This week's interview is with Author Sharon C. Williams!
1. Have you always had a passion for writing?
I can't say that I have. When I was young, I did have a small journal of poems, but that’s where it stayed. It was not until the summer of 2009 that my husband mentioned to a friend that he felt I wrote well. She, in turn, told me.
That got me thinking, and in the fall of 2009, after having two non-related surgeries within weeks of each other, I started to put pen to paper, and wrote a story about my parrot, Jasper. Being laid up in bed for a few weeks was motivation enough.
2. Does what you read influence what you write and what are some of your favourite authors/books?
I can honestly say what I read does not influence what I write. I tend to pick up stories from the things around me. This could be a photo, a writing prompt, or an event that carries me in a different direction.
What you would see on my bookshelves are books from Stephen King, Agatha Christie, Bentley Little, and James Patterson.
I was born and raised in New England, primarily in Maine. Stephen King is our native son who has done well, extremely well. As someone who loves to watch horror flicks and read horror books, my relationship with King was meant to be. I also love mysteries, and trying to solve the puzzle inside, which brings me to Agatha Christie. I own 95% of her books. The ones remaining are no longer in print.
The rest goes for the authors I have listed above. I have a majority of their books, if not all. These are the authors that the minute I hear they have a book released, I go out, and buy them. They keep me interested, and make the pages turn, thus leaving me feeling quite happy.
3. What are your biggest inspirations?
I became a bird owner in the year of 1998. They have given me a lot of inspirations. Just observing them, and their quirky personalities, has given me many short stories and short books.
In September of this year, my first book, that was previously passed on, about my Amazon parrot was released by Fountain Blue Publishing. My growing up in Northern Maine has inspired a few stories as well. As a French Acadian and my experience growing up in this region has a distinct and unique culture that comes into play when I write.
I can honestly say a large percentage of my writings are based on writing and photo prompts. I love how a simple short sentence can be turned into a short story, and in my case, books. Each one is different, but it seems to spark something inside of me where I need to write about it.
4. Do you have a technique in how you choose characters and/or locational settings?
I rarely go into much thought as far as naming my characters. I know a lot of writers do take care with this. I rather just sit down and write, but what I also do is create a bio for each character. This is something I learned from a development class I took. I do more then just a physical description. I try to give them depth, for not only does that make my job easier as I write, but it also makes it easier for the readers to love or hate them, which is part of reading and enjoying a book.
When an idea comes to mind, I will mentally make a list of people that need to be included in this particular manuscript, and go from there. Most of the time, the locations are decided for me. When I wrote my first book, which is based on my Amazon parrot, it could only be in one place, which is the rainforest. My short novelette on my war with my backyard squirrels . . . well, the location was there for me as well. I tend to write a few chapters first, and the location seems to materialize in my mind. I also have a few manuscripts where I’ve said,” Okay, I will be placing the setting here,” and things sort of take off from there.
5. Do you listen to music while you are creating your masterpieces?
My office is in my bird room. I am owned by eight birds. Their chatter and singing is nice background music for me. I, on occasion, do turn on the radio, but it is not a requirement.
I write my stories longhand. I am more creative this way. By doing so, my equipment is a notebook, my favorite pen, and any location that I settle down in. When I do that, it does not really matter what noise is in the background, for it tends to get faded out as I write.
6. What do you do to stay motivated and avoid writer’s block?
I’ve been fortunate that I have not really suffered from writer's block up to this point. I keep a notebook with me at all times. This could be by my bed, in my purse, in my car, and in different parts of the house. As I am writing, any idea that pertains to the work, I jot down just in case it can be used. This could be for the present manuscript I am working on, or for a future one down the road.
I am a member of three writing groups, one of which I started. The members in these groups are invaluable, and their input just as much. I find if I come across something that I am iffy about, I can bring it up to the group, and knock it around a bit. They are worth their weight in gold when it comes to keeping me focused and on track. My editor also is a great source of information. She is not just an editor, but an author herself.
I also keep a notebook of possible ideas for books and short stories. The list is getting a bit long at this point. I find this alone is motivating enough for me to write, for if I have ideas to write on, it keeps me going forward.
7. How has becoming a published author (independent or traditional) changed your perspective on life and is it everything you expected it to be? (If you are not published yet – what changes do you foresee?)
My goal, when I first started to write, was to get my book picked up by a publisher. In my mind, that was the end game. I knew I did have the option of self-publishing my book, but I wanted to give it a try with publishing houses. When it was picked up, the satisfaction of that is truly indescribable. I have had people who really did not take me seriously when I said I was a writer.
It’s taken a lot of work and time to get to this point from when I first started. It has given me a real sense of accomplishment that me, a small country girl from Northern Maine, has not only written a book, but it has been published. Things like this don't happen in the town I am from. It truly shows me that if a person puts their mind to it, and put in the time and effort to go with it, just about anything is possible.
I stand up a bit straighter now. Along the way, I have had a lot of great support both online and in real life. I’ve been surrounded by people who have pushed me forward with encouragement. That has not been wasted. My accomplishment is their accomplishment. It has motivated me to keep on writing, to believe in my dream of being an author.
Is it what I expected it to be? Absolutely! I feel silly saying this is indescribable, considering I am a writer, but it is. The sense of this just makes me smile from ear to ear. All I have to do is look on my bookshelves, and see a copy of my book to know I did it. I am new to this venture, and I have a long way to go, but I have opened the door to new adventures.
8. What are your biggest challenges as an author?
Editing is always fun for someone who absolutely hates it. My editor is an amazing woman who keeps my manuscripts tight so I can stay with the business at hand, which is to write.
Marketing and promoting my book is also a new challenge for me. I’ve been working on my author's platform about two years prior to my book being released. That gave me a good start as far as getting my brand out, and now I have my first book.
As a shy person, it is hard for me to stand up, and go, “Hey look at me!” It is not me at all, but something I am slowly grasping at, as I learn and listen to those who have gone before me, and have done it well.
9. Do you have any pets?
I am owned by eight birds.
10. What hobbies do you have outside of reading and writing?
I am a budding photographer, and tend to always have my camera around my neck when I go out. I love to walk and exercise. Movies and listening to music are other favorite past-times of mine, as they help relax me.
I am also a budding bird watcher, as I am slowly learning about the birds on the outside. I knit on the side, and I am an avid sports fan, watching baseball, basketball, hockey, and football.
11. Where is the most exciting/memorable place you have been in the world?
During my freshman year in high school, my mother and I, along with the French club, went to France for two weeks. It was the experience of a lifetime, and I would love to go again.
12. Tell us about your latest work in progress or most recent published work…\
My first book, “Jasper, Amazon Parrot: A Rainforest Adventure”, was released on September 7th of this year.
The premise of book is about a young Amazon parrot named Jasper who is being raised in the rainforest. Along for the ride is his brother, Willie, and their friend Charlie who is a Spider Monkey. They explore their home together as they encounter mischief and danger. Along the way, Jasper learns about some life lessons important to the young parrot and his brother. It's a children's chapter book that falls in the genre of adventure for children in the age groups of 7-9 years of age.
I am now wrapping up a novelette titled, “The Door in The Tree,” which is my first true attempt at writing paranormal. The writing group I formed is putting together an anthology of short stories to self-publish, hopefully this year before Christmas. I came up with the idea
You can find Sharon here:Blog: http://www.newenglandmuse.wordpress.com
Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/110251056756084178306
Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=165672049