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Author Name: Sharon Sala
Genre: Romantic suspense
Latest book in shops now:
The Chosen

Before we begin this interview, I need to check that you’re still grounded and that your head isn’t swollen from all of your success, so with that in mind, what was the last thing you bought at Target, and do you know how much a loaf of bread costs? (grin)

Okay… the last thing I bought at Target was a T-Rex dinosaur mountain (for my 4-year old grandson’s Xmas present), and the bread I buy is $2.19 a loaf. I’m picky about bread. It has to be whole wheat or at least cracked wheat. None of that gummy white stuff for me.

Sharon, I have to tell you that your book, The Way To Yesterday inspired me to write the first ever gushing fan letter. It was an amazing story, where did you get the inspiration for Daniel’s character?

I got the inspiration for The Way To Yesterday from a dream. That’s where almost all of my stories come from. Daniel’s character was such a sweetheart. I used my son, Chris, as a pattern, though, because he’s such a great dad to his three little girls.

Have you ever been approached by a film company, to option any of your books for the big screen?

I’ve had people who worked in the film industry express interest in some of my stories, but nothing’s ever come of it.

What were your favourite books as a child?

My favorite books as a child were the Zane Grey stories and the Tarzan books. I liked adventure stories a lot.

Did you read romance books as a teenager?

As a teenager, the Emilie Loring and Grace Livingston Hill were the ones I liked best.

What does a typical day as a writer consist of?

A typical day for me is answering email in the morning. Doing shopping and running errands during the day and writing the most in the evening and at night.

Name your top five favourite books of all time.

I don’t know if I have five favorite books of all time. I don’t reread books much. Once I know what’s going to happen, the story has lost most of the interest for me. But, if I had to make a list, the Holy Bible would be on the list, as would my old Better Homes and Garden cook book.

Too many favorite recipes that I used to make for my kids who are now all grown up. Also, Palomino by Danielle Steele, because it was the first romance book that made me want to write romance. Another book would be the family history book that my mother and a cousin compiled. It’s not just a “family tree” book, but a book with funny and poignant stories about the people who were my ancestors.

It’s humbling to know that, but for them and their sacrifices, I would not be who I am. And the last favorite book I guess I would put on the list is a little Golden Book with a character named Grandpa Bunny Bunny. It was an Easter book that my children absolutely loved and I can still remember them climbing up into my lap with that book to be read.

Which authors are you glomming at the moment? (reading a lot of?)

I haven’t been reading a lot of anything at the moment, because I don’t allow myself the luxury when I’m on deadline. However, I love James Patterson’s mysteries, Patricia Cornwell’s mysteries, and Lisa Jackson’s romantic suspense stories. Also the J.D. Robb series that Nora Roberts writes. All spectacularly good stuff.

I have to agree about Cornwell and JD Robb!

Do you have other close romance writer friends, and if so who are they?

My closest friends are romance writers, and high on the list is Janis Reams Hudson, who has been my best friend and savior through 2005, which turned out to be the saddest year of my life. I lost my fiance, Bobby, to liver cancer at the end of June and my Auntie two days later also succumbed to cancer.

Wow, tough year indeed, I was really sad to hear about your loss Sharon, let’s hope 2006 is a much better year for you.

When did you realise that you wanted to write books, and who or what inspired you?

I don’t know exactly when I thought about writing, but as I said earlier, Danielle Steele was my first inspiration. I wrote my first book of any kind in 1980, then another one in 1981 and stuck them under the bed because they were so bad. However, the bug had bitten me.

How long has it been since you first got published?

My first book came out in 1991.

How did you get your first book published? Did you have a mentor?

I just sent my book to a publishing house and the first place I sent it to, bought it. No, I didn’t have a mentor. I had to trust my own judgement in everything. However, Kate Duffy was my first editor and I valued her guidance greatly.

Which of your books do you feel that you are best known for?

I’m not necessarily best known for a single book, so much as a style of books. My stories are very emotional, contemporary and dark, but with really wonderful characters to love. Readers comment a lot about a book called Jackson Rule, and another book called Out of The Dark.

Both very good books!

If you could have a one-to-one conversation with a famous historical figure, who would it be with and what would you talk about?

My one-on-one conversation with a famous historical figure would be with
Eleanor Roosevelt. I think she was a woman ahead of her time.

What is your ultimate goal when it comes to your writing?

My ultimate goal in writing is to write stories that my readers can identify with.

