Author Spotlight – Sherry Perkins

Welcome to Lavender Lass Books, Sherry. Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview!

Sherry Perkins has worked as a licensed practical nurse for more than thirty-five years and has experience in psychiatric/addictions nursing, nursing-care coordination, and risk management. She earned a BS in health sciences from Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina, and has spoken at public health functions on topics such as addiction prevention and treatment, prevention of teenage opioid deaths, and connecting patients who are resistant to treatment with appropriate services.

A mother of four, Perkins lives with extended family on the Delmarva Peninsula, where she enjoys collecting shells and sea glass; reading mysteries, science fiction, and fantasy; doing organic gardening; and following the Dave Matthews Band around the East Coast. At the End of the Rainbow is the first in a series of books inspired by a visit to Northern Ireland and a yearning to return there one day.

Morgan Patterson came to Northern Ireland for her senior college year abroad to focus on her studies far away from family drama. But she’s quickly distracted by a hunk of a police sergeant named Tiernan Doherty. Though he’s old enough to be her da, as her new friends are quick to point out, she fancies him. And he certainly seems to be obsessed with her.

Eagerly going against all good advice, Morgan becomes more and more bound to Tiernan—by ties of lust and love and protection, and maybe even duty. But there is more to their attraction than Morgan can explain with her science textbooks, and more is going on in this sleepy village than she could ever have imagined.

She was once so sure that faerie stories were fiction. But there’s no denying the strange visions and dreams she’s been experiencing again since coming to this place. So many of the people she’s met—both those looking out for her welfare and those seeking to destroy her—seem to feel she is a special one, with powers that are only now coming fully into her possession. Will she finally begin to understand that herself before it’s too late?

And now to the interview:

1.  What do you want to share with us about this story?  What really stands out about it and made you want to write it?
The Will-o’-the-Wisp Stories, of which “At the End of the Rainbow” is the first in the serial, is a tale of what happens when contemporary fairy and human worlds collide. Peaceful co-existence is no longer an option, not once a naive American college student stumbles into a world just beyond the realm of her experience. She thinks it’s a beautiful and charming place in coastal Northern Ireland where she’s come to live. It’s more than that, though. A magical place, it is, with faeries who are not at all like the pixie-dust sprinkling ones we grew up knowing in storybooks. No, these faeries are from the oldest of times with dark secrets, a wicked queen, and strict laws to bind them.

This is a serial. Each book can be read as a standalone. However, to fully appreciate the character development and their choices, or to discover the hidden in plain sight “Easter eggs,” reading the books in order will provide a more suspense-filled experience. The characters themselves offer a perspective that will also provide telling clues. But to be honest, if you’re a fan of this genre, you’ll have a reasonable idea of what might come and at what cost.

What made me want to write the stories? If I told you the faeries made me do it, would you believe me?

2.  Why do you write in this genre?  What makes this genre particularly appealing to you?
Paranormal romance and suspense, urban fantasy, magical realism are favorites of mine. Are there things in this world just beyond our understanding? Yes. Are they too strange for us to understand? No. That is the appeal for me—tell me a story about the what-ifs, the unintended consequences of a well-intentioned wish, the magic of love and life itself and I’m yours!!

3.  What made you decide to become an author?  Can you tell us a little about that journey?
I like to tell stories. My entire family likes to tell stories. Although we were more oral traditional storytellers, with a lyrical manner of telling tales and repetition, I found much satisfaction in putting stories into written word. When I was younger, I would write for myself, family, and friends. Now I write for a larger audience and hope the stories are accessible, applicable, evocative to readers—in other words, you read my story and insert yourself into it, making it a personal, relatable experience for you. You want to imagine your ex as the bad guy in my story? Poof! He’s the bad guy. ..and it means a lot to me to be able to offer that choice to you.

In many ways, the writer’s journey, much like a fairytale, is fraught with peril, lol. Often, when you’re an indie writer, the full breadth of editing, formatting, cover artwork and marketing is somewhat restrictive. You go with what you know, manage what you can afford. It’s important to find yourself mentors. Then, inevitably, post publication, you realize you might have done things differently. Basically, you would have chosen the different path in the road. Also, you understand what you write will be judged by all sorts of readers—some are very technicality driven and therefore, are easily bothered by using too many thats, verys or justs , or utilizing multi-point-of-view characterizations, etc. Some are along for the fun. Just remember, it’s your writing journey and whether there’s something good at the proverbial end of the rainbow, well, that’s really up to you!

4.  Why did you choose to self-publish?  Are there advantages to self-publishing?  What about the challenges?
Self-publication ultimately leaves you with greater control over your product. It’s quicker to go to publication. In many ways, self-publication is more enjoyable. You have ownership of the wins and the losses involved. The challenges, for me, are more about marketing and promotion. Like many self-published writers, I have a day job. I have a family. There’s not much time at the end of my day to research and target markets as I should. So, you must decide whether you want to be commercially successful or to be developing a small but loyal fan base. But when you do find your fanbase (and you will), be good to them—not necessarily because they become your best word-of-mouth advertisers, but because they surely are a riot and along on the writing adventure with you.

