I would like to introduce someone very special. Not only is she a hugely successful award-winning author, she is one of the loveliest, most giving people I’ve ever met. In spite of her level of success and her hectic schedule, she somehow finds time to reach out to others. I found that out in a very personal way in 2007 when she read one of my manuscripts and offered to help me publish. And, help me, she did. She referred me to her agent and the book sold a year later. I will forever be grateful for her selfless act that allowed me to realize the dream I’ve had since I was a little girl.
I am very pleased and honored to introduce the amazing Miss Sharon Sala….
Thank you so much for agreeing to allow me to interview you.
You have been a mentor and influence for many new writers. Is there anyone who influenced you or has been an inspiration?
I never had a mentor or anyone who critiqued my work when I was unpublished, but every good writer is an inspiration to me. When I read a really good book, it just makes me want to get to my keyboard and write one, too – or at least strive to.
You have written some Young Adult books, and done very well with them. What made you decide to venture into that genre? What’s different about that genre from the others you’ve written?
The reason I even began writing YA books was because of my grandchildren. I have eight, six girls and two boys. The girls kept asking me to write books they could read, so finally I did. Of course by the time I got around to them and got them sold, half of the girls were old enough to read my other stuff. But they all like them, even their mothers. The big difference about that genre is using terms that kids that age would recognize and no sex scenes. At least not in mine, although there is definitely a sweet, ongoing romance in the four book series. MY LUNATIC LIFE, LUNATIC DETECTIVE, LUNATIC REVENGE and the last book which is due out by the end of this month, LUNATIC TIMES TWO.
Readers enjoy the way you share your life on Facebook. With writing being such a solitary activity, do you feel social media helps you feel more connected to your readers? Is it sometimes more of a problem than a benefit?
It’s odd, but I began social media because my publisher requested it. They felt it was a good way to promote the books, but it turned out to be my outlet. I care for my 93 year old mother full time in my home, and she has dementia. Every day with her is harder than the last now because her mental acuity is failing faster. Facebook friends have heard all about my daily exploits with my Little Mama, as I call her, and they are my backup and my cheering section, and the people I can cry with when the days are too hard. It is a blessing more than a benefit.
Some writers who have been writing as long as you have no longer feel joy at their craft. Have you found that to be true?
I think there was a time when I was beginning to feel that way, and then I branched out into other genres and did some self-publishing, which allowed me more creative freedom, and that solved the problem for me.
Do you have a favorite book or series you’ve written?
I have several favorite series. One is my female bounty hunter trilogy. NINE LIVES, CUT THROAT, and BAD PENNY. Another series I really like is my Rebel Ridge trilogy. NEXT OF KIN, DON’T CRY FOR ME, and TIL DEATH. Favorite stand alone books are THE HEALER, OUT OF THE DARK, THE WARRIOR, and WINDWALKER, written under my Dinah McCall name.
If you weren’t a writer, what career would you have chosen?
I wouldn’t have ever chosen a career. I would have WISHED to be a stay-at-home Mother and homemaker. I don’t enjoy working in the public. Someone is always mad or hateful. Sorry, but that’s my truth to the jobs I’ve had, which are many.
I have had the pleasure of taking some of your workshops and the things you teach have been invaluable to me. You’re also very entertaining and seem comfortable in front of a roomful of people. Do you find it comes naturally to you? What do you enjoy, if anything, about teaching?
It’s easy to talk to people who share the same visions you have…like writing and wanting to be published. I don’t ever set out to be entertaining. I’m just being me. I can thank my Daddy for that aspect of my character. He was always telling stories when we were together at family gatherings. Yes, it does come naturally now, although when I was a little girl, I was very very shy. I can’t say I really enjoy ‘teaching’ anything. But I love to share what I know about writing and am happy to answer any questions I can.
Your children and grandchildren are a huge part of your life. Do you find it difficult (especially when your children were younger and at home) to balance family time, taking care of your mother, and your writing?
It wasn’t hard to write at home because I didn’t begin it until they were older. But trying to write and take care of an elderly parent is almost impossible some days. Sometimes the writing is the only positive thing I get accomplished in a day.
You lived in the country for years, but now live in the city. Do you miss country living? If so, what do you miss about it?
I miss living in the country every day of my life. I do not like anything about city living except the convenience of a grocery store being closer. I miss my privacy. I miss the quiet. I miss the sound of coyotes at night, and seeing the wildlife. So many things…
I know you lost your fiancé, Bobby, to liver cancer a while back. He was obviously a very special person. What is the most important thing he taught you?
The most important thing he taught me was to believe in myself and pay attention. I know that sounds oversimplified, but for someone who had no self-esteem , it’s huge. As for paying attention, it means to everything…every nuance of life has a message… if you just pay attention.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to hopeful writers? (You can give more than one piece if you would like :))
I always tell hopeful writers to join a writing group. It will be the best thing they do for themselves because it will be the outlet to getting answers for everything else they need to know.
GOING ONCE sounds amazing, and I have pre-ordered my copy. I can’t wait to get it! You have an upcoming release that seems to be a bit of a departure, Curl Up and Dye. (Just the title makes me laugh) One of the many things people love about you is your sense of humor. According to the blurb, it seems this book showcases it. Is that something you’ve wanted to do?
Oh, THE CURL UP AND DYE is going to be categorized as Southern fiction I think, but it’s funny, and it has a sweet romance and it has a little drama. Basically, it a story of a young woman who got lost between her glory days in high school and where she finds herself 10 years down the road…still living in the past and how she gets herself back on the right road. I just love it. It’s not the first humorous work I’ve done though. I wrote the Whippoorwill trilogy… set in the Kansas territory right before the Civil War. WHIPPOORWILL, THE AMEN TRAIL, and THE HEN HOUSE. I love those stories so much. They have humor and a little drama and a great sense of poignancy. The Curl Up and Dye is in the same vein…just set in present times.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. I always find speaking with you enjoyable and extremely interesting. I look forward to your upcoming releases, to keeping track of you on Facebook, and seeing you at an OKRWA meeting in the near future.
Readers, check out the latest Sharon Sala offering, available September 24, 2013:
To Pre-Order GOING ONCE from Amazon Click Here
As raging floodwaters engulf her Louisiana hometown Nola Landry is stranded on high ground, the unwitting witness to the brutal murder of three fellow survivors. Finally rescued in the aftermath of the storm, no one is willing to believe a story as horrific as hers—until three FBI agents arrive on the scene…one of whom Nola knows very well.
Tate Benton has been tracking the so-called Stormchaser serial killer for months, never expecting the trail might lead him home, or to the woman he cannot forget. Home is now a ravaged town full of memories—of love, of disappointment, of past mistakes. The investigation brings Nola back into his life. Long-buried feelings resurface, and the former lovers try to pick up the pieces in the wake of the disaster.
Amid the relief effort the killer lingers, determined to silence Nola forever. In the Stormchaser’s twisted mind the pain is far from over…and hers is just beginning.
About Sharon Sala…
Sharon Sala is a long-time member of RWA, as well as a member of OKRWA. She has 90 plus books in print, written as Sharon Sala and Dinah McCall. First published in 1991, she’s an eight-time RITA finalist, winner of the Janet Dailey Award, four-time Career Achievement winner from RT Magazine, National Reader’s Choice Award, and Colorado Romance Writer’s Award of Excellence winners five times each, winner of the Bookseller’s Best Award, and has received the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award from Romance Writers of America. Her books are New York Times , USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly bestsellers. Writing changed her life, her world, and her fate.
Visit her on Facebook, Twitter, or at her website http://www.sharonsala.net