How has the romance industry changed from when you first started writing, and which of these changes were you happiest/unhappiest with?

The industry has changed a lot since I got in the business. There are less publishing houses to submit work to, stricter guidelines in which to do it, but you still have to be able to tell a good story to get the book sold.

I think I’m happiest about the quality of work that’s being published, and least interested about the e-books. I still like to hold a book when I read, and feel the paper between my fingers. I work so much at a computer that I do not enjoy reading from one for entertainment.

In this day and age, do you think it’s possible for new romance writers to make it without having some kind of presence on the internet?

I really can’t say how much impact the internet has on the romance industry other than to provide another way to purchase books. I’m not particularly pleased about the fact that used copies of my books go up for sale on the internet almost before they’re available in the stories.

I don’t get any royalties on resales. Just the initial few cents per book for original sales, so you can understand where I’m coming from.

I know a few authors who would agree with you actually Sharon, so you’re not alone on this.

In your experience, what would you say was the most effective method of marketing a romance novel?

In my experience, the most effective method of marketing a romance novel is to leave it to the experts, which happen to be my publisher.

Which of your books is dearest to your heart, and why?

I have a couple that are near and dear to my heart. One of them is Sweet Baby. Another is Out of The Dark, and also The Chosen.

I’ve always wondered about this, but as an author, once your books are published, do you actually go back and read them yourself, and if so, are you able to enjoy them, or do you perhaps see things that make you want to chew your own arm off in frustration? (grin).

Once in a while I will go back to one of my books and reread a particular scene just to visit the characters. It sounds strange, but I do miss them when the book is finished.

Has anything a reviewer or reader said or written about you changed the way you write?

Despite criticism, comments and suggestions from reviewers and readers, I write what I want to write, the way I want to write it. If they like it, then wonderful, but if they don’t, then all that means to me is that book wasn’t meant for them to read, that it was written for someone else to enjoy.

Good philosophy.

Last year, RWA attempted to try to define romance, and it caused a bit of a furore round the romance blogosphere, due to the limitations of the definitions. What were your thoughts on this at the time, and do you think it’s possible/necessary to define romance in a way that doesn’t exclude other sub-genres?

I have no comment regarding the definitions of romance. If people want to define it and categorize it, then that’s their headache. There are sub-genres of romance that I enjoy and there are some that I absolutely hate, so.. it’s personal preference after all.

A lot of well known authors who first wrote within the romance genre, seem to have moved away from traditional romance, and are now writing paranormals, suspense etc. (e.g. Linda Howard, Catherine Coulter) Why do you think this is?

This question has to do completely with the one before. Romance is romance, whether it includes suspense, erotica, paranormal, gothic, etc. I don’t know why the other authors write what they write, but I know why my style has changed some over the years.

I would sincerely hope that I’ve learned to tell better stories in fewer words, and that I am now allowed to write the kind of stories that I want to, not necessarily what my publisher wants me to write. I have always like the gothic, paranormal, suspense stories more than just straight character driven, family sagas…
therefore, I’m writing what I like to read. Not trying to keep up or change with the business.

When was the last time you went overseas and where did you go?

The only time I’ve ever been overseas was to Italy. I was in Milan, Naples and Positano. Memorable cities for a memorable trip.

Who are your favourite romance hero and heroine of all time?

My favorite romance hero and heroine of all time? Vincent and Catherine from the television series, Beauty and the Beast.

Oh I loved Vincent and Catherine!

What kind of characters would you say you typically wrote?

Typically, I write dark, tortured hero/heroines who have to overcome some big issue in their life before the story ends.

If only one person could read your book, who would that be? (as in the person who you would want most to read your book)

If only one person could read my book, I would want it to be the person who intends to make all of my books into movies.

Good answer *g*

If you had to pick, who would you say has been most influential within the romance genre?

I have no idea who the most influential person in the romance genre is. My friends would be laughing at me now as I’m writing this, because I am constantly oblivious as to what’s going on in the industry. Half the time I don’t know agents from editors and never know what house is looking for what style of work.

What was the last movie you saw?

I can’t remember the last movie… maybe Hidalgo with Bobby before he died.

Name your top five favourite romantic films

Top favorite romantic films. Oh my. The Last Of The Mohicans with Daniel Day-Lewis, Ghost with Patrick Swayze. The Ghost And Mrs. Muir, Out Of Africa and Sleepless In Seattle.

What was the last book you read, and did you enjoy it?

The last book I read was the latest Harry Potter book… the Half-Blood Prince, I think it is.

