Greetings everyone from Jolly Old England! Thanks so much Jill for including me in your wonderful Blog Spotlight. I’ve really enjoyed learning more about old friends and making lovely new ones shining brightly beneath your summer spotlight. I’m honoured to be here amongst such fine company: after all, if someone had told me a couple of years ago that I would be writing on a blog, I would not only have laughed my head off but would also have asked, “What’s a blog?”
Blogging didn’t exist when, as a teenager, I hid away in my room furiously scribbling away at my angst-ridden poems and crazy song lyrics (none of which ever saw the light of day I might add). When I was twelve, I wrote a short story entitled ‘The Telephone’, but when I read it out to my family they all laughed and I don’t blame them. It was supposed to be a thriller not a comedy, so you can see I had a problem. I didn’t think I was cut out for it, but I longed to be a writer.
Working in both the legal and medical fields paid a few bills, but my happiest years were as full-time mum to my three, now grown children, raising them in California after moving there in 1986. Returning to my ‘home’ in England seventeen years later as a single mum in my mid-forties when my marriage ended wasn’t easy, but life is full of surprises and eight years ago, I happily remarried.
The call of the pen beckoned throughout but my writing dream remained just that…a distant dream. My feeble efforts to write, seriously, always stalled. Life and all that…
Then one winter’s morning two years ago, weighed down by life and my concerns for my daughter’s recent diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome, I sat at my kitchen table in despair. I had lost two jobs in as many years, thanks to office closures, and I felt washed-up and yes…old. Then I read this by the novelist George Eliot:
‘It is never too late to be what you might have been.’
Overcome with a surge of ‘it’s now or never’ I knew then that it was time to change my life, it was my time to write. Today, I am a best-selling author. Oops, scratch that Jill…what I meant to say is I am scribbling away on my first draft of my first book (a memoir) but I’ll never forget the day I took my first phone call from the editor of a magazine to discuss publishing my article. I almost dropped the phone.
I got the idea to start my blog, ‘A View From My Summerhouse’ http://sherrimatthewsblog.com/ ) after reading an article about blogging in a women’s magazine. My first post was about my garden robin with accompanying photograph, but I was clueless. Tags? Who knew? No wonder I only had three likes (thanks Hubby, Mum, friend…).
A lot has happened since that cold winter’s morning: these days I dare, at last, to call myself a writer (shock, horror!) and I’ve gained a blogging community of amazing people I call dear friends. I might be a late-bloomer but I’ve discovered that it really is never too late – for anything. And who knows, maybe one day I’ll surprise everyone, myself included, and write a proper thriller.
Now onto answering Jill’s excellent thought-provoking questions:
If you could meet anyone living or dead, who would it be?
I would love to meet King Henry VIII and have a nice little chat with him about all his wives. Maybe put him straight on a few things. Of course, I would be careful not to ‘lose my head’. I am fascinated with all things medieval and Alison Weir’s book ‘The Six Wives of Henry VIII’ is among my favourites. Then, of course, there is Steve McQueen. Forget Donny Osmond and The Bay City Rollers, it was the King of Cool’s posters hanging on my bedroom walls. I was gutted when during my first ever visit to Hollywood when I was nineteen that I didn’t bump into him as I truly believed I would. But I did get to place my hand in his handprint at Mann’s Chinese Theatre, so I got to touch him…sort of.
What celebrity do you get mistaken for?
Well, no one really, although Jill thinks I look like Diane Sawyer! I remember once getting on a school bus when I was about fifteen and the driver telling me I looked like Hedy Lamarr. I had absolutely no idea who he was talking about, but when my mum later told me she was a movie star in the forties, I felt quite proud. Love that era! Recently, someone said I looked like Jennifer Aniston – ten years from now. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
What do you miss most about being a kid?
Ahh…so much. Before my parents split up when I was ten, my life as a kid had seemed idyllic and carefree to me. Yes, I remember the arguments, but what I hold dear are the picnics we had as a family and the long walks my brother and I took with our dad in the woods at the back of our house. He told us wonderful stories of mystical creatures lurking in the shadows, particularly of one red fox. To this day, I’m fascinated with foxes and the first short story I had published was based on these walks. My dad was a wonderful storyteller and it is those early years with him before a lifetime of alcoholism stole him away that I remember and miss the most.
If you could go back in time to change one thing, what would it be?
I would change the way dinosaurs disappeared. Impossible I know, but I have always tried to imagine what the world would have been like if they still existed, although I realise that this would be wholly impractical. We all know what happened in the film Jurassic Park, but I think it would be incredible to be able to see one of these amazing creatures with my own eyes. Obviously not the T Rex though…unless he was far, far away.
What do you think the greatest invention is?
Now my answer here is not exactly profound and it certainly won’t bring world peace, but I have to share: you see, I’ve discovered a product that to me, seriously, is the best invention since sliced bread: it is Nivea Skin Conditioner. I don’t know about you, but I just hate all that faffing about applying body lotion after a shower. This product eliminates the need for all of that: apply it in the shower, rinse and dry off, job done. It’s a brilliant time-saver and what could be better than that?
Thanks so much for reading, I had a lot of fun with this and I hope you did too. Happy blogging! Sherri.
Thanks for taking the spotlight, Sherri. Meeting you through Word Press has been a special gift. Up next week it’s Renee Johnson.