About Me

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Welcome to Heartstrings.Thanks for stopping by. I am a mother, a grandmother, and an author of historical western romance and contemporary romantic fiction. Ethan's Heart, book one of The Blackwood Brothers' series won the 2017 Maggie Award for Excellence. Book two, Escorting Darby Bloom, features Blackwood brother Isaac and will be released in December 2017. Stay tuned for more books in this series. If contemporaries are more your thing, check out Carly's Rule and Dusty's Fate. They are both Amazon Best-Sellers.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

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?

It was a job I hated--grocery checker in our local supermarket.  Hated the late hours being away from my family.  Came in late one night from work, pulled a typewriter out of the closet and started writing a story that had been in my head.  It was that bizarre, I kid you not.  I was convinced there had to be a better way to make a living than the job I had and the small town near where I was living had no better opportunities.

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.

4.  After a long career with big name publishers and being on some of the biggest lists with your novels, like the New York Times Bestseller list and USA Today, just to mention a couple, what made you decide to self-publish A Field of Poppies?

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?

The book I'm working on now is actually the third book in my Lunatic series, which are the YA books I'm doing with Belle Books.  My Lunatic Life and Lunatic Detective are already out.  I'm writing Lunatic Revenge.  They're about a teenage girl who's a psychic and a medium.  She lives with her uncle and two ghosts who've helped raise her.  Remember that TV show Medium?  Think Medium meets Nancy Drew.

6.  What is your writing schedule like?  For example, do you write any time of the day or do you prefer a specific time of day?  Do you write for a set amount of hours or pages?

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?

Until it's done, and that's the truth.  I keep an eye on the deadline and just keep writing.

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?

I do not have the luxury of a writer's block.  I have a mortgage.  Seriously.  That's all the impetus I need to sit my backside down and get to work.  And remember, I'm not "making it up" as I go along.  I've already dreamed it.  All I have to do is write it down.

10.  Are you a plotter or a panster?  If you're a plotter, do you have any plotting tips to share?

I plot because publishers require a synopsis.  But once written, I rarely refer to it again, which is probably horrifying for a publisher to know.  The deal is, if you're letting the characters tell the story to you, it's far easier than trying to tell them what to do.  That's when a writer gets stuck in the story, because they're trying to force a character into something or into a situation that doesn't fit their personality or the story.  At least that's been my experience.

11.  What is your personal writing goal?

Hmm, I suppose professionally, it would be to meet deadlines.  Personally, it would be to have my books made into movies because I am a visual writer.  I "see" the scene as I'm writing the book, and to "see" it on film as I see when I'm writing would be a dream come true for me.

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?

Career-wise, being the 2011 recipient of the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award given by Romance Writers of America.  Personally, raising two of the best kids a mother could ever hope to have, who have given me amazing grandchildren and the assurance that I did the right thing when it counted most.

15.  What is the strangest thing that ever happened to you at a workshop, presentation, book signing or conference?  What is the funniest?

The strangest thing that ever happened at a book signing was having a woman come up to me and whisper in my ear that she had ties to the mob and was I interested in writing her story and splitting it with her, 50/50.  That's also the funniest.  I hope to God I have more sense than to mess with the mod or do all the work and give half of it away to a total stranger.  And, FYI, I'm really laughing as I typed this answer.

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.

17.  What made you branch out into young adult?

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?

If you're just beginning, or are considering becoming a writer, the most valuable advice I can give you is to join a writer's group--one that is organized enough to give you valuable info as to current markets, that would provide you with access to critique groups, and to write and not be afraid to edit or delete.

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:

Sharon Sala


  1. Great interview. I love Sharon Sala and her books, but I also read her FaceBook posts daily.
    They are always so entertaining and heartwarming.

    1. Thanks, Dolores for commenting and for sharing the interview on facebook. I agree with you about her Facebook posts. I read them faithfully. Plus, I love her books, too.

  2. I've been priviledged to know Sharon for a few years, and she's one the moste endearing women I know. She has a ready smile for everyone. I too read her FaceBook post faithfully. I just love her "Momma" stories, and the love and care she gives Momma is a testament to her big heart. Thanks for interviewing her, Vickie. It brightened my day.

  3. Loved getting to know Sharon a little more. Both my elderly parents moved in with me 10 yrs ago, and through Sharon's life with her mother, I am learning to laugh at my life circumstances. Also, like Sharon, I have the joy of 9 grandchildren - only 6 of mine are boys. My oldest granddaughter just turned 11 and received a Kindle - Sharon's YA books are on the "to purchase" list. Just as everyone else has mentioned, Sharon is very entertaining. AND you would think her publishers would know by now that she doesn't know how to write a bad book. It is truly a wonderful God-given talent she has. May God continue to bless her (and her mother) each and every day!

    1. It's wonderful that Sharon has given you so much joy and laughter through her facebook posts. I love reading her posts, as well. Thank you for reading the interview and posting a comment.

  4. Great interview, Vickie. And thank you Sharon for the encouraging revelations about your recent move into self-publishing, and the kick in the butt to stop finding excuses not to get the story done.

  5. Thank you, Vickie and Sharon. It nice to read someone else's day in the life that sounds so familiar (as I sit in my recliner, writing--which should be on my novel due soon). I am thrilled you were willing to strike out on your own, Sharon. It was definitely a good idea for you.

    1. I agree with you, Shannon. I'm glad Sharon struck out on her own with A Field of Poppies. What an awesome book!

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