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An Interview with Sherry Leclerc, Author of A Realm of Seers and Shifters

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Sherry Leclerc is an award-winning independent fiction author, a certified developmental editor, copyeditor, educator, and content creator. She likes to spend her free time getting lost in fantasy worlds, sometimes alone, and sometimes with her two sons.

You can buy A Realm of Seers and Shifters here.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?:

I have always loved stories, and some of my earliest memories of my mother reading fairy tales to my sisters and I before bed. There were many early influences on me in terms of writing. When I was quite young I wrote poetry and song lyrics. In my early teens, after encountering the works of Edar Allen Poe and Vincent Price for the first time, I wrote a short anthology of horror stories to share with my friends at halloween. In high school, I read J.R.R. Tolkien for the first time, and his writing had a huge impact on me. I read the Lord of the Rings Trilogy first, and then the Hobbit later. I remember being blown away by the worlds and characters that he created so skillfully, I could almost believe I was adventuring right along next to them. It was then that I made the decision to be a fantasy author someday so, like Tolkien, I could create worlds that enthrall readers and pull them into the action. It wasn’t until quite a lot later, however, that I finally started writing with the intent to publish.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I have a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in English Language and Literature and a minor in French Language and Literature, and I have a Bachelor of Education degree. I have been a teacher since 2000.

I started writing novels with the intent to become an independent author in 2017. Since then, I have been taking courses, reading books, and so on with the hopes of one day becoming a full-time author/editor. After many years of teaching full-time I now teach only part time and spend the rest of my time writing and editing.

As for something about me my readers wouldn’t know, I can think of a few things. I’ve lived in four different Canadian provinces and I lived in South Korea for two years, where I taught English. I am fluent in French and these days I am teaching part-time in a French school.

I have a third degree black belt in Taekwondo. I started practicing Taekwondo before I went to Korea, but when I was there, I went to classes 5-6 days a week and received my first 2 black belts while there.

Also, I play guitar, and when I need a break from writing but I don’t want to get out of that creative headspace, I practice guitar.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

My book’s title is A Realm of Seers and Shifters. It is actually a rewrite/rebrand of an earlier novel. I came up with the original title myself using elements from the story, but I didn’t come up with the current title. When I rebranded, I bought a package from the Best Page Forward service for authors. I don’t think they offer exactly the same package these days, but at the time, they studied the market and comparable books in my genre, then they came up with a new book title and series title, wrote the blurb, and created my new cover.

How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?

When I first held my book in my hands, I felt a mix of emotions. There was happiness, disbelief, and pride, of course. But there was also some panic, because I knew I’d now have to market and promote the book and, as an introvert, those were the things I found hardest to do.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

I can’t listen to songs with lyrics while I write, because I get distracted by the ‘story’ the lyrics tell. But I do have a couple of fantasy playlists I write to that are made up of fantasy or epic music without lyrics.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

I really hope that readers are able to get drawn into the world I’ve created and escape from their troubles for a while. But besides entertainment, my book offers a number of themes and messages, such as accepting and loving all parts of yourself while still being willing to improve. There are also messages about friendship and love, and not judging people by how they look.

What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?

One of the reasons I rewrote and rebranded my first two books has to do with how I wrote and published them in the first place. I’ve wanted to write books since I was a teenager, or even before that, but I’d gone to university on student loans and needed to have a steady income when I graduated, which was my push to go into education. It was a career I’d been interested in since I was young and one that I found meaningful, so I wasn’t disappointed by that. But it was a busy career and didn’t leave a lot of time for other pursuits.

Years later, my mother got sick and went into hospice. When she first went in, her doctors thought she only had days left. But when she moved from the hospital, which was sterile and impersonal, into the hospice, which was a much more inviting atmosphere, she took a turn for the better. I had taken a leave of absence from work to spend her last days with her, and I ended up getting three months with her instead, which I was grateful for.

But it also meant I spent a lot of time during that period contemplating my own mortality and the fragility of life. I found myself asking what I would regret when it was my turn, and I immediately knew I would regret it if I didn’t make an effort to make my dream of being a writer a reality. So a month or two after my mother passed, I started to write my novel.

My original version was a bit rushed and could have been done better (and I did improve it and republish it later) because the idea of mortality and how things can happen when we least expect it was forefront in my mind. I felt like I needed to get it out there.

So, the very act of writing and publishing that book was meaningful, because it meant that I was reaching for my goals and achieving my dreams, finally. I found myself wishing I’d been brave enough to do it while my mother was still alive, because I’m sure she would have been proud of me. But I like to think she’s been watching over me and she knows.

I haven’t stopped writing since then, though, these days, I don’t feel any pressure to rush things. My main goal now is to make my stories the best they can be before I publish them so that readers get to thoroughly enjoy them.

What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?

I’ve been working on a number of new writing projects. I never seem to be able to stick to just one.

Before I decided to rewrite and rebrand the series that A Realm of Seers and Shifters is a part of, I started a new epic fantasy series. For that series, I know what my series arc will be, the books in the series are mostly outlined, and the first draft of the first book is complete.

While I was working on that, an idea for another series, this time a new adult paranormal mystery, came to me, and I started planning that series as well. The first book of that series is almost completely drafted.

I am also working on the third book of the Trial of Kingdoms series (A Realm of Seers and Shifters is the first book in that series). The first draft was nearly complete, but I’ve gone back and made some changes. It was the one I was most focused on writing since the previous books in the series have already been published. But then…

About a week or so before NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) began, my 10-year-old son came to me and told me he had an idea for a book, but he didn’t think he could write that many words himself. Wanting to encourage him, I sat down at my computer with him and had him tell me his idea. After that we had a couple of brainstorming sessions and came up with the storyline, the main characters, and some of the challenges the protagonist will have to overcome. Because of the timing, I told him we could work on it together for NaMoWriMo. This book will be a tween/teen fantasy adventure story.

After NaNoWriMo, completing the A Trial of Kingdoms series will be my priority.

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