Monday, May 30, 2022


I want to thank Sherri Hollister for taking the time for this interview!


People have asked me why I don’t write about my adventures raising six sons. I have to admit that I prefer to write their stories as fiction because no one would believe the stuff they put me through if I tell it as fact. 

In fiction I can clean my boys up a little when I like them and make them the heroes of my stories and if they’ve pissed me off, I can make them the villains. 

It’s been a running joke around our house that mom will put you in her book and kill you off on page fifty, but some know they’re the smelly corpse discovered in the ditch at the very beginning of the story. 

Heck, it’s not even a threat anymore my grandkids are begging to be put in my books and even telling me how I can kill them off. I mean really, where’s the threat in that? We put the fun in dysfunctional, what can I say? 

I have long conversations with my children and grandchildren about blowing things up and how to get rid of bodies. The holidays are never boring around our house.

When and how did you know you wanted to be a writer? 

I fell in love with stories when I was a young child. I wrote my first romance at ten years old.


Did you have any influencing writers growing up? 

Many authors influenced my love of story and desire to write, from Betty Smith “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” and Beatrice Sparks’ “Go Ask Alice” to Kathleen Woodiwiss, Jude Deveraux and Julie Garwood.


Are any of your characters based on people in real life? 

Loosely, but yes, my characters, story ideas, even my setting are based on real life.


Where do you draw your book inspirations from? 

It could be from anything from a local event to a news article to a dream. Inspiration is everywhere.


Do you use have a basic outline when starting a new story or do you let the characters lead the way? 

I call myself a pantser but I’ve been trying to develop a system that works for me. I despise outlining but I like to know a couple of things, 1) where I’m hoping to end up and 2) what is keeping the character from getting what they want.

I do some planning, making notes as I go as to where I want to go next. I find handwriting helps me plan my stories and really get into the difficult parts of my story.


When you are picturing the characters in your book, do you have a cheater photo for inspiration? 

Not always but sometimes I feel I need something. I have discovered each book is different and how I write and plan is different.


Many people read as a form of escape and relaxation.  What is your favorite way to sit back and relax? 

I love to read or watch television. I enjoy romantic comedies, reality competition shows, and documentaries. I enjoy audiobooks and YouTube videos on writing craft and research.


Who are your favorite current authors to read? 

Jayne Ann Krentz, Sabrina Jeffries, Reese Ryan, Avery Flynn, Amy Rose Bennett, Will Thomas, Donna Steele and Sandra Cox


What are your favorite books by others? 

Guild Boss by Jayne Castle (aka Jayne Ann Krentz). Tom Boy by Avery Flynn, How to Catch a Wicked Viscount by Amy Rose Bennett, A Duke for Diana by Sabrina Jeffries, Some Danger Involved by Will Thomas


Do the locations in the stories have any meaning to you? 

Yes, though I’ve changed the names of some of the stores and restaurants, I base them on familiar places. 

The Depot CafĂ© is Wayside Restaurant, the description of the townhall is the same as my hometown’s townhall.


Do you write in single or multiple POV? 

I write in multiple POVs. Trent’s Melody only has two POVs but most of my stories have three.


What do you find to be your best research tool? 

The people I know. I have a family who have worked interesting jobs and traveled unique places, they helped me add some realism to my stories. 

Two of my Beta readers are former police officers, and another has a daughter in the FBI. It really helps to get accurate information.


Do you write under a pen name?  Also, do you write under more than one name? 

I write under my name or initials, Sherri Lupton Hollister or S L Hollister


What genre do you write and why is this your preference? 

At the moment I’m writing contemporary romantic suspense, but I’ve started working on a historical romantic suspense series. These are two of my favorites, I’d also like to write romcom as that is another favorite to read.


Tell me something about yourself outside of writing.  Jobs, accomplishments, family, quirky trait...what led to you being you?

I am mostly an only child. I had a sister who only lived a month when I was not quite six years old.

My grandfather Bill Joe was a great storyteller and I adored him.

My eighth-grade teacher used to call me Agatha Christie.

