Find out How Law of Attraction shaped this Writer’s Career, and Why She wrote ‘Letters to the Pianist’…
Such a treat to have you here as a guest today, Sherron! We have only recently ‘met’ via one of the loveliest writers’ groups in the world… and I can honestly say you are one of the most fascinating authors I have come across to date, and super talented to boot able to turn your hand to self-help and fiction. Grab a cushion, curl up with some cake and tell us more and yourself…
What was the inspiration behind your current book, Letters to the Pianist?
I found my mother’s memoirs after she died three years ago, when I was going through her boxes of paperwork. She’d written down what happened when she was fourteen and her family home was bombed in the London blitz. Her parents were killed instantly, and her and her younger brother and sister, were split up and parcelled out to relatives. It sounded terrifying and I was shocked, that she’d never talked about it before. She had a tough life, feeling rootless, although she married and trained to be a nurse when she was eighteen, life was never easy for her. When she was alive, we didn’t get on. I found her a tough uncompromising woman. She’d often joke that she’d wake up with her fists clenched every morning ready for a fight. But once I had an eye-opener into the trauma of her childhood, I was inspired to write about it. And make her the heroine in my story – something she felt she never was in life. It was an emotional experience, despite the book being a 1940s thriller. And through writing I finally realised why she was so defensive. If she let her guard down, like many of her generation who experienced horrific deaths in the war, she probably felt she’d fall apart.
We both share a love of Law of Attraction! To what extent has your conscious creating helped sculpt your writing career?
Well, probably just like you Isabella, I could talk about the Law of Attraction forever. I’m so aware of how my thoughts influence everything around me for the good or bad. If I’m negative, I’m oversensitive, believing the worst, reading into things – and I’m a magnet for crap – people seem to want to argue with me, or take me the wrong way – of course I’m manifesting that. But when I’m focused on what I want for the positive, miracles literally happen.
My journalist career unfolded over twenty years ago without me having any qualifications or a clue about the media. I would focus on an idea, and magazines and newspapers would just swim into my mind – and hey presto I would ring up and get a commission. Within a year of starting out, I was on contract to the Daily Mail getting tons of work. The same good luck unfolded when I wrote my first self-help book, Be Your Own Psychic, fifteen years ago – inspired by a lucid dream. An elderly man with white hair, who I feel was a spirit guide, sat on the edge of my bed, and said, ‘write everything down that you’ve learnt in your life and put it in a book. We will help you. Trust us!’ There was a feeling of urgency and I remember jumping out of bed at 3 am to note down what he’d said, before I forgot. I wrote one chapter and read it to a girlfriend in a wine bar, and sent it to an agent someone told me about a year ago. Within a week he’d got me a meeting with publishers, Hodder & Stoughton. A few days later they offered me £20,000 to write the book, and my agent said ‘that’s all they’d offer to a first time author. So don’t expect any more.’ But it was a 6 month contract and I knew I’d get paid in thirds (you get a third up front, a third on completion and a third on publication) I wouldn’t be able to afford to live if I wasn’t doing other work. So in my head I thought I need £30,000 minimum. Two days later my agent came back and said ‘they’ve offered £30,000’. I was speechless. I really felt that life was magically opening up.
Everyone thinks LOA and the influence of our thoughts, is relatively new as a theory, but back in the 1920s, Carl Jung was the very first person to really bring the law of attraction into focus. Jung was transfixed by the idea that life was not a series of random events but rather an expression of a deeper order, which he called the Unus Mundus, Latin for one world or one energy – whereby what we focus on will magnetise a like-minded energy, which is shown as a meaningful synchronicity. And for anyone who’s read Letters to the Pianist, they’ll see that his understanding is at the heart of my book.
I discovered how this played out with my literary agent for Letters, who told me after she took me on, that although she was in the Writers and Artists Yearbook under her maiden name, her married name that she went by in everyday life was ‘Mayes’ – the same as my surname. Weird you might say. But I’ve had many crazy meaningful coincidences with this novel.
Somebody on Facebook, only a month ago, offered to trace my genealogy records. I’ve just discovered that picking the name ‘Goldberg’ for the fictional family in the book wasn’t quite so random. Apparently my grandmother’s maiden name was Goldberg! And Joseph Goldberg, the protagonist in my book, was her younger brother! I was in shock when this guy, Maurice, emailed me the info on the census. My mother’s first husband Marcus (not my father) also recently got in touch a month ago on Facebook to say he’d read my book. He’s in his eighties. I have six half brothers and sisters who are his children from my mother’s first marriage to him. My siblings know nothing about my book. I asked how he found out, as the book was only published a few months ago. He said he came across it by chance and ‘knew’ he had to read it. He said it stirred up many memories from when he was with my mum that made him emotional. And quickly realised that they were both so damaged by the war, they couldn’t really support or understand each other, and ended up fighting. She didn’t meet my father, Larry, until she was in her forties. But the way this Marcus (who’s a complete stranger to me by the way) came across the book is still a mystery – but I’ve known for a long time now that the world is mysterious and magical, and we are all connected in inextricable ways – bound together by like-minded thoughts, beliefs and values.
