Today’s author interview is one that might never have happened if I had not shared with my friends and family on Facebook and on here asking for prayer request for my grandmother when she had cancer surgery back in August. Sharon sent me a message here on my blog telling me she was keeping my grandmother in her prayers and thoughts, after that Sharon and I began to talk via email and I found a wonderful writer who has an incredibly large heart.
Sharon has granted me this interview which I very much appreciate I am still in the process of reading her book “underworld lover”, I was hoping to be finished with the novel by today’s interview, yet, things don’t always work out as you hope. I will be posting my book review of the novel in the near future. Please enjoy today’s interview with Sharon.
Please tell me about your novel, “Underworld Lover”. What or who inspired you to write it?
Underworld Lover is the second of my Guardians book, the first being Heavenly Lover. In UL, the villain in the first book becomes the hero in the second. He is a fun-loving powerful dark angel, Josh. In the first book, he was intent on claiming the hero’s soul, as is his job. But in the second book, he finds he can no longer do it. Can no longer take the soul of a human woman he has formed a strange attraction to, and something he never experienced before: Love.
It is a common theme to my writing: to explore where a powerful hero, who seems that he has it all together, is felled by a female he falls in love with. She gets him on his blind side.
I also like to show the healing power of true love, in spite of the character’s mistaken ways in the past. The solutions to all the problems in life are solved by falling for our one true love.
That’s the world I like to create.
Who are some of your favorite authors and books? Did they influence or inspire your writing style and give you ideas?
I first was influenced by Anne Rice’s early works. But, in my opinion, she missed the mark for me because, although her characters were full and brooding and we cared about them, I didn’t like that they couldn’t have screaming hot sex. And I knew she could write it. Later, writers haven’t created that problem. I enjoy reading Kressley Cole, Tina Folsom, Nailini Singh. The worlds they build are entirely believable, and they all have some humor to their characters, especially the dialog.
I met Nailini Singh last year at the RWA Convention, and told her she was responsible for me starting with paranormal romance writing. It was a true statement.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What was the biggest compliment? Did those change how or what you did in your next novel?
At first, it is tough to get those early critiques. You love your work and might have stayed up all night to write it. You don’t see the flaws. Those first few “shoot downs” are painful, but they have to be experienced, and you go on, otherwise you won’t grow to be a good author.
Now I know that being a good writer is working hard at it every day. Talent is overrated. I didn’t want to listen when people told me my first book wouldn’t take off. I’d heard of others that did, and I just knew mine would too. And then you have to deal with the reality of things, and that’s when I really started being a good writer. I studied how to do it, took classes, until I began to write with purpose.
The biggest compliment I got was an off-handed remark someone made at a reading, “I just can’t get that scene of the little Volkswagen falling off the Golden Gate Bridge and all the angels in a panic, flying into themselves, out of my mind.” I want to write memorable things that make it difficult for readers to have a normal life. I want to make them stay up and read all night long. Those are the reviews I love the best.
This or That – Chocolate or Vanilla?? Coffee or Tea?? TV or Movies??
Chocolate, but I’m not allowed anymore. Coffee, definitely. Movies. My record is seeing Last of the Mohicans 22 times in the theater. Nothing like that full on experience larger than life. All for that.
When you sit down to write, are you at a computer or do you do it, the ‘old fashioned’ way with pen and paper? Do you prefer one way or another?
I am a tactile person, so I used to enjoy writing in journals (and still do write letters long hand), but I have to write with a computer. In a past life, I did years of medical dictation, so I type about 100 WPM. I have to do it that fast or I lose the train of thought. Hand writing is too slow for me now.
What do you do in your down time? Do you pick up something from your ‘to be read’ stack?
I try to read 2 books a week. I have tons of projects from knitting afghans to needlepoint, but my favorite muse-inducing thing is organic gardening. I love my flowers and fresh vegetables. And the stories just come like crazy when I do it.
If your protagonist was a real person, what would they think about you? Would they want to hang out with you?
Yes, I think Melanie would hang out with me. She owns a flower shop, after all. She likes to decorate it for the seasons, which is so me. We’d go on some killer buying trips at the Merchandise Mart together.
What do you look for in a book when you sit down to read for fun?
I like books with strong characters, with strong internal and external conflicts. I like seeing strong people put in compromising situations. And I like some humor. I hate long chapters, too.
When you go to Starbucks or Jamba Juice, what do you order? Do they know you by name or drink?
We have a ton of Starbuck’s and Peets Coffee places here, and I change my order depending on the seasons. Lately, just decaf or half caf coffee. I know, boring!
But the Baristas at the Starbucks near my house know me and all have my book. They know that much of this book was written there in their shop.
What has been your favorite part of being an author? What has been your least favorite?
I love living in the worlds I create. I get to explore doing things I would never do in real life, with (ahem) guys I wouldn’t be able to do it with….I mean, I’m a happily married woman, responsible mother and grandmother. My fantasy life is very special to me.
