Author Spotlight

 

Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with a very talented author.  So, without further delay, let’s hear from

Shara Lanel

Did you always know you would be a writer one day?  It seems you have been writing since you were just a little girl.
I’ve always written stories, but at one point I planned to be an astronaut or an adventurer ala Indiana Jones or Romancing the Stone. In fact I had a plan to die by age 40 while swinging from a vine. I am now in favor of living long past age 40 and avoiding all swinging vines. I majored in film studies in college, so I did consider a job as a director or cinematographer for a few years.

Are you able to write full-time of do you have a pesky day job, also?
I don’t have a day job that pays money, but I do have a wild 9-year-old son who keeps me quite busy with calls from school, meetings with the principal, etc. I do some writing while he’s at school, but most of it gets done between the hours of 10 pm and 2 am when the house, phone, and puppy are nice and quiet.

Tell us a little about what makes Shara…well, Shara.
Hah! I wish I knew. No, seriously…Shara writes super sexy and fun stories. They can range from angsty to funny, relatively tame sex to downright erotic. I write what’s fun for me to write and read whatever that may be. As far as Shara the person, she’s addicted to books, likes to grow herbs and peppers, and is definitely a dog person.

Where do your story ideas come from?  Do they start with a scene, a character, or a location?
It varies, but I think most often I have a mental video clip of a character in a situation that pulls me into a story. That may start me writing, but most often it doesn’t stay the actual beginning of the novel. That first chapter tends to get rearranged and rewritten more than any other part of the book. With BLAME IT ON THE MOON the video was of a waitress reading the mind of a man in her restaurant. From that idea I asked myself, what would make his mind different from the rest? And I came up with the werewolf angle, and the whole story developed from there.

Do you do a lot of research for your writing?  What was the most interesting thing you have researched lately?
Hmm, I had a lot of fun reading the poison book and researching various methods of death. A couple of years ago I attended our local Citizens’ Police Academy to get insight into the job of being a cop. That was so much fun! Shooting guns, riding in a car chase, trying to figure out where the snipers were hiding. I highly recommend this. But usually I don’t spend a whole lot of time on research. I hit the internet when I hit a need-to-know point. My goal is to tell a good story, so I research enough to do that.

Tell us some of your favorites…foods, movies, music, authors, books, colors, and any others you want to share?
Foods—Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby or Crème Brulee top the list. I also love this fry bread sandwich they have at The Cheesecake Factory. I’m very into organic and whole foods right now, a complete 180 from Chubby Hubby, I know. And I love to grow herbs and chili peppers and turn them into salsa fresca. Movies—all of the Indiana Jones, Serenity (based on the Firefly series), Romancing the Stone. Since I majored in film studies in college, this list could get really long. Fave color—red. Current TV obsessions—Doctor Who and Torchwood.

You write in a couple of different genres, do you have a favorite?  Is there a genre you would like to try?
I like contemporary with paranormal elements the most. This is what I like to read as well. Whether the element be witchcraft, werewolves, or telekinesis, I like the idea of bending the normal world just a little bit off kilter. Maybe this goes back to imagining myself with super powers. What would it be like to live my normal life with the ability to fly or read minds?

How do you promote your work?
I have a web site (www.sharalanel.com) and MySpace page (http://www.myspace.com/sharasezone) of course. I run giveaways on the News page of my web site. I write a monthly newsletter and I participate in blogs through my publishers. Sometimes I’ll write articles for my RWA-chapter newsletter or participate in interviews and guest blogging.

Do you enjoy hearing from your readers and what is the best way to contact you?
I love to hear from readers! You can email me at sharalanel@comcast.net and post comments through MySpace and when I’m blogging.

What was the most helpful piece of advice you received when you were starting out?  Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Well, this wasn’t so much advice given as modeled. Help other writers up. When I first started attending local writing events and found my RWA chapter, the Virginia Romance Writers, I learned that the best way to help your career is to help others, whether through giving workshops, writing articles, offering critiques, volunteering in the chapter, or simply taking the time to give someone new advice. My advice to aspiring writers: join the Romance Writers of America and your local chapter, read as many books on craft as possible, and don’t kill your critique partner or contest judge. They may seem harsh, but it’ll help you grow as a writer if you hear what they say with an open heart.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Besides Chubby Hubby? Buying books, whether they be at library sales, a nearby book fair, or a stash at a yard sale. Then there are local bookstores and the internet, when I need that immediate fix. Even rearranging the books in my house is relaxing. I’m sick, I know.

So, let’s talk about those wonderful domestic chores that we are all forced to do. I think I read something about death, fire, and avoidance.  I know exactly how you feel.
I know more ways to cause kitchen fires than your average individual and my dog always likes what I cook, though my hubby and son suffer. About mid-summer my garden fries from lack of care. Only the strong survive—my perennial herbs. Avoidance—absolutely. I’m a master procrastinator.

Do you have a writing schedule that you follow?
I tend to write in spurts, so I may go a couple of weeks without writing a word, but usually I’ll be journaling and mulling over ideas. Then suddenly I’ll write every chance I get—usually late at night.

Is your family your biggest supporters and do they read your work?
Um, one side of the family is my biggest support. The other side…well, we won’t talk about that. My mom buys every one of my books and has read most of them, unless I tell her not to. THE MEN ON MARS is one book I told her not to read. My hubby reads most of my stuff and seems to enjoy sitting behind the table at signings (while I run for a bathroom break). My son—well, he can’t read most of my work, but I find excerpts that he can read, and he enjoys telling everyone that I write.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?  Any current or upcoming releases?
One of my recent releases is FINDING MR. RIGHT IS MURDER, available at www.LiquidSilverBooks.com. I wanted this book to be light and funny as well as sexy. It’s a cozy mystery as well. The other release is BLAME IT ON THE MOON, available at www.Loose-Id.com, which is my first werewolf book. The fact that Kitty can read Haden’s mind makes it super hot as well. I’m working on a sequel to THE MEN ON MARS and to BLAME IT ON THE MOON, but they haven’t been submitted yet.

Thank you for having me!

 

     

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