Being deemed a published author is a notable task and Sharon Erby, Adjunct Professor of English at Wilson, has accomplished that goal.
On Thursday, November 13, the Wilson Writers Series invited Erby to read from her new book, Parallel; a story collection about the lives of working-class adults who live in the shadow of a mountain and are constrained by personal circumstances. This was her first book-length publication.
Erby states that it was not easy getting published. She tried to have the individual stories published first before finding a fit with independent publisher, Harvard Square Editions. When asked for advice, Erby stated: “Don’t give up. And if you want or expect immediate public praise for your writing, you’d better change your perspective. Write for the love of writing!”
As for her reaction to being invited to do a reading at Wilson, Erby states, “I’m very happy to have a chance to read my work. My contract requires me to do several readings, so I’m thrilled to be able to do one of them ‘at home’— here at Wilson.”
Being a professor, Erby manages to balance that well with her writing time, but admits, “Sometimes I’m not that great about it— and I only work part time. But I do write something every day, even if it’s just in my journal. But [if you’re in a similar situation], you’ve got to figure out what works for you.”
Erby also runs the Writers Group that meets once a month on campus, and admits that the creative energy from the group gets her “fired up” to write. All are welcome to attend: students, staff, faculty, alumni, and anyone from the surrounding area.
“[People can expect] first and foremost, inspiration. We generally write in isolation, and it really helps to see that others enjoy and appreciate creative writing. We also talk about craft and share our work,” Erby states.
Erby is currently working on a cross-genre collection. Parallel displays a darker side of writing, so she hopes this next collection will be lighter and funnier. She enjoys writing in all genres and does not plan on sticking to just one.
“I hope others will enjoy my work,” Erby states, upon being asked if being published was a personal goal. “However, I’ve written for years and will continue to do so whether I get published or not—I just really enjoy writing.”