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WesternSFA
A Chat with Sherrilyn Kenyon
by Catherine Book
May 2015

Ms. Kenyon has become incredibly popular and was a big attraction at the 2015 Phoenix Comicon.  I was grateful she found a little time to meet with me.

I started by asking if social media was a big contributor to her success.  She has a really beautiful website and, surprise!, she maintains it.  She does most of her communicating with fans on her Facebook page which also takes care of her Tweets.  But she can’t answer all her fan mail directly or there wouldn’t be any time to actually write.  She gets between 3000 and 4000 email a day!

I was curious about a page on her website called CHARACTERS which is, as it turns out, a collection of photos that best illustrate the image of her characters.  She said the photos are just ‘stock’ images, nobody that she really knows.  The idea came while she was working for Warner Bros., on the “Batman and Beyond” TV show, building character bios.  She mused that it might be cool if someone did it for a book…and then realized she ought to do it for her own.

Sherrilyn has written in so many different genres:  science fiction, fantasy, horror, young adult, graphic novels, and even manga, I wondered what she liked to do best.  She shrugged and said: All.  She has written a couple standalones but most of her novels are long-ranging series.  It’s her science fiction background, she says.  She tends to think long-term and epic.  As she says, once you’ve spent a lot of time creating a world and characters, you just don’t want to abandon it.  I asked her if any of the series are coming to an end.  “God, no” she replied, “they’d kill me.”  A couple of the series are fallow right now, but not yet ended.  She’ll get back there one day.  She’s writing the next League novel and editing proofs for the next Dark Hunter. The next book from the publisher will be Dragonbane in the Were-Hunters series coming out in August this year.  I was marveling over how amazing her success has been and she made a tiny face and said “scary, too.”

Well, what’s more important in her writing:  setting, plot, characters?  For her, everything begins with the character or characters.  But how does the plot develop?  Does she use an outline?  Naw, she drawled, none of those.  She just sorta starts at the beginning and goes until it ends.  I observed that it seems to be working for her and asked if it’s always been easy for her.  Oh, there’s nothing easy about writing, she answered me.  She’s written whole books that were crap.  She thought they’d have a plot but when she got to the end… it didn’t.  Does she rewrite a lot?  Depends on the book, says she.  Sometimes it all comes together.  She has a lot of famous relatives in the woodpile:  Wm. Shakespeare, Thomas Wyatt, even Tennessee Williams.  So, she has a theory that her family has an inherited memory; she’s not the only writer in her family.  Maybe there’s a reason it just comes naturally…  Even her children are now budding novelists.  She’s got a 20-year-old, an 18-year-old and a 15-year-old.  The oldest and the youngest are following in Mom’s footsteps.

Sherrilyn has a deal with Amber Entertainment for both a TV show and a movie.  And the project is moving along, Sherrilyn is contacted by them with questions and she says they have a script and are beginning casting.  They’ll be starting with “Chronicles of Nick” and then “Dark Hunter.”  We can only hope we’ll see something soon.

Does she have a favorite character in her books?  I like them all, she said.  And if I don’t…I can kill them off.  I asked her if she’s particularly proud of any one of her works.  All of them, she whispered.  She’s just so grateful for each one of them.  Writing is hard;  sometimes, she mused, it would be nice if the magic fairies would come and leave a book – like her children believe they do.

She likes talking to kids in school.  I asked her to which age range she most relates.  Five-years-old…she laughed.  She really likes kids – they are bluntly honest and they don’t play games.  Sherri likes that.  Kids, she said seriously, are at a point on their path where they could go anywhere.  She advises them not to allow themselves to be dragged down and to keep to their path.  Don’t listen to the “barking dogs” – those who will tell you that this thing or that thing cannot be done.  The barking dogs will always tell you what you can’t do.  Be the train that blows past them.

Thank you, Sherrilyn, for all your time and good humor.  May the magic book fairies visit you often.

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