So little time. So much to Write. An interview with Jory Sherman. Part 2
February 17, 2013
Today, we continue our interview with Jory Sherman, one of the country’s most dedicated writers, a man who has published everything from short story collections and books of poetry to thrillers and Westerns. One was even nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.
Jim: Okay. Last week, you told us you have published over 450 books in the last 50 years. I know it’s like asking who is your favorite child, but nonetheless, I’m going to ask. Of all of those, do you have a favorite? And if so, why is it your favorite?
Jory: Of the westerns, I have a couple of favorites, SONG OF THE CHEYENNE, which never reached the stands. The first print of 5000 copies were sold to libraries prior to publication in hardcover by Doubleday. Pat LoBrutto, my editor wanted more Plain’s Indian books and I signed contracts. Shortly after that, Doubleday stopped publishing its Double D Westerns and paid me off.
And, I like GRASS KINGDOM because it opened up a new and difficult writing challenge for me. With three ranches and no central hero, it proved difficult to write. My agent at the time disliked it and wanted me to cut several characters. I refused and reviewers liked them. One of the characters was the Brasada, that thicket of flora in southwest Texas that defied eradication. Just like the West itself.
Beyond westerns, I like THE BALLAD OF PINEWOOD LAKE because it was written in simple prose and was one I wrote after I finished my commercial work for the day.
Jim: As I recall, you wrote Grass Kingdom as a standalone novel and the public liked it. It was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Literature. The publisher asked you to make it part of an eight book series. And you said, “Do you want Grass Kingdom the first or the last in the series.” Pretty gutsy. And he said make it the last. So you backed up and wrote the first book in the series, The Barons of Texas.
Tell us a little about your latest book. This is what? Book six or seven of the Baron Series.
Jory: My latest Western novel is THE BARON DECISION. But, Forge, the publisher, rejected it. It is off to a slow start with the present publisher and I don’t know why.
Jory: I am enamored with Fantasy and like to write about young people like my friend Gary Paulsen. He’s a master at it. I’m just getting my feet wet with The Eden Tree. But, I also want to write more CHILL novels. Chill is a paranormal investigator and the originals were way ahead of their time. They sold well in 14 countries, but died here since there was no such genre at the time. I plan to write more of these and the early ones will be republished. They have lost nothing over the years.
I also have a number of Westerns on the boards. But, I’m thinking I have to build a new audience, so am sticking to novels in the 15,000 to 25,000 word range as ebooks that will sell for 99 cents each. The Eden Tree is the first of these and I have a love story at a publisher’s now that I hope will become an e-book soon. New York seems slow to catch up to the latest technology. My Kindle is lightweight, and I can read books in elevated type that is boldface. I can carry 1500 books around and need no shelves. Why are the New York publishers slow to pick up on this?
Jim: What do you wish you’d written but never got around to writing it?
Jory: There are several that I have started which I wished I had finished, but for many years I was writing a book a month or a book every two months. I was also developing books for other writers as a book packager. There is just not enough in a man’s or woman’s lifetime to write all the books we want to. I would need another 500 years to write all those I have in mind at the moment.
Jim: This seems almost silly since you are always writing. But, if you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?
Jory: I would write computer programs. At one time I owned 18 computers and I was writing code on several of them. It’s a very creative process and a demanding one. I like the idea of creating useful programs, from apps to word processing, using the power of the computer. But I can’t imagine not writing. It’s a disease and I am afflicted with it.
Jim: You were instrumental in forming the Ozark Writers League, which has produced a lot of good writers. Tell us how that got started.
Jory: An actor and his attorney wanted to start a publishing company, so advertised for a meeting with local writers. It turned out that they knew nothing about publishing and were just trying to exploit writers. So, a dozen of us decided that we did need a writer’s club. I came up with the name, Ozarks Writers League, since OWL gave us a logo and told the story. I also said it should not be a Branson entity. Rather, we should meet in various cities in the Ozarks so that some would not have to travel to Branson for every meeting. I wanted to set the dues low, and to bring New York editors, publishers, agents and writers to the Ozarks. That’s what we did and the organization grew very fast. We still meet 4 times a year, and they made Charlotte and me Life Members, as did Missouri Writers Guild.
Jim: We could go on and on. Jory has painted pictures for the covers of several of his books. He has mentored many successful writers. He plays the dulcimer, but not as well as he writes. And on and on. A Very talented man. I do hope, if you have not read some of his books, that you pick up a few. Not only will you be entertained, but you will learn a lot about the English language and how you can indeed, paint pictures with words.
Thank you, Jory, for sharing with us.
For more information, you can go to his website at: www.jorysherman.com
You’ll find a good cross-section of his books there. And to see many of his books on Amazon, go to: http://amzn.to/VxE90k
And leave Jory a comment. He loves to hear from other writers and readers.