Friday, June 12, 2015

Author Interview with Sherrie Petersen

The DMS was lucky enough to interview Sherrie Petersen, author of the middle grade book Wish You Weren't. Lizzy reviewed her story this week, and it was great to share our thoughts about it and hear yours! So, without further ado... take it away, Sherrie! 

What inspired you to write Wish You Weren’t?

I’m that mom who wakes the kids up at midnight to watch a meteor shower And just like in the book, when my kids were younger, they loved getting up in the middle of the night. That in itself was an adventure. But at that age, they also bickered. A lot. So overhearing one of them say to the other, I wish you weren’t here, it made me wonder what would happen if that wish came true. And from there I just let my imagination take over.

Wish You Weren’t  involves astronomy and time travel, two of my favorite subjects. What was your research process like and how long did it take you to write it?   

I’ve always been a stargazer, but I have to say, when it comes to research, Google is my best friend. My computer is full of articles from NASA, JPL, space.com and spacenews.com. I visited JPL twice to make sure I got those details right, once during an open house and once for a private tour so I could be more specific.




It took me a long time to write my first draft and then even longer to revise. Once I thought it was ready, my agent at the time sent it to one of my dream editors who read it over the weekend and sent back a few notes. I loved her suggestions, but it meant rewriting the story to include Paul from the beginning. The more I thought about it, the more I agreed. I’m so glad I followed her advice because I think the story ended up much better as a result.

What are some of your favorite books from childhood? Were there any specific authors who inspired you?

In middle school I was obsessed with Judy Blume. I read everything she wrote. But I was also a sci-fi nerd who devoured Lord of the Rings, the Chronicles of Narnia and the Perelandra space trilogy from C.S. Lewis. I think authors who inspire me as a writer are Rick Riordan, Suzanne Collins, J.K. Rowling, Eoin Colfer and Anthony Horowitz. All of them combine humor and friendship with amazing adventures and they make me believe magic could be waiting around any corner.

The path to publication varies from author to author. Can you share some advice for new authors?

I think the most important thing is to be really honest with yourself about your abilities. Know your strengths and your limits and be able to really hear the criticism for what it is: a chance to improve. No one is perfect. There’s always room to grow. My critique group has been invaluable for pointing out the weaknesses in my writing and helping me to get better. And they’ve been there to cheer me through every step of the process. I know critiquing other people’s writing has made me a stronger writer as well. So maybe that’s the most important thing: find a good critique group!

If you could live anyplace real or fictional, where would it be? Why?

England. All the good stuff in fiction happens over there, right? From Jane Austen novels to Robin Hood, the Scarlet Pimpernel and Sherlock Holmes. They’ve got Hogwarts and Diagon Alley, the Doctor, and James Bond – yeah, England is the place to be!

If you could befriend a character from one of your books, who would you befriend? Why?

I always fall in love with my characters. I loved Marten and Paul in Wish You Weren’t. They were like the best combination of my guy friends from when I was a kid: smart and funny and always looking out for each other. But Aldrin takes center stage in Borrowed Time and he’s not the brat anymore. He’s grown into a pretty awesome person. So I’d be happy to hang out with any of those guys.

Are you currently working on a book? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it?

I’m working on a sequel to Wish You Weren’t. It’s called Borrowed Time and it takes place almost seven years after the end of WYW. This time Aldrin is the one traveling through time and…well, here’s the blurb:


Aldrin just wants to play basketball. And get a good grade on his science project. But with his brother away at college, his mom on a mission to the moon and his father’s mind in outer space, Aldrin is totally on his own. Things that should be easy are starting to feel impossible.


When Aldrin finds a watch that allows him to travel to different times and places, he’s sure he has the key to solving all of his problem. At least he will, once he figures out how to control the magical timepiece. But a complication that threatens the moon mission makes Aldrin realize how dangerous traveling through space and time can be. And in order to save his mom, he might have to do the one thing that could jeopardize her mission even more: use the watch.

Where can we purchase your books or learn more about them?

Borrowed Time won’t be out until early next year, but Wish You Weren’t is available through all major retailers, in print, ebook or audiobook. And if you don’t see it at your bookstore or library, you can ask them to order it for you.


If you join my mailing list, you’ll find out when new books release and be one of the first to get ARCs.












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50 comments:

  1. A meteor shower? Getting someone up to watch one counts as excellent parenting in my book.
    Love astronomy, and have nerd like tendencies myself.
    This sounds a wonderful book - thanks for the introduction to Sherrie and her work.

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    1. Thank you! We nerds have to stick together :)

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  2. Wow, love the cover! Space is so beautiful. =) And yes, I've had a few wishes come true. And some I wish I hadn't made.. ;)

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    1. I have a soft spot for the cover, too :) And I can totally relate to the wishes I shouldn't have made!

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  3. So fun to hear about research process

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    1. Amazing how similar and different our processes can be, isn't it?

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  4. LOVE this...I love astronomy and meteor showers. Ha, my mom always woke us up for them! One time I got a horrible cold after a really cold night of watching and she's still guilty about that lol but it was worth it b/c it was an awesome meteor shower :)

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    1. Glad I'm not the only crazy mom making the kids miss out on sleep in order to see a few shooting stars :)

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  5. Meteor showers are sometimes duds, but sometimes spectacular. Great inspiration for your story.

