Sweet Turtleberry is a writer of realistic fairy tales. She was born and raised in Baltimore, with a few stops in the mix. Turtleberry is a graduate of Towson University and the University of Baltimore, where she received a Master’s Degree in Publication’s Design and Creative Writing. Turtleberry is currently doing what she loves… writing.
She was kind enough to pause in her writing to answer a few questions for us about her motivations, her books, and her writing routine.
JR: When I first thought of asking you for an interview, I assumed you were an indie author. I had no idea you were so prolific! I counted twelve books, is that right? And you run a publishing house, Turtleberry Press? I’d love to hear more about both of those, and how they overlap in your life.
ST: I am more indie author than publisher. I personally have seven fiction books with one on the way this month. Three of those had to be split in half due to length (I got all wordy). I have also helped my aunt publish a book. We are trying to get her second one out this month as well. I have an out-of-print poetry series (four chapbooks) and a photography book I did with a friend.
Writing is my therapy. I can’t really remember a time when I wasn’t creating characters and worlds in my head.
With Turtleberry Press I am really trying to promote creativity. I want people to create art, books, and music. I started out wanting a publishing company but now I want to encourage others to self-publish or go down the path best for them to get their work out into the world.
The publishing came from my unwillingness to query. I learned how to self-publish in my graduate program and haven’t looked back.
JR: What would you like my readers to know about your books?
ST: My books are fun. Many of them start when characters are young adults and grow with them. I write romantic fiction and am slightly obsessed with having a happy ending.
JR: Many authors struggle to find balance between work and home and self. I think we end up working in every free moment. Do you struggle with this? If not, how have you organized your time and focus to keep yourself from drowning?
ST: I don’t balance well. Writing can consume me. I try my best to handle the necessary responsibilities but I fall short on occasion. Planners don’t work for me.
I suffer with depression and anxiety. With that comes procrastination and little to no motivation. I drown frequently but have learned ways of swimming through this. I think my biggest struggle is with not thinking my writing is good enough for others. I frequently read my old works again and they make me so happy. I am motivated by the fact that they might possibly bring one person half as much joy as they bring me.
JR: What does your creative process look like? Do you have set goals and deadlines? Do you have a separate writing space? How about writing playlists?
ST: I do not outline on paper except for specific scenes. I plot mostly in my head. I have at least three stories running through my head at any given moment.
Writing goals are a surefire way for me not to write (although I have two books that we successful NaNoWriMo projects). I have been hit or miss with deadlines.
I write whenever and wherever, though mostly from my bed.
I am the playlist queen. I am working on posting the playlists that go with certain books or characters on Spotify. An extremely large part of my creativity and inspiration comes from music.