Friday, October 3, 2014

Author Interview with Maureen Sherry

The DMS was lucky enough to interview Maureen Sherry. Lizzy recently reviewed her book Walls Within Walls, and it was great to share our thoughts about it and hear yours! We're excited to learn a little more about her story. So, without further ado... take it away, Maureen! 

What inspired you to write Walls Within Walls? 

When we took an old historic apartment and started to remodel it, we kept finding clues about a family who lived there long ago. I researched them and was intrigued about how differently they lived from us. I started to think that all homes represent the people who live there and that when we move away, we leave clues behind us.  Since the walls were open for the remodeling, we left clues in our walls, hoping someone finds them in 100 years. In my book, that actually happens!

How long did it take you to write Walls Within Walls?

I wrote in in about nine months, revised it for another 3 and then spent a bit of time finding an illustrator and publisher. From writing the first chapter to see it sitting on a Barnes and Noble shelf took about two years.

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

I love Roald Dahl and still go back to James and the Giant Peach or Matilda when I want to smile.  The Mixed up Files of Basel e. Frankweller, the Nancy Drew Mysteries, and any books where the characters show cleverness, strength and a bit of humor usually hook me.

Where did you come up with the characters CJ and Eloise?

I invented Eloise because she reminds me of the prim, older women who live in New York City and are full of historic information. I needed a character who could babysit the children but be easygoing enough to not give them the space they need to get into a bit of mischief on their own. I also like when characters of different generations become friends. 
CJ is very much like my eldest son. He loves information and is calm when things get hectic.

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

I modeled the four Smithfork kids after my own children so it’s tough to ask me to pick a favorite child!  In fact the way I repay my own children for reading my work is to let them choose the names of characters. The kids names in that book are their own middle names and most of the other names are the same as their friends. Leaving the kids aside I’m a fan of Ray the doorman or people with unique traits that make them stand out. I also liked Julian in the end because he changed over time and became a happy person.

Where do you like to write? Do you listen to music while you are writing?

I love music and I love writing but I can’t enjoy both at the same time. I get easily distracted so I write in a very small office that has no wifi. I often write on the floor with my legs straight out in front of me.  People sometimes come by my office which has a glass wall and only see my head sticking out over my desk.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?

The real answer is that I’d like to move around during the year. My parents are from Ireland and my grandparents farm there is a magical place and then maybe live somewhere in the mountains because I love snow and love to ski. New York is a great place to see theatre and I go to a LOT of plays. A long time ago I went to Hawaii and still think I’d like to live there for a while and get a lot better at surfing.   I guess my answer is that I can’t answer that question. The world is such a fantastic place.
Walls Within Walls takes us on an adventure around New York City. The reader really learns a lot! Do you have a favorite place to visit in NYC or an attraction you would most recommend?

I love history and love sharing little stories about things that happened in the most ordinary of places.  In New York, I continue to find special, quiet spots that have a little story to tell. There’s a meat packing district and a fish and fruit market in the Bronx. If you get up early enough (4am) you can see the sale of food to the thousands of restaurants and stores that will use those ingredients all day. However my favorite place is a school. Long ago I got involved in a school that worked hard to educate children who were having a hard time learning. When I see kids who thought they couldn’t learn being successful, I feel my heart soar.

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

I wrote a sequel to Walls called Lost in London but it won’t be published until 2016! I also have an adult novel that will be out next fall.

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  1. I've seen this book around. It sounds charming and I'll add it to my wish list.

  2. I love the idea of a babysitter who lets the kids get up to mischief! So funny! Your book sounds wonderful - good luck!!

  3. What a great interview. As always its fascinating to read what inspires authors to write the stories they do.

  4. I love the idea of leaving clues in the wall for someone else to find. I must remember that the next time we have any work done on the house.

  5. What a cool idea! Like a personal time capsule. :) Loved the interview!

  6. I love the sound of this and I especially like that she modeled the characters after her own children, how fun is that.

  7. Great interview! This book sounds interesting. I love this idea. Thanks so much for the intro to Maureen. Wishing her all the best!:)

  8. Wonderful interview, ladies. I also love history. There are so many great stories there. I think learning about the past helps us deal with today. Best of luck to you.

  9. Houses with stories waiting to be revealed! Lovely.

  10. Thanks for an interesting interview. The book looks like fun. I will check it out.

  11. I love that Maureen put stuff in her walls for future people to find, and then that became the inspiration for her book. The book sounds like such a fun story!

  12. James and the Giant Peach was one of my favorite books, too.

  13. I love how the book has roots in her own stories. If I found things from previous tenants in a house, I'd have to look them up for sure :)

  14. I love this cover! Totally makes me want to read this.

  15. Congrats to Maureen on your latest release!


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