Making the List: Sherri Lewis
City of Residence:
How long have
you been writing?
writing since the age of 5. My mom loves to tell the story
of my first book in crayon on construction paper. I wrote
all through junior high and high school, mostly journaling,
short stories and poems, but started seriously writing in
2001. My debut novel, MY SOUL
CRIES OUT, was released
in July 2007; my second novel,
DANCE INTO DESTINY,
was released in January
2008. I was blessed to have both of them make it the
Essence Bestseller’s list.
you to get started on your first book? Were there any major
challenges that almost prevented you from going ahead with
I write as
therapy, so I actually started writing
DANCE INTO DESTINY
my first year of medical school, back in 1990. I didn’t
really want to be a doctor, but felt pressured to do so by
my dad. So I started writing a story about a young woman who
was pursuing a career she really didn’t want to pursue. She
longed to be a dancer but her parents pressured her to do
something “stable” while doing her art “on the side”. The
major challenge that prevented me from finishing it back
then was med school, which took every waking moment of my
time. I put the book on hold until 2001 when I picked it
back up and completed it.
Did you ever
imagine that you would become a published author?
When I first
started writing, I thought it would be pretty easy to get
published, as most aspiring writers do. After 4 years of
rejection letters from both editors and agents, I got really
discouraged and actually had decided to stop writing. I sent
in my book to my current publisher, but swore that if it
didn’t get picked up, I was through with writing forever.
When I got the email from Urban Christian that my book had
been picked up, I was at work. I screamed so loud that my
nurse in the office next door thought someone was trying to
kill me – not an unrealistic thought since I was working in
a women’s prison at the time.
LOL, I hope
she didn’t sound the alarm.
What are some
of your favorite authors and books?
Christian fiction authors are Victoria Christopher Murray,
Tia McCollors, Claudia Mair Burney, Stacy Hawkins Adams, and
Rhonda McKnight. I also read a lot of spiritual nonfiction
and my favorites there are Myles Munroe, Bill Johnson,
Francis Frangipane, and Rick Joyner. I don’t get to read
much secular fiction anymore. Living celibate since my
divorce has me avoiding sex scenes like the plague!
LOL, I can see
how too many romance novels may cause an issue J. I love
Claudia Mair Burney and Victoria Christopher Murray as well.
What do you do
in your down time?
I just quit my
15 year career as a physician to write and do ministry full
time. So I didn’t have much down time before. Now I’m in
this weird flux of figuring life out all over again. The
things I enjoy doing the most are going out to any of
Atlanta’s eclectic spots to hear live music, singing,
reading and hanging out with friends.
about THE LIST:
you to write The List?
mentioned, writing is therapy for me. It’s much cheaper than
going to a shrink and I actually get paid for it. I also get
to bless other people and make them realize they’re not
alone in whatever difficulties they may be facing in their
lives. So THE LIST
was inspired by my experience as a successful, single, black
woman over the past 5+ years since my divorce.
It has been
hilarious, painful, educational and so many other things.
Because I realize that almost ½ of black women are in the
same state that I’m in, so I thought it would be fun to
share the laughs and pain. So far, the response has been
great. Women have read the book and can relate completely.
Do you have
any favorite characters or scenes that you wouldn’t mind
sharing or providing a little more insight on?
My favorite is
the main character, Michelle. She’s a lot like me and one of
my best friends. I also was completely in love with the
character Isaiah. He’s such the perfect man. Except for his
one fatal flaw, of course.
Did you face
any major challenges writing this particular story? If so,
what were they?
Because a lot
of what my characters were experiencing was going on in my
life, sometimes the writing got to be pretty painful and I
had to walk away from it. I made it better by making it as
humorous as possible. Laughing at myself and some of the
crazy dates I was experiencing helped a lot. Yeah, some of
them were actually real!
Inspirational Romance, what, if any, particular challenges
do you face? Is it harder for you to write stories about
people’s romantic journeys, while staying true to your
I figure God
created love, romance, and marriage so there shouldn’t be
any conflict with me writing Christian fiction with romance
in it. I will say that some of the Christian publishing
companies out there are really strict about what you can
include in romantic scenes. Some say you can’t “be in the
room” when a couple is having sex. Not that I would be
overly graphic or anything, but they’re completely against
it. I figure if a couple is married, sex is a part of life.
Other publishing companies won’t even let you kiss or have
“heated feelings” in the book. Fortunately, my publishing
company allows for pretty edgy stuff, so I don’t have any
conflicts or challenges with them.
ABOUT THE FANS
working on the sequel to THE
LIST, SETTLIN’. It focuses on
one of the characters who didn’t find love in
Lisa. As her friends in the book try to tell her, she’ll
never find a man as long as her list of what she wants is a
10-page excel spread sheet of traits that no one human could
Do you have
any reader events coming up (book signing, tours, etc.)?
I have a lot
going on since the book was just released. I’ve been doing a
lot of local events here in Atlanta but will be traveling
soon as well. My schedule can be found at
How can your
readers stay in touch with you?
My website is
www.sherrilewis.com. I’m also on
www.myspace.com/sherrilewis and my
I am also addicted to Facebook and you can add me there
under my name.
What advice or
encouragement do you have for aspiring authors?
I always give
two pieces of advice to aspiring writers. One is perfect
your craft. Anyone can tell a good story but few people do
the work to tell a great story and tell it well. It’s
important to read craft books and attend writing workshops
to become the best writer you can be.
piece of advice is to connect with other writers. I belong
to an amazing network of Christian fiction writers whose
input in my career has been invaluable. I also have an
awesome mentor in Victoria Christopher Murray who
is an unbelievable resource. She’s one of the most giving
people I’ve been blessed to meet.