Woosley is published author


Aeowynn Ayres, Entertainment Editor

English Teacher Sherri Woosley’s daughter was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of two. She was staying at Johns Hopkins while her daughter was getting treated, causing separation from the rest of her family.

This is what prompted the writing of Mrs. Woosley’s book Walking Through Fire.
“It was a very difficult and strange time, and so I am kind of used to telling a story to my son as an escape. It was something to look forward to,” Mrs. Woosley explained.
She incorporated things from her everyday life into the novel to make it more of a story that her son can relate to. “For example, when we went down to Assateague Island, they have some horseshoe crabs there, and so in the story, I have part of a river that has to be crossed, and there are zombie horseshoe crabs.”
“I chose to be traditionally published, so first I had to get an agent, which took over a year.”
She continued by saying, “You have to write a letter called a quarry letter, which is about your project, and you submit the first ten pages. They will read that, and sometimes it will take months… then she’ll write back and if she likes it, she’ll ask for the first half of the novel, and then again with the full.”
Mrs. Woosley explained how she had phone conversations and multiple rounds of editing with her agent before submitting it to publishers.
The same pitching process happens with the publishers.
“She [her agent] got a phone call from the assistant of an assistant who had read my book at a different publisher, and had already taken it to her boss, and her boss was ready to put in an offer,” Mrs. Woosley explained.
In the writing world, the publishing process is often called a “journey.” Mrs. Woosley said, “I feel like I don’t do a good job staying motivated, because I am both a perfectionist and a procrastinator, so it’s really hard for me to get the first draft out. I know how I want it to look… and I just speak very meanly to myself.”
What she thinks helps is getting a critique group together. “By being there, there’s just this energy that is so motivating,” she said.
Mrs. Woosley’s time at John Carroll is coming to an end as she’s a substitute for Mrs. Milburn. When Mrs. Milburn returns, she plans to begin teaching her yoga and fitness classes again. She also plans on “pushing through” and finishing a third novel.
Along with her series, she has published several short stories, one of which is being turned into a children’s book.
Her advice to any aspiring writers is “to have confidence in yourself, because there are going to be so many things that tell you it’s not important. You have to really dig deep and be like, this is important. I am producing art. What I have to say matters. Publishing is just a lot of rejection, and it’s really just the perseverance to stay confident.”