Debut author Sherri Leimkuhler joins us on the blog to chat about her journey to publication of What’s Left Untold, which launches today!
Author Name: Sherri Leimkuhler
Book Title: What’s Left Untold
Book Genre: Women’s Fiction/Book Club Fiction/General Fiction
Release Date: May 19, 2020
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
Welcome, Sherri! How would you describe What’s Left Untold?
A woman reunites with her estranged best friend and uncovers a devastating secret that threatens to unravel the life she has created with her husband and daughters.
What sparked the idea for your book?
I found a trunk in my parents’ basement that contained my high school yearbooks and a box of old letters. A postscript on one of the letters read: “I need to see you. I have something important to tell you.” Or something similar to that. And I briefly wondered what the postscript had been referring to before tossing the letter back into the box thinking, it was probably nothing; typical high school drama… or was it? I began to imagine what kind of secret one could uncover twenty years after the fact that could still have a major impact on one’s life.
I can see how an intriguing secret could inspire a story! Did it take you long to write the book? And how about research?
My journey to publication was 11 years in the making! It was 2009 when I discovered the box of letters and I spent the next five years sporadically crafting the story. In 2014 I got serious and dedicated myself to finishing the book. A year and three beta readers later, I submitted my manuscript to the Women’s Fiction Writers Association’s Rising Star Contest and What’s Left Untold was selected as one of the finalists. After the contest, several agents reviewed my manuscript and offered feedback and I spent the next year revising and editing. The biggest change was altering the manuscript from its original chronological format to a flashback format.
I am a chronic researcher, regularly investigating small details such as popular foods in various parts of the country or songs that topped the charts during a given year. But, toward the end of the What’s Left Untold, a complicated and controversial issue is raised, which definitely required more in-depth research into specific social, medical, legal and cultural implications. To avoid spoiling one of the books most surprising twists, I can’t elaborate on the issue. But I will say I am definitely not an expert on the topic, so any errors are completely mine. I did, however, research multiple reports and articles written on the subject by various specialists, universities and medical institutions.
For you, what’s the hardest thing about writing?
Sticking to a routine.
And what do you love about it?
I love escaping into an imaginary world of my own making.
If you were speaking to someone who hasn’t read your writing before, why should they want to read What’s Left Untold?
My favorite books are those that take me by surprise. I love an unexpected twist that I didn’t see coming, and I especially like a story that makes for a lively book club discussion. So when I began writing What’s Left Untold, I set out to write the type of book I would enjoy reading, one with twists and turns and shocking moments that would provide excellent book club conversation and possibly even spark respectful debate; one that might take readers out of their comfort zone, cause them to question societal norms, and ask themselves, what would I do in this situation?
What are your interests outside of writing and reading?
I can’t sit still for very long. I like to keep moving, and fitness has always been a priority in my life. I spent nearly ten years as a competitive triathlete and I love to be outside, so when I’m not writing or reading, I am most likely to be enjoying the great outdoors in some way: hiking, trail running, paddleboarding and skiing are among my favorite things to do. I also enjoy spending time with family, traveling to new places, and experiencing different cultures.
Any new projects in the works?
I’ve almost finished the first draft of my second novel, currently titled Sauce. Sauce tells the story of a woman who quits her sales job to start her own event planning business and finds herself in dire financial straits. When a former client dangles the prospect of discreet, lucrative work as a high-end escort, she finds the temptation hard to resist, though venturing into this risqué business threatens to destroy the relationships that are most important to her and forces her to question the strength and integrity of her moral compass.
Where can readers find you (website, blog, social media, etc.)?
Thank you, Sherri. What’s Left Untold is available as of today!
Every secret has its price.
Anna Clark and Lia Clay were unlikely best friends in high school, but their yin-and-yang personalities drew them together in a sister-like bond. Then during college, Lia inexplicably walked out on their friendship and disappeared, leaving Anna hurt, confused, and disillusioned.
Twenty years later, Anna discovers a letter Lia wrote the summer after high school—a letter that contains a cryptic postscript concealing a devastating truth. With her twenty-year high school reunion approaching, Anna moves closer to uncovering the secret in Lia’s letter and the heartbreaking consequences it set in motion.
As the layers of deceit and betrayal begin to unravel, Anna is forced to question everything she believes and come to terms with what it means to forgive the one person who hurt her in the worst way imaginable.
Sherri Leimkuhler has written professionally for more than twenty years but is a Jill of many trades, with experience in sales, marketing, public relations, event planning, aviation, and yoga instruction. Her health-and-fitness column, “For the Fun of Fit,” appears bi-weekly in the Carroll County Times.
A competitive triathlete and two-time Ironman finisher, Sherri also enjoys reading, hiking, paddleboarding, trail running, traveling, and wine tasting. Sherri lives in Maryland with her husband, three daughters, and two Labrador retrievers.