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My Author Friend: Regina McLemore

This is my author friend, Regina McLemore. She writes wonderful young adult novels but has also authored in other genres such as picture book. Here is her publishing journey.

How many years have you been in publishing?

My books began being published by Oghma in 2020, but my first magazine article was published in 2011. I have been published in newspapers and journals since my college days, starting back in the 70s and continuing to the present.

How many years you have been working on this book before you got a contract on it for publication.

I worked nearly twenty-five years on my first book before it was published. That doesn’t mean that I worked continuously on it. I would take it out from time to time, revise it, and send it off to another publisher where it would be rejected again. I was a full-time teacher/librarian during most of this time, so I usually only worked on it during summer break.

My children’s book, Wesa Goes on a Treasure Hunt, was first a bedtime story, which my husband told to our oldest granddaughter nearly eighteen years ago, based on an experience they shared when she was around three or four.

Approximately eight years ago, I wrote it down, revised it, and began working toward getting it published. Last year, 2021, I signed a contract with Oghma for it to be published, along with two other books, as part of a Wesa trilogy.

Is this your first publication?

I have published two of my “Cherokee Passages” series, Cherokee Clay and Cherokee Stone.

The last of the trilogy, Cherokee Steel, will be released

in 2022. I also have three children’s picture books and one historical nonfiction book which have been accepted for publishing. They are all in the development stage. Of course, I have been published in newspaper and journal articles for the last forty years with my first magazine article being published by Guidepost Magazine in 2011.

Do you write full-time?

No. Although I am retired, I don’t think of writing as a full-time profession. I spend a lot of time in volunteering for our local historical and library groups and in indulging myself in hobbies like reading, gardening, traveling, caring for pets, and shopping. I relish my retirement.

What inspires you to create Young Adult novels? Do you write any other genres?

Family experiences as well as my Native American historical and cultural background.

I write YA historical fiction and adult fiction and nonfiction. I am a staff writer for the western magazine, Saddlebag Dispatches.

What surprised or surprises you most about being an author?

How dependent publishers, editors, and writers are on the printing services they use.

Where do your ideas for new manuscripts come from? Has a manuscript ever started out in one direction and by the end been a totally different story?

The stories often start with a character I have in mind as I imagine some difficulty that he/she can get into.

My first book evolved into three books with all kinds of new characters and story lines being added.

What is your favorite thing about being an author? Hearing people say they like my writing.

What is the most difficult thing about being an author?

The difficulty of promoting my books. I can write and talk about them, but it doesn’t seem to help much with online sales.

When you are “stuck” or have “writer’s block”, what do you do to help you over the hump? I go for a walk, usually accompanied by my cats and dog, or I work in my flowers.

Do you write in the morning, evening, or late at night? Do you have any music or background sounds to keep you focused on writing?

Whenever the mood strikes me. I don’t write every day, but once I start, I may write nonstop for hours. No, I like it completely quiet.

When you first started out, where did you find the most positive influence or support to help you with the process of becoming an author?

My writer’s group offered me valuable critiques and insights before I submitted my work. My editor confirmed my belief that my first children’s book needs to be published.

To date, what would you say is the biggest moment of your career?

When Cherokee Clay was named by the Western Fictioneers as a Peacemaker Finalist for Best First Western Novel of 2020. Later it was also named as a recipient of the Will Rogers Medallion.

When you first started out, what is something you wished you knew about the process of being an author?

Perhaps to know how much of the success of the book depends on the author’s promotion.

Tell me more about your picture book and share about your illustrator.

Wesa Goes on a Treasure Hunt is based on a real life experience of my husband and our granddaughter’s visit to the old family homestead where they searched for valuables, using a metal detector, with the help of Grandpa Jack, my husband’s father. By the end of the day, the main character, a little Cherokee girl named Wesa, has made some important historical, cultural, and personal discoveries, all influenced by her Cherokee heritage.

My illustrator is Mary Horsechief, a well-known Cherokee artist and the daughter of Mary Adair, also a Cherokee artist and a personal friend.

What is next for you as an author? Any news you can share about an upcoming project?

I am eager to get started on working with an editor on my children’s books and on my nonfiction book, Before We Were a State. I look forward to seeing Cherokee Steel released this year.

If you could tell an aspiring author one thing, what would that be?

After writing the book to the best of your ability, find knowledgeable writer friends to assist you with revision before submission.

For more about Regina, go to:

Thank you for reading about my friend, Regina McLemore. Regina is offering a book giveaway of her book Cherokee Clay. To enter, comment below before midnight on March 31, 2022.

For more on Sherry Roberts, go to:


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