Here's the big Kahuna bio:
With more than ten million copies of her books in print in
twenty-six countries, New York Times best-selling author Sherrilyn
Kenyon burst onto the publishing scene with her crossover novel Born of
the Night, an out of print novel that now, eleven years after
publication, is deemed the Holy Grail by her fans. On the rare
occasions when it appears on eBay, it commands more than forty times
its original cover price. The rarest of her books is the e-novel Born
of Fire (one of the first e-books ever published in the mid 1990's and
a launch book for Dreams-Unlimited) which commands well over $200.00
any time it appears at auction.
But it was her groundbreaking Dark-Hunter vampire novels that
catapulted her into superstardom, making her series one of the most
eagerly awaited in publishing history. Her books were an overnight
sensation that have given her an international cult following with
devout fans in more than forty-five countries and landed her on
multiple bestseller lists including the top three of the New York Times,
Publisher's Weekly and USA Today. And many of her titles are perennial
bestsellers in the US, Germany, Australia and the UK, under multiple
genre listings. She's also made international bestselling lists landing in the
top 5 of the Globe and Mail (Canada) in both hardcover
and paper back. Her web site has had in the last two years alone over
fourteen million visitors total from more than forty countries.
She averages just over 150,000 visitors a week (more whenever she has a
A versatile, award-winning writer, Sherrilyn has carved out multiple
bestselling series in numerous genres and subgenres (Science Fiction,
Romance, Fantasy, Horror, Contemporary, Historical, Romantic Suspense,
Futuristic, Urban Fantasy, High Fantasy and Time Travel). Writing as
Sherrilyn Kenyon and Kinley MacGregor, her series include: The Brotherhood of the Sword, Dark-Hunter, Hunter Legends, BAD, Lords of Avalon, Nevermore and the Sex Camp Diaries.
Along with her work in fiction, she is an accomplished nonfiction
author who has contributed to such works as The Character-Naming
Sourcebook, Everyday Life in the Middle Ages, The Writer's Complete
Fantasy Reference, and essays "The Search of Spike's Balls" in
BenBella's Seven Seasons of Buffy, and others in Five Seasons of Angel.
Her articles and short-stories have appeared in hundreds of large and
small journals and magazines worldwide. She's also written for
television, radio and was once a copywriter and SF/F editor.
And here's the story on how I got to
where I am.
One of the questions that I'm asked over
and over again is why I decided to be a writer. The only answer is, I
didn't. I was born to be a writer. If you look in my kindergarten
Brownie manual it has "When I Grow Up I Want to Be..." and scribbled in
my awful handwriting is A writer and a mother. Ironically, neither one
of those ever came easily for me.
I finished my first novel when I was 7
and I published it myself ;) Yes, I still have it. It was a horror
novel about a little girl who killed off her brothers and it was even
illustrated. I published my first essay in third grade in a local paper
and made my first official sale at age 14. I wrote all through school
(hey, it was the best way to daydream and be left alone--all the
teachers thought I was taking diligent notes).
I stayed steady to my course, writing for
the school newspapers, yearbooks and even local papers and magazines.
In college, I hooked up with a buddy who had his own SF/F magazine he
was publishing (his father owned a printing company) and I was well on
my way to being a book author.
But sometimes God has other plans for us.
At 20, I decided I was going to go for it. I'd been selling to
magazines for years and had quite a resume built up. It was time to go
for the book market. For months, I typed in my handwritten words and
just as I finished the manuscript and it was ready for New York, my
older brother died.
I was devastated. You see, Buddy wasn't
just my brother. He was my best friend. My protector. And with him
gone, I didn't want to write anymore. I honestly didn't want to do
anything. It was the only time in my life that I was truly lost.
Three years later I married my husband.
More than anything else, he helped me heal. As I was moving into his
apartment, he found some of my old novels and said, "You know I
remember how you used to write all the time. Why don't you do that
I told him I just didn't and I tucked
them away. But destiny wasn't through with me. I had moved to Richmond
to be with my hubby and I couldn't find a job. Not even at McDonald's.
It was horrible. We were dirt poor with a beat up Escort and Mustang
between us. We had no table or chairs and only a bed, a stereo and a
small TV in a tiny two room apartment.
I wanted to help support us and felt
lower than low. I was talking to another childhood friend who was then
editing for a magazine. She told me that they needed a couple of
articles written. They didn't pay much and she knew I hadn't written
for awhile, but if I wanted those they were mine. I jumped at it.
So I pulled my hubby's typewriter out of
the closet (I had sold mine) and sat down on the floor with a cheap
pack of typing paper and set to work on my article. No sooner had I
started than I heard those voices that I had silenced. Once more my
people were talking to me. I remember looking up at the ceiling and
bursting into tears. For the first time since my brother died, I
remembered why God had put me on this earth.
I was supposed to be a writer. By the
time my hubby came home, I was surrounded by paper and I was still
crying. He looked at the mess and with a confused expression asked,
I told him, "I'm writing!" After I
explained everything, my wonderful hubby took me out immediately and
bought a Brother Wordprocessor for me. Yes, he who hated to charge
anything, broke out that almost unused card and charged me my very own
wordprocessor (and a card table and $10 steno chair). It was there my
first eight novels were written and there the first of the Dark-Hunter
novels were started.