And look at the synchronicities we share. Not only is your pen name, Isabella May very much like my daughter’s, Isabel Mayes – but we’ve since discovered people that we mutually know. Amazing. I’m sure there will more that we’ve yet to discover.
I am currently immersed in one of your earlier titles, Be Your Own Psychic, which has recently been re-released. Wow is all I can say so far! What a brilliant book. Can you sum it up for any readers who haven’t yet come across it?
I wrote Be Your Own Psychic 15 years ago. It’s a fun interactive book, peppered with NLP and visualisations that help you to harness your mind, and creatively attract what you want in your life. Visualisations activate the creative right side of your brain, and therefore also enhance our inherent intuition, so we can get a strong sixth sense for buying the right house, meeting the right person, or finding the right job. Our minds are vast energy computers that get programmed with good stuff and the rubbish junk that we don’t need. It’s about being in control of our minds rather than letting our minds control us – which we can do unconsciously with addiction, negative thoughts, insomnia, the list is endless. We can consciously decide who we want to be and how we want to feel. The whole thing about being creative with our lives, is to have fun and make the most of every day. The law of attraction and visualisations are not about obsessing, but focusing on what we want and releasing it out into the universe, without worry, knowing that it will attract your outcome.
After having a best-seller with Be Your Own Psychic, why did you start writing fiction?
I really love the craft of storytelling. Telling stories to illustrate something has been going on since time began. We learn so much, about other people’s points of view and experiences. And it also transports us away from the painfulness of our own difficulties and challenges.
I’m not seduced by the sugary imposters. Good old Apple crumble and custard will always be a winner for me.
Favourite travel destination?
Alaska. My aunt lives there. And it’s the most incredible country in terms of scenery. There is so much space, and I remember seeing the mountains against the outline of the sky with nothing else around except sky and space, and thinking ‘wow’. It’s a wild place, literally. There’s signposts around saying ‘beware of the bears’ so you can’t go wandering off into the forests. Apparently it’s also infused with testosterone as the men outnumber women 2 to 1. But my aunt always says ‘the problem is, the odds are good, but the goods are odd’ lol.
Favourite self-help/positivity guru (yourself aside!)
Haha I’m definitely no guru. I’m a work in progress at all times. But if something helps me, then I definitely want to pass it on to others and that’s why I wrote ‘Be Your Own Psychic’. I’ve been to the workshops of Chuck Spezzano over the years, who is an author and charismatic workshop leader. He illustrates beliefs about ourselves and others using people in the audience, and shows that what we think is wrong with another person is actually a split part of our mind that needs healing. Once the split is healed that person behaves differently or we attract someone different. It’s fascinating. You have to witness it to understand what I mean. Again it all comes back to the energy transmitted from our thoughts – conscious and unconscious.
If you could invite three authors who you haven’t yet met to a dinner party, who would they be? And what would your three courses consist of?
The first would be Peter James, the famous thriller writer. I met him at a book launch last year and he was very chatty, open and inspiring, and you need that at a dinner party. He told me he wrote his first book at 19 and couldn’t get an agent or publisher. He wrote another book after that and got a publisher but the book didn’t sell, and finally his third book suddenly began selling. He said, ‘writing takes time, like a good wine.’ He’s a lovely guy.
I’d also have to invite John Greene who wrote the ‘The Fault in Our Stars’. I’ve heard him speak and he seems eccentric and very talkative, and I just feel he’d be good fun and also have many tales to tell about his writing. Apparently ‘The Fault in our Stars’ took ten years to write, and I’d like to know why.
Erica Jong – who wrote ‘Fear of Flying’. Again I always feel she’s slightly bonkers, but very bright and good fun. A combination I love.
Dinner would be simple but tasty – garlic prawns as a starter with some asparagus on the side.
A spicy Thai curry for main (Thai food is my favourite)
And apple crumble and custard for dessert
I know how to live lol
Favourite books as a child?
So many. The Secret Garden, Alice in Wonderland and Winnie the Pooh are a few that I treasured.
Strangest place you have ever written?
In the bath. But I don’t recommend writing in water, as the paper gets easily soggy, especially when your cat decides to walk around the edge.
Loveliest thing anybody has ever said about your books?
I’ve had some lovely reviews for Letters to the Pianist. One of them was this:
‘Wow! I absolutely LOVED this beautiful, beautiful book! I am still recovering from it! So beautifully written, so authentic, so harrowing, so sensitive and stunning and addictive and brilliant. I absolutely could not put it down – had to wrench myself away from it every morning and looked forward to it every evening. I loved this author’s debut but this book is a masterpiece. Elegant writing, a unique and poignant story – I am absolutely in awe. One of my favourite books of the year from an author to watch! Very highly recommended.’
What can we expect to see from you next?
A follow up to Letters to the Pianist which is the Goldberg Family five years on with many more twists and turns as they deal with secrets, lies and twisted characters. At the moment it has the working title of ‘The Silk Swastika’ but that may change.
I also have a new book trailer for Letters to the Pianist that will give some more insight into the story, which again came about through law of attraction. I have no idea how to do this stuff but somehow I manifested the help over Christmas and it all got done in a day!