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Interview with Shereen Vedam

She is a fan of resourceful women, intriguing men, and happily-ever-after endings. If her stories whisk you away to a different realm for a few hours, then she’ll have achieved one of her life goals.

Q.1 Tell us something about yourself not many people know?
I love planting trees and shrubs but I’m terrible at maintaining them. So, when I choose a plant, it’s usually one that will require little care, and not die on me if I’ve forgotten to water it for a week. Two of my favorite indoor plants that fit this requirement are Pothos and Pachira Aquatica, both of which coincidentally are colloquially called money plants and money trees. They’re both hardy plants that require little attention, yet are pretty to grow and said to be good fortune to keep alive and vibrant.

Q.2 What inspired you to write the Outside the Circle Mystery series?
I love fairy tales and I’ve rewritten a few books that were inspired by them. In Outside the Circle Mystery, I wanted to make up my own fairy tales and so was born this new series in which the main character, Abigail Grimshaw, is a descendent of a Grimm, the original reporter of fairy tales.

Q. 3 Are we going to read more from you in the near future? Any new project you’re working on?
The Outside the Circle Mystery series is 8 books long and only 2 will have been released by June 2022. Six more are to come in the few years.

Q.4 What is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I try to make each character, whatever their sexual orientation, be true to themselves, reflect on their own particular world views, make their own mistakes, and learn from those. So, each character is as difficult to write as the next one.

Q.5 Do you plan out your books before you start writing, or do you just write and see where it takes you?
Yes, I plan out each book, yet no book ever sticks to the plan I make before I begin.

Q.6 How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Varies between 4 to 6 months/book, depending on how busy life gets.

Q.7 How many books have you written? Which one is your favorite?
Fifteen books have been published or are on pre-order, with 4 more to come. Two more are collections of various books. I don’t have a favorite. I love all of them equally.

Q.8 Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Read. Whether you write or read, you’re pulled into fantastical worlds and that’s the best part of delving into books.

Q.9 If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead role?
For the current series, I’d pick Jenna Coleman to play Abigail Grimshaw. I loved her as Clara Oswald in the Dr. Who series and have pictured Abbie as Jenna ever since.

Q.10 Is it vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?
I write clean books with fun characters who like to have adventures and form lasting powerful friendships. My target audience is people who value those same characteristics and I encourage that in my marketing and the memes that I post on social media. 

I also organically attract that type of reader as they’re the ones who like my books enough to leave glowing reviews about them since the books are probably a reflection of who they intrinsically are.

Q.11 If you could be a member of any fantasy race, which would you choose and why?
A hobbit. They love their homes and gardens, they like bright colors, laugh easily, are good-natured, and enjoy hanging out with trusted friends.

Q.12 If you could invite one character to dinner from your books at home, who would it be and why?
I want them all to come. No exclusions.

Q.13 What three things a reader can expect from your books?
It’ll be fun, fast-moving, and have a happy ending.

Q.14 Among all the supporting characters in your books, who is dear to you and why?
Don Sabio, is a lynx and Mark’s familiar in A Perfect Curse. I love him because he was fierce, devoted, and brave, a reflection of Mark himself. What more could one ask for in a favored companion?

Q.15 Who designed your book cover? How do you select them?
I have several cover designers. The one for the Outside the Circle Mystery series was Desiree DeOrto. I’m unsure if she’s still doing that work, but I picked her because she is a genius at design work. I was thrilled with the covers she produced for this series.

Q.16 How do you select the name of your characters?
Depends on where the story is set, what name fits for that time period, and a character’s cultural heritage.

Q.17 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?
I love good reviews, and I do read them, good or bad. Authors can always learn something from seeing how a reader perceived our work. I also have a “glory” journal where I paste ones that touched my heart.

When the bad ones come, and they always do, I remind myself that often, reviews are more a reflection of a reader’s worldview and perspective, rather than what I might have wanted to convey. Then, if it still brought me down, I go read my “glory” journal to cheer myself up.

Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
I’d love to meet Enid Blyton because I loved her books. her way of telling a story, and the characters she dreamed up. The current series was partly inspired by her portrayal of the importance of friendship.

Q.19 Are there any new books or authors in science fiction or fantasy (or both!) have you excited about? What are you reading right now?
Ben Aaronovitch wrote the Rivers of London series. It’s what I’m currently reading and thoroughly enjoying.

Q.20 Share the experience of your writing journey so far?
It’s been like one of my stories, with a steep learning curve for the main character.

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