Author Interview: Lenita Sheridan

I am pleased to announce that Lenita Sheridan–author of Guardian of the Gauntlet–is visiting us today.

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1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m from Fairbanks, Alaska. I now reside on Whidbey Island, Washington. I like to read, write, sing, listen to music (especially Celtic folk music), and walk my dog, a Japanese Spitz named Haley. As well as being a writer, I am a substitute teacher and caregiver. I received a Bachelor of Arts in English, specializing in techniques of writing, from the University of Alaska, and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Washington.

2. When did you start writing?
I began writing in first grade when I made a picture book. I decided to become a writer when I was in fifth grade. Then I wrote a sci-fi book. The book I first published was written in my twenties. It is titled Guardian of the Gauntlet. I continued writing the sequel and the last in the trilogy when I moved to Whidbey Island.

3. Why did you start writing?
I started writing because I loved to use my imagination and make up stories.

4. Do you recall the moment you first conceived the idea for your novel?
I was substituting in Federal Way, Washington, but school was closed due to a snowstorm. I had a dream of a princess being kidnapped. This formed the beginning of Guardian of the Gauntlet. The final product was just like my vision for the book.

5. Tell us a little bit about your book’s title.
I was first just going to call it The Gauntlet, but my professors told me it needed to have more. I thought of the word “Guardian” because the princess becomes the gauntlet’s caretaker.

6. Does your story have a moral?
The moral of this story is, one, use your talents, and two, with faith you can overcome anything.

7. Of the characters you’ve created, which one is your favorite?
I like Isryk because he is in love with Camari. He has a cute way of showing this love and is an excellent guide through the Wetlands of Fremil. There is a part in the book in which he saves Camari from herself.

8. What does a typical writing session look like for you?
I like to listen to Celtic folk music (instrumental) while I write. Afternoon is the best time for me to write, but I’ve also been known to stay up late in the night and write. I write inside on a comfortable sofa. I like to write alone. Unfortunately, I do not set word count goals (except for my writers’ group, then it’s usually anywhere between 800 and 1,000 words a chapter).

9. How do you feel about outlines? Are you for or against them?
Outlines can be very helpful. I used one to help me write the last book in my Guardian of the Gauntlet It helped because there were many changes in points of view. I am for outlines now that I’ve written using one.

10. What is your favorite book genre?
I like to read and write in the fantasy genre, preferably children’s.

11. What is currently on your to-be-read shelf?
On my to-be-read shelf is Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke.

12. What is your favorite book?
My favorite book (or books) is The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. I like the symbolism in it.

13. Any project in the works?
I’ve just finished the last book in the Guardian of the Gauntlet Sometime this fall I will work on a memoir titled Goldstream Valley Girl, which chronicles my life growing up in the Goldstream Valley outside of Fairbanks, Alaska. Until then I will work on short pieces (articles, short stories).

14. How long does it usually take you to write a book?
It takes me about a year to a year and a half to write a book, because I have my writers’ group edit it.

15. In your opinion, what makes a story ‘good’?
A story is good if it makes you laugh while still having meaning.

16. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
If you decide to self-publish do your research. There are companies that charge more and companies that charge hardly anything at all.

And now for a game of “Which Do/Would You Prefer?”
1. Dogs or cats?
I prefer dogs. I have one and am partial.

2. Summer or winter?
I prefer winter, being a former Alaskan.

3. Ebook or physical book?
I prefer ebooks; I’m into technology.

4. Making a phone call or sending a text?
I prefer making a phone call; I like talking to people.

5. Staying in a hotel or going camping?
I prefer staying in a hotel; I like to travel in style, without all the bugs (literally).

6. To find true love or to win the lottery?
I’d prefer to find true love; there’s a romantic in there somewhere.

7. Reading or writing?
I’d rather write.

8. To speak using ONLY rap lyrics (from songs released in the 21st century) or to speak using ONLY quotes from Austen’s books?
To speak only using quotes from Jane Austen’s books; I love her works and read most all of them.

9. Being able to speak and understand every language known to humankind or being able to speak and understand every language known to animals?
Being able to speak and understand every language known to animals. I’m an animal lover.

10. Having your car break down on an extremely busy expressway or along an abandoned road in the middle of nowhere?
Having my car break down on an extremely busy expressway. It did and I got help.

11. Staying awake for forty-eight hours (continuous) or walking for twenty-four hours (also continuous)?
Staying awake for forty-eight hours. I’ve stayed up for practically a month.

12. To never read another book or to never watch another film?
To never watch another film.

13. Finding yourself caught in the middle of a hurricane or finding yourself caught in the middle of a snowstorm? (Note: in both scenarios, you’d be outdoors and have no access to shelter.)
To be caught in the middle of a snowstorm.

Thank you for joining us, Lenita!
Readers: want to connect with Lenita? You can find her on Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook. Also, be sure to check out her website.

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