Posted on 08/02/2018 at 02:03 PM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
Author John Scherber surely must pinch himself when he wakes up each morning.
Over a decade ago, he fled office life and cold winters for the comforts of writing in retirement in Mexico.
Scherber’s fiction, whether paranormal or real-life, and his nonfiction both incorporate art and antiques, enabling the reader to escape the cubicle and the cold ... if only temporarily.
We spoke with him recently about his dream life.
SADYE: Have you always been a writer?
JOHN: I had a paid writing job right out of college, but it was in the mental health field, and I wanted to write fiction. I wrote two bad novels and quit.
Regretting that later, I tried again and again to get back into it, but I never could. I was blocked for thirty-seven years.
Finally, thirteen years ago, the smoke cleared, and I wrote the first of what are now twenty-two mysteries in a series. That book, Twenty Centavos, is now in development for a TV series.
SADYE: How did that come about?
JOHN: Two years ago, I was approached by Dorothy Lyman, a two-time Emmy winner, director, producer and screenwriter about obtaining the screen rights to the series.
She had been spending winters in San Miguel and had come across my books. We made a deal, and it’s been inching forward ever since.
She has recently been joined by some well-connected partners that have several other series now airing, so things are looking promising.
SADYE: Of course the cost of living in Mexico is lower ... and the weather is warmer ... but what else prompted you to move there, in particular?
JOHN: We were tired of Minnesota and had traveled in Mexico many times. We decided that when the last of the kids left home, we would move.
We liked the culture and the people, and by that time I had started writing my mysteries, which are mostly set here in San Miguel de Allende.
The nuances of the culture are always part of these books, which are anchored in the expat community, so there are lots of opportunities to contrast the two.
SADYE: How has living in Mexico boosted your writing career?
JOHN: It has given me an endless amount of material for subjects, and continuous situations for misunderstandings. My work often has some humor in it, so this is a good fit.
SADYE: Has being an expat writer presented any challenges?
JOHN: The challenges are the same, I think.
You must be as honest as you can about the people and situations you use, you must never be superior to your characters, and whether they are heroes or villains, they must reflect the complexity we observe in life.
I am very interested in shades of gray and in the way we rationalize what we do.
SADYE: What has been the most rewarding feedback you’ve received?
JOHN: I enjoy going back and forth between fiction and nonfiction.
It’s always fun when readers of the expat nonfiction books write to me and say how much they were influenced or moved by them.
One thing I’ve learned over the years is that the reader wants to see the writer on the page, not as an ego trip, but as a presence that displays real values and a strong message. This illustrates that we care about our readers.
When I hear from them, I know I have made contact, and that’s what this is all about.
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Categories: Author Interview