What made you want to be a writer?
I never thought about being a writer but my dear friend Alan O’Reilly, author of Sound of Battle and Desired Haven, along with many non-fiction publications kept after me about putting my experiences in a book. After going through Hurricane Ivan in Pensacola, Florida, he started in on me again and this time I took him up on it. However, what came out was not a thriller, as you would think someone would write going through an experience like that one. It would up being a love story. Yes, I did touch on the results of the hurricane in the novel, but nothing more.
What genre’s do you write or delve into?
My genre is Romantic/Suspense or Drama. I’ve also written some short pieces in the Fantasy genre, which someday will be published in a short story collection.
Tell us about your novel and if how it’s available. (Kindle, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, paperback etc.)
My current work in progress is His Perfect Love. A story about a bad girl (woman) who realizes that the choices she’s made in life have done nothing but cause her trouble. She’s on the run, hiding from the villain. This character shows up in previous books published before I took any classes in writing. One other character (pulled from my previous novels) shows up in the story but my readers don’t have to worry about not having read the first three novels. All my books stand alone. Some of the characters are simply too good not to mention or have make an encore.
His Perfect Love is in the editing stage right now. I wish I could give you a date when it will be available, but I don’t like setting a deadline. I want to make sure the story is right, a good read, and therefore I don’t rush it. I will keep everyone posted, and you can always check on my website and group forum page on Facebook for updates. It will be offered on Amazon.
How important is it to read when you want and then are an author?
If you mean, how important is it for me to read while I work, I read as often as I can find the time, usually when I can’t write, doctor’s offices, etc. It helps me to see how others do it. I glean what I like.
Is it necessary to take classes to help learn how to creatively write?
I’m not really sure how necessary it is. It has helped me to learn how others in the field create their stories. In times past, people wrote great novels without the benefit of having gone to school to learn the trade. Also, one can read books to learn the various techniques of writing. I think that’s a very personal question for the writer to decide upon.
Tell us about your first three novels.
As I’ve mentioned before, my first three novels were written before I learned so much more about writing, how to attract the reader, how to keep the reader involved in the characters and story, etc. I plan to go back and edit each of those stories, although everyone who has read them thought they were wonderful tales. When I do go back, I won’t change the plot or the basic story, all I’ll do is make the reading of it better.
A Very Present Help is about a young teacher, Shannon, engaged to her childhood sweetheart. They grew up across the street from one another. He breaks off the engagement while serving in the Marines and then brings his new love home for the holidays. In the meantime, an older man decides that he must have the young teacher for his own. Shannon cannot get her mind off another Marine she only met once. She’s going through a time of having to trust God and being tested to the limit. This book was originally a short story, which wound up being made into a novel.
Paths of Righteousness was actually the first story I wrote but was not published until after A Very Present Help. The story is about a young woman, Kathryn, who has lost her entire family. It’s also about a young doctor who had a very trying childhood. They work in the same office and take a dislike to each other immediately. Another man from Kathryn’s past, someone she would rather never see again, shows up and life becomes a tangled web.
There Abideth Hope takes place in Pensacola, Florida where a young nurse, Lynne, formerly serving in the U.S. Navy has decided to settle after leaving the Corp. A killer whom she had testified against in the past shows up and things get stormy. This story touches on human trafficking, drugs and murder.
What about your first three novels do you struggle with?
I struggle with the fact that I wrote them before I knew a lot about writing technique. Therefore, I want to go back and make them better.
What audience do you want to reach and why?
My target audience is wide. The subjects are definitely for adults, however I believe that older teens would find them interesting. I do not believe in writing explicit details of worldly lives. Nor do I use language that cannot be read by anyone. If I refer to expletives, I use that word in my current work. In the previous three novels, I use symbols, such as @%#*@#. These will be changed to read “expletive” when I redo the first three books. My main goal is to show God’s grace and mercy in my tales. I believe any age and any group of people need to learn about that. Christian’s need to learn that they can trust God. The lost need to learn that there is a God who loves them and wants to be there for them.
What kind of impact ‘if any’ do you want your book to have on the next generation?
The next generation needs to know the consequences of not following a loving God. They need to know that they can trust a loving God. They need to know that there are people who can testify to the fact that God is and has always been there for them, if they will simply look to Him.
Which part of the publishing process do you detest most?
Easy question, easy answer. Marketing. I am not a salesperson. If you’re talking strictly about the publishing end, making sure all the formatting is done correctly.
Tell us how the atmosphere needs to be for you to be able to write.
I’m very fortunate in that I have a separate office from the rest of the house. It is set up with everything at my fingertips. I need all my little writing tips that I refer to almost daily right in front of me (such as the difference between Lay and Lie, the words I should avoid using, and my synonym book). I need to have a cup of coffee nearby, my ongoing outline, character traits notebook and my event in the story calendar at my right side. I really don’t need music, although I do put some on from time to time. But I really love having a window next to me where I can look out and see the front yard, birds in the birdbath and flowering plants when I need to rest my mind. Quiet helps too. LOL A vace of white roses on the end of the desk does a lot for my spirit.
Do you need special treats or goodies to help you write?
I wouldn’t say I need them, but I sure do like them. Preferably Mind Chocolate Cookies. Hee hee
Which do you prefer the most, traditional or self-publishing and why?
