Sherry Roseberry interview with David Alan Binder

posted Aug 24, 2019, 7:27 PM by David Alan Binder

Sherry Roseberry interview with David Alan Binder

About Sherry from her website:  There were two things I wanted to be when I grew up, a mother and an actress. From middle school to college her focus was drama. While in a seventh-grade class my English teacher said that if we ever wanted to write for magazines like The Readers Digest the articles had to be perfect in spelling, grammar, and punctuation. She admonished us to take English classes seriously.


I remember thinking that advice didn’t pertain to me because I wasn’t going to be a writer. I was going to be an actress! Little did I know I would end up being an award-winning author. 


My drama training hasn’t been wasted, though. I’ve been in several community productions and written, acted in, and sold four plays to Eldridge Play Company. Three are still in print. I have adapted the acting methods I’ve learned, using them in my writing and has given numerous workshops teaching others the same techniques.


Besides my plays, I have published articles, short stories, two historical romantic suspense novels, and one contemporary romantic suspense. Now I’m concentrating on writing a mystery series with two elderly sisters PIs.


1.     Where are you currently living? 

I live in a small town in Southeastern Idaho where winter’s on Monday, spring’s on Wednesday, and summer’s on Friday. 

2.                 What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far? 

Join a critique group. I’ve been with some of the same people for over 35 years. We’ve had each other’s back through submissions, rejections, and eventually publications. Now, we’ve named our group the Blue Sage Writers, and with our collective knowledge and distinctive talents, we’ve  helped newer members fine-tune their own writing. Plus, they’re still on top of my spelling. I can’t spell worth a darn, and my grammar isn’t much better. Not to mention punctuation….

3.                 What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk? 

My editor at Berkley told me, “nobody writes like you, you’re unique.” And it made me wonder why. Then I realized it was my seven years of drama training. I write, or try to, so the reader can see what they are reading just as if they were watching a play or movie. I’ve been able to put what I do into words, and I’ve given numerous workshops on using acting techniques in writing. One of them was at a national conference of The Romance Writer’s of America. The panel I was on was voted in the top ten. 

4.                 Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?

Even though my NY publisher spent $$$ to have Fabio on my first cover and a special artist to paint it, they did almost nothing to promote it. I thought it was because of my small advance. Later at a conference, I heard an agent talk about an author who had a $400,000 advance, and her publisher didn’t do a thing to push her book. So, even in the 90’s if you’re not a big named author, a writer had to do what she/he had to to get their book out there.

As to self-publish, one of my writing friends, a Blue Sager, helps me with that. She’s also created my beautiful covers. Computers and I don’t play well together. I know enough to be dangerous. With my bumbling, I’m afraid I’d send a virus to Amazon’s publishing site and crash it. Hey, it could happen. When my sis was typing up a case in the ER the computers crashed. She wasn’t allowed to use them after that. It could run in families, you know.

a.                 Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they located?

Berkley Publishing Comp in New York City had originally published my books. I am now reissuing them through Amazon.


5.                 Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?      

I don’t think it’s much of a secret, but please have someone who knows what they are doing, edit your book. Do not self-publish without doing so. Also, have someone other than your family or friends critique it. In fact, have several. There are numerous SP books out there that are so bad. Plus, I’ve heard an editor say they will accept a book that has been edited over one  that hasn’t. Even if that one has a better plot.

6.                 How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent?  Any tips for new writers on getting one?

If they want to publish traditionally and since more and more publishers will only look at submissions through agents, I would suggest that authors acquire one. Go to conferences that have editors and agents who are open to new clients and will listen to pitches. That is how I obtained my first agent.  

7.                 Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be so specific that this most likely will not have been seen elsewhere)? 

New writers have a penchant for -ly words. Tone them down. If you have to have them use one a page. Describe the action. Instead of saying, “He slowly raised his head and stared at her,” say something like, “In slow increments, he raised his head and pinned her with a hard glare.” The second sentence is more visual and will pull readers into the story.

Be stingy with your italicized words/sentences. When used, your readers are alerted to something that is important, because it makes your prose jump out. So, save them for the times you want to emphasize, dramatize, or signal a change in your story. Years ago, I read a book where italicized words and sentences were used so much that, instead of what the author intended, it came off screaming at me. And each time I’d tense. It wasn’t a satisfying read. If overused, nothing stands out.

8.                 How many books have you written? 

I’ve written 6 books with 3 in print. I’ve also had short stories and articles published and 4 plays published by Eldridge Pub Comp. 


9.                 Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be so specific that this most likely will not have been seen elsewhere)? 

An actor uses her/his voice to denote vital information. With writing, if I want something to stand out for dramatic effect, I’ll give it its own paragraph. Even if it’s one word.  

UNDERACTING: In a movie, where Sly Stalone was the lead. His son comes up missing. Drama and emotions flair. Yet, when he does see his son, he acted with as much warmth as if he’d said, “Oh, hi, son. You finally rolled out of bed?” It was very disappointing! You’re cheating your readers if you skimp on dramatic scenes or worse, choose to have them off stage. If you have an opportunity to raise the tension, do it. Your readers will have a very satisfying read, but won’t be able to pinpoint just any scene that made it so good.

On The Flip Side/OVERACTING: Audiences don’t have to cry if your heroine is doing it all for them. Thus they are not emotionally involved.

Drama students are taught about Stanislavski’s Method of Recall. As we writers are told to know our characters inside and out, he had his actors study the inner lives of their characters as if they were real people. Don’t just say she/he slipped and fell. Remember how it felt when you were a girl or a boy wedging your toes against a rock, the ground rushing up to meet you, your outstretched palms sliding in the gravel, your braids bouncing against your back, or hat sliding off and the dust rising and settling. You see the pebbles embedded in your skinned palms and bloody material sticking to your knees, Then, you feel the sting.

10.            Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story? 

I toss in a lot of red herrings, putting emphasis on them to hide the real clues, culprits or action. 

11.            What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd? 

Besides comedy, I love drama, and there’s nothing better than writing a great action sequence where the heroine and/or hero is in danger. Because of this, a fellow writer said I was an Indiana Jones of romance. 

12.            What is one unusual way in which you promote your work?

I did something when my first book, Tender Deceptions, came out that no one had ever done before and, as far as I know, has never done since. I’d found out that Nora Roberts, a NY Times Bestseller, had posed for one of her own book covers. The idea grew on me, and I wanted to pose for a mock book cover. So, I wrote a letter to the producers of the NBC “Mike & Matty” show. (It was in the same time slot that “The View” is in now.) I had asked if Mike would pose as my hero. They loved the idea, and I was featured on their Mother’s Day program. The photoshoot was all ad-libbed and such a hoot. When they filmed the show live, Matty held up my book for the cameras. The whole process for me was both exciting and nerve-wracking. 

13.            What saying or mantra do you live by?

Unlike some published authors in the RWA who would deliberately give low scores in contests to the unpublished because they believed we were just training our replacements, I don’t. Everyone has different writing styles and unique ideas. I have 33 plus years of experience and 29 conferences under my belt, so I have much to share. I love to judge in unpublished contests and give suggestions as to what the authors could do to make their prose stand out. No matter how amateur the writing I’ve always found something to praise and, unlike some, I never gave a lower score than a 3 out of a 5. There is no call for crushing someone’s dream. 

14.            Anything else you would like to say?

One great thing about belonging to a critique group is that you can compile and publish a collection of short stories. We Blue Sage Writers put together a book for Halloween, Ghost Stories and Tales of the Weird, from Amazon. We will also be compiling a stocking stuffer for Christmas.