I published a short story in a local newspaper as a teenager and became a reporter for that paper as an adult.

I raised six sons, had five pregnancies, no twins. My husband fathered four children, but I only gave birth to three. Can you do the math?

My first job was heading shrimp at a local seafood plant. I lasted one day. I was ten years old.

I worked as an electrician’s assistant until I was 16. My dad had his own business. He was an electrician. He was disappointed I didn’t get my license.

I am terrified of spiders even knowing most are benign and helpful, I can’t even watch them on television without having nightmares.

At one time everyone in our family was in scouts: I was cubmaster, my husband scoutmaster, all of our boys were in different ranks with my father-in-law the webelos leader and my later my sister-in-law became cubmaster. We now have 3 Eagles and 6 Order of the Arrow members.

Until recently I used to drive my own motorcycle that my husband restored for me, a 1979 Honda CM 400-T that he painted my favorite color, turquoise.


What advice would you give to an aspiring writer? 

Learn everything you can about the craft of writing but use only what works for your process. Don’t try to fit yourself into someone else’s mold. 

Believe in yourself but be honest with yourself. If several readers say the same thing about your writing, it might behoove you address it. 

Remember, the story will never be perfect but it’s up to you to make it the best it can be right now. What you write today will not compare to what you will write 10 years from now but that shouldn’t stop you for putting it out there. You will learn more by doing that by waiting.


How do you deal and process negative book reviews? 

I look to the source. Is it given with the idea to help or to hurt? If it is to hurt, then I push it away and try to ignore it. That doesn’t mean I didn’t feel it, but I know I cannot dwell on it. If it was given in honesty, then I try to learn from it. If others say the same, then I know it’s something I need to address.

In this business we have to develop thick skins. I am tenderhearted and often feel if someone doesn’t like my book, they don’t like me but I’ve had to learn that’s not the case. Not every book is for every reader. I love several authors, some I adore their work, others I like the person but not their stories, it’s not that they aren’t good, but they just don’t appeal to me.  

What is the most difficult part of your writing process? 

Having the time to write. With a full time job, a large family and being the chairperson for one writer’s group and the VP of communications for another, I am often pulled in many directions.


What do you need in your writer’s space to keep you focused? 

I write best when I am alone in my office or in the back room of my store.


What is your naughty indulgence as you are writing? 

Cookies, especially gingersnaps or oatmeal cookies


If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose?  And why? 

I have been blessed to have spent time with some awesome authors: Reese Ryan, Virginia Kantra, Karen Booth and Sabrina Jeffries, but one author I’d love to have coffee with is Jayne Ann Krentz because she successfully writes three different genres.


What is your schedule like when you are writing?  Do you have a favorite writing snack or drink? 

I’m a coffeeholic, but I find I do best with water. If I bring a snack into the office, I eat it all at one time but if I don’t, I’ll take a break and eat then get back to work. I think that works best.


Do you listen to music when you write – what kind of music is your favorite? 

I don’t listen to music when I write unless I’m trying to get into a character’s personality.


Have pets ever gotten in the way of your writing? 

Yes, we have a 4-year-old blue pit who thinks she’s a lap dog. She will push over the small table I use for my laptop or research books to get up close to me if my husband lets her inside and my office door is open. He likes to do that when I’m on a Zoom meeting.


What is your kryptonite as a writer?  What totally puts you off your game?

Grandchildren (we have 21), fatigue and depression. When I’m extremely busy, even doing things I love, it is difficult to get things accomplished. This weekend, my job and family both added to my fatigue so I’m getting little writing done. But depression is the worst. I’m thankful I don’t suffer often but when I do, it’s debilitating.


Have you ever killed off a character that your readers loved? 

Yes, oh my goodness. I killed off a great character in my Leeward Files series and I heard it from several readers. But it’s difficult to have a gun fight without someone getting shot. Unfortunately, sometimes a good guy dies.


How do you celebrate after typing THE END? 

It varies but watching a movie with hubby, going off with gal pals or just reading a book.


I hope you enjoyed this interview!

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