The Pointe

MidPointe Library's Official Blog

Local author: From books and blogs to a screenplay, there's "no better way to spend my free time" than writing

Mike Sherer.jpg

Local novelist, movie screenwriter and blogger Mike Sherer of West Chester doesn’t worry about meeting deadlines.

He doesn’t need them.

“I don’t need motivation to write,” attests the Mason, Ohio, native whose earliest attempts at writing -- song lyrics and poetry -- were encouraged by his mother.

Instead, he says, “I need motivation to pull myself away from the computer and pry my fingers off the keyboard…”

Recently Sherer was one of many local authors who greeted the public at MidPointe Library’s ReadLOCAL event at its West Chester location. Booklovers were invited to the free program to chat with area authors about their works and get autographed copies.

Sherer’s first published work was a “record review column in the Georgetown College newspaper, which I wrote at age eighteen during my one and only semester there,” he recalls. “That was enjoyable as it gave me access to the college radio station to choose from among their albums to review. And I got to meet the DJs and sit in while they broadcast.”

Today the author describes his works as “unique in tone.”

AcoldDish.jpg

His published novel, “A Cold Dish,” tends toward the “harsh and ruthless, it being a revenge tale,” he says. “The novel I am attempting to publish, ‘Souls of Nod,’ is not nearly as violent or as cold-hearted. My middle-school novel, ‘Shadytown,’ for which I’m seeking representation, is much more light-hearted as it’s written for a younger reader. But all three share a common theme of taking place in the borderlands where the physical world and the spiritual world mesh.”

The “unique” description also applies to Sherer’s thirteen published short stories and three novellas “with another short story and another novella under contract to be published,” he says. “My favorite genres are science fiction and horror, although I enjoy attempting other types of writing.”

Sherer’s love for the written word in all forms led him to the movie screen.

One might assume that some personal connection with movie producers in the West Coast led to the making of Sherer’s screen thriller, “Hamal_18.”

But that would be wrong.

“Writers no longer need to be headquartered in L.A.” to promote their screenplays, Sherer explains. “You could write a screenplay anywhere and then e-mail it to producers...There’s a site on the Internet where producers post the kind of screenplays they are looking for and you reply with a brief description of yours.”

“Definitely there are differences” between writing a novel and a screenplay, Sherer says. “...Novels are meant to be internalized while movies are meant to be experienced, two totally different concepts. In a novel you can put anything on the page, while in a screenplay you can only write what can be seen or heard. A screenplay is mostly dialogue with minimal description.”

After submitting his screenplay, Sherer was contacted by a producer who requested a hard copy of his riveting tale about a police detective who becomes “an expert at catching online predators” after his “teenage daughter was murdered by someone she met online.” The film depicts a veritable “a cat-and-mouse game over the Internet” as his two characters “taunt one another which leads to a shocking face-to-face confrontation.”

Sherer sent the hard copy. Several months later he received a contract by email.

Hamal_18.jpg

The producer later told Sherer that he had received so many screenplays that his wife and grown daughter were also reading them. “His wife read mine first and recommended it to him,” Sherer recalls. “Then he read it and selected my screenplay from among hundreds...

“A month later I flew out to LA for a week to go over the screenplay with him line by line. I also got to see the call-back auditions, which was interesting. A year later when the movie was finished, I flew back out for the cast-and-crew screening of the movie at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, which was fun. Then it was released direct-to-DVD. It was a great experience.”

“Happily retired” after a 40-plus-year career at a Sharonville, Ohio, company, Sherer also finds time to blog about his former job as well as about the trips he and his wife have taken around the country in their motorhome.

His job-related blog, entitled “Flanging,” consists of 100 posts “stretching from before I started at Brighton Corporation in 1970 to my retirement in 2016,” says Sherer, a longtime flanger operator. “I describe the people I have worked with and my line of work in a metal fabrication plant that specializes in the manufacture of tank vessel ends.”

He also writes “American Locations,” a description of the journeys he and his wife have taken around the country in their 23-foot motorhome. “Since 2017 we have taken four memorable trips, and we plan to take many more.” Sherer says. “...The most unusual experiences I enjoy are the great hikes I get to take through beautiful wild landscapes.”

Does the author follow a routine while writing? How does he get “published”?

“I always have ideas percolating in the back of my mind while I’m working on something else,” says Sherer. His writing routine consists of the following : “I’m always at my desk in the corner of my basement. That way there is only a blank wall before me, no distractions. And my mind works best early in the morning.”

The most challenging part of the writing process, he says,  is “the rewriting...Once you type ‘THE END’ on your first draft, you are really just beginning. You go over and over and over whatever you are writing until you are sick of it. But I continue doing so until I can read through it without finding a single thing I want to change.”

Sherer’s process for getting published involves a subscription to Duotrope, “a website where publishers post the kind of material they are seeking,” he says.

“I submitted a short story, ‘Death and Beauty at 70 MPH,’ to a publisher who had listed there,” he recalls. “Not only did he want to publish the short story in his horror anthology, but he noticed in my letter that I had written a novel and he had so enjoyed my writing he wanted to see this also. So I submitted ‘A Cold Dish’ and he published it.

“That’s one reason to write short stories,” Sherer advises fellow authors. “It gets your work out there, which can lead to bigger and better things. All of my short stories and novellas I have had published have been through Duotrope.”

When all is said and done, for Mike Sherer “writing is not about the money. I sincerely enjoy writing and can think of no better way to spend my free time...Except maybe taking a good long hike.”


To follow Mike Sherer, link to:

Website: www.mikesherer.wordpress.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/MikeWSherer

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mike.sherer.7140

For information about “Hamal_18” link to: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0424131/?mode=desktop&ref_=m_ft_dsk