Sherwood began writing in the womb after a harrowing incident in which Mother Sherwood swallowed a pen—and thus, destiny was born. JJ’s first work was completed by the age of 5: a riveting tale of a duck attempting to climb into an apartment during the pouring rain. Unfortunately this book is not in print, but it served as the first spark that spurred on a lifetime of creativity.
Much of JJ’s childhood was spent tearing through the woods, playing out fantasy worlds, and tying Barbie to the roof so that the Power Rangers might rescue her. Middle and high school carried on this roleplaying, while college encompassed creating and refining over 250 characters in the world of Aersadore.
After escaping college, finally armed with the tools of the trade and a lifetime of development, JJ set to writing what would become the Steps of Power series: it was then that Eraydon slew his first dragon, Jikun battled the warlord Saebellus, and Taranus rebelled against his brother’s throne.
When not orchestrating the lives and deaths of the people of Aersadore, JJ’s hobbies include drawing, video gaming, wearing a bathrobe, and eating too many baked potatoes. JJ Sherwood lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with one loving and extremely patient spouse, a bearded dragon, a monk parakeet, and four cats who look far too similar. Her first work in the Steps of Power series is Kings or Pawns.
Check out Kings or Pawns on Amazon.
Thanks for letting us interrogate you! Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?
I’ve loved writing since I was in kindergarten—and now I must write or the voices in my head won’t shut-up. And there are a lot of them, at this point.
Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be? I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?
The writing part is great. The conventions are great. The fans are great. The business end of things…? Well, that part I hate. It’s time-consuming, takes away from writing and socializing, and it’s just… ugh. But I can’t sink money endlessly into putting together a series and never recover. Eventually the funds will dry up and I’d have to get a real job. That sounds worse than the business end. But that’s the part-time job no one really elaborated on.
Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?
I took the self-published route so that I could keep my rights and run the series the way I want it to be run. Ever since I began writing I ruled out traditional publishers, but there are days when I’m swamped with work (trying to get everything ordered for conventions, handling publicity, paying for convention booths, paying for an artist, etc…) where I start thinking about looking at traditional publishers. But I love the people I work with—I believe them to be some of the best in the industry—and I wouldn’t give them up, or my rights, so I’ll stick it out.
Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?
Before the success I’ve begun to have, they were not very supportive. I love my family, but they saw what I did as a hobby and the time I spent as “too much time.” Now they understand things better, but it’s still tough on them. I do work very long days and there are times where work gets in the way of socializing.
This is for pet lovers. If you don’t own a pet, skip this question, but do your pets actually get their food on time or do they have to wait until you type just one more word?
Well, they have to wait until I wake up in the morning… and I’m not a morning person. So it’s probably a few hours after they demand it. But I make up for it by making them their cat food. Yes. I make cat food. And I have four cats. Crazy-cat-lady status unlocked!
This is for plant lovers. If you don’t own a plant, skip this question, but if you do, are they actually still alive?
I use to have a bonsai and a venus fly trap! I love plants…!
However, my cats love them more.
In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?
I lock myself away in the deepest, darkest recesses of the house, put my phone on silent, and tell everyone to fend for themselves. Hahaha.
No really. That’s what I do.
What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?
I got nothing for this one… hahaha. It’s been a stressful ride, but nothing crazy yet.
How about the social networks? Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?
All social media helps—particularly Twitter. I love my Twitter followers, but there are days when I get over 100 messages and I want to delete my account and never look back. Hahaha. So it’s a love-hate relationship. I want to do it… I just wish it didn’t take so much time.
Book sales. Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)? How are you making the sales happen for you?
My book is not out yet, but I have allowed pre-release sales at conventions and through our Kickstarter for the Kings or Pawns audiobook. All of them have been successful—I try to personally connect with people who I think might be genuinely interested. I love to share my work and when I believe someone else might love it as well, that passion shows.
What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?
There is this character. Love the character. Great character. …But he was only suppose to have a minor part in Kings or Pawns. Instead, he struts in and basically glory-whores himself to “favorite character” status for many readers with demands for reappearance, and even became a point-of-view character! YOU WERE ONLY SUPPOSED TO HAVE A MINOR PLACE IN THE SERIES. MINOR. GO BACK TO THE SHADOWS!
Okay, too much sugar for you today! Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in. Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?
And you said it. There is no other job in all the world—literally—that I would rather do. No matter how much it paid. No matter how easy it was. This is the only job for me!