Sharon’s New Interview! 2018
Today I’m ecstatic to interview this wonderful woman again, romantic suspense Christian Author, Sharon K. Connell. Sharon we’re thrilled to have you join us today. The reason I am so excited is because you have been through a long road rather recently… the dreaded rewrite- which is why I’d love your expertise. I think it’s wonderful to rewrite and your insight can also help aspiring authors. We need to know when an author should rewrite and I’d like to discuss the pleading reviews. I call it “pleading” because all of us seem to be posting memes and little snippets to leave a review yet so many never do or they simply forget. Without further ado, let’s get cracking!
- You are a romantic suspense author. And so readers know, I’ve had the privilege of reading one of Sharon’s novels entitled, “His Perfect Love.” It did have me on pins and needles several points in the story. And that Patricia! Doh! Well, let’s just say she was not my favorite person lol. What made you want to write the genre of romantic suspense?
When I started out writing, I had no idea what I was doing, much less that I was writing romantic suspense. My reading choices were mainly historical romance set in the British or Irish realm. I knew I was writing romance, but I wanted it to be more than just boy meets girl, falls in love, someone makes their life miserable because she loves him and can’t have him, etc. There had to be an element of drama in the story, but it also had to be realistic. Little by little, Paths of Righteousness, my very first attempt at writing, evolved. It wound up being my second published book. Scenarios of danger and suspense crept in to add stumbling stones for my characters.
By the time my forth book His Perfect Love came along, I realized that romantic suspense was what I enjoyed writing. And by then, I had actually learned how to write the story in a way that kept the interest of my readers.
By the way, you neglected to mention that Patricia wasn’t so bad at the end of His Perfect Love. LOL Me- Of course! But I didn’t wanna spoil it.
- Recently, I noticed you are rewriting some of your earlier works. I’ve seen this done over the last year with many authors. But this is where I’m curious- since I’ve done it myself- tell us what made you decide to rewrite your books?
My first books were written before I knew anything about writing. They were (and There Abideth Hope, my third published novels, still is) full of head-hopping and needless information that tends to slow down the reading. I made a lot of mistakes. After taking classes in writing and with the help of my critiquers and other authors, I’ve learned how to write in a way that’s exciting. My earlier readers all said they loved the stories, but I knew they could be so much better. And to me, that meant they were worth the trouble of rewriting to improve the story and flow.
- Is there a specific sign to look out for that will aid author’s and confirm that they too need to rewrite their novels?
I have no idea what that sign would be except that you are not happy with the way your first edition came out. If it’s just minor things that you know you should or shouldn’t have done, I wouldn’t rewrite. I’d go ahead with new stories. But if it’s like my case where you know the story is good but most people probably won’t want to read it because of the tediousness of the writing, then perhaps it should be rewritten.
Many times, an established author said to me, “Don’t bother rewriting. Just go on with a new story. However, those first three stories, A Very Present Help, Paths of Righteousness, and There Abideth Hope, would not leave my mind. A Very Present Help has been republished in a 2nd edition now, and everyone who reads it loves it. That makes it worth the time and trouble. I’m in the middle of the rewrite on Paths of Righteousness, and then There Abideth Hope will be next.
- What helped you (if any) with your vision of the new cover you had made?
When I did the covers of my first three novels, again, I didn’t know what I was doing. Since I’m an indie author, and I was under the restrictions of a tight budget, I used cover templates from CreateSpace. They’re okay, but not what I wanted. When I redid the cover for A Very Present Help, I told my artist what I had in mind, gave her some pictures of what I wanted in the cover, and she did the rest. I wanted a scene from the book itself, not the same old covers as everyone else had on romantic suspense. It was important to me that the cover of the book reflected something from the story, not just the genre.
- When beginning a new novel, what inspiration do you draw from?
Life in general, I guess. An idea for a problem in the life of a character will come into my head and stick. Then I have to figure out the old who, what, where, when, why, and how? Eventually all the pieces come together, with the help of a lot of prayer.
- Now, this is difficult to talk about at times because of the nature of some or misunderstandings of others, what do you do with a bad review?
I ignore it, for the most part.
Since I’ve been published, I really haven’t had any formal bad reviews. But before I actually published my first story, I had a woman who offered to beta read for me tear my writing apart. Everything was wrong. Granted, I realize now that most of my writing was terrible, but she didn’t like anything. I had to sit back and lick my wounds for a while, and then decide what I could learn from what she said. Was what she said true or not? I did a lot of research about writing and found that a lot of it wasn’t true. Mainly, I think she just didn’t like my story, and tried to set herself up as the perfect judge of writing. I doubt if she cared for Christian Romance Suspense at all, now that I look back on her comments.
However, I did learn some things from what she said. And that’s what we need to take away from reviews when they aren’t what we would like to hear. Yes, it hurts. There’s no doubt about that. But is what’s being said true? If it is, then change it. If it’s not, ignore it.
