Sharon is a long-time member of RWA, as well as a member of OKRWA. She has 80 plus books in print, written as Sharon Sala and Dinah McCall. First published in 1991, she’s a seven-time RITA finalist, winner of the Janet Dailey Award, four-time Career Achievement winner from RT Magazine, National Reader’s Choice Award, and Colorado Romance Writer’s Award of Excellence winners five times each. Her books are New York Times , USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly, WaldenBooks mass market best-sellers. Writing changed her life, her world, and her fate.
DRose: Start by telling us a little about yourself. Where are you from? When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Sharon: I’m a native of Oklahoma. When I was little, I always thought I’d grow up to be an archaeologist, then I found out how hard and dirty the digs were and decided against that occupation and in favor of something with real beds, electricity, and running water.
Sharon: My first favorite author was Zane Grey. I loved that his heroes were always ordinary men who endured an extraordinary event and maintained a sense of honor. I’ve carried that characteristic throughout my writing journey, as well.
Sharon: If you’re talking about my own work, that’s hard to say. I’ve written several books that stick with me more than others. Out Of The Dark. Jackson Rule. The Chosen. The Healer. The Warrior. Sweet Baby. There are others, but those are the first to come to mind.
Sharon: Yes. I love to cook. My favorite thing is big family dinners. I love movies. But action/adventure movies…dramatic movies that lean toward the dark side. My favorite movie scene of all time is from Daniel Day-Lewis version of Last Of The Mohicans. The scene where they’re in the cave behind the waterfall and he’s about to jump into the water to ensure the heroine and her family aren’t killed. He looks into her eyes and the look that passes between them always gives me chills. Then he grabs her by the shoulders and shouts to be heard above the roar of the water. “Stay alive! Stay alive! Whatever you do, stay alive! I will find you. I WILL find you!” Just writing that give me the chills.
Sharon: The last new book I had released was The Warrior. It’s about eternal love. Love that never dies. And it’s about revenge. I usually dream my stories. That one came in a dream as well.
Sharon: I wrote my first two books in 1980 and 1981. They were terrible and I stuck them under the bed. But the writing bug had bitten me enough that I didn’t let go of the dream. Then in 1985 my father and sister died within 2 months of each other. That prompted me to go back and resume my pursuit of getting published. I didn’t want to be on my deathbed some day wondering what might have happened if I’d just written that 3rd book. Oddly enough, that was the first one I ever sent to a publisher, and it sold to the first place I sent it.
Sharon: I just finished the last book in a trilogy I did for Mira Books that comes out in June, July and August of this year. The trilogy is called Storm Front. The books are called BLOWN AWAY, TORN APART, SWEPT ASIDE. They’re stories of what happens in one Louisiana town when it’s hit by a hurricane-spawned tornado.
Sharon: As I mentioned before, I usually dream my stories. I wake up, write down what I dreamed, and that’s the story and plot. Sometimes I’ll get a few key phrases of dialogue and sometimes I dream in color.
DRose: Do you write to music or the TV?
Sharon: I can write with the TV low, but I prefer quiet.
Sharon: Time. I need time, and that’s a fleeting commodity for me these days. My 90 year old Mother lives with me and has Alzheimer’s. Taking care of her and her needs is often overwhelming. Finding time to write is a gift.
DRose: Most people see writers as hermits, closed off in a room, clacking away at the keyboard until the final page is typed. Do you consider yourself this disciplined as a writer?
Sharon: Lord no. I write during cooking a meal. I write during TV commercials. I write at night when my Mother finally goes to bed. I’ve never been that disciplined or needy. Actually, never had the opportunity to become a diva. Too many family issues. Family comes first with me.
Sharon: It’s a bit messy. I have a few stacks of research pertaining to the current WIP. I share an office with my Mother, who still likes to pretend that she needs an office, although she can no longer remember how to count money or balance a checkbook. It is what it is. I don’t dwell on having things perfect.
Sharon: Frozen custard and movies and massages. Not ice cream. Not frozen yogurt. Frozen custard… Lord. And I’m a 3 year veteran of Weight Watchers. It’s a daily battle not to succumb. LOL
Sharon: Not really. Just might mention that I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting some new ones as well.
Sharon: Along with the workshop I’m doing with Libby Banks about finances, I’m doing a workshop on building suspense from the ground up.