My lease favorite thing is the jealousy that sometimes comes out. Other authors can be mean. Luckily, I rarely run into that. But when I find someone who poisons me, even if it’s in a small way, I avoid them, literally cut them from my life.
When you walk into a book store, where do you head first?
I go to the romance section, no question. Then I look at the blank books and stationery, bookmarks.
Did you get to quit your ‘day job’ and become an author, or do you have a ‘day job’ and writing is something you do for fun?
This is going to be a strange answer. Our house burned down in 2008. Before that, I had a very successful Real Estate business. We were doing well, even with the downturn happening. But after the fire, I moved into an 800 sf apartment, and everything in my life changed. I’d always liked writing. I asked my husband (who worked with me), if I could take some months off to try my hand at writing, and he said yes.
Now, 3 years later, I am finally able to pay our mortgage from my writing sales. I’ve still dabbled and helped out in the RE business, more from a support role when he gets overwhelmed. But even he understands that, though I don’t make what I used to make in sales, I am 100% happier, and that makes him happy. And it spurs me on to think that I could become so successful that he could quit too. That’s my goal now.
What has been the strangest thing a reader has asked you?
Someone once asked me a write a character in my book because they wanted to put a spell on them. I did say no.
What is your favorite junk food vice?
It was chocolate. But now I’m working to stay away from all flour and sugar, and soon to be all caffeine. I think better when I’m clean. I also don’t drink, but I used to love to sip on Strawberry Margaritas and write until the bar closed. Not any longer.
Is there any movie you have seen that was based on a novel, which you think lived up to the novel?? What made it live up to the novel?
Honestly, no. I once watched an old version of Anna Karenina, and that was pretty close.
If you could step into the shoes of your protagonist for one day, would you? What would you like to experience or see during that day?
Oh yes! It would be fun to spend an entire day with Joshua. I’d let him glamour me while making love. A natural high, right? I wouldn’t mind a bit if he used his special powers on me!
Did you have any teacher(s) in high school or college that encouraged you to write? Did you take their advice?
My English teacher in high school thought I had talent. But I didn’t like my voice, or anything I had to say. I was a newspaper editor for my school paper, but that was all about production. Got me to write fast, on a timeline, though. Not quality writing, but writing fast and on deadline.
In RE, my manager used to ask me not to write memos to the secretaries, because I made them cry (not in a good way). Now I get to do it and get paid for it.
What type of ice cream could I find you eating on a hot summer day?
If I had ice cream now, it would be dark chocolate fudge or Cherry Garcia. I love Lime Sherbert too.
If we snuck a peek in your purse right now, what would we find?
Cell phone, credit cards, hand cream and some receipts. I carry the smallest purse you’ve seen on a strap. Really is a cell phone case. Now, my briefcase? Well, that’s another story altogether!
We all have our little ‘things’ when it comes to reading or writing; is their anything that bugs you when you read a novel?
I am not good with chicklit. I don’t mind humor in dialog, but I am not a Sex In The City gal. The sleeping around thing bothers me, to be honest. I don’t think it’s funny.
Now, when the hero and heroine meet and “fall” for each other, well, yes, then sex is a requirement, all measured and in good time and all. But the multiple sleeping around, the slutty things, they don’t do ANYTHING for me. I want the men and women in my books to stand for something, even if they aren’t sure what it is. Have a moral code of some kind. And I like to use that in the plot.
Who was your first novel dedicated to? Was there a particular reason for that person?
I am eternally grateful to my good friend, Tina Folsom, who has blazed the trail in ways I probably will never be able to duplicate. She has been selfless, steadfast and loyal. So willing to share with me. I try to give back by promoting her on FB and Twitter, and any other chance I can. She’s worked hard for her success, and I think gets how hard I’m working too.
This or That – Christmas or Your Birthday?? Chocolate or Flowers?? Cell Phone or No Phone?? Quality or Quantity??
Christmas. Love to decorate the house. I’ve been known to overdo it. And to leave the decorations up until Easter. I can take or leave a cell phone. I like the calculator feature, the weather, time, texting, and using it as an iPod for music. Now I love flowers, but once it was chocolate (soft centers, Sees). I think I’ve always been a quality person, but in money, quantity is always good.
What do your friends and family think of your writing? Have they been supportive?
My kids will not read my work. Ew factor for them. I’m okay with that. My 90 year old father won’t read it, and I wouldn’t even tell him the name of the books or that I was using my real name, so he wouldn’t have a heart attack. My friends think it is cool. My family thinks I am nutz. My husband is my biggest fan, as it should be.
In 4 words, describe yourself.
Compassionate for myself and others. We all do the best we can do.
Is their anything else you would like to share or say to those who will read this?
Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do. Remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. The only thing we control is our thoughts and attitude. I ask for guidance more than I try to tell others what to do. Keeps me out of trouble that way.
You don’t make 100% of the swings at the plate you don’t take.