Meet Guest Author Sherry Alexander

sherry alexanderYou might say that I am a late bloomer. Oh, I always had stories running through my brain for as long as I could remember. I just never put them down on paper. It was easier in the world I grew up in to act them out with my brothers, sisters, and cousins as we roamed through the woods near our grandmother’s home. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s, was the mother of 4 kids, and running a successful home day care that a friend “dared” me to write a book about the business of child care. That is all it took! I bought a copy of Writer’s Market and several magazines on writing and went to work.

Since, I didn’t know how to type, I wrote my first book in longhand then paid someone to transcribe it. It took me all of three months. I guess I had a lot to say. Then I shot-gunned proposals to over 50 publishers, received 49 rejections, and one “We would like to see more.” After reviewing the manuscript, they signed me to a contract and that first book, The Home Day Care Handbook, was born in 1987.

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That was when I decided to be a writer, so for the next 3 years, I wrote articles and stories for both magazines and newspapers. I spoke at day care and parenting conferences, and even shared my views in a weekly newspaper column. Then life changed! Two of my kids were in high school, one in middle school, and one in first grade. I couldn’t count on a writing check coming in every month, and living on my husband’s income alone was not enough. I needed a steady job, and for the next 20 years, I worked as a Police/Fire/EMS dispatcher and supervisor.

GreatCamelExperimentCover-web (4)In 2012, I retired and a year later, I resumed writing after graduating from the Institute of Children’s Literature. My second book came about when I spotted a picture of a camel in an artist’s rendering from the 1800s. That got my love of history working overtime, and my second book, The Great Camel Experiment of the Old West, was born. It covers a little known event in history where camels were imported from the Middle East to provide transportation for the military between forts in 1856. Remembering my 49 rejections from my first book, I really analyzed the markets for this one, and only sent out three proposals. Collca answered my letter immediately, and asked to see the entire manuscript. Before I knew it, a contract was signed to include it as part of their BiteSize History series. It was released March 2014.

Oliver's Hunger Dragon Book jpegIn between teaching science to my 9 year old granddaughter, helping with her home schooling, meeting the book reading challenges her 15 year old sister threw at me—she reads a book a week, writing a blog on children’s issues, and writing stories and articles for kids magazines, I wrote my third book, Oliver’s Hunger Dragon. Oliver, like over 15 million American kids, discovers hunger at his door one day. Hunger is depicted as a dragon, and it overwhelms and controls his life. He thinks he is the only one who “has a dragon in his belly”, but is he?

As the child of a single parent in the 50s, I knew hunger up close and personal. When I discovered how many kids are still going hungry, and how few people understand what hunger does to a child, I had to write the book. I chose the picture book format, so other kids would recognize hunger and reach out to kids who might not have enough to eat. Kids are our future, after all, and they have the power to change the world.

After being told by several traditional publishers that there wouldn’t be a big enough audience for such a book, I decided to partner publish with Halo Publishing International. I raised the funds for it through crowdfunding on Fundly, and set to work. The book was released August 27th in both print and as an ebook. I am splitting the proceeds of the book with three organizations dedicated to feeding kids. They are the Clark County WA. Food Bank, Feeding America, and the Portland Oregon Police Bureau’s Sunshine Division who brought food to my door when I was a child.

Since I am a late bloomer, and am now in my mid-60s, I am not letting any grass grow under my feet! I just finished writing my first YA novel and have three more picture books in the works—my 9-year-old granddaughter is the co-author on one. I’ve been fortunate to publish several children’s articles with Guardian Angel Kids and a story with Red Squirrel Magazine, and am maintaining two blogs—the one on kids issues and one on my journey as a writer on my website. I like to think that I am living proof that it is never too late to develop a passion or start a new career. Besides, what else is there to do but write on a small Washington farm with two horses, two dogs, a loving husband who does most of the work, and the occasional pack of wild coyotes?

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9 thoughts on “Meet Guest Author Sherry Alexander

  1. I love your story. I don’t write children’s stories but your story had captured my imagination.
    S.w.e.e.t. “Besides, what else is there to do but write on a small Washington farm with two horses, two dogs, a loving husband…” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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