It’s author interview time and today I’m welcoming a fab indie author to the blog.
Hi Sharon, can you tell me a bit about you and your latest work.
Hi Katie. Thanks so much for inviting me onto your blog. I’m an indie author, though I’ve also had pocket novels published by DC Thomson, large-print books by Ulverscroft, and audio books by WF Howes. I’ve published fourteen novels, the latest of which is My Favourite Witch, the second in my Witches of Castle Clair series, which is based in a fictionalised version of Knaresborough in North Yorkshire.
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Imaginative, stubborn, positive – mostly!
How would you Twitter pitch your novel?
A story of pride, prejudice, and a whole lot of magic …
What are your top 3 tips for aspiring writers?
- Keep going. It can only happen if you finish the book!
- Enjoy the process. The journey can be long, so remember to have fun along the way.
- Make friends with other writers. Writing is lonely. You need all the support you can get, and don’t forget to support them in return.
Are you a pantser or plotter?
Very much a plotter. The blank page is terrifying enough, so I need to have some sort of map to guide me through. Having said that, I can guarantee that something will happen that will force me to take a detour. Usually, it’s when my characters do or say something unexpected that causes a diversion or, sometimes, a complete road block. They can be very naughty!
What does success look like to you?
The goalposts change all the time. At first, I just wanted to finish a book, then it was selling that book to total strangers, then being able to give up my job and write full-time. Having done all those things, I’m now thinking about seeking a publishing deal. I’m evidently a glutton for punishment! Mostly, though, success to me is knowing that I’ve completed fourteen books, and I’ve loved writing every single one of them.
How do you choose your character names?
It depends. With my Castle Clair books, I wanted names that meant something specific. I trawled websites looking for names with magical meanings and gave my four siblings first names that were all related to the heavens, but with second names relating to their particular element. For instance, my current heroine, Star, has the middle name of Hestia, because Hestia is a fire goddess, and Star is particularly gifted with the element of fire. With Cara Truelove in Resisting Mr Rochester, I chose Cara because it means Beloved, and Truelove is, in a convoluted way, connected with the name Eyre. My Kearton Bay novels, however, have the surnames of my ancestors. It was my way of paying tribute to them and bringing them close as I worked on my first books. With Saving Mr Scrooge, Marley Jacobs and Christopher Carroll were fairly obvious choices! Sometimes, though, names just pop into my mind out of nowhere and seem to fit.
What do you do when you get stuck with your writing?
Write a blog post, read a book, watch an old film. Go out for the day. Forget all about writing for a while and just let my imagination sort everything out in the background while I get on with something else. It always works.
How long does it take you to write a book?
How long is a piece of string? I wrote one of my Bramblewick books in a fortnight, but Being Emerald took me months and months. My first book, There Must Be an Angel, was written in thirty days for NaNoWriMo. However, it then took me a further two-and -a-half years to pull it into shape. It really does depend on the book.
What do you find hardest/easiest about writing?
The easiest part’s editing. Everything else is so difficult! The first draft is the worst, but then there’s the marketing and waiting for reviews and all that tension and dread. I have no idea why we do it. We must be mad.
Describe your writing process in 3 words.
Flipping. Hard. Work.
If your book/one of your books got made into a film, who would play the main roles?
Well, that’s easy in one way because I always “cast” my books before I start writing them. That way, I can keep an image in mind of my characters as I write. On the other hand, my vision of what a character looks like may be very different to how a reader sees them. I was stunned when my daughter told me who she imagined one of my heroines to be. Not my idea of her at all! I wouldn’t want to disappoint anyone, so I tend not to say who I visualise. I did, however, reveal to the world that Eliot Harland in my Skimmerdale books is very much based on Aidan Turner, and Riley MacDonald in Christmas at the Country Practice is Sam Heughan, with all his Jamie Fraser red curls.
Do you prefer pen and paper, or is everything on the computer?
I used to write everything by hand years ago, but now it’s all done on the computer. My wrists and thumbs hurt too much if I try to write for long with pen and paper. I keep meaning to learn how to use the Dragon voice software, which I’m sure would make life a lot easier, but I never seem to get around to it.
Who’s your favourite author and why?
I’ll name Enid Blyton, for the simple reason that it was Enid whose books got me interested in reading, and her Famous Five and Six Cousins books made me want to start writing my own stories. Without her, I might not have developed this passion for reading and writing, so I feel I owe her a lot. She’ll always be remembered with gratitude and great fondness by me.
What’s your favourite book?
Charlotte Brontë’sJane Eyre, with the Adrian Mole books by Sue Townsend as runners-up.
And now for some silly questions just for fun…
Tea or coffee?
Tea – Yorkshire Tea, of course.
Beer or wine?
Neither really. At a push, wine, but only if it’s not too dry. I rarely touch alcohol and when I do my face goes bright red, so everyone knows about it!
Chips or curly fries?
I don’t like greasy chips, so I’ll go with curly fries.
Puppies or kittens?
No! I can’t possibly choose between them. I love them both.
Summer or winter?
Spring! But, if forced to choose, it would be summer.
The world is full
of magic, if you know where to look.
It hasn’t been an easy time for Star St Clair. Her father has heaped disgrace on the family, and the man she loves rejected her when he discovered the truth about her powers. But the St Clair family’s magical heritage goes back centuries, and no one could be prouder of that than Star. Neither her father, nor Benedict Greenwood, will be forgiven.
Fate, however, has a shock in store for her. Not only is her errant father back in town, along with his new fiancée, but her ex has arrived home with a new girlfriend in tow. Maths teacher Elsie is everything Benedict seems to want – bright, steady, normal. How can Star possibly compete with her? Not that she intends to, of course. She is a St Clair, after all, and Benedict won’t get a second chance.
Benedict is an anxious man. Bad enough to discover your girlfriend is, in fact, a witch, but running out on her was probably a big mistake. Who knows what she’s plotting in revenge? Taking Elsie home to meet his grandmother is a test of nerve, and Star’s behaviour doesn’t exactly bring him peace of mind. Just what is she up to?
Star couldn’t be sweeter to Elsie, and even presents her with a bouquet of flowers to welcome her to Castle Clair, but Benedict isn’t fooled. Star is plotting something, and when Elsie suffers from a mysterious ailment, he is convinced that it’s all down to his ex-girlfriend. After all, everyone knows witches can’t be trusted.
But events are about to unfold that will challenge both Star and Benedict, and everything they believe to be true. In an attic room in North Yorkshire and a village hall in Ireland, unpalatable truths must be told, secrets must unfold, and life-changing decisions must be made.
Is forgiveness truly impossible? Are witches really that scary? And can a solution be reached before time, patience, and all the bourbon biscuits run out?
A story of pride, prejudice, and a whole lot of magic …
Sharon is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Alliance of Independent Authors. She writes contemporary romance and romantic comedies. A happy ending for her main characters is guaranteed – though she makes them work for it.
She grew up in the East Riding of Yorkshire, where her enduring love for all things Yorkshire was born. Unsurprisingly, she sets all her novels in God’s Own County.
Sharon has a love/hate relationship with chocolate, adores
Cary Grant movies, and admits to being prone to all-consuming crushes on
When she’s not writing she spends as much time as possible getting her money’s worth from her membership of English Heritage.
You can find out more about Sharon, including social media links at www.sharonboothwriter.com
Thank you, Sharon! Don’t forget to pick up a copy of Sharon’s latest book here https://amzn.to/2X4Zov7