Sherrilyn Kenyon on being a writer and dyslexic
20 december 2007.Jenny: In your biography (Wikipedia and others) we find "At seven you wrote and llustrated your first novel, you won a contest in third grade by writing an essay, at fourteen you made your first professional sale." Was it a hurdle, a big job to write it all down? Did you bother about spelling and/or grammar? Could you read your own text afterwards?
Sherrilyn: Well the first book I wrote, most of the letters are backwards and much of it is horribly misspelled, but it didn't stop me. Sometimes it pays to be too stubborn to listen to other people and in my case that was especially true.
Jenny: We've also learned that "as a child you knew that you wanted to be a writer." Why a writer?
Sherrilyn: I have no idea. No one else in my family was a writer and many times in my life, I've tried to figure out why I had this calling. I truly don't know. From my earliest memory it's what I've wanted to do.
Jenny: One would think, being dyslexic, it's hard to write words down, but obviously you are a living proof it doesn't have to be like that. Any thoughts?
Sherrilyn: It's much easier to type them than to write them. When my hubby and I were making out wills earlier this year, I was trying to jot down some notes and I was getting so frustrated that my hubby finally placed his hand over mine and said, "I'll take the notes, sweetie. Don't worry."
Jenny: Where do you think you get your inspiration from? What do you think contributes to it?
Sherrilyn Again, I have no idea. I've always had the imagination of a five year old. I just love creating new things and meeting new people, even if they aren't real.
Jenny: Do you consider being dyslexic an advantage, in the sense that it could contribute to your imagination? Or an advantage in any other way?
Sherrilyn: Not really. I attribute the imagination more to being left handed. Then again, my mother said I came into the world backwards and have been that way ever since. Maybe it's always been the dyslexia after all LOL.
Jenny: Did you do well in school?
Sherrilyn: Some days. If the teachers were understanding, I did extremely well. If they weren't, then they didn't allow me to have the time I needed to finish something. There were times and teachers where it was extremely frustrating.
But I try to only remember the good teachers who helped me and who taught me tricks and ways to work around the dyslexia.
Jenny: How and when did you (or someone else) discover your dyslexia?
Sherrilyn: First grade. My teacher realized it when I couldn't write anything correctly.
Jenny: What were your biggest disadvantages?
Sherrilyn: The fact that I have it so severely, it even manifests verbally. I get extremely embarrassed when I flub up sentences or words while speaking. And when I have to give speeches, there are times, especially when I'm tired, that I can't read and it's humiliating. I remember one teacher telling me in fourth grade that I'd never be able to speak in public or hold any job where I'd have to interact with people. She basically told me the only job I'd have as an adult was a janitor (which I have been in my past-- it's not a bad job, really).
Jenny: What worked for you to overcome you dyslexia disadvantages?
Sherrilyn: Flash cards. Learning to read with minimal recognition. That and autocorrect on the computer. There are certain letter combinations that are harder for me than others and those I can add in and they self correct. I also have another person who reads over my manuscripts and galleys and helps me to find words and letters out of order.
I wish you and your characters a lot of success with your upcoming book "The Warrior" and hopefully more to come!
The Warrior by Kinely MacGregor
Lochlan MacAllister was born to lead. Ruthlessly groomed to take control of his clan, he has given his life to his people. But when he learns that the brother he thought was dead might still be alive, he embarks on a quest to find the truth.
Catarina wants a life of freedom. But now Catarina's royal father wants to use her as a pawn to ensure a treaty between conflicting lands. So much so that he's willing to kidnap his daughter to force the issue. But when she escapes, fate throws her into the path of a man she loathes.
Lochlan is stunned to find the shrewish Cat being hauled away by unknown men. Unwilling to see even her suffer, he frees her only to learn that she has her own demons to fight. When their fates intertwine, two people who know nothing of trust must rely on each other, and two enemies who have vowed their eternal hatred must find common ground, or see their very lives shattered.
