for you?
Dancing Lemur Press, the publisher of my Bubba and Squirt books has an in-house illustrator who is responsible for designing the covers. I don’t offer any input on what the covers should look like, but I do have a chance to review them before the final decision is made. I’m very happy with how the covers turned out.
What are you working on now?
Can we get a peek, an excerpt?
I’m working on more Bubba and Squirt books. The two titles I’m currently writing, and revising are Bubba and Squirt’s City of Bones set in the catacombs of Paris and Bubba and Squirt’s Shield of Athena set in Athens, Greece. The next book which will be released on September 15, 2020 is called Bubba and Squirt’s Mayan Adventure. Here’s an excerpt:
“. . . Then I heard it again. This time, it was closer. Goose bumps covered my arms. I turned.
And guess what I saw? The Tate Duende! Just as Esperanza had described, with a grizzly beard and hands with no thumbs. He stood on the path next to the banana tree, staring at me with his yellow, beady eyes.
I bolted. Vines slashed my face as my feet pounded the jungle path. My heart raced. I couldn’t let him catch me. I glanced over my shoulder. For a dude with backward feet, he sure could run fast! He was gaining on me. There was no way I could outrun him.”
Any last words before we wrap things up?
Since most of my books are educational, I’ve created teacher resources and activities. Those can be found on my websites, www.sherryellis.org and http://www.bubbaandsquirt.org. I’m also available to do school author visits.
Bubba and Squirt’s Big Dig to China.
“You can’t dig a hole to China!
Squirt doesn’t believe Bubba can dig a hole to China. But when the hole swallows them, the kids find themselves in Xi’an, China, surrounded by Terracotta Warriors.
It gets worse when the ghost of the first emperor of China appears. He tells them they can’t go home until they find his missing pi. The kids don’t know where to begin until they meet a girl and her grandmother who promise to help find the
Soon they realize they are being followed. And they are no closer to finding the missing pi. Will Bubba and Squirt ever make it back home?”