Making the jump from Lorain County magistrate to author might seem like a stretch, but if you look a little closer, Sherry Spenzer’s book, Baby Daddy, makes a lot of sense.
“I hear child support cases exclusively,” Spenzer said of her position working for all three of Lorain County Court of Common Pleas' domestic judges.
Her experiences resulted in a seed for a novel and almost one year after the concept germinated, Baby Daddy has been published. It is available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle.
Spenzer will be a guest speaker at the Avon Lake Public Library on Sunday, Feb. 10, discussing her new novel.
The book centers on 17-year-old Deshawn Margray, a black teenager who finds himself slapped with a paternity and support lawsuit.
“It starts off right off with a bang,” Spenzer says of the opening pages that depict the scene that results in Margray’s becoming a “baby daddy.”
“He goes to a party, has a little of this and a little of that and he meets a young lady who wants a little of this and a little of that,” Spenzer said.
The book takes readers through the trials of the teen as he works his way through a legal system of which he has little to no understanding of, a system that Spenzer has extensive experience in.
Compounding his difficulties are Margray’s concern of how his actions will affect his mother—who raised him as a single parent—and a sanctimonious caseworker.
Based in fictional Courant County, Spenzer said the setting mimics an area in Greater Cleveland.
And while the book gives readers a solid insight into the difficulties of the child support system, including a lack of rights for the father, Spenzer said she is hoping it will spur a discussion on society’s perception of men tagged deadbeat dads.
Spenzer, a lifelong Avon Laker, managed to complete the book within a year.
“Most of my summer evenings on my porch which kept me up late sometimes,” Spenzer said.
In her younger days, she studied English under the late Bob Bolen who was also a popular cable television host. In addition to dedicating the book to Joe Tackett, she published the book in stating, “My high school creative writing teacher, who unknowingly also leaves this legacy."
Creating the novel, which has an affirming ending but leaves the door open for a possible sequel, was not the hardest part of the book publication process.
“The biggest struggle...I argued with myself how to get it published,” she said.
She eventually self published under the name S. Newman Spenzer, using humor to describe the publishing world.
“You send out emails to publishers; you feel like your back in school,” she said, likening the process to speed dating. “It’s very demeaning.”
She performed a self-assessment on the book with friends, including readers from an African-American club that reviewed books featuring black characters or black authors.
“There was one group called the Mimosa Club,” she said of a group of black women who reviewed the book…while drinking mimosas. “They hold back nothing,” Spenzer said.
“I had a person who liked it so much, she asked for an author interview, wrote a review and asked for a sequel,” she said.
Spenzer resides with the husband Jeff in Avon Lake. They are the parents of a daughter, Jacqueline, an interventionist at an autism center in Cincinnati and son, Austin, a student at Miami of Ohio
Hear Spenzer at Library
Spenzer will be at the Avon Lake Public Library on Feb. 10 from 2 p.m. – 3 p.m., for the second of three “Author Fireside Chats.”