It’s that time of the week again where we all get together and rejoice because the weekend starts here.
For our final author interview of the week, we have a terrific guest to showcase in the form of author Sherry Mayes, so sit back, relax and enjoy the show (you know the drill by now) as we chat to her about her writing motivations, writing advice and her debut novel.
Have a great weekend all.
Hi there Sherry, thank you for being our guest here today treating us to this insight into your enchanting words and the writer behind them.
Let’s start with your debut novel “Stop The World.” The topic itself is sad (a young lady becomes paralysed after a car accident and loses many important things in her life) and yet your book has been hailed as compelling and uplifting, due to the attitude of your brave protagonist Jody. Please tell us more about your leading lady Jody, along with the pain and comedy elements found within the story and how she transforms her life and starts to put the pieces back together again.
I have worked as a journalist for many years and my protagonist, seventeen-year-old Jody Angel Taylor, was inspired by a true story of a young girl I interviewed for a magazine who crashed her car and ended up a paraplegic. Her gutsy spirit and how she turned things around played on my mind for many years, and she was definitely the catalyst for the story.
I set the novel in the US where beauty is paramount and it’s written in first person – in Jody’s voice – which reveals the comedy and the pain of life as a ‘retard’ as Jody calls herself. Jody is a beautiful pageant queen and the spoilt only child of wealthy parents and like many teenagers she is pre-occupied with her popularity, selfies and social media. She is engaged to marry her handsome boyfriend, and life seems perfect – until she has a drink with a friend one night to celebrate, drives her new sports car, crashes and ends up in a wheelchair paralysed from the waist down. From then on her life dramatically changes as she remains in hospital, being rehabilitated, but told she will never walk again.
During this time, her boyfriend runs off with her best friend, her father runs off with his secretary and her mother runs to the bottle. And none of the thousands of friends she thought she had on social media come to visit. She is also publically vilified when a TV presenter interviews her about her underage drinking and her terrible influence on her peers as a popular pageant queen. She is distraught and feels completely abandoned by everyone and turns to the internet where – without giving away the plot – she meets someone on the other side of the world who suddenly throws her a lifeline.
I really wanted to show with Jody, what can happen in an instant – when life deconstructs everything you think you stand for – and you have to rebuild yourself from scratch. How do people now perceive you, and how do your values then change? It’s fascinating to me how the painful aspects of life can strip us bare, but sometimes that’s exactly what’s needed as it’s the only way back to our true selves.
If your novel was to be made into a film, who would you cast in the lead roles?
I would cast Odeya Rush as Jody. She’s Israeli and she’d have to dye her hair blonde, but I can imagine her in the part (Odeya Rush – IMDb). And then probably an unknown – a teenage Danish/Swedish actor for the role of Otto.
What do you find the most difficult thing about writing? And what do you find the easiest?
There isn’t anything that’s easy about writing. It’s exciting when you have an idea in your head that you feel compelled to get down on paper, but there’s a lot of constructing of the plot, revising the plot, going over dialogue and then endless editing. I went through this book around ten times and also used around six beta readers to test read it and ensure my American dialogue was authentic. But when I write a book I’m addicted and often get up in the middle of the night with inspired ideas. I would say it’s a painful, insane addiction that inspires and tortures you.
Who are some of the authors in general that inspire you?
I am inspired by many journalists that have turned author, like Gillian Flynn who wrote Gone Girl, and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. But I’m also very much inspired by the books of my childhood like Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, The Secret Garden and Jungle Book. Looking back these books are hatched from such vivid imaginations and have such beautiful prose which is why they have stood the test of time. Reading lots of books is the only way to hone the craft of writing and up your game.
What sort of research do you do to write your book?
I did a huge amount of research for Stop the World, much of it medical, reading up on testimonies from paraplegics and watching videos of how they recovered and how they felt emotionally. I also spent a lot of time researching Cedarville, the small desert town in North East corner of California where the story is set.
Why do you write? What inspired you to become a writer?
Writing is an addiction to me and it’s something I wanted to do from childhood. I love words, and the images and the experiences they conjure up, although editing drives you crazy as you have to be so analytical. Editing could drive you to drink. I drink a lot more wine now, haha!
What keeps you motivated during creative slumps? How do you deal with Writers Block?
I don’t really get writers block as such, but I do get editing blocks where I feel every time I read through a manuscript I find mistakes and that is frustrating. At those times I tend to leave the MS for a few weeks and then come back to it with a fresh mind.
You have access to a time machine. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Having written about a teenager and having a teenage daughter, I remember myself how I cared too much about what people think, and tried to live up to some weird ideal of perfection. Now, I would say, people don’t judge you as much as you think, so don’t worry, they are too busy fighting their own personal demons.
How do you spend your free time when you are not writing?
