Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance. This week, I am excited to introduce to you Sharon Clare, a fan of metaphysics and misbehaving elves. Sharon writes “spicy” paranormals, and her current release, Love of Her Lives, sounds absolutely fun and fascinating. Please enjoy her interview as much as I did!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
First, I want to say thank you very kindly to Hallee for having me on her blog today!
I fell in love with writing at the University of Toronto when I went back to school to do a science degree. I couldn’t wait to get home and do my writing homework. In August, my paranormal novel, Love of Her Lives, was published by Crimson Romance. I just signed another contract with Crimson for Rhapsody, a spicy, paranormal novella to be released Dec. 24, 2012.
Tell us about your current release.
Calum and Beth are soul mates who have lived many lives together, lusting, loving and dying for each other. While their lives are often turbulent, their eternal bond is secure—or so Calum thinks—until Beth decides to live a life on her own. Left behind in the Upper World, he sees a wrongful imprisonment in her future, so he bargains with Finn, an elven trickster, to return to Earth, rescue Beth and reclaim her heart. Unfamiliar with the twenty-first century, he must determine who plots against Beth while playing Finn’s sensual game, a game designed to awaken her repressed passion and keep them on the run together.
Beth has no recollection of their lives together and didn’t ask this sexually-charged stranger to come to her aid. When she takes a risk to help an abused woman, she is horrified to find her house ransacked and her life threatened. With a secret to keep, she takes the greatest risk of all—trusting Calum. Her unfathomable attraction to the man is as much a mystery as the man himself. Her life soon depends upon re-evaluating everything she thought normal as she becomes embroiled in Finn’s game. When her risk-taking behaviour pushes Calum to behave like a controlling buffoon, their eternal bond will only be saved if Beth can rescue the man who spanned worlds to rescue her.
How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher?
I thought being with a publisher would help establish a readership better than self-publishing at this early stage in my writing career. I’m very happy with Crimson Romance. They are new under F + W Media. The publication of Love of Her Lives was fast, smooth and efficient. Who knows when our editor Jennifer Lawler sleeps. I have connected with so many authors within the Crimson Romance fold. We communicate daily, share experiences and expertise, support and cheer each other on. That said, I won’t rule out self-publishing at some point for the learning experience and control.
Where’s the strangest place you’ve ever had a great writing idea?
How about during a past life regression session. Love of Her Lives has a past life component to it. Much of the interaction between the Upper World and Earth as well as the millennium-long relationship between the hero and heroine was spun from this session. I did the 3 hour regression for fun and was taken aback by how immersed I became in the experience.
I assume when you start a book, you pretty much have the plot laid out. Do you ever change your mind later on in the book, and go in a different direction?
Hmmm, well, actually, I had no plot laid out. I had an image, that’s it. One image of a woman running through the woods with a bag filled with stolen goods. At the time, I didn’t know much about crafting a story and thought writing a book was the easiest thing to do. Ha! I wrote the book at a pace of 10,000 words a week. The characters took over, Calum especially, since he is a strong, opinionated hero. At times I thought to take the story in one direction, but no way. He wouldn’t go there. So I’d have to rethink. The story flowed very nicely, but ultimately underwent major revisions.
What do you do when you hit a roadblock and have NO idea what to write?
For this very reason, I put together a character development workbook last year and taught it at a writer’s retreat. My not knowing what to write stemmed from my not knowing my characters well enough. I pulled out everything I’d learned about characterization and put it back together in a way I could use it all. I needed to define my character’s self-defeating behaviours, rooted in their back story, to know their attitudes and behaviour and how they would grow and change with the story. Also when I’m stuck, I will take a pen and paper, leave my work space and do stream of consciousness writing, or do a point form brainstorming session around my story problem. Sometimes a five-minute clear the mind meditation is helpful too.
What is your inspiration for writing?
Inspiration is everywhere. I’ve always been a day dreamer. I’ve been making up stories in my head forever and I have no problem suspending reality. I’m fascinated by metaphysics, life after life, energies we can’t perceive, that sort of thing. I’m quite happy building a world where a human may be manipulated by an elf. Calum has no choice but to play the elf’s game. I loved the conflict this created.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Like many authors say—write and then write some more. I would also highly recommend joining a writing group and critique group. I belong to the Toronto Romance Writers, a dynamic, professional, talented group of writers with many award winning, best-selling authors who generously give their time and expertise. They offer monthly workshops and bring in incredible speakers from all over North America. I’ve learned so much from these incredible writers.
Thank you again, Hallee, for this opportunity to share my writing experience with your readers.
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Wonderful interview, ladies. Sharon, I particularly liked your method of getting unstuck when you hit a roadblock. I agree, sometimes we just need to know our characters better and they will show us the way. Thanks.
Yes, Carol, I do think so. I’m also using Margie Lawson’s deep editing lectures to edit my next book. If her exercises don’t unblock every brain synapse, I don’t know what would.
Lovely interview, ladies. Sharon, I am reading your novel right now, and it is wonderful! Kudos to you for creating such a gem! I wish you many, many sales.
Thank you so kindly, Deb! I felt the exact same about your book and can’t wait to dig into After The Fall!
Sharon, I think it is fabulous you’ve found yet another supportive, encouraging fold with your fellow Crimson authors.
I don’t know how writers succeed without an encouraging, in-the-same-boat fold. The CR ladies are as fabulous as my fellow critique-group writers who as as fabulous as the Toronto Romance Writers. I feel very lucky to have you all!