Memories of Josepha Sherman (1946 − 2012)

I find myself this week needing to remember where I came up with my idea for my book. Josepha Sherman was the person who started me down the writing path I am following today.  Her writing inspired me, but not quite in the way you may assume it did.

I went to DragonCon in 2007.  It was my first time attending any convention.  I was star struck, getting as many of my books as I could carry signed.  This was the same weekend I met A.C. Crispin, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Timothy Zahn, Kevin J. Anderson, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Laurell K. Hamilton, Susan Sizemore, and many other authors who are escaping my mind.  Most of them I was able to pick up in Autograph Area, but there was one in particular I really wanted – Josepha Sherman’s.  But no matter how I tried, I couldn’t time it so I was free when she was scheduled for a signing.

Early during the convention, I caught on to the fact that a lot of authors, if they don’t immediately have to run to another scheduled event, were willing to sign after panels.   I checked the schedule and found Josepha was going to be in a panel in during a time I wasn’t attending any others.  It was two hotels over and during the time I had scheduled to shop, but I decided that I wanted to fight the crowds for her signature more than I wanted to fight crowds in one of the dealer’s rooms.  So, clutching my copy of Highlander: The Captive Soul,* I made the trek over to the hotel hosting the Writer’s Track to get into the panel for the difference between writing for television and writing novels.

Earlier at the convention, I had two authors ask me if I was a writer also.  I found it funny, because at that point, I had only toyed with the idea of writing something as a professional.  I had been writing fanfiction on and off for the previous fifteen years, but I never had a serious thought about sitting down and writing a book.  I daydreamed that it would be wonderful to maybe someday do it, maybe something about vampires or werewolves since I gravitated towards them.  But I didn’t have any plot, setting, or characters in mind.  That was in my subconscious as I took a seat in the panel, which was something about writing for television shows and how it related to writing books.

I don’t remember exactly what sparked the idea. But in the middle of that panel, I was hit with a thought.  What if my two characters, Jess the werewolf and Carl the vampire, met?  How would they interact?  What if they were forced to work together?  I saw the problems immediately.  Jess was an original character I wrote for a fanfic story, and Carl was a Kindred of the Clan Toreador.  I couldn’t use the intellectual properties they were attached to.  But I could easily adapt them and give them new backgrounds.  In the middle of the panel, I started to scribble down ideas.

When the panel ended, I hurried up to the front of the room to speak with Josepha Sherman.  My brain was still turning over the idea for the story, but I managed to rein it in to focus on her.  She was very polite and charming and more than willing to sign my book.  We chatted about our love for Highlander and Methos and how she enjoyed writing the story immensely.  We spoke for less than five minutes, and I spent less than two hours total in the same room as her.  But what an impact those two hours have made on my life.

*Yes.  I like Highlander, especially Methos.  I also have a habit of reading tie-in fiction.  There was no way I could not read that book.