Author Q&A With Sherri Leimkuhler

Author Q&A With Sherri Leimkuhler

Sherri is an author on a mission. She’s an athlete, pilot, mother, and author and she’s about to embark on a book tour with her newest release and is ready to inspire others to write their stories, too. As a former competitive triathlete and two-time Ironman finisher, when she’s not writing, she loves to be outdoors, especially hiking, trail running, or paddle boarding. She’s also passionate about traveling, experiencing different cultures, and pairing great wines with good food. Sherri lives in Maryland with her husband, three daughters, and two Labrador retrievers. Meet Sheri and learn about how she’s uplifting authors and readers in her work.

You are an author, but is it your day job? Being an author is just one of several part-time positions that comprise my day job. First and foremost, I am a mother to three busy teenage daughters, which takes up more time than I could have imagined at this stage in my life, especially since COVID hit and everyone is now working and studying from home. I am also a yoga instructor and, prior to COVID—which caused my local newspaper to furlough most of its columnists—I’d written a health and fitness column for a decade. I also spent nearly four years working as market research and development consultant, but recently left that position to dedicate more time to writing.

Did you always want to be an author? No, lol! I remember one of my elementary school teachers complimenting my work and suggesting that I could be a writer someday, but I’d always thought of writing as more of a hobby than a career path. My initial goal was to become a commercial airline pilot. In college, I majored in aviation and journalism and graduated with an MEII (Multi-Engine Instrument Instructor) rating. I worked as a flight instructor for nearly ten years, and I was also a transportation sales executive. It wasn’t until after my daughters were born that I tapped into my journalism degree and began picking up freelance writing assignments. I enjoyed writing and the freedom it allowed me to work anytime, anywhere. It was at that point I decided I wanted to publish a novel someday.

What is your most recent book and what inspired you to write it? My debut women’s fiction/book club fiction novel, What’s Left Untold, was released in May 2020. The inspiration for the book struck in 2009. My parents were moving and, while helping them pack, I discovered a trunk filled with high school memorabilia—photo albums, yearbooks, a box of letters, even a pair of leg warmers! One of the letters had an odd, cryptic postscript that read “I need to see you. I have something important to tell you.” I couldn’t remember what that had been about, but I figured it was probably just typical high school drama, nothing important. But later, as I was driving home, I thought: what if it had been important? And I wondered, “What is something a person could learn decades after the fact that could still have a major impact on their life?” Those questions were the inspiration for What’s Left Untold.

How do you hope your book uplifts those who read it? There is power in choice, but our choices also have consequences. I hope What’s Left Untold encourages readers to communicate honestly and openly, to forgive, to not judge others for the choices they make, and to love unconditionally. 

What are you most excited about with this book? After a journey of nearly eleven years from inspiration to publication, I am thrilled that this book is finally in the hands of readers! And I’m even happier when I hear from readers that they enjoyed the book. Many have told me “they couldn’t put it down,” or that they “read it in one day,” which is incredibly rewarding. I’m also very excited to connect with book clubs to discuss What’s Left Untold. With its surprise twists and controversial ending, the book has made for very lively book club discussions!

What advice would you give to someone wanting to succeed in your professional industry? I wrote an article on this topic for Women’s Writers, Women’s Books, titled “Seven tips for writing success and sanity.” I’ve included the link here for anyone who’d like to read the full article but, in short, the seven tips are:

  • Write often
  • Read a lot
  • Learn as much as you can
  • Connect with fellow writers
  • Write the book you want to write
  • Manage expectations
  • Never give up

How do you structure your day and make time for writing? Consistency has been my greatest challenge as a writer. For me, no two days are the same, and since I’m a natural night owl, morning is not my most productive time creatively, though it is often the quietest time of day with the fewest distractions and interruptions. I also prefer to write with a clean mental slate, which means I have a habit of crossing off miscellaneous items on my to-do list—such as paying bills, making phone calls, scheduling appointments—before tackling my writing. The obvious downside to this is that writing often gets pushed to the bottom of the list. Making writing time a priority and developing a routine that allows for more consistency is definitely one of my goals.  

Anything else you’d like to share with your readers? One of the greatest joys of being a published author is getting to connect with book clubs, so I encourage any book clubs that choose to read What’s Left Untold to reach out via social media or my website to schedule an author chat!

Connect with Sherri on her website and on Facebook. 

Images Courtesy of Author


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