Bottom line for me is this. I don’t put a lot of stock in reviews. I do ask for them, but I don’t seek them. Not everyone is going to like what I write. I accept that.
- Have you ever been misquoted in a review?
Not that I know of.
- How high do you hold the reviews?
First, let me say this. I will not give a review on a book if I can’t give it at least a 3 star. What is the purpose of discouraging a writer that way? I rarely give a 5 star. I suppose because I’m a writer and when I read, I have a problem separating the reader from the writer. The book has to have kept my interest so well that I can barely put it down to get a 5 star. If I’ve received a book outside of the genre I love to read, it’s hard for me to really get into the story. Having said that, I have given many 5 star reviews in the genre in which I do read.
Reviews are great when they’re from people who truly love what you write. It feels good when people pat you on the back. But I also think that if someone likes what they read in the blurbs written to give a general idea of the story, and they view the sample pages to see how you write, they’ll get a better idea of what they’re getting from that than a review based on readers likes or dislikes.
- What encouragement can you give to authors or aspiring authors regarding reviews?
Take the good and let them encourage you to do even better for your readers. Take the bad with a grain of salt, learn from it if you can, and don’t let it discourage you. Remember, not all readers are alike any more than all writers are. They may have picked up your book and find that it’s not written in a style they like to read. There are many other reasons why they might not become engrossed in your story. Shake it off. Eventually you’ll become more thick-skinned about it in the same way actors do when they get bad reviews.
- Let’s talk about marketing. For a lot of authors, this is an Achilles heal. Let others know how you approach the marketing process?
After any trials with outside marketing, I’ve recently decided that my time and money is better spent on doing it myself. I set up my own memes with the use of Canva and a GIF maker program. A file keeps all my blurbs organized so that all I have to do is copy and paste into the meme or GIF, and then Tweet or Post. In a separate file, I keep the pictures I use from free picture sources like Pixabay, and I pull them up from there whenever I make a new advertising meme.
Each day, I chose which pages on Facebook I’ll post my ads. Usually about three or four different groups. I post those every day, and tweet three times a day on Twitter.
When I first started advertising, I used one of the programs for scheduling your posts, but I found that they often did not work the way I wanted them to. Now I just set aside the time and do it myself.
This works for me because I’m generally at home all day. I’m a full-time, at home author. It may not work for those who have full-time out of the home jobs. What you have to do is find out what works best for you. Through trial and error, mostly.
- Do you use any special marketing company to help get your novels out there?
No. Not anymore.
- Where do you enjoy marketing the most?
I like Twitter because of the retweeting process, and I also like Facebook because you can put more information into your ads.
- What is the newest thing that you’ve learning in the area of self-publishing?
For me, it’s that no one knows how to present my books the way I can. After all, I am the author. LOL
- Where do you like to research when learning new things about writing?
Everywhere. In books, in blogs, Facebook writing forums, new and experienced authors, Twitter tweets. There’s a wealth of information out there.
- I know in your work, you have elements of crime including detectives. So where do you like to go to gather some of that info?
For my stories, I’m very fortunate to have acquaintances in those fields. Just like in the medical field. And whenever I find out that someone online has experience or works in an area where I might need technical, professional advice, I write to them and ask if I can put them on a resource list for future reference. I also use the expertise of people in my offline life. People I have known for years.
Then, there’s always the internet. There are official sites for all kinds of things like the FBI, military, etc. I’ve even gone to a medical site where a doctor is available for questions. People are more than happy to give you the information you need if you ask. When I wrote A Very Present Help, there were three Des Plaines Sherriff deputies in my church and many former and current military. With Paths of Righteousness, I was working in a medical office and the doctors and nurses I worked with were more than happy to give me information. When I wrote There Abideth Hope, the Lord provided me with a direct contact to Search and Rescue. And with His Perfect Love, I used contact and information from past stories, along with contacts from new sources. All you have to do is look and ask. The file I keep lists all kinds of professionals with their contact information and expertise.
As far as the scenes and information for the backgrounds, most of that was from experience. But there too, all you have to do is put the help wanted sign out, and you’ll be amazed at how willing people are to supply the information you need.
- What is the number one important thing to you when you’re writing the suspenseful parts in your novels?
That the actions, feelings, and emotions are real. I don’t want the story to come off like old drama from TV shows and movies of long ago. No overacting, please. I try to put myself into the situation and feel everything in order to know how the character would feel and respond. (I just wrote a blog on this) I also contact those who know if something actually can be done the way I’ve written it. Mostly with fight scenes, or things like, would someone bleed to death before help came in this scenario.
- What is the number one important thing to you when writing romance in your novels?
That would be the same as with the suspense. It has to be real. The emotion has to be right for the action and vice versa.
- What genre do you enjoy reading the most?
As I said before, Christian Historical Romance from the area of England, Scotland, and/or Ireland.
