Sunday, May 17, 2015

Author Interview: Sherry Boas

I've reviewed several books by Sherry Boas, so I was definitely interested when Catholic Word asked me if I wanted to interview her.  Sherry's comments are in bold type below.

Hi Sherry!  I'm a fan of your Lily books and I'm so glad you agreed to take time for this interview.
I looked at your website and the photos of your kids are great.  I understand why you are vague on the details about them, but can you tell us a little about them--their genders and approximate ages (teens, toddlers, pre-teens, etc.).

My children range in age from 9 to 16. They are awesome gifts from God and make our lives rich and joyful.

All of your kids are adopted, and none of them were the healthy, perfect white infants that so many adoptive parents want.  How old were your kids when you adopted them?  Do you have any advice for parents considering adopting special-needs kids?

We adopted all our children when they were infants. If you feel you may be called to special needs adoption, pray, research and have courage. Let love guide you, not fear. Love will determine whether each placement is right. Love doesn’t require you to say yes to everything. Sometimes love means saying no. But fear is never a good decision maker. As our beloved St. John Paul II always reminded us, “Be not afraid!”

Your website said you homeschool your kids.  Is this something that you think you would have done if your kids did not have special needs, or is it something you chose to do largely because of your kids' special needs?

I was led to home schooling after seeing the fruits of home schooling in families I knew or read about. It seemed they had a very close bond and that’s what I wanted for my family.

In Until Lily, we learn that Lily works, uses public transportation independently and lives in a group home.  What type of future to you envision for your children?  I have a son who has autism and so far, I've found adulthood to be harder than the school years. I can't imagine having to worry about four kids with special needs and what they are going to do when I'm gone.

From what it looks like now, thanks to so many miracles, I think most of my children will be independent. My daughter with Down syndrome is the one who will require help all her life. I think she will hold some kind of job and live with family or in a group home. Her older brother, who is now 15, has expressed a desire to help her through life, which I think is beautiful. If it doesn’t end up working out that way, I pray God will send the right people into her life, and as she gets older, we will begin to make more solid plans. She is only 12 now. But I know it’s a worry, and I hear what you say, loud and clear. Adulthood for people with special needs can be a real challenge. Perhaps we as parents must rely on God’s providence even more at those times. And work very hard and pray for the strength to endure whatever suffering and sacrifices are necessary because that’s what love requires.

All the Lily books are published by Caritas Press, and your bio on their website says you are the owner of Caritas Press.  As a book blogger I've started to learn about the business of books and I'm still trying to figure things out.  What is the difference between owning a company like Caritas Press, and self-publishing?  Is there a difference?  Does Caritas Press publish books by other authors?  Do you want to?  Did you try to publish any of your books with other publishers?

I started as a self publisher in 2011, when I published the Lily Trilogy, but my mission unexpectedly grew and now I have a small publishing company called Caritas Press. I do publish other people’s work, including children’s books, but I wouldn’t be able to do any of it without my publishing partner, Catholic Word, which handles all my distribution, marketing, order fulfillment and accounts. Catholic Word is the reason I was able to make the cross-over from self-published author to publisher, so their decision to take on my titles has been a huge blessing.

In my review of The Things Lily Knew, I asked my readers:  If adults could take pre-conception pills to eliminate defective eggs or sperm, would that be a good thing?  I'm not talking about something that would hurt an already conceived zygote, embryo or fetus; rather this hypothetical drug would work on gametes (eggs and sperm).  What is your answer?

Such a good question. It is the question that the main character in The Things Lily Knew has to face. I would love for people to read the book and see if it helps them decide for themselves!

In your books it becomes clear that for Lily's family she is a catalyst for salvation--both salvation in the everlasting sense and in an earthy sense, as the family was better off here on earth because of the interactions with Lily.  Fast forward twenty years.  A drug has just hit the market that cures Down's Syndrome or a condition that one of your other children has.  I know you can't fix chromosomes but this hypothetical medicine provides what is missing because of that extra chromosome, and studies have shown that if people with those conditions take this medicine and then undergo extensive tutoring (because they were so far behind to start with) they can achieve normal intelligence/abilities.  Would you give the medicine to your children?

Another really good question. Probably similar to the question of cochlear implants for people who are deaf. If I were deaf, I assume I would sign up for that surgery. But I have heard some in the deaf community say that deafness is something that doesn’t need to be fixed. For myself, if there was a magic drug that had no side effects and could make my memory better, I would probably take it. I think it would improve my quality of life to be able to remember where I put my car keys and what chapter contains the scene where Lily gets married, for instance, and I don’t think it would change my personality. I think I might view medication for improving intelligence in those with intellectual disabilities the same way. On the other hand, one would have to wonder if such a medication would change one’s personality, and then that becomes a tougher question.

Your bio says that you spent ten years as a journalist.  Now you are a novelist.  How do the jobs compare?  Why did you decide to switch fields?

I quit my very demanding job as a reporter at a daily newspaper in 1998 when we adopted our first baby. I became a stay-at-home mom and have loved every minute of it. Then in 2009, I decided to try writing a book, and that turned into a trilogy, which I published in 2011, and then a series, and I began to see how I could publish other books as well. I have been blessed to be able to do it all at home, in the stolen moments between laundry and times tables, and late at night when everyone has gone to bed. It has been a blessed journey!

I'd like to thank Sherry for taking the time to visit with us. I've enjoyed getting to know her and hope you enjoy her books as much as I do.

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