I am self-published. The reason for that is simple. I tried for two years to get someone, a publisher, or agent, to even look at my manuscript when I wrote my first book. It was a very disappointing experience. Afterward, I heard from many that because there are so many writers today, it is extremely hard to break into the traditional route of publishing. I know some who did but they are now changing over to self-publishing as well. I am self-published, and very content with it.
What is the worst thing you’ve had to overcome before publishing your novel?
The worst part of publishing my book was worrying that it would not be something anyone would want to read. Those fears are gone now.
When you need some extra encouragement who do you turn to?
Most of all, I pray. Secondly, I go to those I know have given me encouragement in the past. Most are listed in the acknowledgements in my books.
How do you market your novel?
Being retired, I’m on a fixed income. There is not budget for expensive marketing. My marketing is done on social media and word of mouth. So far it’s served me modestly. I wish I had the money to hired a good marketing group, but it’s not there. Interviews like this one are a great help to get word out about my books. And I thank you for that, Aimee.
Who is the first person who reads your finished manuscripts?
The very first person is me. I also have critiquers who have been reading along as I finish editing my chapters and I have my proofreader/editor as well. I tried to go the route of a Beta Reader but found that they always want to change my style of writing. Perhaps I haven’t found the right one yet, but I think those who read along with me right now are doing a good job.
Tell us all about your very first book signing. Take us there with your description of people, place, food, décor etc.
I have never had a book signing. With this current book, I have toyed with the idea but I read so much from other writers who say they were either disappointed in them or don’t think they really add much to getting your books out there that I’m not really sure I will do it. Time will tell.
Since my blog is part about the supernatural and paranormal, do you believe in the supernatural or paranormal realm? Even if it’s not your genre.
I do believe there is supernatural realm. I’m a Christian. God, angels, and the devil are part of that realm. I do not believe in paranormal; however, it does make for interesting stories of fiction. I’ve written about Fairies, and that would fit into that kind of fantasy in a way.
Do you believe in the existence of Jesus and Satan?
I do believe in both. I choose not to dwell on the later or bring any attention to that being. Jesus, on the other hand is Someone I am very eager and willing to talk about.
What sorts of things do you enjoy when you aren’t writing?
Generally, I finish my writing day at dinner time, although there are occasions when I go back to it before bedtime. After dinner I relax and do my Bible reading for the evening. Then I either watch NCIS (depending on the night) or put in a DVD, have coffee and maybe a cookie and stretch my legs. I love gardening and cooking, birdwatching and painting. The last activities are not as often as I’d like because my focus right now is on getting my current story finished.
Tell your readers what your favorite food and color is. I know this may seem silly but allow your readers to know more about you.
Not silly at all. My favorite food, oh dear, I have so many. LOL I guess my very favorite of all types is ice cream (and there I have many favorites as well). Too many ethnic foods to mention. My favorite color is emerald green, followed by royal purple and snow white. I’m complicated.
If you aren’t writing, what is your idea of a perfect day for Sharon?
A perfect non-writing day for me would be to visit a museum, followed by dinner in a quiet restaurant and a walk in a botanical garden.
What kind of advice can you give to other either aspiring authors or published authors?
The best advice I can give to any of you is, don’t let anyone discourage you. If you have a story in you, get it out and on paper (in our case today, the PC). Don’t worry about the grammar, if you’ve made mistakes, or if all your ducks are in a row. Get it down. Do it. When you have the complete story written out, go back and in a relaxed manner, read it to yourself (preferably aloud). That’s when you can change things to sound right, correct your spelling and grammar errors (thank God for grammar check and spellcheck), and put in all the little details you were overlooking while trying to get your ideas down. After that, the critiquers and proofreaders and editors can spiffy it up for you.
Do you doubt yourself at times? When you do what helps you get over the slump?
It may seem strange to you, but I don’t think I’ve ever doubted myself as a writer. Yes, I’ve wondered if I’m doing it right at times but doubting being a writer has never come into play. I’ve never had writers’ block either. Not really sure why. If I did get it or start to doubt myself, I think I would simply walk away from it for a while and then come back.
When is the release of your next novel? Name genre or if it’s part of a series.
I mentioned this above. I do not have a date but try to keep my readers posted in my Facebook group forum, on my author page, and on my website. The genre will be as before, Romance/Suspense. No it is not part of a series. I tend to shy away from series, even in my reading. It’s not my thing.
Where can we find your author page of your work to follow you and purchase your awesome book?
Right now, I do not have a picture of my book. The cover is still in the making, although the artwork has been completed for the cover (it is a secret and will not be released until the book is published, but I can give you a mock up picture. The finished product will be spectacular). The books pictures below are my first three. I’m not sure that I will change the covers of these book, but perhaps tweak them a bit.
Below are all my links:
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sharonkconnell (PenandPaperWorld)
Facebook Page: firstname.lastname@example.org
Author’s book page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/averypresenthelpbook1
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/sharonkconnell
Group Forum on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/writersandauthorsforum/
And for my book videos:
A Very Present Help by SharonKConnell http://youtu.be/aRGooJjxaHU
Paths of Righteousness by SharonKConnell http://youtu.be/w2JkmYqhFyE
There Abideth Hope by SharonKConnell http://youtu.be/16G7IZaZB9Y
Again, I’m so pleased to have you stop by and interview with us. It was so touching to hear more about you and your wonderful work. Everyone be sure to grab a copy of her novels and follow Sharon for updates of her upcoming novel!!
Thank you everyone for following along. Feel free to follow this blog for next week’s spotlight!