I love to cook, have friends over, visit friends, and travel.
Tell us more about your upcoming projects. Are you working on anything specific or have plans in the pipeline?
Yes, I have a very different book out next year – a WWII thriller called “Letters to the Pianist” – about a family torn apart in the blitz and how they find their way back to each other uncovering many sinister secrets along the way.
Finally, are there any nuggets of wisdom that you can impart to other aspiring writers?
I would suggest that writers always use beta readers. Beta readers test read your book for free and give you valuable feedback. Sometimes as a writer you get so close to the plot that you can’t see it objectively. Beta readers often point out the obvious and usually a few typos! I get mine from Goodreads because I’d rather not use close friends and family – they’ll never have the courage to be truly honest.
And that’s a wrap! Thank you for being with us Sherry, the best of luck with the book and we can’t wait to read more of your work 🙂
Sherry Mayes is originally from Somerset but now lives in Berkshire and has worked as a journalist for over twenty years. Stop the Word is her first YA novel.
You can connect with Sherry on the following Social Media channels:-
You can buy her book here:-
Still want more? Well, Sherry’s protagonist Jody has a lot of insightful revelations in her life and slowly starts putting back the pieces together after tragedy initially befalls her. It doesn’t matter how slowly you are going, as long as you are still making steps towards your goal or destination, they all count for something. For more articles on the theme of ‘Slowly’ then click on the links below:-
1. Spring to Fall – MyBlog
2. The inner child @ Let the Light In Reflections – Let The Light In ~ Reflections
3. Sacrificial Chain Breaker – WORD JUMBLE
4. Vivid Dreamer – Calm Thoughts
5. Saint P. Blogging – Prompt for the Day: “Slowly”
6. Prompt for the Day: “Slowly” – Saint P. Blogging
7. My adventure at the DMV – The Next Step
8. fingerprintwriting – National Coloring Day
9. shame – Slowly
10. My Mixed Blog – Talk Slowly it Works Better
11. “Have You Met…” (A Poem) – stephentotheplate
12. SLOWLY – My QuotesVilla
13. Faithmillie – Daily prompt_Slowly
14. One Step at a Time – Emily’s Table of Contents
15. Slowly – Raincoastgirlpdx
16. slowly – guavarilla
17. Taking Risks – Nadira Shirlonna
18. Success Inspirers’ World – Let no one deceive you!
19. Why I won’t consider bariatric surgery
20. thelifelately – Slowly getting there…
21. MC’s Whispers – Deep breaths without a time limit
22. Eden of Knowledge – Slow and Steady Wins The Race
23. EL RINCON DE IAN SALVATORE……Words To Live And Grow… – ENJOY THE SIMPLE MOMENTS….LIKE YOUR MORNING COFFEE!
24. HarlemATL Inner City Blues – The One Percent
25. Day 4: Slowly – burntbreakfast
26. Just keep pedaling! – davisbraindump
27. Your Nibbled News (c) 2016 YNN – Slowly but surely gets the job done
28. Awl and Scribe – Everred Destination II (Excerpt)
29. Slowly – blackcattwriting
30. The Zen Hiker – Slowly
31. quiet time journal – Saturday
32. Slowly – Raincoastgirlpdx
33. Hope In the Walk With God – Lance Price Blog 2016
34. Dummy’s guide to new gen texting. – Ramblings of a crazy author
35. The Daily Prompt : The Last Parcel – Word Shamble
36. theblackwallblog – U R #Winning….Meet and Greet List
37. The Luxury of Time – Whispers in the Wind
38. tuckedintoacorner – Theorizing
39. Slowly….. – Dreamers
40. Le Drake Noir – Wonderful slow mood
41. Chahna Ahuja – SLOW TRANSFORMATION
42. Slow Down Please – Blog of Hammad Rais
43. University Classroom – somerberry
44. Worn Out – Threeisthelimit
45. Petra Omoregie Caroline – Many couples travel to get wedding photos in Prague: Slowly walking bride with sunrise reflecting on her dress.
