I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this here before, but one of the many things I do in my “spare” time is write for idobi, an alternative and pop-punk radio station. I’ve been doing this for just over a year, and it’s amazing to be able to write about the music I love, knowing that it’s reaching an audience of like-minded people. One person who has really helped me has been Sherin (rhymes with "queen") Nicole, idobi’s creative director and one of my editors. Not only does she not yell at me for over-writing (one time, she told me to write 700 words and my final (super edited) version ended up with 1000), but she’s also very encouraging when it comes to pitching ideas, be it reviews (books or albums) or odes to some of my favourite bands. She was awesome enough to answer a few questions for us, so read on:
Welcome to Mind the Gap, Sherin! Thanks so much for doing this interview!
Thanks for having me, Sam. Since I’m southern and we’re taught to always bring a gift when visiting someone for the first time, I brought you this painting of Brendon Urie, which formerly hung in Hogwarts. Don’t you love the way he moves? And sometimes he talks to you about your problems. I hope you like it.
[Sam's edit: Sherin was as good as her word and did, in fact, present me with a Hogwarts painting of Brendon Urie. I love it.]
Let’s start off with a mini introduction: if you had to tweet a description of yourself in 140 characters or less, what would you say?
That would change on a daily basis. Today I’d tweet something like: Orange geek girl who wields a red pen (there’s history in that tweet, just ask the WashingtonPost.com) #SherinWearsCoolPants
Tell us a little bit about what you do at idobi. What are some of the things you do there and how has your role grown/changed since you joined?
Primarily, I’m the creative director++ for idobi Network. Technically I’ve been working full time with the company for three years, but I’ve been in the role of right hand woman to our founder, Tom Cheney, since the beginning.
You’ve heard the slang this or that is “everything.” My job at idobi encompasses everything I love. On a single day I go from assisting in the development of new radio shows, to negotiating strategic sponsorships with major publications or organizations. On to designing branding, editing the website, or rocking out backstage with our favorite artists—before sitting down to talk business. It’s a good life and I’m never bored. For me, the consistent flow of creativity through multiple channels is everything.
In addition to dealing with writers (like me!) on a daily basis, you’re an author yourself. How do you balance your personal writing life with a professional editorial eye? Does it ever get confusing reading so many pieces in so many different voices while still maintaining your own style?
I’m not sure I am balancing it all. Some days I look up and it’s 11pm and I haven’t done this thing or that thing yet. But I never get confused. I’m a lifelong reader so having a bunch of voices in my head makes sense for me. And the various writing styles are no different from characters. I try to bring out the best in each writer I edit regardless of my own preferences as a writer. It’s not so much difficult as it is fun...and also rewarding.
I know it’s hard to answer where you get your ideas from because sometimes story lines really do pop into your head fully formed, but what are some of your inspirations?
I’m inspired by the art, literature, comics, international cinema, music, and anime I grew up with. I’m also a huge lover of global mythology and a closet sartorialista. Heh. Women like Judith Jamison, Julia Child, Elsa Klensch, Maya Angelou, Octavia Butler, Wendy Pini, and Audrey Hepburn continue to make me seek my wings.
You’ve published a handful of books so far as your alter-ego [redacted]. Which one was the most challenging to write? What are you working on next?
We don’t talk about the other personalities, precious. They iss secret, they is. Under my own name I’m currently working on an original graphic novel and a girl-buddy movie script.
You’re also a graphic designer by trade, which I imagine uses a slightly different part of your brain than writing. How does that work into your day-to-day schedule?
I still design as a freelancer for Prime Books in the wee hours of the morning or night. Sometimes it’s difficult because, for me, creativity is a giant well and some days I’m too tired to cast the bucket down and draw it back up one. more. time.
I know (from Alex!) you designed a cover for a G.R.R.Martin book. Which one was it and what was that experience like?
Ahh, that was one of the fun ones. I did a limited edition cover for The Skin Game released for the Capclave Convention in Gaithersburg, MD. GRRM was the guest of honor that year. Here’s a peek.
Amazing! Now we’ve reached the fun ones! If you could live in any fictional/fandom world, which would it be?
The World of Two Moons/Elfquest. It was the first time I saw people who looked like me and all the multicultural people I grew up with so richly and beautifully represented.
QUICK TAKES: No need for long answers here, just hit us with the first thing that pops into your head.
The H&M designer collaborations. Did you see the Balmain x H&M collection?
Current thing that makes you RAGE?
People who disbelieve an experience because it isn’t their own.
Pop culture-y item that you’re too excited about?
Girl crush of the moment?
What’s one thing that you love that you wish got more attention?
intelligence x compassion x talent
Enjoy Life Sugar Cookie Crisp (they’re trying to kill me) + Lele Pons Vines. They can and should be enjoyed together.
One recommendation that a fangirl just HAS to read/watch/play/ingest:
The Master’s Sun (KDrama), Saga (comic), Into the Badlands (tv show), The Kate Daniels series (books). You meant one thing each, right?
[Sam's edit: I've heard amazing things about Saga, I'm going to have to start reading them!]
Time for plugs! Where can people find your content and chat with you?
idobi.com is the best place to find me or shout at me on any of the idobi social media platforms and I’ll find you.
Thanks so much, Sherin!
You’re welcome, Sam! Insanity is better when it’s shared. I think that’s Nietzsche or Rumi, perhaps Bill Murray.