Monday, June 22, 2020

Guest Blogger: Sherri Leimkuhler

Please tell us about your latest book.

What’s Left Untold, released by Red Adept Publishing on May 19, 2020, tells the story of a woman who reunites with her estranged best friend and uncovers a devastating secret that threatens to destroy the life she’s built with her husband and daughters.

What can we expect from you in the future?

The first draft of my second book is almost complete—which means it still has a long way to go, lol! Currently titled either Sauce or The Executive Club, this book tells the story of a woman who quits her job to start her own business and finds herself in dire financial straits. When a former client dangles the prospect of discreet, lucrative work she finds the temptation hard to resist, though venturing into this risqué business threatens the relationships that are most important to her and forces her to question the strength of her integrity and moral compass.

How do we find out about you and your books?

How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?

Almost every author has probably heard the advice to “write what you know.” I also, personally, believe that art imitates life, and so for both of these reasons, bits of my personal experiences are sprinkled into my book. That said, What’s Left Untold is not about me or anyone I know. The characters and events are all composites of many people, places and experiences I’ve encountered throughout my life. The book is ultimately a wild ride through my imagination, full of unexpected twists and surprises and a shocking, controversial ending that has readers saying, “I didn’t see that coming!” What’s Left Untold is being deemed and excellent book club book.

When did you first think about writing and what prompted you to submit your first ms?

I’ve always loved to write, and teachers as far back as elementary school have complimented my work and suggested I become a writer. My original career aspiration was to be a pilot. In college, I majored in aviation and journalism, intending for journalism to be a secondary or back-up plan. I graduated with an MEII rating (Multi Engine Instrument Instructor) and interned with an airline. I also worked as a corporate co-pilot and flight instructor for many years. But, ultimately, family took priority over flying and I didn’t want to spend days at a time away from home sleeping in hotels.  I had three children in four years and when my babies were napping, I began taking on an ever-increasing amount of freelance writing work as a columnist, a sports writer and a grant writer. It was around this time that I set my sights on becoming a published author.

Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just go with the flow?

With three children and multiple freelance jobs (as a yoga instructor, newspaper columnist and market research and development associate) no two days are the same for me—and I tend to like it that way, though I admit it’s not ideal for being able to write as routinely as I’d like. I plan my schedule each week based on what’s the highest priority at the moment, but I do aim to carve out blocks of time each day for writing and exercise.

What about your family, do they know not to bother you when you are writing - or are there constant interruptions?

Now that my kids are all teenagers, I have more uninterrupted time during the day to work and write.

What do you do to relax and recharge your batteries?

In this world of 24/7 social media access and technology, it’s hugely important to me to maintain a work/life balance. I try to work “regular” weekday hours to coordinate with my family’s schedule so that I’m available in the evenings, and I also unplug as much as possible on weekends. I don’t believe it’s healthy to be “on demand” all the time. I cherish family time, prioritize exercise, and need down time on the weekends to read and spend time in nature. My husband and I were both competitive triathletes for ten years and although we’ve scaled way back in recent years, we still like to stay active. Right now I really enjoy paddleboarding and trail running as often as I can.

Where do your ideas come from?

I believe art imitates life, so most of my story ideas are inspired by experiences I’ve had, stories I’ve heard, or places I’ve been. With those ideas in mind, I change a few of the variables and ask myself “What if . . . ?” and the story often takes shape from there.

Do you feel humor is important in books and why?

Humor is an important part of life—and a skill that I am sorely lacking. I love going to comedy clubs and sharing “punny” jokes online to make people smile, but I don’t consider myself to be a naturally funny person, and I’m not easily amused. I wouldn’t rank comedies high on my list of movie to watch, but I do enjoy reading books that are injected with bits of humor. Bill Bryson is probably my favorite for humorous reads.

What kind of research do you do?

I’m a stickler for detail and research takes up a decent chunk of my writing time. I often stop writing mid-sentence to research a small detail, such as what time the sun would set on a particular date, or what song was popular in a given year. But I also dedicate time to researching for the bigger picture as well. In What’s Left Untold, I researched specific geographic and regional details, as well as social, legal, ethical and medical details relevant to one of the book’s more controversial topics.

Please tell us about yourself.  

I live in Maryland with my husband, three daughters and two Labrador Retrievers. I was a competitive triathlete for ten years and I’m a bit of fitness junkie. I teach yoga and I enjoy spending time outdoors and with family. I also love to travel, explore new places, experience different cultures and drink good wine.

What are some of your favorite things to do?

Trail run, paddleboard, hike, travel, read.

Who are some of your other favorite authors to read?

Stephen King was, well, king when I was a teenager. And while I still admire him, I now gravitate more toward women’s fiction and historical fiction books. Jodi Picoult, Jennifer Weiner, Kristin Hannah, Lisa Wingate, Liane Moriarty, Sarah Pekkanen and Kate Quinn are among my favorite authors. But there are also a lot of very talent debut authors currently releasing great books! My kindle is full of books to be read by Lainey Cameron, Barbara Linn Probst, Kate Milliken, Ava Homa, Rebecca Taylor, Tracey Enerson, Anita Kushwaha, Kate Lansing, Catherine Adel West, Diane Zinna Pettyjohn, Barbara Conrey, and so many more! I need more time to read all these amazing books!

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Hopefully my second book will be published, a third book will be on the way, and fourth book will be in development. All three of my daughters will either be in college or will have already graduated, so my husband and I will be moving into a new phase of life as empty nesters and hopefully planning an amazing trip to celebrate 30 years of marriage. 

How many books have you written, how many have been published?

What’s Left Untold, released by Red Adept Publishing on May 19, 2020, is my first book. The first draft of my second book is written and hopefully will be the next to be published.

After you've written your book and it's been published, do you ever buy it and/or read it?

Yes! I know not all authors do this but I was so excited to have my first book in the world and I wanted to experience it the same way a reader would experience it: I ordered a print copy of What’s Left Untold and read it as soon as it arrived. My journey from inspiration to publication of this book was nearly 11 years in the making, so it was a surreal experience to finally hold my own book in my hands.

 What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?

Aside from finally having my book in the hands of readers, the most rewarding thing has been the other writers and authors I’ve had the privilege of meeting and getting to know. The writing, reading and blogging communities have all been incredibly positive and supportive, and it’s really made this whole experience even better and more fulfilling than I could have imagined

Are there any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?

1)      Write the story you want to write! Publishing is a highly subjective industry and, though it may take time to connect your book with its audience, I believe that for every book written there are people who want to read it.
2)      Don’t be afraid to take risks.
3)      Practice your craft regularly, connect with other authors, learn and absorb as much as you can, and don’t hesitate to reach out to the writing community for support and advice.
4)      Never give up.

No comments:

Post a Comment