46. Fluffy Pool – Impossible Patterns
47. Brendon Ward – A slow and glad process
48. The Departure – Sithu’s
49. Does it take time to be who you are? – Prasant Radhakrishnan
50. Slowly But Surely – Akanksha
51. Mitigating Circumstances
52. thestoryoft – The Blank Page
53. Slowly – Coffee Stains
54. Gomorrah Revisited – Ever So Slowly
55. Taking things “slowly” – YOLOcruz
56. Slowly – Onto My Next 40 Years
57. Slowly: Another Big Bear Story – Lost Property Repository
58. The Failing Buddhist – Ever So Slowly, Things Fall Apart
59. inspiration in progress – Slowly you turned…
60. Inkblots and Coffee Rings – Slowly…
61. Relax – What, me think?
62. Success and Humbleness – World Through My Eyes
63. A Sea Of Illusions – Grandmother
64. Depression or whatever the hell it’s called when you feel like you cannot breathe any longer – KimJournalia
65. Mac’s World – Under the City Lights
66. Finding Hope Ness – More to the Bruce Peninsula than national parks
67. Just Breathe – Sascha Darlington’s Microcosm Explored
68. The inner child – Let the Light In ~ Reflections
69. Heavy Blanket – justafterthoughts
70. Lifting Up – From Sand to Gemstones
71. That’s What Anxious Mom Said – Just Poking Along
72. The Seminary of Praying Mantis – Slowly hating August as it comes.
73. Half Baked Log – Slowly She Wrote
74. blogmylife86 – Slowly – Spraining my ankle
75. WHEN LOVE IS NOT ENOUGH is gebaseerd op het waargebeurde verhaal van Lois Wilson, de echtgenote van Bill Wilso en oprichter van AA (Anonieme Alcoholisten) – Wie is Theo Herbots ?
