We caught up with rising star of the YA scene Sherri A Wingler and prodded her clever brain … Read our fab interview and see what she has in-store for us Immortalites!
What was the inspiration behind The Immortal sorrows series?
I honestly couldn’t have answered that when I started the series. They say writing is good therapy, and it is. It’s a good thing, too, or I’d be crazier than I already am! I’m no stranger to Death. He’s shown up many, many times in my family. I just humanized him a bit so I could come to terms with him. I read a review once which said something to the effect of she ‘wouldn’t let Death come turn her life upside down.’ Oh, but she would, because there isn’t a choice when Death comes calling. Every tiny thing in a person’s life is turned upside down and rearranged when he comes around.
What made you want to write?
That’s kind of like asking someone why they want to breathe. I just do. I have a never-ending urge to create something which will out-live me, but doesn’t have to have its diaper changed. Also, I wanted to read the books I wrote, if that makes any sense.
Who was your favourite character and why?
That’s nearly as bad as asking a mom which kid is her favorite! I think my favorite switches depending on who I happen to be writing at the time. I had the most fun writing Fate in book 1. She’s been driven over the edge by unrequited love, and what woman wouldn’t want to have power over the man who scorned her so easily?
Now, in book 2, I missed Asher for a short while. Very much. He isn’t like the other characters. He’s sort of old-fashioned, but his love for Izzy is everything to him. In him I get to explore the romantic side of myself I keep so deeply buried most of the time. Generally, I’m more like Gwen. You can’t take me anywhere nice.
There’s a new character introduced in “Wings of Shadow.” Wrath. I didn’t like him at all at first. My bestie had a lovely time with that. She said I couldn’t get along with my imaginary friends, but it takes time for me to get to know someone (even when they’re a product of my over-active imagination.) As I said, Wrath and I didn’t get along well to start with, but I grew to really enjoy his character. Now I miss him. He may be making another appearance sooner than expected!
If you could be any of your characters, which would it be and why?
Cronus, I think, but only for a short time. In him I see someone who has been largely dismissed but he’s really sort of a master manipulator. He lets people see as much or as little of himself as they wish to see. For some he plays the fool, and for others the sage. You just never know with him. He isn’t really a force for good or evil, which I think makes him the most dangerous character of all.
How do you come up with your story concepts?
I couldn’t even begin to tell you that. I’ve heard it said that writers tell stories by the light of every book they’ve ever read, and I’ve read a huge range of things. I love Greek mythology, I adore the classics of literature, and I’ve immersed myself in the paranormal romances so popular today. All that just kind of mashed up together and made “The Immortal Sorrows.”
I don’t really come up with the concept first. I came up with the characters of Izzy and Asher. I wanted a normal teenager, not someone prophesied to save the known universe. Why was she destined for this adventure? Why not? She was a soul picked at random by the hand of an avenging Fate.
Asher is the Angel of Death. He’s grown sort of numb to his existence up to the point of meeting Izzy. I love my characters, but it’s fun to think of the most horrible thing I could possibly do to them, and do it. For Death, falling in love with a mortal was torture, but it makes for a fun read!
What is your process? Are you a meticulous planner or do you just let it flow?
I like to plan. I enjoy the whole process, but it never stays on track. The thing I love is when it flows and I feel like I’m just taking dictation for the story. Occasionally, I get stuck, but it’s always because I tried to turn the story a certain way and the ending wouldn’t be satisfying.
I think for those days when I’m stuck, the most important thing is just to keep showing up. I talk it over with a few close friends, and if I don’t have the answer one of them always does.
What is your favourite book of all time?
“Jane Eyre,” by Charlotte Bronte. I’ve been looking for Rochester in every book I’ve read since. He’s wicked, possibly a little bit evil, and maybe redeemable, but he loves Jane in spite of every reason he shouldn’t.
If you could be ANY character in ANY book, which would it be and why?
Lol. Jane Eyre because, um… Rochester!
Seriously, I think when I was younger I would’ve loved living in the middle ages, too. I was hugely into Arthurian legend. There was so much romance going on with knights and ladies and all that jazz, but then you realize women had no rights, there was no hot water, and indoor plumbing was a bucket if you were lucky. So I’m pretty happy with the time I was born in. I’m so in love with electricity!
I wouldn’t mind being Izzy from “Wings of Darkness,” come to think of it. I do a lot of horrible things to that girl, but she has Asher through it all, and he is one awesome consolation prize!
What is your next project?
I’m developing a trilogy this time with demons as the main focus, instead of angels. There was quite a bit of humor in the Immortal Sorrows, but I think this one will be a bit funnier. As a few of my reviewers like to point out, I like to take philosophical bits and pieces and twist them around until, well, my nose starts to bleed. I’ve been working on the Sorrows for two years like that and I still have a book and a half to finish the series. There are all of these concepts of the cruelty of Fate, the madness of Time, and the idea that Death can be an act of love instead of loss. It’s exhausting, quite frankly. My brain hurts from all of that, so I want to do something fun. Now, I know how I think, so most likely before I get a few chapters into the new series, I’m going to turn it into some high-concept madness much like I did the last series, but I can promise at least a few cheap giggles along the way.
As an author, how much of you can we see in your characters?
All of me. You just have to know what you’re looking for. Izzy has my determination. Asher has my loyalty and protective tendencies. (I tend to smother the ones I love, fortunately there aren’t that many of them because that gets exhausting after a while.) Gwen has my smart mouth and occasionally impulsive nature. (Depending on the situation, I really do enjoy offending people, but only if I think they deserve it.) Grim has my sense of play (although he takes it too far). Clotho has my vindictive nature. I really enjoy writing her. She takes crazy to a whole new level. They are all the parts that make the whole of me.