Sherri Lupton Hollister
Hello Readers and Writers!
Today we would like to introduce you to an author who combines genres to get everything she wants from her stories. Starting out categorizing her writing as Romance, this author began to understand how much she loved Suspense. This shaped her writing, and gave us a series already grown to 5 titles, all packed with steamy, fiery action and love!
Introducing Sherri Lupton Hollister!
RL: When did you start writing as a career?
SLH: About twenty years ago I started making the move to be a serious writer, sending out queries and such. In 2008 I went to my first writers’ convention, the Romantic Times Readers and Writers Convention in Pittsburg with my best friend, Robina Norman. The next year she convinced me to sign up for the Ann Peach New Writer Award. I did and I won a scholarship for the pre-convention program taught by the late Judi McCoy. She died before I published my first book. I was hoping to be traditionally published, even had an agent but when that didn’t pan out, my mentor, and fellow author, M K Graff talked me into indie publishing. I published Chrome Pink in 2018. My fifth book, Red Steel came out in February 2020.
RL: What's your current work in progress?
SLH: I am working on the second book in The Harrell Family Chronicles, it is a second chance romance, family drama, with a little murder and blackmail.
RL: You write Romance. What led you to write in that genre?
SLH: Well, I thought I was a romance writer and even published the first three books of the Leeward Files as romantic suspense but I’ve come to realize that I like blowing things up and killing people as much as I do sex and romance. I’m embracing my dark side and admitting I’m more of a suspense writer who likes romance and sex in my stories.
I’ve always, for as long as I can remember anyway, been in love with love. I started reading romance as a teenager, but I wrote my first love story at the age of ten. I’m a hopeless romantic. I believe there is someone for everyone. Love is hope, and when everything in the world is going wrong, it is nice to know there is a little hope.
RL: How do your books rebel against the status quo in your genre?
SLH: Well, in Chrome Pink, my heroine, Rae Lynne is a recovering addict, a rape survivor, she drives a tow truck for a living, restores motorcycles, has tattoos and piercings but would give up her life to save a friend. She is flawed, a little scary and isn’t the kind of girl you take home to meet your mother. She finds the perfect man for her who sees beyond the hard shell to the woman inside.
I like to complicate things. I don’t want just a romance. I want action, adventure, explosions and a heroine who doesn’t need a man to save her but might save him. I want their relationship to be equal, he needs her as much as she needs him.
RL: Which of your books is your favorite?
SLH: That’s like trying to choose your favorite child (I have six) or your favorite grandchild, believe me, that’s even more difficult.
I’d say Chrome Pink because it was my first published book and I love my heroine Rae Lynne. She started out as a description of my husband for an online class I was taking. I don’t even remember the class now. After describing him, a biker, mechanic, tender-hearted tough guy, the instructor told us to change the gender, ethnicity, other details but keep others. That was the seed for Rae Lynne, and she was the cornerstone of The Leeward Files series.
My last book, Red Steel, was inspired by my firefighter son and his wife. They also assisted me in a lot of the details. Our local volunteer firefighters and rescue squad played a huge part in helping me with this book, it is in my opinion, my best so far.
RL: How do you beat writer's block?
SLH: My biggest block to writing is a lack of time. I work a fulltime job, I have six grown kids, twenty-one grandchildren and I’m the chairperson for the Pamlico Writers’ Group. I am also active with the Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, our local affiliate of RWA, and my community.
When I am struggling to write something, a scene or a character that isn’t coming, I will switch gears and write something totally different like a blog post or I will get up and move. Sometimes you have to reset your brain. Go for a walk. Put on some loud music and dance. Clean house, okay, I do this as a last resort, but it is an option.
RL: Your first book released in 2018. How has your writing changed since then?
SLH: Like anything we do, the more you do it the better you become. Writing is like using muscles. When you first start you do it but it is stiff and awkward. Maybe it’s not as pretty as you hoped but as you develop it becomes more of what you want it to be. I’m still learning, growing and experimenting with my writing. I hope I never stop trying new things. One of the things I say often is do what scares you. If I have to pinpoint one thing I think I’ve improved on since I started. I believe I’ve made my writing tighter, more sensual.
RL: Tell me about the Pamlico Writers Group.
SLH: The Pamlico Writers’ Group is the oldest writers’ group in eastern North Carolina still operating. We are part of the Arts of the Pamlico, formerly the Beaufort County Arts Council. We meet at the restored Turnage Theatre on Main Street in Washington, North Carolina. It is a beautiful community full of history.
We put on an annual writers’ conference each spring. This year it will be in September due to the virus. It is our eighth. I have been the chairperson for six years. This will be my sixth on the conference steering committee.
We will also be revealing the winner of our search for our second Heart of the Pamlico Poet Laureate.
We promote literacy, the value of the written word and we help our fellow writers reach their personal goals for their writing career whether that is publishing or just writing better for their own pleasure. We are a small group, but we are blessed to have “sister” groups whom we support and participate which expands our reach.
This year’s keynote speaker is North Carolina Poet Laureate, Jaki Shelton Green. https://www.pamlicowritersgroup.org/Workshops-&-Presenters/
RL: Talk to me about the path you choose in publishing.
SLH: I dreamed of being a traditionally published author. I went through all of the steps to get to that point. I even had an agent. When things went south for us and I was left floundering.
Several of my writer friends had been telling me for years to just self-publish but I felt like that was a copout. I was also afraid of self-publishing because I didn’t have a lot of money to invest. When my mentor, best friend and even my husband encouraged and even browbeat me into just doing it, I decided to go with Create Space (now KDP).
I did everything wrong. I didn’t plan. I didn’t stop to think. I just plowed headlong into publishing that first book. I knew if I was going to do it, I had to just do it.
Oh boy, I had to learn a lot fast. Five novels in two years and I’m just now starting to understand the process. I didn’t even know what questions I needed to be asking. I did everything I could for free and I’m gradually starting to invest more money and time into making it more of a business.
Self-publishing Chrome Pink was my first leap of faith. My first “doing what scares me.”
RL: What advice would you give to an author who is interested in writing for publication?
SLH: Learn everything you can but don’t be afraid to make mistakes. FEAR is the greatest crippler of dreams.
RL: What are your hobbies?
SLH: Now that I’ve started writing full-time and still working my “real” job, hobbies have fallen by the wayside. I still do a few things when the older grandchildren come around. I like to paint, draw, sew, crochet, hike, although I’m not in as good a shape for that anymore. Swimming is still my favorite exercise. I love the water. I take a lot of photos.
RL: Where do you see your writing career going in the future?
SLH: I’m hoping to write a historical series I’ve been playing with for several years. I’d also like to expand my Leeward series to include The Heroes of Leeward and a fun romantic comedy maybe with Dana’s Cupid Zone where she is a matchmaker. Dana is the heroine in White Gold, she has a dating club that is part online dating service and actual building with programs, etc. She is also running for mayor of Leeward.
RL: What are you reading now?
SLH: My book list:
Trust by Daines L Reed (we met at the North Carolina Book Festival and I did an interview with her on my website)
Nightshade by Jennifer Pierce-Gaeta (connected through Twitter, Shameless Self-Promotions)
I just finished the audible Some Like It Scandalous by Maya Rodale (met through HCRW)
RL: What can readers expect from you in the future?
I am working on the new series which will be filled with more murder, romance and drama. I may even get to travel some with this series, we won’t spend all of our time in Leeward. If anyone wishes to sign up for my newsletter, I’d love to share the inside scoop of what I’m up to next. https://tinyurl.com/y7eay6vr
Find Sherri Here:
Author Image Credit: Katelynn Hollister Photography