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    1. Our skies were socked in this past August, so I hope they're clear this summer when the Perseids rolls around again!

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  6. I was obsessed with Judy Blume too! Growing up, I lived in a house with a lot of telescopes because my dad loves astronomy. I knew all the planets and could identify the ones we can see in the sky with the naked eye.

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    1. How great that your dad taught you about the planets! I love sharing that with my kids. They loved reading Judy Blume too :)

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  7. Great author interview .... and not just because Sherry reckons England is the place to be literature wise.

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    1. You must be from England – jealous! Can't wait to visit!

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  8. Such a fun interview! And I totally agree that England does have some seriously fun stuff going for it :)

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    1. Right?! English people might try to convince us that they keep a stiff upper lip and all that, but the truth is getting out. And if the truth is even better than fiction...yeah, can't wait to visit!

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  9. Great interview with Sherrie!! I like that she gets her kids up to experience interesting things like meteor showers!! Best of luck with this book and the book in the writing!

    betty

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  10. Wonderful interview and love gaining insight into how the book came to be

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the interview, Birgit – thanks!

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  11. I love anything to do with stars and time travel as well. Such a lovely cover. I too was obsessed with Judy Blume as a kid. I remember reading the bad books... like Blubber. It had swear words in it... I am looking forward to reading her adult book. THanks for the giveaway.

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    1. I forgot Blubber had swear words! Forever is the one that left an imprint on my virgin mind. I can't look at anyone named Ralph without smiling ;P

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  12. You sound like a fun mom! My kids would love getting up at midnight to watch a meteor shower!

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    1. Aw, thanks, Sherry! You can actually find a list of annual meteor showers at http://stardate.org/nightsky/meteors. Try it out with your kids!

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  13. Really good stuff, nice interview indeed!

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  14. I hear things that inspire me when children are bickering. :) I love Judy Blume and I've visited England several times--an amazing place.

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    1. I hope to get to England one day soon with my children, who will hopefully NOT be bickering!

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  15. Thanks for such an interesting interview. I love Sherrie's book. Glad to hear there is another in the works.

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    1. Thanks, Rosi – always happy to hear when readers love Wish You Weren't!

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  16. Wonderful interview. Time travel and astronomy, a great story maker.
    You're so right about critique groups. Congratulations on your book and the forthcoming one. They sound like fun.

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    1. Thanks, Beverly! My head is always in the stars, but my critique group definitely helps keep me on track :)

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  17. I love the where she got her inspiration for the title! It's cute to like London because that's where all the good things happen coz I love London too!

    Haven't seen you on my blog for a long time. Thank you for your sweet comment. And I thought I was the only one with the same thought about the watch advert. =)

    Jo
    Jo's Jumbled Jardinière

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    1. I think there are a lot of us who secretly love England :)

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  18. Aw!!! That's such a sad way for this story to be conceived, but it's not like siblings haven't said things they regret before including me. I love that the author wrote a book about her passion. I sometimes think of what type of book I would write if I would be an author. It had to be something I was passionate about too. I'm excited to see how Aldrin grows up in Borrowed Time. I love seeing growth in characters. Wonderful interview girls (:

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    1. As an older sister, I know I've said things I regret to my little brother. But maybe, thinking about what could happen if what we said actually came true can help, in some small way, to make us more conscious of the power of our words :) And yes, I had a LOT of fun writing Aldrin now that he's grown up a little!

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  19. Hi Sherrie,

    Such an insightful interview. Astronomy and time travel, yep, you got me with that.

    Of course England is the place to be. After all, I moved here just to experience this fascinating, magical green and mostly pleasant land.

    Thanks for this and I shall take my usual liberty of sharing the post, yep even via "Farcebook"!

    Gary :)

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    1. You live in England?! SO LUCKY!! Maybe we'll find each other on Farcebook, if not in that magical country across the sea :)

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  20. Congratulations Sherrie! Wish You Weren't sounds wonderful read for that age group! I love reading about time travel. Great interview!

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    1. Thanks, Nas! I obviously have a soft spot for time travel stories, too :) So many ways "what if" can play out in that realm!

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  21. Congratulations Sherrie! Wish You Weren't looks awesome.

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    1. Thank you so much! I hope you find it as awesome as it looks :)

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  22. The book sounds really great Sherrie, I have never woken my daughter up for a meteor shower... but I have woken my daughter up for the first snowfall of each year... I think I will have to wake up for other things... we both have a great time ... she is always a little sleepy but happy... xox

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    1. Thanks, Launna! I think kids like the surprise of being up late for something special. It's fun to share those types of things with them. Waking up for the first snowfall sounds awesome!!

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  23. Good to hear there's a sequel! I've read Wish You Weren't and enjoyed it lots.

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    1. Claudine- I am excited for the sequel too! :) ~L

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  24. I think being a stargazer must be pretty cool. I have never really tried star gazing myself and that would be something I would love to do at some point! It sounds like it would be well, something worth the experience. And we should always be grateful for the stars and admire them sometimes too.

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    1. Olivia- Savannah- Looking out at the stars and learning about the universe is so much fun. It really puts things into perspective. I hope you get to try it soon- I think you will love it. :) ~L

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