Today, I bring you an inspiring interview with children's' picture book author, teacher and photography lover, Sherry Roberts. Lets find out more.
Tell me about yourself.
Hi everyone! I’m Sherry Roberts. My students call me Dr. Roberts. My three nieces and one nephew call me Aunt She, and now my family call me She. Y’all can call me Sherry.
I’m an author who writes children’s picture books and have now entered the genre of middle grade books. (On the academic side, I have written three secondary education textbooks with the 4th edition of Personal Financial Literacy just out.)
My profession full time is a teacher (middle, high school, and collegiate levels) of 38 years. In my “spare” time, I love photography and have been back at it for the past five years. Mostly floral photographs but also beach scenes and landscapes. I sketch some and hope to get a bit better at that, too.
How long have you been writing?
It feels like I have always been writing something. I actually entered the publishing feild of children’s books in 2013 when I became a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).
I enjoy telling stories and now writing and sharing those stories with others is such a pleasure. I like to tell stories that have some base of my childhood and life. Some include variations of stories my parents have told me as they were growing up.
What do you like to read?
I like to read for enjoyment, therefore most of what I enjoy is the rom-com genre. I enjoy a writer who is also a good storyteller. I want to be able to visualize what I am reading. The scenery, the characters, feel their feelings, and share in their adventures/lives.
You are a teacher. How much inspiration do you draw from your job?
There is so much you can garner from teaching, no matter the level. I have taught technology to ages K-12 up to 92 years young. Each day is an adventure and so many stories can be gained from just listening to your surroundings and to the stories being told to you by those around you no matter their age.
My inspiration also comes from my childhood, my nieces and nephew, and the children I babysat over the years.
What do you enjoy the most about writing for children?
When a story is finished, and you see a child’s face as you are reading it to them or when you hear from their parents or the child how much they love the story.
Tell me about your first picture book tilted ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas…A First for Gus.’ What inspired it?
This story came from another version of the original Night Before Christmas. I was playing around with how I could tell the story but tell it from a rescue pup’s point of view. I have a beautiful rescue and often he is an inspiration for rescue dog stories that I write. I have also had many basset hounds and love them so. I decided Gus would be a basset hound. Once that was decided, it was easier to know how the pup would behave and react to this large man in a red suit.
I had to let children know in the backmatter about what it takes to care and love a pet. That is important to me they understand, and pet is for the pet’s lifetime. They will need care and love just as we do.
What are you working on now?
I have two books that were published in April 2023. The first, Hello, Can I Bug You?, was inspired by the song “My Funny Valentine.” This song has always been a favorite of mine because it is about loving someone no matter what they looked like or if they were the smartest person around. I knew I didn’t want the book to be a seasonal book, so I change the story but still left the original message of being friends with someone no matter the wrinkled, messy clothes, if they liked bugs, or were very shy. Making the effort to be friends with kindness and understanding are important.
The other book, Sonnet, Sonnet, What’s In Your Bonnet?”, takes children on a whimsical adventure through Sonnet’s garden to learn fun, interesting facts about many flowers they may have seen or would like to grow in their gardens. This book is filled with my floral photography and encourages children to take an interest in gardening.
On July 14, 2023, my next book, The Best Reading Buddy, will launch. This is a story very close to my heart. It is a story of a granddad and his granddaughter, Sage, who both love to read. Granddad’s eyesight begins to fail. Sage and Granddad find a new way to remain The Best Reading Buddy. This book will be great to share with children to begin discussions of what happens as grandparents get older. Maye their eyesight begins to fail but they are still who you know.
What animal do you most relate to and why?
This is always a hard question for me. Although I am a dog person, I would say I am more like a cat, in that I like to sit and watch, relax, interact when I am most comfortable with a person. Unlike a cat, I won’t attack when a person least expects it!
What advice would you give a first-time author?
My best advice is to preserve. Don’t give up.
Find a group like SCBWI, or 12x12, or KidLit, so that you have like-minded people to talk through this wild adventure of children’s publishing. They will also be where you find your “tribe” or critique partners that will help you grow as an author in your writing. You may go through several critique groups until you find the one that “fits” but it will be worth it. This is not an easy adventure but with help and support, it is an adventure that is worth the trip.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Like I said earlier, I love photography. It helps with my creativity. It helps me when I have writer’s block. It helps to ground me.
I also like to sketch. I’m hoping to begin working with Procreate to see what I can do. Other than these things, I like to read. A lot.
Thank you to Sherry for chatting with us on the blog. If you would like to check out her work, click on the links below.