An interview with Sherra Aguirre

Tell me a bit about yourself
I was born in Lufkin, Texas and moved with my parents to Edna, another small town in South Texas. I have lived in Houston, Texas, since moving here to attend the University of Houston in the late 1970s. My partner and I have an extended family of two daughters, two stepdaughters, and we were guardians of a younger cousin while he was in school. Our children are all adults, following their own careers, and are doing well. When I’m not writing I like to read, cook, exercise, practice yoga and meditation. I also love sports and home improvement shows.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
My first fantasy was to be a lumberjack! When asked why my response was that they
got to eat pancakes every day.

What is your education/career background

I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psycho logy from the University of Houston and a Masters of Education from Texas Southern University. I am an entrepreneur and founded a successful service business that I sold after 35 years to focus on writing this book.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? Or what first inspired you to
write?
I have always enjoyed writing and consider it an art form. I love a well crafted sentence and the nuanced communication that is possible with the written word. I also love a well told story. I never aspired to be a writer, only to use my enjoyment of writing to tell my story in a way that would empower and inspire others.

When you are struggling to write/have writer’s block, what are some ways that help you find your creative muse again?

I do either one of two things. I either step back and rethink my outline, because often my structure is part of the problem. Or I take a break to do some other type of creative activity to get that energy flowing again.

What inspired your book?
The sheer gratitude for my health journey and the joy I discovered along the way were and remain my inspiration. I want to empower others to know that good health is within reach and it starts in our kitchen.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
As a mom my two daughters are my favorite contemporary authors! That said, I think if they weren’t my daughters, and I had read any of Attica Locke’s novels e.g. Black Water Rising or Heaven My Home and Tembi Locke’s memoir From Scratch, I would enthusiastically say the same thing. Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist is another favorite. Ernest Gaines is an American novelist whose work I cherish. Two of my favorite poets are Kahlil Gibran and Rainer Maria Rilke.

Tell me about some of the awards or honors you’ve won.
First, I am honored to say Joyful, Delicious, Vegan: Life Without Heart Disease won the fall 2020 Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for best book in the category of Healthy Living. In my business life I won awards for entrepreneurship and business excellence, including the Houston chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners “Woman Business Owner of the Year Award” in 2001; the Women Business Enterprise Alliance
“Woman Owned Business of the Year” in 2016; am a former Inc. Magazine“Entrepreneur of the Year” nominee; and am a member of the Black Business Hall of Fame at the University of Texas, Austin.

What person(s) has/have helped you the most in your career?
My family members have been consistent supporters both in my business career and now my writing and health
advocacy endeavors. My mom financed my start up business in 1981 with a $500 loan when I couldn’t find bank financing! A teacher, she also wrote a children’s book which inspired my daughters and myself to dare to write. My husband always gave me the “you can do this” when it got tough. My daughters are great role models as authors.

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