Author on the Couch:
An Intimate Look Inside the Minds of Our Favorite Authors
Today I have a session with
Sheridan will be giving away an ebook copy of IT TAKES A SPY…
(Book 1 in her Secrets and Seduction Series).
At the end of the post I’ll tell you how to enter Sheridan’s giveaway.
Me: Tell me about an experience that had a profound impact on your life.
Sheridan: Oddly enough, I’ve been thinking about this quite a lot lately. We’ve had to relocate a couple of times for my husband’s job as a hospital executive, and the first move exacerbated some problems my two sons were having. My youngest son started having severe anxiety attacks and social phobia and could barely be tempted to leave the house. Although I had intended to resume my career in the computer field at that time, I had to put that plan on hold so I could help my son. We moved again, (which was a blessing since both my sons were unhappy in that last school district), and at around the same time my son was diagnosed with ADHD, Asperger’s, and severe anxiety disorder. It was quite the cocktail of problems.
Me: Just one of those diagnoses is tough to manage, but all three is downright daunting.
Sheridan: The next two years were difficult, and I still wasn’t able to resume my career. My husband was working long hours and would be gone from 7 am to 7 or 8 pm most days. He loved his new job, but we barely saw him. My son had so many panic attacks that even though he had a full-time aid at school, I ended up spending 3-4 hours a day 3-4 times a week sitting with him at school while he tried to calm down. Our hours after school were filled with doctor’s appointments and therapy sessions. I barely had time for myself, let alone for a job.
I desperately needed something for me since so much of my time was being consumed in taking care of someone else. I needed something I could control. Something that provided self-actualization, so I turned to my first love…writing. It was the best decision I ever made. I had wanted to pursue a career in writing, but my parents talked me out of it because it was a risky career path.
Me: Good for you! Recognizing that you needed your own time. Too often I see Mom’s in my office who have gave it all and have nothing left. They didn’t recognize the value in taking time for themselves until they crashed and burned mentally. Mom’s are the glue that hold families together and a happy mom usually means a happy family.
Sheridan: The great part about writing is that I can control my hours, I can write anywhere as long as I have my laptop, and when I have to drop everything to deal with an emergency, I can.
There isn’t a thing I’d change about my life. I love my kids, I love my career, and I love writing books. If I hadn’t been forced to make this change I’m certain I would have stayed working in the computer field, but I never would have been as happy and felt as fulfilled as I do writing books. My son helped me find this path, and I’ll forever be grateful to him. (And my son is doing great now!)
Me: Yay! Glad to hear your son is doing well.
Let’s talk about your personality. What trait of yours helps you most an author?
Sheridan: Determination. I stick with something until it is done.
Me: And in this industry that’s an important trait to have.
What personality trait of yours hinders you most an author?
Sheridan: Perfectionism. I’m never content with “good enough.” It needs to be excellent.
Me: What was your high point as a writer?
Sheridan: Ah! That day when I got a call from Cherry Weiner and she told me she wanted to be my agent. I was absolutely over the top with joy! I was so excited I could barely talk. And she was wonderful. She’d made that sort of call many times in the past so I wasn’t her first speechless author. Thank you again Cherry! Your faith in me gave me the confidence I needed.
Me: So now I have to ask, what was your low point as a writer?
Sheridan: Although my agent shopped my books and they received some strong nibbles, she wasn’t able to sell them right away. And then tragedy struck. While my agent was on a cruise ship she had both a stroke and a heart attack. She was flown to a hospital and they saved her life (hurrah for doctors and helicopters!), but her doctor insisted that she quit work. She grumbled, but finally agreed. She ended up keeping a handful of her older, establish authors, but she got rid of the rest…including me. At first I took it as a sign that I should give up, but then I thought “sign-schmign. No sign is gonna tell me when to stop! Only I get to do that!”
Me: No sign is gonna tell me when to stop! Only I get to do that! Yes! Yes! And yes! That all goes back to you being determined too!
How did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Sheridan: It seems as though I always wanted to be a writer. My problem was self-confidence. When I was a little girl I read constantly. I’d go straight from one book to the next, and I constantly carried a book with me. My parents supported my love of books, and one year while I was at summer camp my dad built and entire wall of bookcases in my bedroom. They were packed with books from floor to ceiling, and I had them all in alphabetical order by author. I wrote lots of stories, but I felt a bit intimidated because they were never as good as the ones on my shelves.
It was during one of those times of self-doubt that my parents were able to convince me I should pursue a degree in computer science. I still got a minor in English—after all, it was my true love. I have to admit that my computer experience has been very helpful to me over the years, but writing will always be first in my heart.
Me: How many books have you written?
