Tropicalfete: Can you tell us a bit about Loverly Sheridan?
Loverly: Well, if you’ve read a Girl Like Me, you already know a whole lot! (Laughing out loud) But in a nutshell, I’m a very curious, daring and passionate young woman, who loves life.
Tropicalfete: When were you first hit by the literary bug?
I’ve always loved to write. As a child, I had quite a vivid imagination and used writing to express myself in every way.
Tropicalfete: Was being an author something you always envisioned or did it materialize from your travels/experiences?
Loverly: It was definitely one of the goals I had set out for myself. I knew I wanted to write a book one day, but didn’t think it would be at the age of 31! I thought it would be later on in my life, especially since it is an autobiography. It’s amazing how life manifests itself at times. It somehow takes on its own meaning, and things evolve into what it’s meant to be. There were so many factors that led up to me becoming an author, and all the factors were equally important and necessary.
Tropicalfete: When you finally decided to pen a book, how challenging was it to decide on the subject to be penned?
Loverly: The subject somehow just presented itself. It was inevitable. It was time, and it felt like a natural process for me. I wrote from the heart, so everything seemed to just flow naturally.
Tropicalfete: “A girl Like me” was an extremely personal piece. How difficult was it to put it all out there, knowing persons would be getting personal insight into Loverly Sheridan, the woman?
Loverly: I’ve always been somewhat of an open person. I love to share. (laughing out loud) This sometimes comes at a price, but it’s one that I’m willing to pay. It’s the fabric and essence of who I am as a person. If I believe that my story or any story will inspire, empower, uplift or even change someone in a positive way, even though I may be judged, criticized or condemned for it, I will share it. I had a blog for many years where I wrote candidly and openly, and I connected with many people because of it, so although this book was a lot more revealing, and written for the entire world to read, I felt compelled to write it. I am happy I did. It has defined my purpose, and changed my life in the most profound way. It also warms my heart to see how my story have resonated with so many.
Tropicalfete: What did you hope the reader would take away from your words after reading your book “A Girl Like Me”?
Loverly: I learned so many valuable lessons along my journey about life, people, success, failure, etc, which is what I wrote about in my book. My hope is that the lessons I learned will have some application in the lives of others. People identified with my story in various ways. I was truly amazed at how many girls like me there are out there and men too! (Laughing out loud) Their response was one I had hoped for- to understand that life is a struggle for us all, and that we all go through it. We all bleed, cry, laugh, win, fail, make mistakes etc. But only when we stay true to ourselves can we truly be happy.
Tropicalfete: What was the reaction from your family, especially your mom, since you covered so many topics of a personal nature?
Loverly: My family, especially my mom has always been supportive of me. My mom is my biggest fan, and she is very proud of my work.
Tropicalfete: With all the buzz that the book has generated, is there anything that you would have done differently knowing what you know now?
Loverly: Almost all the buzz that I’ve heard of has been positive, so it has been rewarding all around for me. Of course, there will always be criticism and people with their own agendas. That is inevitable. I generally don’t pay attention to the negative. I embrace constructive criticism. I learn from it and use it to make my good better, and my better, great. Everything and everyone is always a work in progress, I’m no exception. So no, I wouldn’t do anything differently.
Tropicalfete: “A girl like me”! Talk about the feedback from the male segment of your audience? Were you surprised at how much males identified with the entire experience?
Loverly: Oh my! (laughing out loud) I was amazed by the positive feedback from men! Some of them wrote the most amazing reviews via my website. They were so open minded and receptive of my story, and were able to identify with my story in many ways. The book was never a book for or about women, although some may argue that the title contradicts that (Laughing out loud). It is a book for everyone. There is a message or lesson in there for everyone, and I am just happy that the men can identify with my story too. Quite a few of them have personally expressed their respect and admiration for me after reading my story. It has just been overwhelmingly positive, and it feels good that I can connect with the male readers also.
Tropicalfete: How much of an influence does being a Caribbean woman have on how you pen your books?
Loverly: I am a woman from the Caribbean, so I understand the life, depth and struggles of the Caribbean woman in every way, so it does influence my writing in many ways, but overall, my writing is influenced by any and everything which inspires me to tell a powerful story.
Tropicalfete: Would you describe yourself as a Caribbean author?
Loverly: I generally don’t like labels. I am an author is enough. Anyone who knows me knows where I am from. I mention it in all my books. It’s a place dear to my heart, and one I take great pride in, but I don’t want any labels to influence who read my books. I want anyone to feel like they can read my books and connect with my writing.
Tropicalfete: What is one thing that this journey has taught Loverly Sheridan about herself that went unnoticed before?
Loverly: (Smiling) Undoubtedly my courage, strength and persevearance.
Tropicalfete: Are you a self published author?
Yes I am.
Tropicalfete: How difficult has it been making sure that this dream became a reality?
Loverly: Like any goal or dream one set out to accomplish, it has its fair share of obstacles and challenges, but writing is my passion, so I take everything in stride. I embrace it all, knowing that anything worthwhile is not supposed to be easy. And it’s slowly proving that as long as I keep working hard and keep believing, it is worth it.
Tropicalfete: Since “A Girl Like Me”, you have ventured on to produce a successful series of children’s books. Tell us about that.
Loverly: I have since written two children’s books. “Tiki Tok:Growing up in Saint Lucia” is filled with captivating rhymes and wonderful illustrations by award winning artist Jonathan Gladding about growing up in my beautiful homeland Saint Lucia. The other book is appropriately titled,” Unique begins with U,” which encourages children to embrace their uniqueness and that of others.