"The dyslexia is a bummer,” Kinley MacGregor (real name – Sherrilyn Kenyon) says, “as my copy-editors will tell you. My condition is so severe that is often manifests itself verbally.”
However, despite her severe condition, MacGregor has become a New York Times best-selling author, gaining fans all over the world. Her latest book, The Warrior, is being praised as her best. Suspenseful and riveting, this novel would be a feat for any author, but is a special success for one with dyslexia.
Her website averages 120,000 hits a week, and many of those are dyslexic fans, praising MacGregor as an inspiration. She hasn’t only overcome her difficulties, but thrived with them, and this is what gives hope to her many readers.
Do yourself a favor and check out this fabulous author (and her fabulous new book, The Warrior out December 26th!)"
Lauren Levy, 13th of December 2007.
- Agatha Christie: Author (1890 - 1976). The most successfull mystery writer of all time. Books, movies, and more of Agatha Christie Amazon.com.
"I, myself, was always recognized . . . as the "slow one" in the family. It was quite true , and I knew it and accepted it. Writing and spelling were always terribly difficult for me. My letters were without originality. I was . . . an extraordinarily bad speller and have remained so until this day." - Agatha Christie"The popular idea that a child forgets easily is not an accurate one. Many people go right through life in the grip of an idea which has been impressed on them in very tender years." - Agatha Christie, Thinkexist"I have enjoyed greatly the second blooming that comes when you finish the life of the emotions and of personal relation; and suddenly find --at the age of fifty, say -- that a whole new life has opened before you, filled with things you can think about, study, read about...It is as if a fresh sap of ideas and thoughts were rising in you. With it, of course, goes the penalty of increasing old age -- the fact that your body is nearly always hurting somewhere...One's thankfulness for the gift of life is, I think, stronger, more vital during those years than it has ever been before. It has some of the reality and intensity of dreams -- and I still enjoy dreaming enormously." - Agatha Christie"Writing is a great comfort to people like me, who are unsure of themselves and have trouble expressing themselves properly." - Agatha Christie"I suppose it is because nearly all children go to school nowadays, and have things arranged for them, that they seem so forlornly unable to produce their own ideas." - Agatha Christie, Homeschool.co.ukQuestion: "So, how the ideas come?" Answer: "They come suddenly, I even don’t know how. Whenever: when I am listening to opera, walking on the street… they come from everywhere! Also, when a smart idea falls into your head, which you like, you have to build a believable story from it. Suddenly faces grow as well, one by one. And then comes this unpleasant day, when you have to sit down and everything what had beautifully grown put on paper. Yes, the first part is much more fun!" Agatha Christie.
Question: "Once you have said that is your work in detective stories divided in two parts: fun, when you are thinking up the plot and “boring” when all of that has to be put on paper." Answer: "Yes, that’s right. It is much more fun just to think about what is needed to be written as to write it!" Agatha Christie.
Question: "Does archaeology represent a certain period for you, for example, ancient Egypt or Mesopotamia or do other periods attract you as well?" Answer: "We are interested in all periods, that is also a difficulty! Today it is specially in science needed strict specialization in one thing, but we are interested in so many things!" - Agatha Christie, Interview September 1967"I have learnt that I am me, that I can do the things that, as one might put it, me can do, but I cannot do the things that me would like to do." - Agatha Christie, Quote me on it..."The secret of getting ahead is getting started." - Agatha Christie, Top Mystery"One of the luckiest things that can happen to you in life is to have a happy chilhood. I had a very happy childhood." - Agatha Christie. Top Mystery
Bernie Taylor: Writer
"I found out that I am dyslexic recently, at 38 years of age. Like you it put a lot of things in perspective. Oddly enough I am a writer and author. I have written for a more than a dozen magazines in as many countries. Unlike other writers it takes me dozens of rewrites to get it grammatically correct. But the creative juices keep me going. I am a big out of the box thinker. Ron Davis's book was very helpful to me. I have also bought a dozen or so copies to send to relatives and associates whom I thought were dyslexics." - bernie Taylor
Cedric Hurtt: Dyslexia didn't hold back author
"Remember, never stop chasing your dreams and never give up." - Cedric Hurtt, author
Edgar Allen Poe
Elizabeth Daniels Squire: Author of mystery novels. You can buy books and more of Elisabeth Daniels Squire at Amazon.com
Fannie Flagg (Author of "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe")
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Hans Christian Andersen
- Gustave Flaubert
- John Irving: Novelist and sreenwriter: Biography, books and more of John Irving at Amazon.com.
