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Interview with Sheryl Keen, Author of Journal According to John (Part 2)

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If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. It’s a question that I have asked myself especially when I just get done with a manuscript. I’ve learnt to let go of projects when they are completed. Otherwise, I’d always be second guessing myself and I would never have a published work. I try to write the best book possible each time with the knowledge that my writing will get better with time.


Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
It started very early, as far back as I can remember. I would get carried away when my teacher would ask me to write stories with titles such as “My life as a penny” or “How I spent my summer holidays.”


Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I sometimes find editing and rewriting my own work challenging. I have to make decisions after decisions about what to cut and what to keep. But this is an important part of the writing process so it has to be done. I am trying to become ruthless about it and to be objective.


Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I don’t have a favorite author because there are too many good authors to choose just one. One of my favorites is Toni Morrison. She doesn’t have one or two good books. She has many great books. Morrison is usually insightful and critical all at once. She is always asking an interesting question in her novels and I do like novels that leave me with something to think about.


What was the hardest part of writing your book? When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Trying to think from a male’s perspective was the hardest part of writing Journal According to John but it was also the most interesting part. I contemplated whether the character would seem authentic but then I concluded that there are all kinds of men. So John exists somewhere out there.


I realized I wanted to be an author from maybe as early as seven or eight.


How long does it take you to write a book?
It’s hard to say. It depends on the book and the research that is involved. Most of all, it depends on the time that I can carve out while doing a full time job. If I could write everyday, for most of the day, it would take approximately eight months to write a book.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I usually try to write a little after I get in from work but that can be very challenging after a long nine to five. If I have a day off or a not too busy weekend, I write mostly in the mornings because that’s the time of day that I get most things done.

Part 1 | (Part 2) | Part 3

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