MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR SM STRYKER
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
My author name is SM Stryker, but my name is Shelly.
Well, I’m kind of in a genre by myself. I don’t fit into the standard romance genre and they aren’t erotica, although, those scenes are very descriptive. I write highly emotional books that touch on some taboo subject. My characters have either gone through or going through a traumatic life event. Through the books, you will watch as they (both heroine and or hero) overcome obstacles and adversities to find their HEA. Each book takes you through every emotion possible leaving you uplifted and inspired. My goal is to keep you guessing, not knowing what will happen next.
I’m more romantic suspense I guess if I had to label myself.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
The majority of my books are based on events in my life. Of course, I add to those events. Even the most tragic event can be boring. So, I add a lot of twist and turns with a lot of angst in the midst.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
It was what pulled me in. I write what I know, and since I write on taboo subject a lot, I’m a romantic at heart and I long for that HEA, but I always want to shock the reader with something they wouldn’t expect.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
I do a lot of research on my books if I don’t know the subject or terms. I have a daughter that was in Afghanistan, she is also a fireman/paramedic/nurse, so I got a lot of that information from her. I know girls that were strippers, so I will go to them for information. If I need to know a specific subject and I don’t have a personal connection, I will search the internet.
Can you tell me about your Series?
Although I do have a couple of series, each book is focused on different characters that you will read about in other books. It isn’t necessary to read the other books, but you will learn so much more about all the characters. The two series that I have are Then There Was You series, which starts with Whispers in the Wind, and The Second Chance series, which starts with Never Forgotten Love.
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
LOL, that’s like asking who your favorite child is. I do love Whispers in the Wind though. You have to know that as I write, I many times sob during certain scenes.
Where did you get the inspiration/idea for your series?
Never Forgotten Love is based off my husband’s home life as a child. Of course, I took creative liberties when writing it. At the time, I was making a lot of cupcakes and decided to add that to the story.
Whispers in the Wind started out one way, but as with all my books, the characters have their own ideas for the books and what they want. So, I just listen to them and tell their story.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
With all my books, I’ll study the location, events happening at the time, and even guns, and mental illness. I make sure that what I put into my books is correct.
Was it always meant to become a series?
No. I never set out to do a series, but I felt like the other characters needed a voice to tell their stories.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
I currently have a day job. I work 8-12 hours and even on the weekends depending on the client. When I get home, I will make dinner for my husband then go to my cave to write. I’m very lucky that my husband started doing a lot of additional chores around the house. By the time I get home, he has usually vacuumed and done the dishes, not to mention taking care of our 3 fur babies.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
Yes, I actually have two. I have New Beginnings that I’m hoping to have out this spring and Where the Journey Lead Us which will be out early summer which is the conclusion to Then There Was You series.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
I think the names are very important in my books. Some of them I will look for with a specific meaning. If there is a specific meaning to the name I use, it will be introduced in the book.
Where do your ideas come from?
Some of my ideas are from events in my, or my family’s lives. A death of a friend, the life of a stripper, a child that was verbally, sexually, physically or mentally abused. Or as simple as a waiter dumping a tray of food. Then again, my characters also come up with their own ideas.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
I’ve thought about Clean and Wholesome and Young Adult, but don’t know if I can keep it that clean. I want the passion.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Time and priority. Sometimes after work, it’s hard to shut it all off. Plus, I need to also spend time with my husband.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I think book trailers are amazing. I have had some fan made trailers and I love them.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
My children and my marriage of almost 32 years.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
The freedom to express myself and to use this platform to help others. I’m a child and adult of sexual abuse. I started writing to help myself heal. Since I’m older, when I was a child the idea that a father or brother raping you was never mentioned. I want to let others know that they are not alone, that there is help out there for them. They just need to speak up. I was 8 years into my marriage before I told my husband. Yes, I should have made someone listen when I was a small child, but I was told a brother or father would never do that to their sister or daughter. The world is now listening.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I will be a fulltime writer, NY bestseller and relaxing anywhere with my husband.
Have you always liked to write?
No, not really. When I was pregnant with my first daughter (Wishes on Falling Stars) from a previous marriage, I knew that my life would make either a good soap opera or a book. It wasn’t until 2014 that I decided to tell my stories.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Write. Don’t worry if you don’t use it, just write. Everyday.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
Right now… die. I love writing. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t put another word on paper. I’m a mortgage broker by trade and have been for the last 21 years. It’s what pays for my habit.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
Hmmm. Yes, I do. I do respond to the good ones, thanking the reader for taking the time to leave me a review. I don’t on the bad ones. I once asked a reader what they didn’t like in one of my books and they turned me in for harassing them.