- Honored by Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation.
- He has earned an O. Henry Award, a National Book Award for The World According to Garp
- and an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2000 for The Cider House Rules.
"The diagnosis of dyslexia wasn't available in the late fifties - bad spelling like mine was considered a psychological problem by the language therapist who evaluated my mysterious case. When the repeated courses of language therapy were judged to have had no discernible influence on me, I was turned over to the school psychiatrist." - John Irving, internationally acclaimed author"If a child is dyslexic, can he be a good writer? That’s a good question, because many people confuse difficulties in reading and the ability to write. In fact, some of the most accomplished writers that we know happen to be dyslexic. For example, John Irving, he won an Academy Award for the Cider House Rules, is dyslexic. Stephen J. Cannell, who wrote the television series the A-Team and the Rockford Files, is also dyslexic. He always likes to make people understand that dyslexia affects your ability to read and to spell, but not to have an imagination and be creative." - Donna Ricks interviews Sally Shawitz for First Voice. September 1, 2004
- Jules Verne
- Kinely MacGregor / Sherrilyn Kenyon: Writer of romance, fantasy en supsense. Biography, website. Books of Sherrilyn Kenyon, and books as Kinely MacGregor
"The first book I wrote, most of the letters where backwards and much of it is horribly misspelled, but it didn't stop me. Sometimes it pays to be too stubborn to listen to other people and in my case that was especially true." - Sherriley Kenyon. More on the Q&A of Sherrilyn Kenyon on "being a writer and dyslexic"
"Whether published or unpublished I am and will always be a writer. So for all of you out there who want to write, never listen to anyone who says you can't be what you want. Never give up your dreams. Believe me, I know it's hard. But in the end, those dreams are what see us through the hard times. That and the laughter of friends and family. Hold your friends, family and dreams close to your heart and fight for them all." - Sherrilyn Kenyon - Kinley MacGregor. From her website.
"The dyslexia is a bummer, as my copy-editors will tell you," she said. "My condition is so severe that at times it even manifests itself verbally."
"Life is hard for most people, and ... the last thing I needed was to read that you suffer all your life and then die a miserable death," she explained. "Romance novels show that sometimes ... if you hold on and believe in yourself, then you can affect a positive change in your life."- Sherrilyn Kenyon - Kinley MacGregor. Interview by Marcia Anderson, sept 2005.
- Lynda La Plante: Author. Books and more of Lynda La Plante at Amazon.com.
"I wasn't diagnosed until I was 12. In those days they thought that I was backward. I didn't really feel at home with the written word until somebody gave me a typewriter. But, even today, I never send things out without having them checked by an assistant." - Lynda La Plante, TV Series writer "Prime Suspect", "Widows", "She's Out", "The Governor"
- Marc Flanagan, TV writer and producer
- Michael Charles Messioneo, Author. Biography, article "My Dyslexia" by MCM.
"Dyslexia can slow you down but not stop you from your goals. Understanding what it is can be most enlightening." - Michael Charles Messioneo, author
- Patricia Palacco, Children's Author and Illustrator
- Richard Cohen, syndicated columnist for the Washington Post
- Robert Scheer
- Ronald Davis: Author who gives inside and a program on how to work on dyslexia. Books and more of Ronald Davis at Amazon.com
"At the age of 12, I was considered uneducable mentally retarded. At the age of 38 I could score 169 on the IQ test but I couldn't read a menu in a restaurant. What the average person could read in 5 minutes would take me an hour." - Ronald Davis, author