Interview with New York Times Bestselling author, Sharon Sala
1. Tell us a little about yourself?
I am a native of Oklahoma in more ways than one. My fraternal great-grandmother was Cherokee. Family is the most important thing in my world. I was a farmer's daughter and then a farmer's wife for over 31 years before I divorced. I now live in a city, but miss country life a lot.
2. What inspired you to write your first book?
3. What or who has been the biggest influence in your writing career and why?
The biggest influence in my life with regard to writing was not a person. It was a need to find a way to share the stories I dreamed. Almost all of the books I've had published were dreams first. In color. With dialogue. It's like going to the movies when I sleep. I dream it. I wake up and write it. And whoever reads one of my books is reading one of my dreams.
I didn't start out with the intent to self-publish A Field of Poppies. But it was Women's Fiction, which is not the genre in which I'd become known. The big publishers read it and one in particular love it. Wanted to buy it. I waited for the holidays to pass and then negotiations would begin. I even got an e-mail from the editor saying how much she LOVED the story. They had their meeting. They all loved it. And then at the last minute changed their mind. Which was fine. But it was the reason that made me so angry. They wanted a guarantee it would sell and didn't think my readers would follow me to a new genre. It floored me. Since when has a publisher EVER had a guarantee that a book would sell? And if twenty years of readership isn't enough, then what is.
I told my agent to pull it. I refused to submit it anywhere else and well, here I am, the author of my first self-published book. And by the way, it's doing quite nicely, thank you very much. It's been in the top 100 Kindle sales on Amazon.com since the fourth day of its release. It's available in print from Amazon.com and on Kindle and Nook. And yes, I will do more.
5. What is your current work-in-progress and can you summarize it in a few lines?
My writing schedule is a thing of the past since I moved my 92 year old mother in with me six years ago. She has dementia and no short-term memory so every day brings new challenges, but also new joys. We find far more things to laugh about than we do bemoan. The only way to get through this for the both of us is without making anything a big deal. I write when I can, which often means staying up until 1:00 a.m. to finish a chapter undeterred. Then I'm up early the next day with her. It's sort of like when my kids were little. Seriously. Only the two-year-old is 92. Otherwise, the behaviors are a lot alike. I'm smiling here because I love her so much and our life now is just as mine began . . . with her.
7. How long does it take you to finish a book?
8. What is the most difficult or challenging part of the writing process for you?
I've already mentioned it. At this point in my life, it's finding the time to write. (see answer 6)
9. Do you ever experience writers block? If so, how do you cope with it?
10. Are you a plotter or a panster? If you're a plotter, do you have any plotting tips to share?
11. What is your personal writing goal?
12. If you could choose anywhere in the world to write, where would it be?
As a favorite country song of mine goes . . . "I'm already there." It would be home.
13. Describe your writing space, that one corner of the house that is all yours?
I live in an old ranch-style house that sprawls out over nearly 3/4 of an acre in the middle of the city and the only place in that entire house that is specifically mine is my bedroom. And I would never write there. That's where the dreams are. I would never take work there. My kitchen is huge. There's an old sectional sofa with a built-in recliner at one end of the kitchen. That's where I write on my laptop. That way I'm in the middle of the house, able to see what my mother needs or is doing at any time. I can keep an eye on laundry and cooking and even an update from the TV there while I write, and yes, I've learned to multitask when I write. Before I thought I needed quiet to write. I have since learned that is not the case. And by the way, I'm laughing here, as well.
14. What are you most proud of accomplishing in your life?
15. What is the strangest thing that ever happened to you at a workshop, presentation, book signing or conference? What is the funniest?
16. Where do you get your story ideas?
As I have stated before, I dream almost all of them. The ones I don't are usually triggered by something I see or read. It sets a whole train of thought into action that usually results in a book.
This is an easy answer. I have 9 grandchildren, 6 of whom are girls. They had begged for years for me to write something they could read. So I did. And I even set the YA series in a real-life Oklahoma town--Stillwater, Oklahoma--home of Oklahoma State University, which is my son's alma-mater.
18. What would you consider the most important advice you could give a writer?
For writers who've been in the business a while and are published, I would remind them that this business changes as rapidly as a baby needing a diaper change. You have to be ready to roll with it. Just because you're successful in one aspect does not mean that avenue will always be there. If you don't evolve as a writer, your career will eventually dissolve.
Thank you, Sharon. If you would like to visit Sharon's website, please click on the following link: