Interview with Sherry Ewing

IMHCSY_Cover_original_pic_Blue2_edited-2_2What genre do you write and why?

I write historical and paranormal romances. My very first historical novel I read as a teenager was The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. I’ve been hooked ever since so it was only natural that this would be the genre I would one day write. My first introduction to time travel romances was Jude Deveraux’s A Knight in Shining Armor. I read that book until the binding cracked on my hardcover addition.

How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite?

I have completed five manuscripts not including a work in progress. I just self-published one of them. If My Heart Could See You made its official debut just ten days ago and is my historical romance set in twelfth century England. My favorite story, however, will be my time travel entitled, For All of Ever. It takes a secondary character, who is the captain of the guard in If My Heart Could See You, and introduces him to a very modern day woman from San Francisco. It was a lot of fun to write and I hope to publish it within the next few months.

How does your family feel about your writing career?

My family is extremely supportive of my writing. I do have a day job, however, so I really have no down time and seem to spend the majority of my time looking at a computer screen. I tend to zone out, so sometimes my daughter has all but given up having a conversation with me. She’s been a true gem though, and chose my heroine’s name of Amiria in my debut novel.

What was the deciding factor in self-publishing your book? Did you decide on eBook or print only or both?

I believe the deciding factor for me to self-publish was for me to keep control of my own work. I did pitch my story at two Romance Writers of America conferences and took the first rejection letter and earned my PRO status. At this stage in my life, I was only wanting to say that I published a book and check this off my bucket list. If just a few people bought it and enjoyed the story, then that was enough to make me happy. I did put If My Heart Could See You out in print and major eBook retailers.

Do you have any rejection stories to share?

I’m shaking my head with this question but am also grinning ear to ear since If My Heart Could See You has been such an early success. I was at my first RWA conference and my second day of pitching to an agent. The first day I was excited because I was asked to submit the full manuscript, but I decided to still pitch for the experience. If you’ve never been through this process, it can be very nerve wracking especially since I’m such an introvert. You have your slotted time, form one long line, and then you march into a huge room where you sit with the agent/editor who you’ve picked out. I was walking up to the small table and had an uneasy feeling come over me before I even sat down. I began to pitch my story and barely got but a few words out when the woman basically told me she was tired of strong heroines and did I have anything else to pitch. I was stunned because generally you don’t want a weak heroine who’s sobbing her way through a book. I suppose I should have chosen the first manuscript I had written, but it was such a train wreck that I began to pitch my time travel, For All of Ever. I could see by the look on her face that she wasn’t interested in that one either. We shook hands, I thanked her for her time, and I left. I still look back on that day and am thankful that this interview hadn’t happened the day before.

What went into the process? Writing, editing, cover design, formatting.

Self-publishing is a lot of work. I think I’ve lost count of all the “newbie” mistakes I’ve made along my journey to becoming a published author. I must have edited If My Heart Could See You at least fifteen times if not more. I got several beta readers to read it along with my wonderful critique partner, Tricia Linden, who gives me the much needed insight to make my stories better. I also hired Barbara Cole for my editor to go over line and content edits. I think this is a mistake a lot of self-published authors make by not hiring someone to edit their work. When I began writing this story, I always saw John Waterhouse’s Lamia painting as the artwork for my cover. It’s based on Greek mythology so I had to do a lot of editing to get out the snake skin that was wrapped around her legs and at the bottom of the picture. This was no small task and I stumbled my way around Photoshop for months trying to figure out the program. I swear with the amount of time I spent on this cover, I could have written another two books! Formatting for print on demand and eBook was another issue that had me pulling out my hair in frustration. You would think it wouldn’t be so difficult. I had the perfect plan to have the paperback and eBook versions come out at the same time. Somewhere along the way, I “published” on Kindle but didn’t start to promote until two weeks later when I mistakenly “approved” the print to go live when I thought I was approving another proof. Lesson learned: farm out the work/covers to the professionals who know what they are doing so you can get back to your writing.

How long has your book been out?

This is what’s so crazy about self-publishing. You just never know when something will hit. If My Heart Could See You came out for eBooks on July 10th. I didn’t do a whole lot of promoting until the paperback came out on Thursday, July 24th. Even then, I didn’t do anything over the top that any other self-published author had been doing. I sent out the usual: tweets, posts on Facebook, composed a few blogs or participated in a blog hop, was a guest on someone’s blog, the email to friends and family saying “buy my book because it will change your life forever and don’t forget to write a review.” I knew Amazon Kindle would most likely be where most of my sales would come from. By Friday, I had fifty Kindle downloads. I thought, how nice is that? All my friends and family are buying my book. I was on cloud nine. After a restless night, I grabbed my cellphone Saturday morning and went to my sales dashboard. I looked and looked again thinking Amazon had some kind of malfunction going on. I grabbed my glasses but still saw this green line going upwards on the graph. I had 70 sales by 8 a.m.! I ended that day with 137 sales that put me in the top ten in two categories. The sales continued through the weekend but it wasn’t until the middle of the week that I saw that I had hit #3 & #4 in two categories for Amazon Hot New Releases! I just about fell off the couch. As I answer these questions, I have had a total of 668 Kindle downloads along with eight 5-Star reviews. It’s crazy and fabulous all at the same time. I don’t understand why my story hit out of the thousands of eBooks that are out there, but I will continue to enjoy this ride for however long it lasts. I am indeed thankful and can now call myself a bestselling author!