5.  Where do you get ideas for your stories?  Do they come to you over time, or do you suddenly think of an idea and realize it would make a great story?
Usually the ideas appear, as if by magic! Usually, I’ll be doing something totally unrelated to writing and that spurs an idea which I jot down, to build upon. I have been known to jot down an inspirational word or phrase then, because I haven’t been more expressive in my notation, I’m totally lost as to what it means later when I settle in to write. It’s kinda analogous to writing a phrase after you’ve dreamt something intriguing and trying to decipher it when you’re fully awake.

6.  Do you write (or plan to write) in any other genres?
I do write in multiple genres. Paranormal romance, suspense, magical realism and thrillers are my go-to, but I also write urban fantasy, sci-fi, police procedurals, cozy mysteries, and the occasional bit of haiku. At work, I do quite a bit of staff development, procedure, and policy writing—which often could be considered sci-fi, urban fantasy or thrillers 😊 BTW, a hint if you write in multiple genres: use pen names, one for each genre. Readers generally appreciate knowing which genre you’re doing because it sometimes alters their expectations. Plus, it’s easier to market that way.

7.  What do you look for in a story?  Especially in your genre?  (Original ideas, plot lines, character development, world building, research, etc.?)
Somewhere in the first fifteen pages, something must happen that I can connect with—a character, a theme, a place, a trope. Whatever. Catch my attention and hold it, make me wonder where the story might take me. That’s what I look for. As far as genre specificity, if it starts out with a touch of magic, then the magic has to make sense within the context of the setting, time and place.

8.  What is one thing you wish you’d known when you first started writing?
Just how to be generally well organized. Or understanding social media more. Or how to properly format a book. Or use Photoshop…Ugh!! This is an excellent question! If I had to do it all over again, I suppose I would have learned more about the business of writing first. The how-to of succeeding as an author, marketing to a target audience, and the usual business planning of it.

9.  Are you working on a new book?  Can you share any details?
Always working on a new book. Always.

In the Wisp Stories, we’re on to Book 4. The working title is “The Magpie’s Brood.” It’s a tale of betrayal and the true cost of not saying what you mean, not keeping a promise, and—as always—being careful what you wish for.  I know it doesn’t sound like it, but this is a fairytale about enduring love and doing the right thing. Really. It is.

In the scifi short, “A Girl and Her Dog,” I’m working on Book 2, “A Girl and Her Dog Solve a Murder.” An unconventional alien abduction shifter story (what? I said it was unconventional), it strengthens the tie between Pannie, the man who saved her, and her faithful companion, the dog. But it also tells the backstory about the time when Pannie was taken off world, how she fell in love with the feral alien shifter who became her husband, and why he risked everything to help her return home, to Earth. Except it’s only the dog that seems to realize Pannie isn’t done with those alien shifters yet, even if she is safely back on Earth.

The next book in the Dr. Butterbaugh cozy mystery series, is called, “The Flemish Giant“.  What is a Flemish giant, you may ask? It’s a big rabbit. Dr. Butterbaugh is a veterinarian, if you didn’t know. “A Horse by Any Other Name” is Book 1.  Dr. Butterbaugh and the newly appointed sheriff deal with a stolen front-end loader, an exploding cow (don’t fret, the cow was already dead and buried when it went boom), too many bunnies on the loose, and Dr. Butterbaugh’s horse named Dog. This one is almost finished!

10.  Do you have any advice you would offer to writers who plan to self-publish?
Well, having said I wish I’d been better prepared and researched self-publishing more thoroughly, you should consider if you don’t take that first leap to publish, then you never will learn about publishing. Mistake making is one of the best teachers around.  What’s that Mark Twain quote? “Good decisions come from experience. Experience comes from making bad decisions.” 

You can find Sherry Perkins’ book at Amazon! https://www.amazon.com/At-End-Rainbow-Will-Stories-ebook/dp/B07CBLZL9Z

Thank you so much for sharing all this with us, Sherry. You can find out more about Sherry’s books in this series (as well as her other books) at the Amazon Author link below:

Amazon Author Page – https://www.amazon.com/Sherry-Perkins/e/B07C2MNKPX/

Sherry has added some photos she took during her research in Ireland along with a description for each:

1. From the Strand at Portrush. The wind was whipping! But the view was stunning and worth braving to discover it.

2. A collection of seashells and sea glass that I found on several beaches along the Antrim Coast. If you look closely, I found a pence as well. That was good luck!

3. The house that is featured as the cover to “What You Wished For.” I was standing on the beach just below it. There was a rivulet running down from the back of the property toward the beach and several sea caves. This was the place to convince me I was in a quite magical place!

4. From the other side of the first picture. I was at the Giants Causeway, looking back from where I’d been. Pretty sure I saw some selkies down on the skerries below.

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