Wednesday, March 11, 2015

OTBF 2015: Spotlight on Sherri L. Smith

It is that time of year...again! Events and places where teens, authors and books meet! For many booknerds and readers alike, we attend many book festivals and author events all over the United States. I am absolutely thrilled to be part of this blog tour! And...I get to host one of the amazing authors that will also be in attendance! You'll find out who I'm hosting soon...after discussing some details about this fun event! My daughter and I was fortunate to go to the first Teen Book Fest when it all started in Ontario! And, of course, at the end of sharing all this exciting and fun information, there is an awesome the end of this post!

View our OTBF 2014 album, here!

Well, this coming March 2014, the City of Ontario will be holding their 5th Annual Ontario Teen Book Fest featuring many bestselling authors. Booknerds and fans of all ages are welcome to attend; however, teens are given preferred seating.

March 21, 2015, Saturday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Colony High School
3850 E. Riverside Drive
Ontario, California 91761

Did I mention that to attend is absolutely FREE and it is NOT ticketed!

Yup! Ontario's Teen Book Fest is completely FREE to attend! For more information on the Ontario Teen Book Fest, go to:

Sponsored by:

*Books and other stuff will be available for purchase during the event*

Join us as we celebrate teens and books with an amazing lineup of authors! And, of course, there will be signings as well! Yay! To celebrate this upcoming and exciting event, we are having a blog tour spotlighting these amazing authors!

Today, I get to spotlight the amazing author, Sherri L. Smith

*About the Author*
Sherri L. Smith's life can best be summed up geographically. Born in Chicago, IL, she spent her childhood in Staten Island, NY, Washington D.C., and Upstate New York. Her parents divorced when she was twelve. A year later, she moved back to Chicago with her mother and big brother. After high school, it was off to New York City for college, San Francisco for graduate school, and then Los Angeles to make movies.

Sherri has worked in film, animation, comic books and construction. Film highlights include Tim Burton's Mars Attacks!, where she worked in stop-motion animation--a truly cool art form. Sherri also worked for three years at Disney TV Animation, helping to create stories for animated home video projects.

After leaving Disney, Sherri found an unlikely home with a construction company, working in a triple-wide trailer on the tarmac at Los Angeles International Airport. From there she spent nine hilarious years working at Bongo Comics, the company that brings you The Simpsons in print. Currently Sherri happily spends her days writing novels and visiting her readers in schools and libraries across the country.

She lives in Los Angeles with the love of her life, and is currently working on her next book.

Stay connected with Sherri L. Smith

Books by Sherri L. Smith:
(Covers are Goodreads links)

Sherri's upcoming The Toymaker's Apprentice is set to be released Fall 2015! Add it to your Goodreads TBR list!

A gorgeously imagined Nutcracker retelling from award-winning author making her middle-grade debut 

Stefan Drosselmeyer is a reluctant apprentice to his toymaker father until the day his world is turned upside down. His father is kidnapped and Stefan is enlisted by his mysterious cousin, Christian Drosselmeyer, to find a mythical nut to save a princess who has been turned into a wooden doll. Embarking on a wild adventure through Germany, Stefan must save Boldavia’s princess and his own father from the fanatical Mouse Queen and her seven-headed Mouse Prince, both of whom have sworn to destroy the Drosselmeyer family.   

Based on the original inspiration for the Nutcracker ballet, Sherri L. Smith brings the Nutcracker Prince to life in this fascinating journey into a world of toymaking, magical curses, clockmaking guilds, talking mice and erudite squirrels. 


*Interview with Sherri L. Smith*

1. Thank you for taking the time from your busy schedule for this interview! I thought we could start with the all-too-common question, especially for readers who are new to your books, when did you know you wanted to become a writer?
I tried to write my first novel when I was about 10 years old, so it must have been around that age.  It took a lot longer to realize I could be a writer as opposed to someone who writes.  That’s a real distinction, one I didn’t make until I was an adult!

2. Who is/was your biggest inspiration/motivation/supporter in becoming a writer?
Two people.  My grandmother who, when I said I wanted to be a doctor replied, “I always thought you’d be a writer.”  I was probably 8 or 9 at the time.  And then my mom, who was with me every step of the way while I wrote my first novel.  She used to buy me books on writing whenever she came across them.  When I started my first novel, she came to visit and put every meal on the table so I could come home from work and just write.  I couldn’t have done it without her.

