Ellen

Sherman

Author

Wry chronicler of everyday
truths and foibles
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About Me

A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.

                                        -- Thomas Mann

I write, therefore I am.

 

It’s true. From an early age, I have turned to writing to figure out what I’m thinking and feeling, as a way of recording minor observations as well as epiphanies. I keep an envelope labeled “Today’s Great Thoughts” or “Big Ideas” near my desk in which I toss slips of paper with various scribblings: arresting visuals, overheard snatches of dialogue, imagined verbal exchanges (typically, quips I wish I’d uttered at the moment, but only thought of later), and ideas for fictional works.

 

In eleventh grade, a class called “Literary Existentialism” changed my life as I read numerous books highlighting the absurdity of life, with characters trying to forge their way despite various, often random, struggles. Perhaps this is why I am drawn to the absurd, ironic, and tragic-comic.

 

I took 23 English courses as an undergraduate at Trinity College, which is absurd in itself, but I was taking advantage of the fact that there were no interdisciplinary course requirements at the time. Later, I received my MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. I have worked as a journalist, teacher, editor, and training coordinator for literacy tutors.

 

I am currently working on a new novel.

 

Novels

When English major Nora Plowright finds herself staring at college graduation as if at the edge of a cliff, she decides to become a newspaper reporter—and right away, she manages to get a job at a local paper (which you could still do in 1978). Although fearful by nature, Nora pursues a tip from a stranger and soon is investigating corruption at the Maryland State Highway Authority regarding the controversial placement of a major road. The developing scandal, with its shady players, tests both her budding reportorial skills and her appetite for danger. Also, her passion for storytelling makes it increasingly difficult for her to stick to the facts. Honest and humorous, Just the Facts is a coming-of-age novel about finding one’s way in the real world that will resonate with anyone who has struggled to figure out what to do when she or he grows up.

 

Honors for Just the Facts:

Finalist, 2016 International Book Awards (Fiction: General)

Finalist, 2016 National Indie Excellence Awards (Fiction - General)

Finalist, 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards (General Fiction and Second Novel)

Finalist, 2015 USA Best Book Awards (Women's Lit)

Ivy Robbins is a happily married cartoonist who has never particularly wanted children. When her older sister dies suddenly, Ivy has to deal with her own grief as well as that of her sister’s two small boys, who have been left in her care. On top of this, she has a nagging suspicion that there is more to her sister’s death than was originally believed. Her quest to find out what really happened leads to several surprising discoveries, but ultimately Ivy must come to terms with the haunting, unexpected truth.

 

A Play

Play with My Novel

 

This “serious” comedy is about a pleasant, well-intentioned author invited to a book club hosted by a woman she had met only once before and briefly. From the moment she arrives, her expectations of an evening full of engaged, meaningful discussion are thwarted as it becomes increasingly clear that most of the club’s members not only disliked her book, but also dislike each other.

 

The cast is comprised of six women in their 60s and 70s; however, the play addresses themes that have confronted women, young and old: a predilection to be overly concerned with others’ reactions, the desire to be considered worthwhile, and the struggle to make it in a man’s world. It also explores more universal themes about writing, the creative process, and people’s inability to get outside themselves. In the end, it is about an author with a penchant to please and be understood, and a novel that has struck a chord with a group of aging women, despite their dogged protests.

 

A staged reading was performed in Hoboken, NJ in February 2018.

 

Contact Me

Please feel free to contact me at ellenshermanauthor@gmail.com