This is a blog for everyone. I believe that fiction should cross boundaries and not be intimidating. On this blog, I will post author interviews, general information I learn about writing, publishing and life in general. So, sit back, enjoy and come back often. You never know what might pop up on here.
Interview with Children's Book Author Sharon C. Williams
I’m honored to have today’s interview with Sharon
C. Williams, author of the children’s book Jasper, Amazon Parrot: A Rainforest
Adventure. Welcome, Sharon!
you give us a brief bio so the readers can better understand you and your
up, I never thought of becoming a writer. To me, it was for people who had the
skills to transfer amazing ideas onto paper. My husband, however, mentioned to
one of our friends that he felt I wrote really well. Soon, I started thinking
of a story in my head, and it just would not go away. In
2009, while recovering from two surgeries, I started placing my thoughts onpaper. It’s been a wild ride since
tend to write long hand. The low-tech method is harder with my disability but I
feel more creative and the flow works better for me this way. I have used this
technique to complete a multitude of short stories, a novelette, and a
children’s book. It still amazes me how writing has taken over my life.
of my short stories were published in the anthology, Cassandra's Roadhouse. My
children's book, Jasper, Amazon Parrot: A Rainforest Adventure, was released by
Fountain Blue Publishing, on Sept. 7th of this year.
love to read, take pictures, sketch, walk, exercise, go to the movies, and
listen to music. I’m a budding bird watcher, and knit on the side. I am a huge
fan of all sports, and especially of baseball, basketball, hockey, and
a native of New England, raised in Northern Maine and live in North Carolina
with my husband and son. I’m owned by a flock of eight birds and have a B.S.
Degree in Chemistry.
What inspired you to write the book?
Hearing for the longest time, “Write on
what you know” I came up with an idea of writing a book based on my Amazon
parrot, Jasper.Having been with us
since 1999 I have had years of learning how this animal ticks and his quirks
around us. He gave me so much material. All I had to do was write the story and
infuse Jasper into it.
What was your approach to writing it
I write everything by long hand. I have
found my creativity truly flows better this way.I didn't create an outline or worked on my character
development. In the Fall of 2009 I had two unrelated surgeries within weeks of
each other. Being stuck in bed for a while I decided to take the time to start
writing. There was no rhyme or reason or scheme of things. I just started and
kept at it until I wrote the famous words, The End.
How long did it take to write the
complete novel from first draft to edited final?
It took me under three months to write
the first draft which consisted of a little over 3000 words.Once it was completed I let it sit there for
a few months. Not being in a writer's group at that time or knowing any writer
I started to seek any potential groups in the Spring of 2010.It did not take long as a writer's group was
soon forming out of the local library.Soon afterwards a second group formed in town. Sharing a few chapters of
my manuscript with the members I started the tedious job of editing and
revising my manuscript while starting on volume two. Months went by as
suggestions and rewrites came and went. By the end of 2010 I was nearing my
final revision.The year 2011 prove
uneventful as life took over and I had to concentrate on more pressing matters.
Deciding to test the open waters, in
2012, I started to submit the book to potential publishing houses in hopes of
getting a nibble. What I got was rejection letters but they were laced with compliments
and encouragement. But one stood out. A publisher had requested the entire
manuscript saying I would know in 4-6 weeks since they were a small press.
Three months came and still no word.
Reaching out to the company they stated
that it was taking so long for they were going back and forth on whether to
pick it up. But in the end it was a no. In that rejection letter there were
listed three reasons why the book was turned down. I was encouraged to work on
the areas mentioned and to resubmit.
I did just that. What happened was a
manuscript that started out at just a little over 3000 words ended up as one
that was slightly under 10,000.That
meant more revisions and editing to get it in the place it needed to be.
That brought me to July of 2012.I took a small break from this book and
started to work on other projects. Starting fresh in 2013 I started to actively
submit the new and revised book. It was picked up by a small press out of San
Francisco in March of this year.
Congratulations! Can you tell us a
little about your book and if you have had book signings or readings?
The title of my book is Jasper, Amazon
Parrot: A Rainforest Adventure. It is a children's chapter book.
Synopsis: Jasper, the Amazon parrot, is
no ordinary bird. He lives within the rainforest, whose secrets he’s eager to
explore. He loves his life, his home, and his family - grateful for the blessings
he’s discovered. Learning how to fly, he learns to appreciate the world around
him. When he meets a spider monkey with a penchant for food and a laid back
attitude named Charlie, he realizes he’s in for an adventure he never thought
possible. Exploring the boundaries of the forest, Jasper soon understands that
there is more to the world around him. Most especially the strange new
creatures that have come to live there
My book came out September 7th
of this year however I have the possibility of two book signings in the
upcoming months.One of my writing
groups was meeting at a coffee shop. When it was over the manager asked what
the meeting was about. When we told him we were authors he asked if any of us
had a book coming out. When I told him I did, he mentioned his coffee shop had
hosted in the past book signings and asked if I would be interested. A few
weeks later two fellow writers were meeting at a different coffee shop. Again
the manager asked them what they were discussing. They brought up my name and
book and he wondered if I would be interested in hosting a book signing there.
So I am in the process of making those
Do you have any advice or words of
wisdom for budding writers?
Don't be afraid to write outside the
box or your comfort level. Explore photo and
written prompts. Any critique you
receive, always remember you can take some or take none. At the end of the day
it is your story.And for me a rejection
letter is a badge of honor.
What are you working on now? Is it in
the same genre?
I am working on a paranormal short
story. The first attempt at this genre. The writing group that I started is
putting together a book of short stories to publish hopefully later this
year.But I am also preparing for
NaNoWriMo 2013. This will be my third straight year of participating. I won in
2011 and 2012.
What is the best time for you to write
and does it ever interfere with your day job, if you have one? Also, how long
on the average do you write each day?
The best time for me to write actually
varies. I keep a small notebook with me always just in case an idea or the mood
hits me. I don't have a set time to work. However, when I am writing for
NaNoWriMo I tend to write early in the morning so I can get it out of the way.
Else the day and life will take me away from it being successful. How long I
write varies. However, if there is a thought or scene in my head that needs to
be written down, I can write for hours.
Is writing, to you, a lonely
Absolutely. What doesn't help is I am
the only writer in my family so it is hard for them to understand what one goes
through when one is an author.What has
helped me is the writer groups that are located in my area. Plus I also started
my own. Who better understand what you are going through than another writer?
It helps break the monotony but it also gives me a chance to exchange ideas and
is your website and where can readers purchase your book or books?