Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Guest Blogger: Sherry Issac

A huge Vortex welcome to Sherry Isaac. Yay!

Sherry is the author of the just-released collection of short stories, Storyteller. She has a magical, lyrical voice that is warm milk on a cold night. And, she loves all things woo-woo, too! I'm so pleased to have her here.  Enjoy!

Time Warp
by Sherry Isaac

Where a story idea comes from and how it take shape is integrated and tangled up with where we are at the moment.

And where we've been.

And where we are going.

Kind of like time travel.


Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of the ideas. They come so fast, they could be in a swirling, time-traveling vortex of their own. Sometimes it’s hard to focus on the story in front of me, darn near completion, because a new idea won’t leave me alone.

Ideas like this one, an idea I had quite a few years ago now, shelved while I worked on my current novel, took classes and compiled my short story collection, Storyteller.

A time travel idea.

Audience: YA.

Right at this moment, I should be working on my second novel, Homecoming.

I’m not.

Why? Two reasons.

One. Instead of being tangled up in plot points and character arcs, I’m enmeshed in the promotion of my first ever book launch.

Reason Two shouldn’t be time-consuming. It is an important task, but one that can run in the background: soliciting agents for my middle-grade. The book is everything I can make it, tweaked and polished till I have the darned thing almost memorized. Synopsis is written, as is the query letter.

Every 4-6 weeks my only task is to (a) digest the rejection letter, (b) revise and personalize the query letter for the next agent on my list and (c) hit send.

I’m now on Agent #4.

It was the query to Agent #2 that threw life into a jumble.

Agent #2 has a blog. She cites statistics on her blog, discouraging, miserable numbers that tell a sad, sad tale of how many queries she receives, month by month, and the scant number of partials and fulls she requests from out of that ginormous, impossible, nearly infinite number.

On her blog she also reveals the type of book she is on the look out for: Time Travel YA.

My heartbeat flutters.

My lungs grow heavy with the breath I hold.

Time Travel YA?

I have a Time Travel YA!

At least, I have an idea for a time travel YA, tucked, safe and sound, in my idea file.

I made a commitment, though. A commitment to myself, a commitment I must honour lest Margie Lawson beat me with the entire weight of her DSDB lecture packet:

Finish the current novel.

The current novel, Homecoming, has been the heart and soul of my existence for I no longer know how many years. Homecoming is so close to completion, I can smell the ink on the freshly printed pages and hear the first crinkle of that fragile spine as the first copy of the first edition is cracked open.

The time travel idea?

She ain’t going anywhere.

But she does serve as an impetus to keep moving forward, to finish my current work in progress, and to plan what books I will write, and when, over the course of the next few years.

In the meantime, I’ll buckle my seat belt and find contentment traveling the space-time continuum between current century Canadian prairie by day, and 16th century England in my dreams.

And keep that time travel engine running!


Winner of The Alice Munro Short Story Award, Sherry Isaac’s tales of life, love and forgiveness that transcend all things, including the grave, appear online and in print. Her first collection of shorts, Storyteller, debuts July 2011. For more information, or to order an autographed copy, click HERE.

Be sure to leave a comment for Sherry and don't miss her beautiful book trailer. Thank you, Sherry, for being here!


Melanie Atkins said...

I feel your pain. I'm in the same boat, with so many ideas but not enough time (or lack of distraction, in my case) to get them down on the page. No wonder so many writers drink. lol

Lisa M said...


I'd say you're experiencing a wonderful dilemma. Deciding what to do Today to satisfy those creative needs. And having palpable choices.
Good luck with Storyteller. I look forward to the dilemma of deciding which story to read out of it today.
Cyberhugs L.A. & Sherry

Susannah said...

So inspiring. Thank you Sherry for sharing your journey and Laura for hosting.

Charles Gramlich said...

Enjoyed this. Excellent interview.

Carole St-Laurent said...

Good of you to focus on Homecoming. If we writers go after each idea that grows in the back of our minds, we'd have 25 unfinished novels.

Wait a minute. That's exactly what happened to me! I have 4 unfinished novels. But last year, I bunked down, rooted to my chair with Margie Lawson superglue, and I finished one of them.

Way to go, Sherry. I will send my order soon for Storyteller.

Anonymous said...

