Author Spotlight – Sheri Vandermolen

Sheri, thank you for joining us. Can you tell us about who you are and also about your writing: for example, what genres and themes do you write in and about, and is there anything that has influenced your choices?
My plunge into the well of horror writing was spurred this spring, when I received an invitation to contribute to the anthology Poets Speaking to Poets: Echoes and Tributes (an upcoming volume curated by Dr. Robert Hamblin and Dr. Nick Fargnoli). I was intrigued by the idea of composing in reflective response to another author — particularly Poe — and my piece “The Raving” took dark flight.
Having recently served as senior writer for UC San Diego’s Annual Giving department, on a team committed to philanthropic outreach to young learners, I was drawn to participating in this year’s Trickster’s Treats charity volume, for its support of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. I also hold a degree in secondary education, and I actively volunteered among underserved students during the six years I lived in Bangalore, India, so promoting opportunities for educational development, language support, and literacy is a profound passion.
I returned to the US in 2014, settling in California, and retired from my position as editor in chief of Time Being Books in 2016. Currently, I pursue a wide range of freelancing, with a strong bent toward helping individuals’ shape emerging creative works — short fictions, poems, songs, memoirs, and more… anything of odd interest.

Can you tell us a bit about your publications and writerly highlights, and what else we can look forward to seeing from you in the future?
After decades as a poetry/fiction editor and scholarly essayist, I began my own writing career in 2013, while still living in Bangalore. Exploring fresh depths, I sensed a book in the making, so I set about submitting my individual pieces to literary journals, to gauge response. Ultimately, all forty-five of my India-based poems were published across eight countries, and I moved forward with developing a full manuscript, opting to pair the pieces with photos that would bring the narratives to dramatic life for any reader (I’m also an amateur photographer, with gallery display in both the UK and the Azores).
My volume Jasmine Fractals: Poems of Urban India was published by Shanti Arts in 2017, and I’ve also been involved with various anthologies, including Veils, Halos and Shackles: International Poetry on the Oppression and Empowerment of Women (edited by Dr. Charles Fishman and Smita Sahay) and the Poets Speaking to Poets volume (expected to hit print in 2021).

This year has presented a lot of challenges for many of us. Instead of discussing those, what are some of your 2020 highlights?
As a huge Halloween enthusiast, I’m extremely excited to see Coming, Buried or Not! open trick-or-treat doors that might otherwise remain closed this year. While we’ve all been tucked away at home for extended periods, writers are at curious advantage for digging inward and taking raw inspiration from the quiet privacy. I hope to keep that productivity rolling in the year ahead — although I certainly look forward to fewer hours spent striking away at my keyboard and more, instead, devoted to volunteering and community service.

Thanks for chatting, Sheri. It’s fabulous that you can combine your love of words and images, and that you do get time to do your community work as well as your writing.

You can find out more about Sheri and see her work through the following links:

Sheri’s poem “The Raving” appears in Trickster’s Treats 4: Coming, Buried or Not! a charity anthology in support of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.