Tropicalfete: You are on a superb ride and from all the reviews; you are emerging as not only an author. You are also a teacher, educator and motivational speaker. How do you wear all these hats and still remain the Loverly Sheridan that the public expects you to be?
Loverly: Let’s not forget a mom! (Smiling) I am first a mom, and then everything else. It’s very challenging balancing it all, especially being a single mother and working full time. However, my astrological sign is Libra, so it’s all about balancing that scale. I try to maintain a healthy balance in my life in every way. I try to eat right, exercise, pray, laugh, work, love, give back and just live life to the fullest. There are some things I have to work harder at than others so that the scale is not way off, but overall, I understand that everything requires hard work, discipline, focus and a positive mind set, and I just apply that in everything I do. As for the public expectations, I’m just always myself, and that speaks for itself.
Tropicalfete: You have traveled nationally and internationally promoting your body of work. Are there similarities in how the public you encounter decode the message or messages you present?
Loverly: Overall the response is generally the same-very positive. People love to be inspired. They love to know that they are not alone in the struggle, and they admire the fact that I was brave enough to share my story and speak my truth. The feedback is generally positive and encouraging, and it truly empowers me to keep going, and to keep writing. One general observation which really caused me to reflect a lot on my own history and culture, and how certain cultural influences had an impact on my attitude and behaviors, in terms of how much of my decision making and choices in the past was influenced by what “people would say” or what people thought of me. This caused me to always feel like I had to be perfect, and to not make any mistakes, which was one of the main reasons I felt compelled to share my story. And what I mean by the above is, I found that a lot of people from the Caribbean, my homeland especially, their first response after reading my book, although positive, there was always this great concern about what people would say or think about me after learning more about my story, and the stigma that may be attached to speaking my truth, verses Americans and European whose first response was often focused more on the valuable lessons they learned from me telling my story, and how they would use it to improve their lives. And although I understand my fellow Saint Lucians initial concerns, considering the small size of our Island, and everyone knowing of each other, but I also realized how influenced we are as a people about what others think and say about us, which ultimately cause so many of us to live in a state of chaos and confusion, inevitably hindering our own progress and deterring us from reaching our full potential. That to me is the epitome of having a slave like mentally, and it’s definitely something we need to free ourselves from. I think that’s one of the positive things about living in a develop country, that open minded thinking and understanding of the benefits of learning and being inspired by each other.
Tropicalfete: How has this entire experience changed you?
I have just learned and grown up alot, and I’m now able to decipher things and people in a different way. I understand now that in life it’s not about what you are called; it’s what you answer to. I answer only to the good and positive. If someone calls you a dog, do you answer “woof?” No, because, you’re not a dog. The same must be applied in our everyday life. Why answer/defend something we know we’re not. We must know ourselves.
One of the things I learned and admire about President Barack Obama is how well he answers to his calling. He has been named and called everything possible but, he was always mindful of what he answered to, and when he was compelled to answer, it was always with the most amazing class and grace, and I think that made all the difference, and said a lot about his humility and character. He remained focus on his vision, his goals and his divine purpose.
I also have a more subtle and open minded approach to life than I did before writing books. I’ve reprioritize so many things. My focus is mainly on my son, my family and my work. But mostly, I just spend a lot more of time focusing on the woman in the mirror more than anything else, and how I can make me better, in order to improve the lives of everyone around me- those I meet directly and indirectly. I understand now more than ever that I have to be the change I wish to see, and I’m just simply always working on being better me-flaws and all. (Smiling)”
Tropicalfete: It is quite evident that you draw inspiration from your many encounters and you move forward with a plan. Who are you influences?
I love life. I love people. I love good, humble, civilized people. I don’t care for anyone’s religious affiliations, economic status, relationship status, political affiliations, etc.Yes, I am very liberal. I believe a good/kind heart always reveals itself. I admire people who are comfortable with whom they are, and are always working on being their best and reaching their full potentials. I love people who challenge themselves and others to be and do their best. I love people with a strong sense of character and value system, who stand for something. I love people who challenge the status quo, question convention and think with an open mind. I love people who stand up and speak out for what and who they believe in, with respect and regard for others. I love people who learn and grow from their mistakes. I love people who maintain the peace, and do all things with great love. I love compassionate people, who know the value of love and forgiveness. I love people who know how to say, “thank you, please, I love you, I’m sorry; I was wrong, please forgive me.” I love people who know how to laugh at themselves. I love people who are genuine, loyal and value people. I love people who are able to think for themselves, and make their own choices. I love people who have dignity and honor. I am influenced by all of the above. Whether it’s a family, partner, friend or stranger. I guess you can say I am influenced and inspired by love.
Tropicalfete: Are you an author for women?
Tropicalfete: In a few words, can you tell us of an experience where a reader explained to you the effect your work had on him/her? How did that make you feel?
Loverly: There are so many of those profound moments, which almost always bring me to tears. A lot of it can be read via my website under “inspiration box.” But I think the most profound one for me, was from one of the main characters in the book, Michael. I wasn’t sure what his reaction would be after reading the book, but after reading it, he said, “I think you should send this book to Oprah, it’s really good. If all women expressed themselves like you did in this book, all guys like me would get it right.” That meant a lot to me, and anyone who read the book understands why.
Tropicalfete: Where can one purchase a copy of “A Girl Like Me”?
www.loverlysheridan.com and on www.amazon.com
Tropicalfete: And your child books?
www.loverlysheridan.com and www.amazon.com
Tropicalfete: How can interested parties contact Loverly Sheridan?
I am always happy to read readers feedback and hearing from everyone, so please visit my website, and be sure to say hello. www.loverlysheridan.com