Do you have any words of inspiration for aspiring authors?

I would give any aspiring author the same guidance I was given. Join an organization that supports the genre you write in. I joined Romance Writers of America and it’s been the best thing I could have done for my writing career. Learn the craft of writing by taking classes and find yourself a critique partner or group and beta readers. Make sure that very first novel is at its best before you start pitching it. If it’s your first draft, you will still have a lot of work ahead of you before its ready to take that next step. You have to think of this as a business and sometimes leave your tender hearted feelings behind when you get rejection letters or bad reviews. If you plan to self-publish, have your manuscript edited by a profession. Your mother, sister, or friend will tell you you’ve written the next bestseller but only a professional editor can tighten up your work to make it shine. Write, write, and write some more. Have a least three or more manuscripts completed so you can get them out relatively close to one another. The more you have out the better or so I’ve been told. Don’t forget an online presence: website, blog, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Start getting a “fan base” before you publish. I started all this over a year ago. Last, but certainly not least, never give up on your dreams no matter how old you are. You just never know how far they will take you!

Book Excerpt of If My Heart Could See You:

Young knight MacLaren stood with steady feet upon the narrow parapet and looked down into the inner bailey, surveying the destruction and devastation below. Ian, the guardsman ever by the youth’s side, had the same grim expression as his charge.

The constant thunder of a battering ram slamming upon the solid oak door echoed harshly throughout the keep. Afore long, the wooden portal would give way, and with its demolition, all hope would surely depart from the occupants who had fled inside to find safe haven. Too soon, the enemy would be within, causing more lives to be lost in the castle’s defense. The siege had been bloody, lasting more than two fortnights, and, in truth, ’twas surprising the battle endured as long as it had, given the small number of knights available to defend the castle walls.

For nigh unto sixty years, Berwyck Castle had known peace over its land while governed by the last remaining descendants of the Scottish clan MacLaren. The castle and its people, however, had grown accustomed to constant upheaval, being between two kings struggling for power and control over the region. Situated on a cliff high above the raging sea, the castle towered over a prime port for transporting goods into the interior of the country, both north and south. Its location, bordering Scotland and England, had been the cause of many a battle over the centuries, and the fortress had changed liege lords more often than most could remember. With the arrival of the enemy, and the breaching of the curtain wall, ’twas but a matter of time afore England would once again call this castle its own in the name of their king.

Although young in years and slight of frame, the fledgling knight had fought valiantly and bravely, never giving quarter, even whilst the enemy relentlessly pressed forward in determination to win the day. Only at the command of the castle’s laird and chieftain of the clan did the knight order the garrison to fall back into the keep to protect the family within. Moments earlier, all had watched in horror as a sword laid low their liege and his eldest son, though they continued to pray that perchance the leaders had been spared and yet lived.

Blood, of those whom the young MacLaren’s loyal garrison had slain, covered their armor, and the stench assaulted their senses. The cries of the wounded and dying were but a soft whisper on the wind and had all but quieted. MacLaren knew all of Berwyck’s inhabitants were now focused on the newest threat to come, as the castle’s last defense was about to fall. The distinct sound of splintering wood rang out into the chilled air. The warriors atop the battlement grimaced at the forecast of what their future held.

“Ach, ’twill not last much longer now,” Ian predicted.

“Aye Ian, our fate it seems has been sealed,” the young knight said, retrieving the sword that had been carefully laid up against the stone wall.


Sherry Ewing is a bestselling self-published author who writes historical and paranormal romance novels to awaken the soul one heart at a time. Always wanting to write a novel but busy raising her children, she finally took the plunge in 2008 and wrote her first Regency. A national and local member of Romance Writers of America since 2012, she earned her PRO status in 2013. When Sherry is not busy writing, she can be found in the San Francisco area at her day job as an Information Technology Specialist.

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2 thoughts on “Interview with Sherry Ewing

  1. Good interview Sherry. I also dealt with rejection, but I kept at it, and I was glad of that. Your books sounds wonderful. I love historical romances. I wish I could find my Knight in shining armour. Good luck with sales.

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