International Women’s Day!

Go females!

I was a strident feminist as a child and I blame that on being a kid of the 1980s when Margaret Thatcher was in power (even though I’m not sure if she was a feminist herself!) and women’s rights was everywhere. I used to have actual fights with my mum about a woman’s right to work and how a woman shouldn’t feel pressured to stay at home with the kids. Of course now I have a child I choose to stay at home with my kid, but that wasn’t the point! It was the right to choose. I got that then and I still get it now.

So yeah I suppose I’m still kind of a feminist… I know I’m incredibly grateful to the female freedom fighters who came before me, that allowed me to be as relaxed as I am about it. I know there are women in the world doing great things and I think that has almost become ‘par for the course.’ Not the exception to the rule, just the rule. I also think that ‘greatness’ can encompass such things as ‘being a good mum’ or ‘being a contributing member of the community’ and that it doesn’t just have to mean ‘being Beyonce’ or ‘ruling the world’, it can mean so many things.

Would love to know your thoughts? Happy International Women’s Day!

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Interview With An Author

It is always interesting to talk with fellow authors and find out what makes them tick… I interviewed Sheri S. Levy who writes Young Adult fiction and wrote the novel ‘Seven Days to Goodbye’. Here are her answers!

 

1. I see from your website that you are involved with dogs quite a bit. Could you tell us about that?

Our first dog, a rescued German shepherd, made my husband and I dog lovers. We had both grown up with a dog, but hadn’t planned on having a dog at that time. When she died, we had a major hole in our lives and needed another dog. We chose our first puppy, a White German shepherd. Since her death we’ve grown fond of Australian shepherds. When we adopted our first Aussie pup, four months later a Black Lab blew into our yard. We are now enjoying our third and fourth Aussie, the latest one being a very difficult rescue.

2. What kind of books do you write?

After I started writing, I realized my story needed to be about having a pet. I began with my memories of our first Australian shepherd, Sydney. Being involved with special needs, I had heard a lot about service dogs. I called around the U.S. doing research and accidentally found PAALS.org. Since they are close to where I live, I have become involved and learned a lot from their organization. They are 100% non-profit and have a waiting list for more trained dogs. Every book I sell, proceeds go to them.

3. What is your basic writing process? Are you a planner or do you write as it comes?

When I first started writing, I had no idea how to develop a story. After years of reworking my first story, I put it in a drawer and started writing Seven Days to Goodbye. The ideas flowed from memories of every trip we took to Edisto Beach. It was easy to be a pantser, (writing without a plan) knowing Sydney was going to be a service dog, and I knew how to end the story. It has turned into a series, and Starting Over is due in July. I am now writing the third book, For Keeps.

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When you feel like it’s not enough

I had this doubt in my mind for many years that being a writer and creating entertaining fiction works was not enough. That it wasn’t serious enough, helpful enough, that it would never change a world desperately in need of positive change. I’ve been surrounded for large portions of my life by people who are incredibly helpful, who do things that make a direct difference to people’s lives. And I’ve long thought that I ought to be doing the same. Doing something worthy and uplifting and beneficial.

As though writing literature isn’t any of those things. Don’t ask me why I adopted this attitude, I can’t even be sure myself, I think it is a complex combination of factors. But the key component for me is that I allowed myself to think like that. To think that being an artist, purely being an artist, was somehow less, somehow frivolous.

And many might say that it is. That I ought to use my education and talents to make a different kind of difference. But it wasn’t until recently, when I re-examined myself, again, and looked at what it is that I am truly here to do, what I am truly passionate about, what I am best at – that I knew that writing is exactly the right thing for me and that there couldn’t be any better way for me to contribute.

I write for pleasure, yes. I’d do it even if I didn’t want a career out of it. I’ve always done it. But I also write for deeper reasons, reasons that I’m not even sure of. It’s the one thing that I’m still compelled do after 36 years on this Earth, and having tried lots of other different things in my life.

Thinking the way I was thinking, that subtle but definite sense of inferiority, I believe held me back in my work. It meant I was too often looking for a ‘message’ or an educational slant to what I was doing. However, in the last draft of my novel I completely let go of all that. I let go of all those other intentions and I decided to write the thing that told the best story, the thing that entertained and thrilled me the most. And honestly, when I did that, the best work I’ve ever done finally came out.

 

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