Saturday, March 31, 2018

Savvy Saturday: An Interview with Tiffany Sherman

Tiffany Sherman is the author of soon-to-be-released Sun Catch Her, a fantasy with a twist. Sun Catch Her is available for pre-order on Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and at the Champagne Bookstore. We thought it would be fun to let you get to know a little more about her here on Savvy Saturday, so without further ado, here's Tiffany!

When and why did you begin writing?

I began actively writing in 2006. Funny thing, it was a way for me to avoid the stress of planning our wedding. I would never consider myself a “runaway bride,” but I would frequently “escape in my head” to a place where I wasn’t choosing which flavor of wedding cake to order. (Oreo! Our cake had Oreo filling).

Tell us your latest news.

I’m throwing an online Book Release Giveaway Party and ya’ll are invited! With the release of a debut there is so much to celebrate. I’d like to show my gratitude to the readers by giving away a little something to every person who buys Sun Catch Her from March 1 to May 31, 2018, plus give everyone a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card, a 1 lb. Amethyst gemstone cluster, and more! Visit for all of the details!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Ever since my first crayon, I have been an artist. Writing came to me later, as freshman in high school. Crafting stories became an extension of the artist I already was. Creating visuals using words as the medium is as artistically satisfying as slapping paint on a wall mural.

Do you have a specific writing style?

My writing has been described as “painterly.” I very much admire Kim Harrison’s writing style. She’s always able to draw the reader into the story’s setting, so that you can smell the wet pavement on a rainy day and hear the popping of gravel under car tires. I strive for similar “environmental richness” in my own stories.

How did you come up with the title?

My titles always seem to come to me during sleep-related circumstances, haha! The series title “THREE RIVERS DEEP” found its way into a dream during a fitful nap in a hot car. Similarly, I was nearly comatose with the need to sleep when book one’s title “SUN CATCH HER” popped into my head. Again, I was in the car, parking it this time. As the equation seems to go: Sleep (or lack thereof) + Car = Badass Title

Is there a message in your novel you want readers to grasp?

Surround yourself with people who will support and build you up, who cheer you on to your goals, and HAVE GOALS. Strive to give yourself purpose beyond your immediate social circle and/or significant other. Developing your personal strengths and living a well rounded life can only benefit those you love, as you then in turn will have the strength of character to support and uplift them.

In book one, as Aurora begins to encircle herself with people who will play key parts in her life, she still embraces/works at the things that are important to her: finishing school, drawing/art, her family’s business. We will see her taking on a bigger role in her mother’s company in book two. Sure she is young and falling in love, breathtakingly so, and she’s exploring herself and discovering who she is as she transitions into adulthood. So there are moments for Three River Deep’s spunky protagonist to be serious, studious, and endeavoring, which then in turn are balanced with friendship, fun-loving, and sexy-time. (I know, I know. Can we just get to the sexy-time already? Haha).

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Getting started. I can best describe it as stage fright, standing frozen offstage in the shadows behind the red curtain, staring at center stage, the floorboards there spotlight bright. Once I walk out to stand in that light, writing (oftentimes) comes with ease. It’s just taking that first step, letting the rest of the world (loved ones, chores, the need to eat) hang out back behind the dividing curtain as I stare up into that white-hot void and simply write. One of my creative super power: Endurance - working non-stop for 5 hour intervals.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Getting past the realization that whole sections of the draft have to be torn down and reconstructed. You literally bawl like your heart has been ripped out, but then you sucker punch despair in the face, take back your heart, stuff it in your chest and make plans to move forward. As long as I have a plan on how to fix things I bounce back just fine. In the long run, it strengthens you as a writer and your story can only benefit. But you know the heartache of rewriting is still real as you sit at a red traffic light, dramatically crying your eyes out so that the driver next to you thinks that all of your puppies have died in some tragic, puppy-killing helicopter crash.

Arnold Schwarzenegger: “Get into the chopper!”

Me: “No, puppies! For kibble’s sake, don’t do it!”