3. Why write young adult books?
I was in a library one day, about a year before I really committed to being a writer.  A young girl at a nearby table brought over a stack of books for her father to look at—she needed help choosing.  I provided that help, in a frenzy of too much information from a stranger.  When it was over, she had some great books to read and I realized how important those books were to me.  The books we read as kids shape who we become.  I think it’s important work!

4. What was the best & worst part about working with Disney?
The best part was the creative energy, being surrounded by some really talented artists and writers.  The worst part was sometimes seeing that creativity stifled.

5. What are the differences, in your opinion, between working on film and working on books?
Books and films are both team sports—it takes a lot of people to bring either of them to the end user.  That said, books are usually written alone, and then the rest of the team comes in to clean it up and get it to print.  A movie doesn’t get out the gate without a lot of cooks in the kitchen.  I enjoy being able to figure out exactly what I mean on the page without having to please the crowd from word one.

6. What are you working on now and when can we expect it to be released? Can you tell us?
I’ve just finished my next book, The Toymaker’s Apprentice.  It’s a middle grade historical fantasy that comes out in October.  I’m super excited to see it in print.  A very talented illustrator, Sarah Watts, has done some incredible interior art and a beautiful cover.  The finished book will be stunning.  I’m taking a mini-break, and then I’ll be working on a contemporary mystery.

7. Have you ever experienced "writer's block"? If so, how do you deal with it?
There’s no such thing as writer’s block.  There’s a lot of writer’s doubt and writer’s procrastination.  If I feel stuck, I go read a bunch of stuff and try to do interesting things that help give me idea.  I also do more research.  You can always find the next story step by doing research.  And then I type a lot of meaning drivel until I work out the thing that’s not working.  Write what leads up to it, what comes after, and eventually you can fill the dead space in properly.

8. What is the best & fun part of being an author?
I love spending time in the worlds I write about.  It’s exciting to see a story come together, like it wants to be told.  That thrills me.  I also love the people I meet—book lovers the world over are my kind of people. Who wouldn’t love that?

9. How do you spend your time when not writing?
A good chunk of my non-writing time is spent at a day job that helps pay the bills while I write.  The in-between time is for family—I’ve got a good husband and a bad cat at home, and a bunch of great nieces and nephews running around.  You’ll also find me reading, cooking and eating.  I drink far too much tea, and I also I love to travel.

10. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Start writing.  Keep writing.  Stop talking about it and just do it!

Thank you Sherri for taking time from your busy schedule for this interview!

***The Giveaway***

Giveaway is U.S. only

Check out the blog tour schedule!
February 28
Spotlight on Kasie West -- Adventures of a Book Junkie
March 1
Spotlight on Melissa Landers -- What A Nerd Girl Says
March 2
Spotlight on Brad Gottfred -- Recently Acquired Obsessions
March 3
Spotlight on Catherine Linka -- Read Now Sleep Later
March 4
Spotlight on Debra Driza -- Read Now Sleep Later
March 5
Spotlight on Katie Finn -- Fearless Kurt Reads YA
March 6
Spotlight on Claudia Gray -- A Bookish Escape
March 7
Spotlight on Shannon Messenger -- People Like Books
March 8
Spotlight on Lauren Miller -- The Thousand Lives
March 9
Spotlight on Mary Elizabeth Summer -- What a Nerd Girl Says
March 10
Spotlight on Anna Carey -- The Reader's Antidote
March 11
Spotlight on Sherri Smith -- Movies, Shows & Books
March 12
Spotlight on Elizabeth Ross -- Kid Lit Frenzy
March 13
Spotlight on Jessica Khoury -- The Consummate Reader
March 14
Spotlilght on Maureen Goo -- The Windy Pages
March 15
Spotlight on Cecil Castellucci -- Nite Lite Book Reviews
March 16
Spotlight on Jessica Brody -- The Romance Bookie
March 17
Spotlight on Gretchen McNeil -- Movies, Shows & Books
March 18
Spotlight on Aaron Hartzler -- Fangirl Feels
March 19
Spotlight on Michelle Levy -- The Consummate Reader

Blog Tour Organized by

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