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Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Interview with WOW! Runner Up Sheryl Winters

If you believe that everything happens for a reason (whether we ever understand what that reason is or not), you’ll love Sheryl Winters’ short story about what happens when a thunderstorm reveals more about the main characters than they ever expected.

Editor-in-chief of her high school's weekly newspaper, Sheryl dreamed of a career as a journalist. Fate had other plans. Her life's journey instead took her down paths as an employment counselor, legal assistant in her husband's law office, and innkeeper of their bed and breakfast.

Now retired and living in Florida, she writes poetry, song lyrics, children's stories, and enters fiction and non-fiction writing contests. Several of her poems have been published. She is currently seeking a recording contract for several of her song lyrics. Sheryl loves to travel, read, swim, and has recently become addicted to knitting. If you'd like to on-line chat with her, she can be contacted at

We welcome Sheryl and offer a big congratulations on her runner-up story in WOW!’s 2007 Fall Flash Fiction contest. If you haven’t already read Sheryl’s intriguing story with an unexpected twist, please do so: A Flicker in Time. And don’t forget to come back and read our interview with this talented woman, who not only writes stories and songs, but extends her creativity into the crafty endeavor of knitting as well.

* * * * *

WOW: A theme of your story “A Flicker in Time” is that things happen for a reason. Do you feel there’s a reason Fate deferred your plans of being a journalist?

Sheryl: Yes. I never did become a journalist. Instead, I found my career niche as an employment counselor and later as a legal assistant. Also, I had problems with balancing my sleep disorder (narcolepsy) and college to the point that I never finished getting a degree.

WOW: I imagine that narcolepsy would be a serious impediment to your education, but you seem to have handled it well. You were able to find your niche in other areas and as a result, experience an event that landed you here. Because you express such honesty in your feelings toward the ex-convict in the story, do you also try to create fictional characters with such complex emotions?

Sheryl: Yes. I am an extremely sensitive and emotionally charged individual and it does translate to my fictional characters.

WOW: That’s wonderful and very important for writers to possess. Did you learn any lessons from the encounter described in your story?

Sheryl: Yes. We cannot let our own personal prejudices keep us from assisting others. Being judgmental and opinionated only creates roadblocks in our life's journey.

WOW: That’s a powerful lesson to learn. Because of this, do you wish your story could have had a different ending?

Sheryl: Yes. I would have loved to have found him a job not only to earn a fee, but to support his efforts to return to society and a successful career.

WOW: Your writing covers a broad range of genres. What kind of song lyrics do you write?

Sheryl: Country western is the type of lyrics I write. I have 3 of them currently on the Empire Music Company website. Here is one of them:

Forgivin’ Yourself

© 2007 Sheryl Winters

Verse I:
You’re doin’ the best you can and that’s no crime.
So what if you didn’t pay those darn taxes on time.
No one’s walked in your shoes or carried your load.
Someday you’ll reap all the good that you’ve sowed.

Forgivin’ and forgetting, once you get it down pat,
You’ll no longer hate the in-laws, or the neighbor’s cat.
You’ll wake up one morning realizing something else,
Hardest thing to do is forgivin’ yourself.

Verse II:
Let go of feelings of never being good enough,
Got wrenching memories of divorce court stuff.
Of cashin’ in bottles to get money for the bus.
Bill collectors, overdrafts. God, times were tough.

Repeat Chorus.

Don’t wait till golden years to watch pretty, pink sunsets.
Take trips to Rome to see churches with two hundred steps.
Cause you ain’t gonna enjoy all the fruits of your hard labor,
Feeling guilty ‘bout the tool you didn’t return to the neighbor.

Repeat Chorus.

Verse III:
Quit stewin’ ‘bout the money ya could’ve but didn’t make,
And fretting ‘bout mistakes ya made and risks you didn’t take.
Yesterdays are gone. Tomorrows are comin’ near.
What matters is today, and hey, you’re still here.

Repeat Chorus.

Demo available. Direct all inquiries to:

© 2007 Sheryl Winters
c/o Empire Music Co.
PO Box 2145
Newburgh, NY 12550

WOW: Great lyrics, Sheryl. They’re very traditionally country. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Sheryl: My earliest recollection of wanting to write was daydreaming stories as I soaked in the bathtub as a kid. Later, a brilliant high school English teacher further inspired me with his requirement for a theme a week. This, along with my experiences as editor of my high school weekly newspaper further reinforced my writing ambitions. However, it wasn't until I was seriously injured in a pedestrian/motor vehicle accident that I began writing in earnest. My husband said that the brain injury I sustained must have started the creative juices flowing. As a result, I wrote a poem on "courage" which was later purchased by The Courage Center, a rehabilitation center in Minnesota, as part of a contest.

WOW: That’s an interesting way to come back to being serious about writing. You mentioned in your author bio that you’ve recently become addicted to knitting! Do story ideas form while you’re engaged in your craft?

Sheryl: I am a beginner knitter and still need to concentrate on the stitches. I find the craft extremely relaxing and look forward to the time when story ideas will come from those tranquil moments.

WOW: Since you’re such a creative person--writer, songwriter, knitter--do you believe creative people have a natural desire to explore as many creative avenues as they possibly can?

Sheryl: Yes, I do believe creative people seek out multiple avenues of creative expression. Owning and operating a bed and breakfast gave me many opportunities for this as I orchestrated events including Victorian teas, quilting weekends, murder mystery dinners, chess tournaments, class reunion slumber parties, to mention a few. We "creativity creatures" are constantly searching for new ways to convey our ideas. It is our passion.

WOW: Can you explain how you set aside time to write?

Sheryl: I write when the moment moves matter what time of day. Some of my best writing has been done in the middle of the night when it is quiet and there are no distractions. (Having a sleep disorder sometimes is not all bad). It also helps being retired and having a fluid schedule. I always carry a pen and paper in my purse in case a light bulb goes off in my head.

WOW: If you’d been able to become a journalist when you were younger, do you think your life would have been as rich as it’s turned out to be? Or do you believe it may have been richer?

Sheryl: I never regretted not becoming a journalist because my life has been filled with excitement and remarkable experiences. A friend once told me, "compared to yours, my life sucks." I took that as a compliment. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with the events of my life but then I stop and listen to the words of my own poem:

Relax, enjoy the day.
Without the worry of work or play.
Yesterday is gone.
Tomorrow is near.
But TODAY - TODAY is why we're here.

* * * * *

If you haven't done so already, please read Sheryl's story, A Flicker in Time.

And remember, every Tuesday we'll be featuring an interview with one of the top 10 winners from the Fall 2007 Essay contest. So, be sure to check back and see who's up next!

For more details on WOW! Women On Writing's current contest, please visit:

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Blogger Terry Finley said...

Never too young,
Never too old.

Way to go.

5:59 PM  

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