76. artifiswords – SLOW, FAST, FASTER
77. Slowly – z a y n e e a . n e t
78. Purposive Writer – My Greatest Dad
79. It’s done – bookmarkingthedays
80. The Daily Post prompt: slowly – Come in, sit down
81. Writing Web – Daily Prompt – July 22, 2016
82. The Daily Post – Slowly – undressed curlie girlie
83. Index Support and Resistance for Friday, 7/22/2016 – vet67to82
84. Lifting Up – From Sand to Gemstones
85. HOW WE TRY TO BE IN CONTROL – agurlblog
86. Christine’s Collection – SNAILING ALONG
87. Lifestyle Changes – Rambling Kori
88. Eye Crosser #10: The Velocity of Money – The Mono-Economy of the New Millennium
89. Friendship – Unebelle’s Musings
90. Slowly – MaeAnnesDiary
91. multiplemyelomaandme – The little snail
92. Brittany Brice – Slowly
93. Ancient teachings are relative today – Let the Light In ~ Reflections
94. Daily Battles – A lot from Lydia
95. writingjourneyblog – Slowly but Surely
96. La Tour Abolie – We’re having a heatwave…
97. my funeral comes early. – lemonadeletter
98. Common Pursuit – Slowly but Surely
99. The Daily Post – Progressing into Solitude – Slowly In The Fast Lane
100. Unrushed – the daily prompt – bookyglover
101. Slowing Down and Growing Up – with love from Ocean Falls
102. Life in a Few Words – Enjoy the View
103. SLOWLY and Silently is the movement of nature~ – Author Tony Damian, RMT, CMT on Self-Healing
104. cirque de la nuit – Didymus
105. Mainline_Matter – Playing Brass Slowly
106. Life with Jess – Don’t Stop
107. hoosiersunshine13 – Bad Attitude
108. poetry penned in moon dust – Eye to Eye #haiku #onewordprompt
109. Ethereal Compostion – Slowly Slipping
110. Leucocrystal – Neighbors
111. Jacki Kellum Juxtapositions: Read My Mind – Hurrying and Multitasking Are Enemies of Writing and Painting
112. Jack, the Ripper. – HashtagTrustYourInstincts
113. Riley Central – A Hippie’s Thoughts On Trump’s RNC Speech
114. A Few Poems – Fantasy Raconteur
115. Slowly – Inside The Writer’s Closet
116. Wide Eyed In Wonder – Slowly
117. Transition – Some More Fiction
118. The Scarlett letters – Slowly
119. Slowly and Surely – atrangizindagieksafar
120. Slowly Flooding, Slowly Ebbing – StrangeLander2015
121. Walk Slowly, Breathe Deeply, Feel Better Now – Tips
122. Diary of a Married Woman – Storm
123. 83 Unsung Heroes – Slowly Moving Animals Like Their Liquor
124. The Poetry Channel – Slow Drip
125. Help Comes Slowly – A short story – learninervin
126. Slowly – Emotional Spaces
127. Watercolour Works – Filbert & Smudge
128. Slowly – Scott’s website
129. B_ up to date – Got the focus
130. Time passes – Jane Dougherty Writes
131. Coloring Outside the Lines – Slowly Thought
132. Break-up Sex – Caillen James –Author
133. The Slow Knife Cuts The Deepest – Desertedroad
134. Slowly Healing , #memories #makingmemories – Chill Out Keep Calm and Breathe
135. Martha L Shaw – THE JOYFUL JOURNEY
136. Original-Dante – Toxicity Level: Unknown.
137. Christina’s Musings – Slowly
138. A Dream of Renaissance – The Corporate Fawn
139. Slowly – Journey of a Happy Girl
140. Monday – AYOKA
141. Slowly…but for Sure! – Sanjna Rai
142. The Path – themanbehindtheglass
143. Despacio CAMINAR – apserranoblog
144. The meaning of cricket – Geek Ergo Sum
145. gaojiemin – A man and a girl
146. One of many habits – Melancholy Doll
147. Daily Post Prompt: I am Not the Same, A Poem – Sumyanna Writes
148. A wise Elder – zorazebic
149. There is no need to rush things – Say Yes To Greatness
150. Sara Ackerman, author – 10 Lessons in 10 Years
151. Charron’s Chatter – the Bat–out of Hell (aka) Bird of Paradise
152. SERENDIPITY – SLOWLY IN THE MORNING
153. Michael J. Fite – Can You Finish Something Moving Slowly?
154. Ever So Slowly| Daily Prompt – Catherine’s Blog
155. Charron’s Chatter – the Bat–out of Hell (or) Bird of Paradise
156. Grand Theft Auto? – The Sweet Life Squared
157. The Cat Chronicles – Daily Feline Prompt: The slow feline
158. Slowly – disue
159. Devil Doll Musings – A.D.I.D.A.S.
160. As The Crowd Applauded – Specscladeyes
161. Fast and Slow – Just Writing!
162. LOVE ISN’T EASY (Take It Slow) – curiousitygotmecom
163. masihbersambung – Slow Romantic Activity
164. Crossing Colorado – 40th Birthday: Getting Harder to Ignore Health
165. The “Microwave” Ministry – Eagle’s Wing Ministries
166. Making Sense of Complications
167. Just Write – SUCCESS STRATEGIES
168. recovery to wellness – Slowly Expanding + Accepting
169. Knowledge is a double-edged sword – Oh, border!
170. sixty, single and surviving – Prompt; Slowly
171. Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss – Slowly and with caution
172. Princess of Darkness – Don’t take it slow girl
173. ephemerality – teshyac
174. Roll On,Time – Ripples N Reflections
175. lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown – Goes Down Slowly
176. On Getting Married – Dance with the Rain
177. THE ICONOPHILE – The Hanging Key
178. I will not be surprised if slowly….. – rupalislale
179. Slowly We Rot: Another musical interlude – Lost Property Repository
180. Sometimes….Slowly is Better – Jerome Danner
181. Slowly – Look, Dahling…
182. slowly – Singledust
183. Do It Slowly- Success Tips – eddaz
184. Hope – lovelyricism
185. Flowers and Breezes – Slowly
186. A Wall, Our Peril – Unlearning
187. Time to Slow Down – Meg’s Magical Musings
188. Help! I Have Hamilaria – A Personal Confession Regarding the Hamilton Phenomenon – The Looking Glass
189. thelonerose – Slowly learning
190. Slowly – calliemm
191. Slowly – Daily Prompt – A Book Nerd
192. Blessed Moments -n- Memories – Her Wedding Day
193. kStan(ly) kSays – so the mighty hunter waits
194. Heat Wave – E. Denise Billups
195. Devil Doll Musings – I Want It That Way
196. Changes – Ms Skyfall
197. kristinakoti – Italian ChaT Part III
198. Zombie Flamingos – Scenes from a hot (well, warm) Thursday
199. the15thday – sidetracked by a cutie: a limerick perhaps?!
200. rhymeagination – SLOWLY, YET SO FAST
201. Frank Prem – socks to tell no tales
202. Magnanimous Word – Slowly
203. Slowly…with a twist – Lost Property Repository
204. Slowly – Lost Property Repository
205. Vexing Point – Slowly
206. the FLAVORED word – What do hummingbirds and time have in common?
207. Joy Write – I am little slow, you see…
208. Frank Prem – lament for a lost _uzz (1) and (2)
209. Slowly – wordsareallihavesite
210. Science Traveler – Ernest Hemingway was a Crazy Cat Lady – A Writer’s Life
211. kristinakoti – The unbearable dumbness of questions
212. Rediscovering Little Kailash cave â€“ A thousand year old mystery – Hi India
213. Drama in the sky – alkasharmablog
214. Slowly & Gradually – The Mistful Mind
215. GO SLOWLY – Cognitive Reflection
216. A gaze of pleasure – mySestina
217. A Vibrant Palette – Lean on me
218. bodhisattvaintraining – go slow
219. Slowly – Un-communicated Lightning
220. We will paint the world with our love – Painted in words
221. Passion through Poetry – Slowly
222. PrePerfection Challenge, Watercolours! – SANDEEP
223. Beth Byrnes – Languor management
224. Lantern Words – It Moves Slowly
225. The Wandering Poet – DP Prompt ~ Lovers bridge Taiwan & Shaped chocolate ice cream