Sheridan: I’ve written 4 complete books and two partial books. Each book comes a bit faster than the last one did, but I’m not a fast writer. I’d say it takes me about three months to get a first draft done, and then another 3-5 for my second draft. Then, of course, are those rounds of edits, copyedits, and proofreading where other people help me make my book even better. I’m trying to figure out how to speed things up! I’m now focusing more on writing an even more detailed plot outline, and it seems to be helping.
Me: What causes stress in your writing life?
Sheridan: Actually, it’s my personal life that causes the most stress in my writing life. When I’m writing “in the zone,” everything else around me disappears and I can simply write to my heart’s content. But when real-life intrudes, my writing gets derailed. With my husband’s work schedule, he isn’t around much, so anything that has to do with our sons falls to me. Arguments, accidents, meltdowns, illnesses, doctor’s appointments, therapist appointments… they all knock me out of my writing zone. And once I’m out of the zone, it can be tough to get back into it again. But when life is good and I’m cruising along in my gorgeous writing zone, I can just write and write and write and what I produce seems to get better and better as I go. I wish I could LIVE in the zone!
Me: It’s kinda like a runner’s high. Only it’s a writer’s high when you get into that zone.
What’s the secret to your success?
Sheridan: This might sound strange after I mentioned what causes me the most stress, but they also happen to be the secret to my success. Yes, I’m talking about my family. My sons and my husband have been amazingly supportive throughout my writing career. My parents too. I don’t think I would have had the courage to write if not for their constant encouragement. My mom was my biggest cheerleader, and I miss her every single day. I’ve also surrounded myself with some amazingly talented and giving writers who have become wonderful friends.
Me: So tell me about your newest book–LADY CATHERINE’S SECRET (Book 2 of the Secrets and Seduction Series).
Despite Lady Catherine’s love of fencing, she needs to stop pretending to be a boy and fraternizing with men…but not until after she competes in the upcoming fencing tournament! Her mother plans to marry her off by the end of the season, so this will be her last chance to enjoy her freedom. When she impulsively puts her reputation at risk to save the life of a dashing competitor, all seems lost when he sees through her disguise.
Daniel, Marquess of Huntley, wants to overcome the rumors of his father’s madness so that he can be embraced by London society. His plan is to marry the most proper woman who will have him, and then raise stable, respectable children. He certainly isn’t interested in some hoyden with a penchant for masquerading as a boy and flaunting society’s rules. In fact, he’d prefer to keep his distance.
When an obsessed suitor discovers Catherine’s secret and threatens blackmail, the only path out of social ruin is marriage. But what kind of protection does matrimony provide when a vengeful suitor is plotting the ultimate revenge?
Me: Share with me a favorite paragraph from LADY CATHERINE’S SECRET. Why do you love this paragraph?
Sheridan: Here’ a moment that takes place about a third of the way into the book.
I love that moment upon first waking up in the morning. Maybe it’s because our dreams seep into our realities, and this moment in my book comes right at the edge of both states. Here, Catherine’s dreamy, incautious sleep state comes smashing up against the hard realities of Victorian England.
Huntley was attacked and drugged. Catherine stayed with him throughout the night, but she fell asleep. Here she’s just waking up:
Huntley continued to breathe deeply, and Catherine stroked her thumb against his rough cheek, listening to the bristling sound his whiskers made as they scraped against her skin. Were the aftereffects of the anesthetic causing him to sleep so soundly?
Almost as if in a trance, Catherine leaned down and pressed her lips against his. She expected to feel the same jolt of emotion she’d felt last week when they’d kissed, and she was surprised when she didn’t.
She sat back on her heels. How disappointing. The kiss left her unmoved, much the way Lord Watters’s kiss had done. She cocked her head to one side, gazing at his strongly sculpted face, his full lips.
Perhaps she’d done it incorrectly.
She tried again.
This time, as her mouth pressed against his, she felt his lips quiver in response. He wrapped his arm around her and pulled her against him as his mouth responded to hers, quickly, passionately. She widened her eyes in shock as she fell across him. She tried to pull away, but kneeling as she was, she couldn’t break free. His tongue slipped into her mouth and the shock forced a startled gasp from her. Was he even awake?
Me: What? You’re leaving me hanging right here! I need more of this scene. Right now! Oh, my! What’s going to happen next?
You can purchase LADY CATHERINE’S SECRET at:
Keep an eye out for ONCE UPON A SPY. It will be released later this year!
You can find Sheridan at:
To be eligible to win an ebook copy of IT TAKES A SPY… just leave a comment! It’s that simple. On Saturday May 23rd Sheridan will draw a winner from among those who commented!
Have you had a similar experience as Sheridan?
What causes stress in your writing life?
What personality traits help/hinder you as a writer?
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Thank You! You rock!
If you’d like to be an Author on the Couch,
email me at firstname.lastname@example.org