Spotlight on An Author: Sheryl McCorry
Sheryl McCorry's first book Diamonds & Dust became a bestseller after it was published two years ago. Her second book Stars over Shiralee tells more about her life from where the first ended. I read the second book first, but rushed to my library to borrow a copy of Diamonds & Dust as soon as I'd finished her second memoir. Sheryl became the first women in the Kimberley to run two million-acre cattle stations. She writes in a real down-to-earth way and it's wonderful to hear about life on the cattle ranches of regional Australia. It's certainly foreign to South Africans, but interestingly it's also very different to the lives of most Australians.
Sheryl told Sabona that she realised after writing Diamonds & Dust how foreign her life in the outback is to some Australians: “I have now realised that not everyone takes a bag of young crocodiles to school for ‘show and tell'! At the same time, I love to hear that my story has triggered wonderful memories for many people of their growing up in the country.”
Describing some enormously tragic experiences, including the death of her son and abuse from her husband, Sheryl is extremely honest about her life. She says that writing about the happy and tragic times has been the best medicine ever. Although with the first it took three re-writes to really open up about the sad times. “I needed these books to work through my pain, emotion and tears. With Stars Over Shiralee, I became so emotionally drained, but now I feel I've gained so much strength through the writing that I have reconnected with life again. I'm back and stronger than ever. I'm Sheryl McCorry again.”
Sheryl originally wrote Diamonds & Dust for her children after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. “I never thought it would be seen by anyone but my kids. I paid a professional to edit it, and he said it would never get published. I'm not one to back down from a challenge and his comment rankled me so. The rest, as they say, is history.”
Sheryl's books and her positive attitude certainly are an inspiration. And she says that the word ‘inspiring' is the one most used about her books. Her message to people going through tough times: “We are stronger than we think we are.”
Author: Sheryl McCorry
Book: Stars over Shiralee
Cheryl's Rating: 4 out of 5
Sabona/Stars over Shiralee Promotion: Sabona and Pan Macmillan have five copies of Stars over Shiralee to give away. Enter here. Link to competition entry page.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Heather emailed Sabona to recommend this book, which she thinks people from Africa will enjoy and relate to. It is set in Mississippi in the early 1960's and revolves around black women who were employed as maids. “It is amusing, sad, heart-warming, shocking and gripping,” says Heather, who belongs to a book club consisting mainly of women from Africa, now living in Perth. “All of us who have read the book absolutely loved it. It gave all of us feelings of nostalgia and fond memories of our domestic workers. Although it is an American story, people from African can strongly identify with it.”