IN FIFTY YEARS of writing professionally, Jory Sherman has published more than 400 books, and several hundred short stories.
And he’s still going strong, producing compelling prose on blogs, and in storytelling.
Writing Career Begins as Poet
His career began in the late Fifties as a poet in San Francisco’s famed North Beach.
Since then, Jory has meandered along a literary walk of fame, collecting numerous awards for excellence in his craft. These include a Spur Award from Western Writers of America for his novel The Medicine Horn, and a Pulitzer Prize nomination for his novel, Grass Kingdom.
He also the recipient of WWA’s highest honor, the Owen Wister Award, presented for lifetime achievement.
Although most of his storytelling has focused on the Western, Jory has written a number of genres over the years.
I’m honored to introduce Jory Sherman for the debut of this blog’s StoryTeller’s 7 –seven questions for writers, authors, and other creative friends who pay us a visit.
1. Describe your latest project in one sentence, and tell us the inspiration for the story?
JS: THE BARON DECISION is #7 in a series about 3 ranching families in the Rio Grande Valley. It begins with the last battle of the Civil War at Palmito Hill in the Rio Grande Valley. It tells the story of the post civil-war tribulations of those ranchers. Published by Cactus Country.
2. You recently mentioned to me that you have a “bunch of books waiting in the wings,” and that you “enjoy the journeys” through your mind. Most writers would give their eyeteeth for one good idea. Where do yours come from that makes them so plentiful?
JS: The stories all bubble up from my subconscious after meditation, or a short night of sleep. The subconscious, I think, is connected to the Universe.
3. What made you want to become an author –that gave you the motivation to want to write stories?
JS: Writing is a disease. I caught it when I was 8. It seemed a way to express the inexpressible. The first story was about the death of my puppy. I cried and then wrote about the dog’s death.
4. If you were on a late-night train traveling across the US, in conversation with your favorite authors, who would they be (living or dead) and why?
JS: Although I would enjoy continuing conversations with friends who have passed away, like Frank Herbert, Ray Bradbury and Fred Bean, I’d probably enjoy talking with James Joyce and Vladimir Nabokov because of their skills with the English language that are far superior to mine.
5. Give us three “good to know” facts you want readers to know about you. What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview, and how would you answer it?
JS: I am a social hermit most of the time. I thrive in isolation from society, but live in books that I listen to and read on my Kindle. I study people, but they are not aware of my scrutiny. I was not always this way. As I grew older, I got busier and there is little time to socialize.
A question that is never asked, but which I would answer, is “what value do you place on your friends?” My answer would be that friends have the highest value in life, and I miss them when they leave this mortal coil. I just talked to a friend I’ve had for many years. He has written for movies, television and mounted stage plays. He will be 100 years old in March, 2013. Friends are the true treasures of life.
6. What’s your favorite way to unwind?
It used to be with a beer, or Jack Daniels. But, I’m diabetic and left all that behind some years ago. I also read more science books than any other. Same with TV. The Science Channel gives me further explorations into physics, quantum mechanics, the universe, etc.
I also love to listen to biographies and autobiographies, and sit outside with my little dog and my cats and kittens.
My mantra is “never miss a sunrise or a sunset,” and so, I spend a lot of time watching my animal friends cavort and romp in the early morning or late afternoons. Among them, I’m a strange bird.
7. What do you consider the best moment of your writing life?
I suppose it would be when I won the Spur from WWA for THE MEDICINE HORN because my publisher, Tom Doherty, got his first award from WWA for that book, and my agent, Nat Sobel was also at my table.
I had undergone a triple bypass after an elk hunt with bow in Colorado, and my arteries to the heart were all clogged up. Because of the strong anesthetic, one with a long tail, it took me a year to write that book. And, Tom did not like the book at all because he mistook the hero for the father, and it was actually the son because it was to be a trilogy.
Tom liked his heroes to be well over 6 feet tall, and mine were a short man and his small son. He beamed when he was given the plaque for my book and hung it on his office wall in New York.
Visit Jory Sherman’s website.
See the list of his novels on Amazon.