Almost two years later, I sold my first
book. Not for a lot of money, but it was enough so that I could buy a
real desk and after the sale of the third book I traded in my Brother
for a real computer. you can see my workstation here complete with the
hubby's typewriter on the white desk and my Brother on the black one.
The boxes underneath are unsold manuscripts. The red chair was the good
one I'd bought after the sell of my second book.
This was all the furniture in our living room, btw
Now here's where I remind you that my
career wasn't easy. After six sales, it went south. I had won awards, I
had had high sell-throughs. But none of that mattered. I found myself
without a contract and with no prospects. As my career plummeted, so
did my personal life. As my hubby finished up school, I became
pregnant. We had planned everything carefully. I was going to work
until the week before the baby was due (which would have been a month
after his graduation). But life often throws big wrenches at our best
I learned that I'm allergic to pregnancy
(seriously) and even though all I have ever wanted was a baby, I had to
fight tooth and nail to get him. He came almost seven weeks early and I
barely survived it. He spent six weeks in NICU.
Because of medical bills and the fact
that I couldn't work for much of my complicated pregnancy, we lost
everything we had--which wasn't much. It was one of the worst times in
my life. By the time my second son was born, again after serious
complications (I told you I'm allergic to pregnancy), I was afraid we
would never own anything again. But still I am ever an optimist. For my
children, I was willing to fight. Driving a broken down beat-up Baretta
we bought on installments from my younger brother for $800, I got a
minimum wage job as a web designer (the internet was just starting to
go big time commercial) and worked as hard as I could to feed my babies
and to get us out of our tiny, rundown apartment.
All the while, I never gave up my dream
or forgot the people who lived in my heart. I had $3.00 a day in my
budget that I could spend on lunch for myself. More times than not, I
spent that money on postage to mail out my partials to publishers--hey,
I was really skinny in those days.
In 1997as my web work started to pay
nicely, I had a brand new story, a pirate novel that I had started. I
felt really, really good about this one. I sent it to my agent and my
critique partner (a bestselling author). My friend called up and told
me it would never sell--it was the wrong time period, wrong setting,
etc. "Sherri!" she castigated, "No one will ever buy a pirate set in
1791! Have you lost your mind?" She asked if I ever wanted to publish
again. Worse, my agent called and not only parroted that sentiment, she
told me that though she had tried to sell me for the last three years,
she couldn't and that she thought it best we go our own ways. To this
day, I don't blame her. She stood by me when most people wouldn't have.
It just wasn't meant to be yet.
Again I was devastated. But I was not
defeated. After I scraped myself up off the floor for the umpteenth
time. I decided to submit the book on my own. Just one problem. I
didn't have enough money. So I wrote a single query letter to an
editor. I pitched her the idea for my two favorite stories...Fantasy
Lover and A Pirate of Her Own. She wasn't interested in anything
paranormal, but said she would like to see the pirate book.
Saying a big prayer, I sent it off and
within a week, I had a 3 book contract and Kinley MacGregor was born.
Since then, I have been very blessed and to that I owe my readers so
much gratitude that I really, truly can't express how thankful I am to
you. (And as a side note to those of you who are writing an
unpopular time period or subject--that book that my agent and friend
said would never sell is still in print eight years later and is in its
It was two years after I sold APOHO to
Harper that St Martins bought Fantasy Lover and my Dark-Hunters. And
yes, I am so glad that I didn't give up.
I think one of the greatest moments of my
life (aside from holding my sons in my arms for the first time) was
hearing the sound of my editor and agent on the phone the first time I
hit the extended NYT and the official NYT best seller lists. But even
those were marked by sadness. The first call came while I was on my way
home after seeing my mother in ICU, and the other came just three days
after she died. Every time I look up on my wall and I see that list
with my name and title circled, it is bittersweet. But for three days,
my mother would have been here to share the achievement I had spent an
entire lifetime dreaming of. How many times did I tell her that I
wanted to be on that list? She always believed that I could do it and
when that call finally came, it hurt so much that I couldn't tell the
one person who had always been there for me. The one person who never
doubted me and who said, "I won't buy another book until you make that
list." So I would buy the books and authors she loved and send them to
her. I had a box of them that I was going to take to her when my
brother called with the news that she would never get to read any of
them. It's a box that still sits in my office.
My mother was the one I always looked to
for courage. She never gave up fighting in a life that was never fair.
She was and is my inspiration to carry on no matter what life throws at
me. As she would often say, "the more lemons you have, the stronger the
lemonade." Of course I would often challenge her with, "Yeah but too
many makes it bitter." And my mother would come back with, "Only if you
let it. The heart is the sugar. Yours is big enough to sweeten the
orchard." She was a great lady whose absence is felt every day of my
And I have to say, that she was right. My
lemonade is sweet and it is strong. Right now, things are looking good
(I'm knocking wood like a maniac) and during those four years while I
searched for a publisher, I did learn one lesson. 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.
I hope you enjoy your visit! Please stop by and watch for my updates.
If you would like to learn more about me, please visit my
Interviews with Sherrilyn:
Week News 10/2/05
Publisher's Weekly 8/12/02
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