Welcome to Clubhouse Chat page. For those of you who are not a member won’t be aware that the location of the Clubhouse is shrouded in mystery. The only way to visit the clubhouse is via membership or invite to the clubhouse tearoom. Every few days, I’ll be sharing a conversation I’ve had with a guest over tea and cakes, or maybe a glass of something stronger, about their work in progress, or latest book release. I’ll be talking to all sort of writers and authors at different levels of their writing careers.
Welcome to the clubhouse tearoom, Kerri. What drink shall I order for you.
Thank you so much for inviting me to chat with you. I’d love a cup of English breakfast tea while we talk. No sugar or milk.
Now our drinks have arrived we can start our chat, so I shall start by asking you when you first begun your writing journey what drew you to your chosen genre?
I think most who know me are aware of how I got started with my writing as a child and the genre for short stories I most often write is speculative fiction. I like to give my stories a bit of a twist.
How many unfinished projects do you have on your computer?
The number of unfinished stories must be fifty or more! If I counted, I’d probably be shocked at how many there actually are. Mostly they are story starts so I don’t forget what has popped into my head. I’m a bit of a “panster”, so I might be in the shower or washing dishes, maybe out walking our dogs when the beginning of a story pops into my head. Often the first couple of lines or even a short bit of dialog. Then I retreat to my office as soon as possible and type up what’s running through my head. Sometimes a whole story emerges and sometimes those few lines are the end of what’s there for the time being. I think that’s partially to do with a short memory, unfortunately.
Choosing only five of your favourite authors. Can you list them in order 1 begin the top of your list and say how have they influenced your writing?
My favorite authors would be an incredibly long list. But here is the best I can think of at the moment: 1) C.S. Lewis – I love everything ever written by him. 2) Ray Bradbury – My first ever science fiction author. Now there is a talented writer. 3) Jan Karon – She’s written a lovely series, The Mitford Series, about a small town and the priest who looks after them all. I fell in love with the characters reading the very first book and I’ve been in love with them all since. 4) Orson Scott Card – Another talented science fiction author who has also written several books about the women of the Bible. I’ve loved his writing since I read “The Seventh Son” in the 1980s. 5) Steve Carr – He is my mentor and I think I’ve loved every short story I’ve ever read of his thus far. I know I haven’t read them all as I believe he stands at over 430 published stories these days, but I will get around to it!
When reading your work through do you ever find that your daily mood swings are reflected in your writing?
I don’t find that my daily mood swings are reflected in my stories, but I do find bits and pieces of life that I’ve experienced – especially the more difficult parts. I think the fact I have experienced them gives those parts more emotion and honesty.
Were any of your characters inspired by real people?
Don’t all authors put a bit of themselves and those they know into their writing? It seems the best way to make it realistic is to share something you can feel deep inside yourself, whether that’s heartbreak, strength, joy, fear, sadness, loss, discovery. I think that is part of writing. I believe that’s why an author will say a story or novel is filled with their blood, sweat, soul, and heart.
What did you learn when writing your book? In writing it, how much research did you do?
I’ve been working on a novel for….what feels like almost a lifetime. But perhaps it’s only been ten years. It’s a fantasy novel with some historical basis and so I researched a great deal of history in the United States, where I’ve lived my whole life (except being born in Germany). And I wanted it to be based on truth, not history taught in schools and marred by those who wish to change it. So the research was time-consuming and actually took me several years. I sought out actual documents from the timeframe and read many accounts written by those involved and historians you might not consider to be among the academically elite. Again, I only believe what I could back up by finding the documents from that time in history to confirm its truth. In addition, I studied numerology. Also, plants and herbs, their uses and believed use by herbologists and believers in witchcraft. I wanted what I wrote to be believable for almost all who read it. That is if I ever finish it. I have around 57,000 words and a long way to go to give it an ending. But it will be the one thing I’ve written that I’ve spent so much time learning about before I put words to paper.
Is there anything about you your readers might be surprised to find out?
I think I have a few things that would surprise some people. One is that I was a single foster mother when I was twenty-three. I had my foster daughter for over a year. When she was able to return home, I knew my heart couldn’t take loving a child so much only to not have them in my life later. I never took another foster child. I waited for thirty-five years to have our child. It seemed a long time for someone who wanted more than anything to be a mother. Motherhood has great rewards and great heartbreak.
I also was a bit of a wild child growing up. I lived in a small town in the country and I have fond memories of times with my best friend of over forty years and our antics. I can’t think of a time we’ve chatted on the phone and not laughed and laughed about growing up. And also feel amazed we lived through it! And, no, I don’t miss those days in the least!
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
My work schedule when I’m writing is…let’s call it non-existent. I was an ambitious working woman all of my career until after I became a mother. I just wanted to climb the ladder and did so in my jobs very quickly. But when I write, I leave that behind. Because writing does take your heart and soul, the sweat of your brow, your deepest and most private feelings and thoughts to come to the forefront and create a story. Not every story, of course. Some flow out and you marvel from ‘whence they came’, so to speak. Others take a little piece of you as you lay the words out for others to see. At my age, fifty-nine years of which I am proud I’ve survived this long, it’s nice to not force myself to do anything I’m not up to. So I write when I want. It’s partially why I’m not good at popping out a story for a specific type of anthology. I have to just hope something comes out that fits the call.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
The use of a pseudonym was something I thought about a lot. But in the end, I want to be known for my stories and for my thoughts that went into them. However, if I were to write a novel that was different from the one I’m working on, I might then decide to use a pseudonym so there were no expectations set. Of course, if you never become well known, it doesn’t even matter. I don’t write anything I’d be embarrassed about or that would cause me to pause in typing my name on it – so far, anyway. What we feel comfortable writing and publishing is different for everyone. I have no idea why others use pseudonyms, but I think whatever works for you is what you should do.
How do you select the names of your characters? Do you know everything about them before you start writing their story?
This is my favorite question, so I’m glad it’s last! How to I come up with my character names depends on the story. In my novel, I made them all up. I sat down at my computer and started typing out strange names – all of them odd, unusual, and completely made up in my head. I think it’s unlikely you’ll find any of the names from my novel anywhere in the world. But for my short stories, I just think of common names usually. If I can’t, I have three baby name books I refer to and pick them out that way. I’ve also looked up names on a name generator site when I want something unusual. However, when I first started my novel, I don’t think those sites existed. And making them up is so much fun!
Do I know everything about my characters when I begin to write? No. They speak to me, tell me their stories, or withhold the information for a time. One of the characters in my novel has been quite secretive. He’s handsome, dapper, well-dressed, and seems to be a bit of a ladies man. But he won’t tell me a thing about himself! He’s made it quite difficult to write anything aside about him – even to write about where he lives. At some point, he’s going to give it all up. I just don’t know when. He has held out for 57,000 words worth of the story. But I like him so much, I can’t be angry at him.
Thank you, Kerri for joining me.
Paula, I have so enjoyed this time with you. The tearoom is lovely and so are you! Thank you so much for this opportunity and I look forward to reading other interviews from fellow writers.
You can find out more about Kerri on Amazon: or on her author’s page on Goodreads:
It you want to find out more about Clubhouse Member’s Books don’t forget to check out the Clubhouse Bookshops too.