Sweetbaby is one of my favourite books ever, can you tell me where you got the inspiration to write such a moving story?

The inspiration from Sweet Baby came from an incident that happened to me when I was six. School was let out early one day without notice, so when I got home, my family was gone. We lived far in the country and I was so scared. Convinced that I would never see them again. I didn’t even realize that I’d used that for the basis until the story was over and published.

Have you ever written a book that you didn’t particularly care for, and do you cringe if you see people picking it up to read it?

No, I’ve never written a book I didn’t like. I wouldn’t have turned it in otherwise.

What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

I most enjoy the freedom of being able to work at home, and to share the stories in my head with people who love to read.

What do you least enjoy about being a writer?

My least favorite thing about writing is the length of time between turning in a piece of work and getting paid for it.

Oh yeah, I never really gave any thought to what kind of impact that might have on authors before…

As you’ve been there, done it, and have the badge to prove it, what is the number one advice that would you give to aspiring writers out there?

My best advice to anyone wanting to write is join a writer’s group. It is without doubt the best thing you can do for yourself. After that, sit yourself down and write.

Since all authors are readers, too, do you have any books you’ve especially enjoyed over the last year or so that you’d like to recommend to readers who’ve enjoyed your books?

No, I can’t recommend a particular book other than ones I’ve mentioned earlier, by writers I admire. Just read. It’s the best hobby a person can have.

Finally, when’s your next book due out, and what’s it about?

My next book is called Nine Lives by Sharon Sala, and it will be out in the fall of 2006.

Sounds great Sharon, thanks so much for taking the time out to answer these very nosy questions!

You’re very welcome. Thank you for showing the interest in my and my work, and I hope this hasn’t been delayed too long for you.

Don’t worry, I totally understood, smooches!

Okey dokey then, that’s it for this week, next week, I’ll either have, Kayla Perrin, or Julia Quinn, in the hot seat! Until then, au revoir dudes!


  • Dramedy Girl
    January 25
    4:16 am

    That was a great interview, Karen! I love Sharon Sala’s books and she seems really down to earth. Your interview reminds me that I have picked up The Chosen yet….


  • Mary
    January 25
    5:45 pm

    Sharon Sala is a favourite author of mine. The interview was GREAT.
    Cheers Mary


  • Reese
    January 26
    8:09 pm

    The only book of her’s I’ve read was “Bloodlines,” written as Dinah McCall. I liked it a lot. I think she’s really skilled. I’ll check out this new one, too. Thanks!



  • Paige Burns
    January 28
    1:17 am

    I’ve been thinking about this intervew since you put it up, and I know I’m new to reading your blog, but I find that I just can’t not comment on this author.

    First off, I haven’t read any of her books before, and she might be a great author, but after reading her responses to your questions, I’ll probably choose not to.

    The other commenters are right, it was a great interview, you had good questions. However, her answers were stilted and offstandish. Her comments on e-books and how she doesn’t think the internet is of value to the romance author I don’t agree with at all. Being a successful writer is about having readers, and today, the reader = the internet. Every time you asked her about her favorite book, she hemmed and hawed about how she doesn’t read, or she doesn’t keep up with the romance industry.

    It could be just me and the mood I was in when I read this, but I think Sharon needs to break out of the “Romance Industry Stuck in the 80’s” syndrome where the world at large wasn’t “connected”. E-books, internet, and romance author networking are not the wave of the future, it’s the here and now.


  • Karen Scott
    January 29
    4:43 pm

    Hi Paige, the thing is, whether we agree with Sharon Sala’s point of view or not, at least she’s being honest, and the thing is a lot of the authors who I interview tend to give ‘safe’ answers, so it’s nice when an author puts herself out there, and tells it like she sees it.

    As for appearing stand-offish, that’s obviously open to interpretation. She agreed to do the interview even though she’s going through a rough time, so I’m happy to put the tone of her answers down to that.

    Kudos for being gutsy enough to mention it though, I’m sure other authors have come off as stand-offish, but seeing as they agreed to do the interview in the first place, it hardly seems right for me to condemn them for not being as bright and bubbly as I’d like.


  • Paige Burns
    January 31
    4:19 pm

    You’re right. She was being honest, and in hindsight, I appreciate it. It just struck a chord w/ me and it festered for days before I finally had the guts to post about it. LOL. Since I’ve read her interview, weird enough, everyone’s been talking about her books. So I might try them out anyway.


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