- Okay, now since you’ve been interviewed by me before, you know this game. It’s called “Tell Your Readers What You Like.” I will give you options and you tell the readers what you like! Simple right? Lol. Alright, here’s the first one. Slurpee, Frozen Yogurt, or Ice cream?
Both of the last two, there’s no difference to me.
- Movie first, or the Book first?
I prefer to read the book first, but sometimes I’m not aware there is a book. LOL Or…if you’re asking which I like better, it’s a tie.
- Toilet paper stuck to your shoe, or sitting in gum?- yes you must pick one! Lol
Aimee, you should know by now that you cannot make me do anything. But for the enjoyment of your readers, I’d say TP stuck on my shoe would be better. Me- Yes I know, but it’s so much trying to get you to answer lol.
- Reader contacting you by email, Reader contacting you by Direct Message?
Since I only open emails from people I know personally, I guess I would prefer DM. However, the best way is through a comment on any of my links.
- Killing of a Main Character or Doing Something Absolutely Shocking?
- Killing off the Villain or Having the Villain Make a 360?
Make a 360.
- Audio books or Kindles? (Paperback is not an option here girl lol.)
Since I don’t use either, I can’t answer. I guess if I had to choose, it would be audio because I can’t stand reading online after I’ve worked online all day.
- Bowl of pasta or a bowl of vegetables?
Pasta, of course.
- Chinese food or Pizza?
- Pizza or a cheeseburger?
- Fries or onion rings?
Onion Rings. Oh yeah!
- What do you put on your hamburger? (i.e. ketchup, mustard, mayo.)
Cheese, mayo, ketchup, tomato, lettuce…and sometimes a slice of dill pickle.
- Tell readers what is to come with your writing this year?
I’ll complete the rewrite on Paths of Righteousness and then start the rewrite of There Abideth Hope. I also hope to get further into the writing of my fifth novel, tentatively titled Treasures in a Field, before the end of the year.
- Tell readers a Bible verse that encourages you to continue pressing on in your writing.
Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
- What helpful information can you tell the aspiring author who may doubt themselves?
Never doubt yourself. There are too many other people in the world who are willing to do that for you. If you have been called to write, do it. Learn all you can before you publish (although you will never know everything there is to know about writing), and always take everything told to you in the way of criticism with a grain of salt. Glean what you can; pitch the rest.
- Where can readers find your new and fabulous novels?
His Perfect Love http://amzn.to/2iCMALI
A Very Present Help http://amzn.to/2yuF4eE
Here are my links:
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/sharonkconnell
Author’s book page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/averypresenthelpbook1
Author’s Page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChristianRomanceSuspense/
Blogging on WordPress: https://sharonkconnell.wordpress.com/
My book trailers:
His Perfect Love by Sharon K. Connell https://youtu.be/e3tRr6mLzZk
A Very Present Help by SharonKConnell https://youtu.be/3a75HKgSkao music by Ross Bugden
https://youtu.be/wYyoOE5IzS0 Music by Chris Trosclaire
My current work in progress Paths of Righteousness (Book not available at this time. In process of being rewritten)
Current Book trailer: http://youtu.be/w2JkmYqhFyE
And my first edition of There Abideth Hope (Book not available for sale at this time. To be rewritten)
Current Book trailer: http://youtu.be/16G7IZaZB9Y
Sharon K. Connell began her writing career shortly after Hurricane Ivan hit Florida in September 2004. After constant encouragement from a dear friend, she started her first story without any training or knowledge of the craft. Since then, she has taken classes through the University of Iowa’s online courses. She holds a certificate in fiction writing from the International Writing Program and is constantly improving her skills through information obtained from reading, online writing groups, organizations, and her fellow authors.
As a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers organization, Sharon is active in the Scribes critique group. She is also a member of CyFair Writers and Houston Writers House. She manages her own group forum on Facebook for writers and readers, sends out a monthly online newsletter, and maintains a website.
Most of her working career included clerical positions from file clerk to office manager, in a variety of offices from advertising to the medical field. She has traveled to all but six states in the U.S. and has visited Mexico and Canada. Some of the experiences she has had are included in the fiction stories she writes.
Sharon is now a full-time author living in Houston, Texas. Her genre is Christian Romance Suspense, with as much mystery and humor as she can squeeze into a story.
I am so thankful you’ve taken the time out of your busy writing schedule to answer these questions, Sharon. I know your expertise and all the Lord has taught you throughout the years is valuable information for all of us.
Y’ all, be sure to follow her around cyber world and stay connected so you know when she releases these novels. Trust me! Christian Romantic Suspense isn’t my usual reading genre, but it’s exciting, nail-biting, thrilling, and has that touch of romance you simply can’t pass up!
Be sure to see what God’s doing at my self-publishing house website. Stay connected and follow blog for future author interviews, and posts including book chapters, and devotionals.