Friday, June 22, 2012

Lookout for Debut Author Sherri Shackelford

Congratulations Sherri on your debut Love Inspired Historical novel, “Winning the Widow’s Heart.” This heartwarming tale is available this month in both print and e-book. As someone who has had the pleasure of reading this fast-paced book, I can attest that it’s great!

Thank you for having me! You’ve been such a support to me on the journey, and your continued promotion warms my heart.

Sherri, thank you for being here. Would you mind sharing for the others a little about this story?

Elizabeth Cole is widowed and pregnant, and her late husband left behind a whole host of secrets and lies. Jack Elder is driven to find his sister-in-law’s killer, and he can’t stop until he knows the truth, if even if the answers unravel Elizabeth’s fragile security.

‘Winning the Widow’s Heart’ is set in the exciting Wild West. Could you tell us a little about how you familiarized yourself with the locale and time period?

Since I was born and raised in the Midwest, I knew the terrain and much of the history. Though I’ve never lived in Kansas, small town Kansas is similar to small town Iowa or Nebraska. Each town has its own personality, and its own set of characters. I have the best job in the world because I’m able to create my own town!

How thrilling it must be to see your first book in print. Would you mind sharing some details about your path to publication? How long had you been writing before receiving the “Call”? Any major challenges along the way?

I wrote for exactly four years before I was published. I wrote in several genres, and I wrote everything from over-the-top humor, to depressing angst-ridden tales of woe. It took me a long time to find my voice. (Although I suspect humor will play a greater role in my subsequent books.)

Major challenges? Hmmm…Rejection is always a challenge! I learned coping skills that I still use. Not everyone will like your work, and that’s okay. You develop a thick skin.

Do you have a specific writing routine? Daily word count goals? Any quirks?

I struggle with word count goals in the summer! I set goals, and I’m pretty good at keeping them – but when the kids are home during the summer, everything goes out the window. I’m never as productive as I think I should be.

For you, what is the most challenging part of writing a book? Beginnings? Middles? Ends? How do you conquer these problem areas?

I think the most difficult part is maintaining the momentum. Cheryl St.John taught me that if you have a good, solid internal conflict with your characters, the story will survive the murky middle. For me, it’s simply overcoming that moment where you think, “Oh no, this is awful! This is the worst book ever written.” Almost every author feels that way at some point – but you have to keep going and tell yourself ‘I’ll fix it later!’

If there was one thing you wished you’d have known before you got published, what would it be?

I had really prepared for bad reviews – I knew I’d get them (everyone does at some point or another) – but I wasn’t prepared for fan mail and for people who actually enjoyed the book! You realize what an awesome responsibility you’ve undertaken. Now you have people you don’t want to disappoint. That was a surprise – a pleasant surprise, but definitely a surprise!

What’s the title of your next book to hit the shelves? When can we expect it?

I’m working on Jo’s story. Keep your fingers crossed that I come up with something worthy of Harlequin Love Inspired!

Thank you for stopping by and sharing with us!

Thank YOU!



  1. Thank you for being here, Sherri! And I hear you about struggling with word counts in the summer. There is just so much to do and so many distractions. I must admit that yesterday was one of those days for me. By the time I had a moment to write, I was too tired. Hoping today will be better.

    Good luck with your book. I loved it! Am looking forward to your next release.

  2. Thank you for being in the hot seat today, Sherri! Your book sounds wonderful, and I just love the conflict you've established between the characters. I'm relieved to hear that you struggle with the middle of the book as much as I do. Knowing that I can go back and fix it later has saved more than one manuscript!

  3. Enjoyed reading your interview and the process you go through. Thank you for sharing it with us. Congratulations on your success and best wishes for many more worthy novels to come.

  4. Hi, Sherri! Thanks so much for visiting today. Congratulations on your debut LI book. I absolutely love historical-and the cover is gorgeous. I'm currently struggling with wordcount goals now that summer is here too ;-)

  5. Sorry guys, I thought I had commented earlier! Lesson learned: always go back and check for post :)

    Jennifer, thank you for having me!

    Natalie, I get so insecure during the middle of a book...It's tough!

    Amity, I'm hoping for more novels..fingers crossed xxxx

    Victoria, Isn't the cover amazing? I think I owe 99% of sales to that cowboy!

  6. Lovely to 'meet' you, Sherri. Thanks for coming to join us. Huge congratulations on your debut and wishing you every success with it. :-)