Featured Interview With Sherry denBoer
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I was born in Galt, Ontario, Canada. The youngest of four children, at seven, my family moved to Burlington, Ontario, where I spent my teenage years. Out on my own by seventeen, life was no picnic. As my debut novel, REASONS is a creation formed out of the challenges I faced as a young woman; and further enhanced by the lessons I learned. Although the story draws from my life experience, it is a work of fiction.
In my early twenties, I completed post-secondary education in sales and marketing. For years, I enjoyed my work as a Project Manager in both the Exhibit and Signage industries. And for twelve years, I was a partner with my husband in a sign manufacturing company.
I have fond memories of my role as a business owner—but life soon saw me venture onto an alternative career path. I currently live in Peterborough, Ontario, with my husband, Robert (and two cats: Shoelace and Wingnut), where I continue to pursue my writing career.
I have published my debut novel titled: Reasons, Three Lives One Soul, and I’m currently working on a second novel tentatively titled: To Cast a Shadow, and a non-fiction book tentatively titled: 42 days of isolation—lessons learned for a lifetime of happiness.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
My mother took me to the library before I started kindergarten. A stack of books was always near my bedside. Learning to read, I knew books were special. I loved the look of a library and the smell. The tall wooden bookcases; the colorful spines of the thousands of books; the mixed scent of old and new books, and the hushed reference of the space, combined to thrill my growing brain—and filled me with awe. Still, to this day, I’m awe-inspired when in a library and excited about a new book to read. I cannot imagine a world without books.
I began writing at about the age of six. Back then, I wrote poetry, and later, journal entries and letters to friends and family. With a vivid imagination, I was often creating worlds and characters. My dream of one day drafting a novel and becoming a published author started when I was about ten years old. That dream took a long time to come true, but it remains just as special.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
My book genre preferences are as wide as my imagination, as are my author preferences. When I was a teenager, I read Stephen King’s books. One day, I found Mila 18 by Leon Uris; that book moved me. It may have been the first time I cried while reading a novel. I’ve read many, many books; I can’t remember them all.
Another book that moved me deeply is Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky. Other favorites of mine are The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (which inspired my wish to create novels about hope and renewal), Dracula by Bram Stoker (which is delightfully creepy), and Pilgrim by Timothy Findley (which stirred in me a lean toward the metaphysical). And I’d be remiss not to include War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (which took a long time to read) and The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky (which, like War and Peace, is an exquisite study on how to write about humanity, character, and emotion). This list, a brief look into my reading, should prove that my tastes are certainly eclectic. If a book is engaging for me, I’ll read it cover to cover no matter the genre.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
My life experience as a teenager and young woman inspired Reasons: Three Lives One Soul. Although the story draws from my experience as a victim of intimate partner abuse, it is a fictional story—that includes some magical realism and is a story about second chances, renewal, and hope.
Here’s the book’s description:
Combining wisdom and wonder into an inspiring tale of self-discovery, Reasons tells the touching story of Reason who, shown to us as a teenager, an elderly woman, and at thirty-five, yearns to leave her troubled past behind and to live without shame and fear. Her quest will lead her to a magical land, thrilling encounters with peculiar guides, a terrifying test, and a transformation far more remarkable than she ever thought possible. Reason’s journey shows us there’s wisdom in introspection and serves as a great reminder that people will help us along the way if we slow down and listen.
REASONS follows three versions of the heroine—each an independent life, all three forever linked.
ONE: As a troubled teenager, Reason starts a new life after escaping an abusive relationship—only to fall victim to the same man when he kidnaps her.
TWO: As an elderly woman, Reason approaches the end of her life—and struggles with Pain while searching for hope after trauma.
THREE: As a 35-year-old, Reason is led by a Raven into a mysterious world where she embarks on a quest with peculiar guides. As the guides clandestinely prepare her for the Stickman, a spine-chilling creature born of her fear, Reason tells her story.
Given a chance to reconcile her painful history, she wrestles with its ruthless effects. But success will mean reliving every detail… and conquering her fear.
If she can endure, a marvelous discovery awaits, and with it, an opportunity to meet with the younger and older versions of herself—and a chance to save them all.
The reader is transported into the heroine’s story—into a part whimsical, part dark, and emotionally intense journey. Both heartbreaking and heartwarming, the story is thoughtful, inspiring, and relevant to today’s world. It is philosophical while allowing for differing belief systems. A story of hope, the novel doesn’t shy away from the dark side of human nature—to show and courageously face that which, for some of us, is the tragedy that leads to self-realization and renewal. The story mirrors real life with its adventure, uncertainty, failures, triumphs, and discoveries—while also including a wee bit of magic. It’s not the magic of wizards and witches and such, but the existential mysteries of life that, while defying explanation, spur us forward into second chances and new beginnings.
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