Capturing History in Verse: An Interview with Sherry Shahan

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Writing

Continuing with our Master Class Series on Poetry and Verse Novels, today I’m thrilled to host an interview with Sherry Shahan.  She is the author of several books–both fiction and non-fiction, books for kids in preschool and books for teens–including a novel in verse.  Purple Daze is a fascinating story, giving a snapshot of the year 1965 from the points of view of six different teenagers.  Each of the story lines has a distinct arc and weaves between the other story arcs.  As you’ll see in the interview, Sherry drew on history, interviews and even personal experiences to capture the vibe of that turbulent year in history.

In this interview, Sherry gives some great insights on the writing and revision process.  Not only does she share how she developed the idea and shaped the draft of Purple Daze but she also gives great tips on receiving feedback and reading like a writer.  Sherry has an MFA from Vermont College and she shares ideas for how DIY MFA writers can build aspects of the MFA experience into their writing lives.

In this video, you’ll hear about…

  • How a tattered shoebox of letters led to a story told in verse.
  • Some amazing real-life details that made it into Purple Daze.
  • What challenge helped motivate Sherry’s most recent novel.
  • What a writer really needs to do in order to get that MFA experience.
  • Why Sherry chose to do an MFA.
  • …and much more!

Without further ado, here’s the newest installment in the DIY MFA Master Class Series.

Capturing History in Verse:
An Interview with Sherry Shahan

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