Dreams Really DO Come True
Posted by Sarah Andre
It was always another day, another dead body—until that body was someone you knew.
Detective Seth Banning paused at the bedroom doorway of the rundown duplex, his gaze fixed on the dead woman lying on the floor. He swallowed while his brain absorbed the shock. He squeezed his eyes shut and then opened them again.
She was still there. He would know that profile anywhere. Sheila Peterson. A woman he never expected to lay eyes on again alive, much less find dead. (Excerpt from SWITCHED IN DEATH by Sherry Foley)
I met Sherry Foley in the most unusual way…
A few years ago my Northwest Houston Romance Chapter was hosting their annual Lone Star Conference, and like most chapters, this would be where we’d announce the winners of our Lone Star Writing Contest.
I happened to be the Romantic Suspense coordinator that year, so only I knew a writer from Kansas City, named Sherry Foley, had won 1st Place. Amazingly enough, she and a friend decided to travel all the way to Houston to attend our one day conference, their first writing conference ever! I made sure they were invited to the Friday night pre-conference reception; a great casual way to meet the agents and editors we’d flown in for Saturday pitches.
All during the Friday reception I kept asking fellow members, “Have you seen someone named Sherry Foley?” And finally an acquaintance of hers said, “Oh, their plane was delayed because of bad weather. She should be here soon.”
Well, I never saw her that night and the next morning during registration I noticed she still hadn’t checked in! Eventually I saw two travel-weary women slip into the conference and finally met Sherry and her friend, Liz. Here is their ghastly travel tale in Sherry’s own words:
“We were supposed to fly from Kansas City to Houston on a straight flight. That flight was canceled and we had to get another flight out, which connected. But then we had a five hour wait in Kansas City so we landed too late to catch the connecting flight.
We finally arrived in Houston…Hobby Airport, the WRONG airport. We rented a car and drove an hour north to the other airport to collect our bags (they had been tagged for this airport.) Of course our suitcases were nowhere in sight! Because of the late hour Baggage Claims was closed.
So we drove straight to the hotel (still in our dress clothes for the Friday cocktail reception) to find we were locked out of the lobby. Now it was after midnight. FYI, we were supposed to land in Houston at 2:30pm!
We buzzed the front desk, called the front desk from our cell phones…FINALLY the guy came to unlock the door and let us in. We went straight to our room and crashed. At the crack of dawn we got up, hurried back to the airport to get our luggage, got cleaned up and hurried to the meeting–we’d missed half the morning. Oh yeah, and as we tried to just sneak in unobtrusively, the only remaining seats were in the front row. How embarrassing!”
You could tell they were both in REALLY bad moods and were trying to get beyond the catastrophes and get into the spirit of the conference. And anyone who’s experienced even half of these complications knows that’s hard! (Personally, I’d have thrown up my hands at the canceled flight and gone back home!)
But they couldn’t have been more gracious, and eventually joked about the day-and-a-half it took to get to Houston for a one day conference. By this time I literally had to avoid her because I wanted to blurt out, “But you’ve won our contest!” just to turn the day around for her.
Finally it was Lone Star Contest Awards time. I announced the 3rd place & 2nd place names and saw Sherry’s eyebrows knit in confusion. Then I said “…and the 1st Place winner for Romantic Suspense is SHERRY FOLEY!”
I kid you not- her eyes were as round as saucers and she looked at me like this had to be an evil trick to add to the horror she’d lived through that weekend. (Turns out this was the very first contest she’d ever entered!) But then she smiled, and I honestly have never seen a smile quite like that. After moving mountains to get to Houston she stood to a thundering, whistling crowd and received her due as a Writer Extraordinaire.
I present to you: my friend and debut author, Sherry Foley.
Thanks for being here. I’m so thrilled we can showcase Switched in Death today! (Dear Blog Reader: It’s a chilling, fast paced novel with such a jaw dropping twist at the end it’ll leave you absolutely stunned. No joke.)
Sherry, who are your favorite authors?
Shannon K. Butcher, Linda Howard, Tami Hoag, Carla Neggers…the list is endless.
When did you start writing romantic suspense?
On my birthday, eight years ago and my book came out on my birthday this year. How cool is that?!
How did you know this is what you wanted to do for a career?
