Author Spotlight – Sally Xerri-Brooks
Meet UK Lesbian Fiction Author Sally Xerri-Brooks
Our reviewer Valden had this to say about Sally Xerri-Brook’s books:
Sally is another new British author with just one lesbian fiction book. If you haven’t read it, go buy it. You will be surprised. Her Shadow has a maturity and understanding to it, and yes it deals with love and loss, but the other nuances in the story demonstrate Sally’s writing talent. For example, her ability to understand the political landscape and the use or misuse of money is really well done. She is one of a new crop of British writers with this kind of talent, and I look forward to her next book.
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We spoke to Sally Xerri-Brooks about her books and her writing plans for the future.
(a) Tell us something interesting about your last published book.
Cameron Strawbank, the lead character in Her Shadow, is a high level fundraiser, or a Major Gift Manager. For a long time the working title of the book was Major Gifts. This is a job that I used to do myself for a few years. I had some really extrordinary experiences and saw some incredible places – for example, part of the book is set in the House of Lords, a place that I visited a number of times. I remember thinking how great it would be to have a character have a life-changing experience due to that kind of job, as there are so many opportunities for that to happen.
(b) What got you into writing?
I always read and wrote as a child. I loved Enid Blyton books, with the Famous Five being my favourites. And my favourite lessons at school were where I could make up a story. It was that that led me originally into journalism, where I was privileged to be able to tell a wealth of stories through writing.
(c) Can you tell us about your writing style? How do you decide on plots and characters? Are you a planner or a pantser?
I often start with a character and a situation and then build from there. In her shadow, Cameron came to me fully formed, and when I put her into that job, things started to happen. Her naivety was really fun to write, and got her into trouble. While I generally have a broad plan for a novel, so I know roughly where I want things to end up, I tend not to plan to carefully. I suspect most people would describe me as a pantser!
I often find that as I write, things feel as though they start to develop of their own accord, and I think that gives my writing a greater sense of spontaneity and authenticity.
(d) If you had to do it all over again, would you do anything differently?
I don’t think so. I’m really proud of Her Shadow, and I’m thrilled with the reception it has had in the first few months since publication. I would like to have finished it sooner, but with a small child at home and a full time job, that would have taken quite a big magic wand!
(e) What is next for you? What is your next project?
The reviews for Her Shadow have been really positive, which is great. My aim is to write compelling and real stories that people want to read. More than a few readers have suggested that Cameron’s story is not yet finished, and so I am now in the process of writing a sequel to Her Shadow, which readers can look out for in 2019! I am also re-issuing Four Movements, my first novel, with a refreshed cover. Look out for it at ELLCon!
VALDEN’s REVIEW of HER SHADOW
The story goes on from here and has a number of twists and turns. Some of the characters are really well done; I loved Dr Catherine Smart, and her personal journey was quite surprising. There is also some real tongue in cheek humour that is perhaps more evident in a second read. And yes, it is worth a second read!