Tag Archive | Southern

Desert Breeze Interview part 6


We’ve made it to the weekend again, but that means today is our final question and answer with Author, Sheryl Hames Torres. But she leaves us with some good advice.

Sheryl, what was the best advice you ever received about your writing? Something you keep in mind still today OR What was the best writing tip you ever read, learned, etc.

Sher: Way back in the dark ages, when I finally decided I’d like to get back to writing–was married, had my kids, moved home and was ready–I took an online writing workshop. I realize now, this was not the group for me, but I can’t find it within myself to be sorry because I met an incredible writer by the name of John Marco — years before the publication of Jackal of Nar, or any of the rest of his wonderful novels. This particular week, the critiques were especially harsh, and one person told me my writing was so bad, my characters so “hokey” and the whole thing was so southern, I should consider taking up plumbing because I had “a lot to flush.” Aside from this being “memoir week” and well, I am southern and most of the people I know are fairly proud of the little bit of hokiness in them, this stung badly enough I was ready to quit. John said, “I promise you, if you quit writing, you’ll be sorry for the rest of your life. You’re never going to please everyone, and you don’t want to. You’re never going to write exactly the way anyone else does, and you don’t want that either. It doesn’t matter if one person tells you your writing is sub-par. As long as you keep writing what’s true to your heart, someday, someone else is going to love it. That’ll be the person who’s important.” One of the most wonderful things to me this twenty years later, is walking into my son’s room and seeing John’s first book on my son’s bookshelf and knowing I had the privilege of critiquing that book long before it was published, and knowing way back then I was reading greatness.

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Author Interview fifth question


Fifth question for Author, Sheryl Hames Torres: Pick five words to describe your writing style/voice… then tell us why you chose each word.

Irreverent–I’ve never been one to back down or believe or not believe something simply because that’s what I’m supposed to do. I draw characters who are the same way–be they children or old ghosts. Every character I create has at their core some belief system and they always follow it–good or ill. Which brings me to…

Emotional– All my stories are built around the character’s emotions. Their belief systems often drag them along from chapter to chapter and decide how they’ll react to whatever situation or other character they encounter. They will defend the things they think are important to the exclusion of many other “supposed to be important” things, and the resulting feelings–happy, sad, terrifying, and exhilarating–build the stories. This very often will include the emotions in the settings as well. I met an old lady once who smoked a cigar and drank moonshine. She was the most irreverent and the most fascinating woman I ever met. And that brings me to…

Lighthearted–In the immortal words from Legend, “there can be no good without evil….No love without hate….No heaven without hell….No light without darkness.” I take it a little further–“there can be no sorrow without happiness…not pain without humor” or you dissolve. Which brings me to…

Honest–While I adore fantasy, fairy tales and make believe, I can’t stand things or people who don’t ring true. I try very hard to make my characters breathe. I want them to walk off my pages, take my readers’ hands and pull them into the stories.

Southern–I am southern. I’ve lived in Delaware and Michigan, and still I came out southern. I lived in Florida and even though it’s south of Georgia, only certain parts of the state are really southern. Ninety percent of my characters are southern. Most bleed Georgia red clay, buttermilk and cornbread. There will be “sayings”. There will be accents–if not of the tongue, surely of the heart.