Interview with Sherry Alexander
author of the newly released
Middle Grade/Tween Western Adventure
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Linda Sue ParkLouis L’Amour
What motivated you to become a writer and at what age?
In the 1980s I wrote for adults, but I always wanted to write for kids. So, when I retired in 2012, I began writing for kids. I want to write stories that will engage them, inform them, and entertain them.
What 3 words describe you as a person?
Mom, friend, passionate
What 3 words describe you as a writer?
Obsessive, concerned, passionate
When not writing, how do you spend your time? Hobbies?
I home school my granddaughter, so two days a week I am at her school and the other three days we work at home. We walk, talk, observe, and share our love of nature, reading, and research.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
When I was a child, we had a mobile library visit once a month at school so books were a rarity at my house. But the first one that I got lost in was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. After I read it for the third time, I decided I wanted to write just like C.S. Lewis.
Describe your desk.
I share my desk with my husband, so we have two computers, 1 printer, a host of resource books, and a view of the forest through the window above it.
Who is the main character in Search for the Red Ghost?
Jake Thrasher, who is modeled after my younger brother, is the main character. He’s stubborn, loyal, independent, and sometimes impulsive.
What is his story?
Jake wants his father’s love and respect. He feels the only ones who understood him—his sister and his mother—are dead, and that his father cares more about being an Army scout than caring for his family or the ranch. He wants to prove his worth, but most of all he wants revenge for his mother’s death.
Where/when does the story take place?
The story takes place on a small ranch in southeast Arizona in 1883. Geronimo had left the reservation, and roving bands of Apache were attacking small ranches. It was an unsafe time.
How did the story come to you? Why?
My book, The Great Camel Experiment of the Old West, covers the Army’s introduction of camels in the Southwest in the 1850s. After the Civil War, some camels were turned loose into the desert. In my research, I came across the Legend of the Red Ghost, which was about one of the animals who killed a woman in 1883. That made me ask myself, “What would happen to a family who lost their mother to an animal they had never seen before?” I knew my brother would hunt it down. It wouldn’t matter how old he was, given that time period, he would leave everything to find the animal responsible. That is when Jake was born.
What makes your book different from other similar ones?
I think the setting and the constant threat of danger Jake has to face makes this book different from most adventure or coming of age stories.
What do your fans mean to you?
Whether I have one fan or hundreds, they mean the world to me. I want to give them a story that will let them walk hand in hand with the main character and live an adventure through his or her imaginary life.
Where do you get the inspirations for your book(s)?
I love history—no—I am obsessed with history. We learn so much from those who came before us, but it’s easy to lose sight of the wonder our ancestors saw when they carved new roads and explored new lands. I want to bring that excitement to life for young readers.
Any advice for new writers just beginning this trek down the wonderful world of publishing?
Don’t give up! Keep honing your craft. If you have a story to share, someone, somewhere needs to read it.
Thank you for your time, Sherry.
Folks, if you have a middle grade/tween reader in your life, then Search for the Red Ghost should be in your reading list. It has adventure, mystery, action, and virtues suitable for all ages.