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I became aware of my interest in writing during a seventh grade English assignment. I wrote a short story about a young woman emerging from a sparkling sea, and my teacher, Mrs. Dollar, was absolutely stunned by it. Her reaction struck a spark in me, a flame for “creating with words” that was then stoked to become a considerable fire by my tenth and eleventh grade English teachers (Mrs. Bell and Mr. Dandoy). By the time I got to college, my English professors there were highly enthused with my writing assignments. One professor asked permission to incorporate a few of them into his teaching curriculum.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I have more of a twisted sense of humor than I realized! LOL. I also like to infuse humor quite frequently throughout my writing. THREE RIVERS DEEP’s protagonist Aurora is a sassy, stubborn little firecracker! A lot of my female characters tend to be firecrackers each in their own way; some will harmlessly pop, snap and glitter, while others will blow your entire arm off. ☺ I spent my teenage years as a “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Xena Warrior Princess” diehard, and my tendency for “spunky female characters” tends to reflect that. My storytelling’s sense of humor is very Buffy. I also like to blossom female characters into strong individuals (if they don’t already start out strong from the get-go).

Do you have any advice for other writers?

~ READ. Read the works of authors who bolster your own inner author. I draw courage from regularly digesting Kim Harrison and Anne Rice, among others.

~ Be patient with yourself, your journey and the process. I admit I am working on this. Impatience creates unnecessary anxiety and kills productivity.

~ Don’t turn a blind eye to social media and platform building. You can have the best story/invention/idea in the world, but that will matter little if nobody knows about it. Advertising/ promotions are key.

Do you have anything specific you want to say to your readers?

It is my hope that Three Rivers Deep embraces you, lifts you above your everyday circumstances. I hope Aurora and the gang can help you escape boredom, anxiety, hurt, loss. Whatever your situation, whatever your reason for reading, allow me to take you away from it all for a little while. And when you’re finished reading, head over to for music! Continue that post-story afterglow with the Three Rivers Deep playlist and music videos.

What inspired you to write your first book?

As an artist, I felt the need to create something more than visual, something that captured people’s imagination longer than the mere seconds attention is paid to a drawing or graphic composition. Thus a book was born. What started out as a coming of age story with a nature/elemental theme that had wit, action, romance, and centered around a snappy, fresh-faced female protagonist (something I wanted to read and I just couldn’t find) has become a literary piece that I hope readers can settle into for an hour at a time and be transported beyond the wear-and-tear grind of everyday life.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Petroleum Valley is real, yo! The industrial valley that Aurora moves to, located west of the Appalachians in Pennsylvania, exists, and I live there. From the golden smokestacks, to the orange halogen lights at night, many of the elements making up the setting in book one are taken and shaped from real life. Even the sequence where Aurora is on the wrong side of the fence and is looking for a way out of the factory, I know the ins and outs of said industrial maze very well, as I worked there summers during college cutting grass. I drove Agitator Road through the oil refinery daily!

Other true to life places include the Emlenton Plaza, the blue bridge and historical “cliff” that George Washington once stood on (really just a huge, pompous rock that was dropped on the hill next the river during the last Ice Age), Reese’s house and Aurora’s twin houses (although these have been torn down by the factories whose land they once occupied). I cut the grass at Aurora’s houses, haha! 

On a more sober note, the hydrogen plant sitting above the oil refinery, positioned on the hillside opposite the twin houses, is the real deal. The control room and break rooms there are heavily constructed cement bunkers and, rumor has it, if something ever serious went boom there, a fifty-mile crater isn’t out of the question.

About Tiffany

I’m Tiffany J. Sherman and I am an author, artist, and cat wrangler. I grew up (and still live) in the valleys of western Pennsylvania.

A lot of my female characters tend to be firecrackers each in their own way; some harmlessly pop, snap and glitter, while others will blow your entire arm off! I spent my teenage years as a “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Xena Warrior Princess” diehard, and my tendency for writing spunky, cheeky young women tends to reflect that.

It is my hope that THREE RIVERS DEEP embraces you, brings you joy, and
uplifts you above your everyday circumstances. I hope Aurora and the gang can
help you escape boredom, anxiety, hurt, loss. Whatever your situation, whatever
your reason for reading, allow me to whisk you away!

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