Steve Cherry wears a number of hats: reserve officer with the Pottsboro Police Department, criminal justice instructor at Denison High School and author.
As the latter, Cherry will celebrate the release of his most recent book, “The Cows Don’t Know it’s Christmas,” this Saturday and donate a portion of the proceeds to Shriners Hospitals for Children.
Cherry answered a few questions about his new book and his approach to writing.
Q. Where did you get the inspiration for this book?
A. My dad was a rancher all his life and all of my life. Even though we opened presents on Christmas morning, he always had to go feed the cows. Judy Stephens was the Art teacher at DHS, and she illustrated the poem for me. That really made the words come alive, and I had to try to get it published.
Q. What would you like for people to know about “The Cows Don’t Know it’s Christmas”?
A. It is not a children’s book. It is a book about Christmas, and everyone will enjoy reading it and looking at the illustrations.
Q. How long have you been writing? What made you want to start writing?
A. My first published work was a little story I wrote in 1972 for the Texas Sheriff’s Association. They also published one of my master’s degree research papers on the history of the sheriffs in Caldwell County. I wrote my first book in 2004. It is titled ‘While On Routine Patrol…The Adventures of an East Texas Cop in the 1970’s.’ I had lots of stories to tell, and my parents kept saying, ‘You should write all these down.’ So I did.
Q. Most writers do not write for accolades, but because they have a story that they want to get out. How many stories have you written and what is your ultimate writing goal?
A. The stories in my first book were, and are, stories I frequently use in my classroom to illustrate various aspects of police work. There are about 100 of them. All of them occurred in the 1970’s, when police work was very different from what it is now. I will often get a comment from younger officers that have read my book about “how it used to be” and they wonder how it ever worked. Trust me, we made it work.
Q. What did you learn about yourself during the process of writing this book?
A. I learned how much I remembered about growing up and feeding cows with my dad.
Q. How has writing been cathartic for you?
A. I have written other poems about my dad, as well as poems about my children. They will always be able to read them and know how much I love them.
Q. For other writers or people who have something they want to accomplish, but find it daunting, what would you say to them?
A. Stick with it. Use a computer instead of a pen and paper. It will eventually come out.