"Where we've been, where we're going. Kind of like time travel." I LOVE this. It's so true. I spent most of the past two night in bed plotting out a story that has nothing to do with my current WIP. A story that I haven't thought about in several years. Unreal. Thanks, Sherry, for your thoughts. Thanks, Laura, for hosting Sherry.

Gloria Richard said...

LOVED your article, Sherry. Waving "hi!" to fellow IMC2 grad L.A.!

I connected with what you said on that "new idea" being the carrot that draws you forward--anxious to finish your current WIP so you can play with it.

I love looking at it that way. I have so much emotionally invested in my current WIP that I can't NOT finish it.

But, there's a YA light fantasy ms waiting in the wings. I want to get it rewritten into what it should be -- a middle grade series -- before my grand-daughter is too old to appreciate it.

SO excited for you on your launch.

Subscribing for updates on this site before I leave.

L.A. Mitchell said...

It sounds like we are all very much in the same boat. I'm in the my-manuscript-picks-it's-nose phase. Kind of over it, ya know?

Anonymous said...

Oh Sherry, I feel your anguish. I too have a YA (not time travel) lurking in my brain. Every once in a while I go download some of it off onto the computer so I can focus on the WIP, at least the one I'm working on now. Not the other three in process. So hard to focus on one thing when the others keep pushing in. Good for you, Homecoming will be worth it!

Urve said...

Such true thoughts. Those new ideas are like ice cream on a hot day. Oh so tempting.

I have a file full of ideas. I just need to finish my current (and only) wip. The thought of plotting a new novel makes my heart skip a beat. OK - off to write now.

I'm enjoying your blog tour. Both for your articles and the opportunity to meet other writers. It's a treat to meet all these talented people virtually.

Sandra Ferguson said...

I think about B. Streisand's comment that she never listens to her finished albums -- nope, just doesn't do it. Why? She's sick of the words, the intonation, the inflections, the vocals, the instrumentals -- plain sick of it all.

Sounds exactly like writers with their finished product.

Thanks, Sherry, for reminding us that we're all in the same boat, the same ocean -- even trapped on the same wave.

So is there a good point? At least through the writing we all managed to get in the water in the first place.

Enjoyed the interview. Thanks, Sherry and Laura.

Sherry Isaac said...

Distraction a problem? Get yourself some of Carole's Margie Lawson super glue!
Thanks for reading, and sharing! Good luck with your WIP.

Sherry Isaac said...

It is a wonderful dilemma! We are so fortunate to be doing what we love.
Cyber hugs hugs hugs.

Sherry Isaac said...

Susannah! Great to see you!
Charles, nice to meet you!

Sherry Isaac said...


Margie Lawson superglue! Snort! Love it!a

Sherry Isaac said...

Oh, June! I bet everyone commenting has had those plot sessions, attention robbed from our current work.
Thanks for reading and for sharing!

Sherry Isaac said...

So great that your granddaughter is your dangling carrot/reward for finishing your current WIP.
Love to Sydney. And to Sydney. And to Molly,Zack, John, Willie, the folks at Starbux...

Sherry Isaac said...


Picks it's nose phase? I do NOT want to know what that looks like!

Sherry Isaac said...

Jessica! We are spending so much time together lately! Glad my IMC 1ers are meeting my IMC 2ers!

Sherry Isaac said...

Fear of plotting. What a great way to keep us on task.

Sherry Isaac said...

I've heard the same about actors. Personally, I couldn't do it. Picked up my first copies of Storyteller, keep taking them out of the box, flipping the pages. It was a long hard road to get to this point, and I'm revelling in it. I hope you do, too! It's okay to hip hip hooray when your hard work comes to fruition!

Sherry Isaac said...

Laura, thank you so much for having me here today. So glad to meet your audience, and to introduce folks from my corner of the world to your magical, awesome talent!
Let's do it again!

Elaine said...

Hi Sherry. Hope the book tour is going well. Lots of comments here, I see.
I like your idea of keeping to the task at hand. There are so many places to write and an equal number of places to pretend to write. You are keeping on track. Brava!

Robin said...

Congratulations on Storyteller, Sherry! I really enjoyed reading your post and wish you success with your WIP *and* future stories.

p.s. I loved your book trailer.

Sherry Isaac said...

Thanks Robin!