There are some days that I just blow it off, and others that crush me. But it’s like an addiction to see what people thing, to get the adoration that they like my words and characters as much as I do. I have to remember that writing is an art. Everyone has their own opinion and taste. (easier said than done)
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
What are you working on now?
I have two different WIP. One is a stand alone novel, the other is the conclusion to Then There Was You.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
New Beginnings – Four years after Sydney’s parent were mysteriously killed, she was celebrating with her girlfriends the day before she was to marry the man she thought would lover her forever, but when her phone buzzed with an incoming text, she realized she wasn’t the only woman he was sleeping with. Little did he know what she would do the next day after she walked down the isle to say her ‘I do’s’.
Returning to her small hometown, she runs into her high school sweetheart, the boy that always held her heart and the secret she hid from him.
Wherever Our Journey Lead Us – This is Alec’s story. After Alec finally finds his sister Natasha after being kidnapped seven years earlier, his only goal in his and his best friend Connor’s is to bring her home. The only problem is Alec is being sent on his final mission to Afghanistan and Natasha is betrothed to a man she doesn’t love. Alec promised to save her from her doomed fate.
Alec’s mission to Afghanistan was a peace keeping mission to bring food to the impoverished. That’s when everything went terribly wrong. A car bomb explodes. Alec cover a small girl and her mother with his body to keep them safe from the falling debris as it falls on him injuring him.
Aliah; the woman Alec saved, turned as saved him. Hiding him from the Afghan rebel soldiers.
After being rescued and safely back on base, Alec realizes someone is out to kill him, so he fakes his death, living behind the scenes to catch a murder with the woman that saved his life. Aliah.
Where did your love of books come from?
I love falling in love with character in books. When I was younger it was hard for me to find good books, but now with all the indie authors, there as so many good books out now.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
Wow, I have several authors that I one click. I recently found AL Jackson. A. MA. ZING. She is so descriptive in her writing. I devoured her books in no time. The same goes for K Bromberg. She too is amazing, I love her style. Others are Vi Keeland (I talked to her prior to starting to write, it impressed me that she took her time with me to answer all my beginner questions) Jasinda Wilder, Sylvan Reynard and HM Ward, Pepper Winters Rachel Van Dyken and Willow Winters. ALL ONE CLICKERS.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
Samantha (The Locket) is me. As a child, when I was being by my father, I hid inside myself and became a different person. Her name was Sam. It was the acronym of my names. To this day, I will still use that name, my school friends will still call me Sam and I even have it on my license plate. It shows me that I can survive anything. Sam is strong, a survivor.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It energizes me, especially when I’m on a roll. I can write for hours.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
When I try to write the story the way I want it instead of the characters. A lot of times I will go back are re-write it.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I write for me. Fads come and go. My stories are unique and will always be original. I don’t want to read five books that are about the same thing, I want something different, imaginative and special.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
When I first started to think about writing, I contacted several authors. Vi Keeland was one that really encouraged me. I’ll never forget her kindness and her taking time out of her busy day to help. I have also talked to Rachel Van Dyken, she too has helped me recently. Other than that, I’m kind of on an island by myself I feel a lot. I’m a very introverted person and it’s very difficult to come out and introduce myself. I don’t want to bother other authors.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
I did. Stolen Innocence, The Locket, Wishing on Falling Stars.
What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
Why inspired you to write your first book
I had struggled for so long with what had happened to me as a small child, then a young teenager. My abuse was swept under the rug. It was a taboo subject. To the point that not even Amazon would publish it until I removed the incest aspect of it. (what the difference if it was a brother or father that abused you verses a step brother or adoptive father?) I wanted to help others. I wanted them to see that there is life after abuse.
(soapbox) I want to bring awareness to sexual, physical and emotional abuse of children. So many children in the world today are abused. I want them to know they’re not alone. Although I would never wish what happened to me on my worst enemy, I wouldn’t change it. I am who I am because of it. I want others to know that they can survive. And if someone is currently being abused, they need to know that no matter what they are told, it is not their fault. There are people that can help them. You can get free help.
For me, I thought what happened, happened to all little girls. I didn’t know any different.
Where can your fans find you and follow??
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️