Always an avid reader, I thought it would be wonderful to grow up, be a writer, and give back to others.
I placed first in a writing contest in high school and it made such an impact on me.
I won my scholarship to college in acting and I landed some great parts, but I didn’t party and I was told if I was ever going to make it I was going to need to change that. It was a confusing time. I didn’t want to be an English major and teach or go into Journalism. I just wanted to write, but didn’t know what genre.
I decided to drop out of drama and of course, I lost my scholarship. Along the way, I married the man I fell in love with in 7th grade and from there we were busy with life and having a family. Still, the dream was never very far away.
Detective Seth Banning searches for one of the most heinous serial killers of all time. Seth is desperate to find the sadistic murderer who takes his female victims two at a time, and switches their heads. Elaina von Hagan is on the run from the drug trafficking father she has exposed. As she and Seth begin a relationship, she becomes a target for the serial killer’s deranged ritual. The stakes have never been higher for Seth as Elaina is taken, and the stage is set for a gruesome showdown between good and evil.
-SWITCHED IN DEATH
What do you bring to this (fabulously chilling) serial killer story that makes it different than others out there?
The early 60’s was a time when everyone had two parents and divorce was still a whispered word. I was an oddity being raised by my grandmother, a woman who delighted in dressing me from eras past. She had other…serious issues, but she made sure my bruises were always in unseen places. Poked fun of by my peers, miserable at “home”, I escaped between the pages of books and pretended I was someone else.
My fictional life was full of fun and laughter. Safe. The serial killer in SWITCHED IN DEATH was bullied by peers too, but never found an outlet. Bottled rage can do some heinous things when unleashed….
Wow! That was nakedly honest, and my heart goes out to you, Sherry. I know you’ve worked hard on getting your work noticed in this crazy industry. This story is a multiple contest finalist and winner and you have pitched and queried it for years. So tell us how you got “discovered”.
A year ago, I decided I was ready to try and seek publication, well, that and my mentor threatened me. (laughs) I sent out query letters, received a few rejections, and then saw an article from Winter Goose Publication that drew me.
I sent them my query letter, synopsis and first three chapters. Something told me they were going to ask for a full. They did. I had this feeling that they would want me to sign. They did and I didn’t hesitate, which was odd, because they were a new start-up publishing company and I am so not a risk taker.
I still had a total peace about it. I signed. Within the next few weeks I had two agents want to rep me and I had to inform them I’d already signed. I was amazed at how I wasn’t upset but felt I’d done the right thing. I’ve not regretted my decision for a moment.
What’s in your writing future? (I know the answer, but tell everyone else!)
A CAPTIVE HEART will be released in November. It’s the first of three in the Heart Series. And I’m currently working on a detective series.
Name a book you’ve read that changed your life.
HEARTBREAKER by Linda Howard. I wanted to write characters like that and have readers emotionally connect with them.
What’s your writing habit? (How long each day? Are you a plotter/pantster? And is there a secret magic pill that I can take and become published too?)
I write full-time now. I start out traveling across the social media sites and spend a little time in each area. I try to write 4,000 words a day or more.
I’m a total pantster. I think up the start to a story and then create characters I think can handle the storyline. I follow them around and take notes. They always surprise me what they come up with.
The Switched in Death plot is pretty creepy–(yeah, I know, I’ve mentioned that before!) What scares YOU?
The thought of being buried alive terrifies me. My grandmother told me a story of when her mother was young and working the cemetery bell ringing shift.
They would always tie a string on the finger of the “dead” to have in case the person woke up.
One did on her shift. They got the man out alive. That story haunts me to this day.
Eeew! (Just wait until you read the May 8th blog featuring Amanda Stevens, aka: The Graveyard Queen!)
Let’s end on a light note! What food can’t you say no to?
A good pot of chili.“Sherry Foley has always had a wild imagination which she has used to craft inspired pieces of fiction that often border on the disturbing. While her creative mind races forward, she keeps her feet planted in Missouri with her husband and three teenage children.” -Winter Goose Publishing
SWITCHED IN DEATH is available now at Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/78lv7r5
Please visit Sherry at www.SherryFoley.com
Leave a question or comment for Sherry Foley and be eligible to receive a copy of her e-book, Switched in Death! One winner will be announced Thursday, April 28th.