Friday, January 29, 2010

Sharon Sala visits the blog

Today's guest author is the multi-published, multi-talented author Sharon Sala.
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.

DRose: Musicians often note the musicians who influenced them. What authors have influenced you and your work?

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.

DRose: Do you have a favorite book or series?

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.

DRose: When you're not writing, do you have any hobbies or interests?

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.

DRose: Tell us more about your book. What's it about and what inspired you to write it?

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.

DRose: How long did it take for you to get published and what was the journey like?

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.

DRose: Any current projects you're excited about and can share with our readers?

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.

DRose: Do you plot your story before you write it or do you sit and let it flow?

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.

DRose: Do you consider yourself eccentric as a writer? Is there something you must have or do before writing?

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.

DRose: They say you can learn a lot about a person by their surroundings. What does your work area look like?

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.

DRose: What do you consider your guilty pleasure?

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

DRose: Is there anything we didn't cover that you'd like to mention?

Sharon: Not really. Just might mention that I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting some new ones as well.

DRose: Can you tell us a bit about the workshop you’ll be doing for the Desert Rose Conference?

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.

Thank you so much for spending the day with us Sharon. We’re looking forward to seeing you in April.


  1. Sharon, I love how you put your family first -- what a great, solid cornerstone in life!

  2. Sharon, thanks for sharing with us! Very cool that your story ideas come in the form of dreams. I can't wait for your new trilogy coming out later this year!

  3. I'm a pantser, not a plotter, and I love writing like that, nifty things happen. However, I have the same problem that many writers I've spoken to who have identified themselves as pantsers have... that is, we can have 90,000 words, great scenes, great characters, yet somehow we forgot to put a story in there :)

    I can't plot, I think that would not be good for me, but I really like the idea of thinking through the story a bit, and putting just a little bit, a sentence or two, describing what you want to happen with each chapter. That seems to be a great middle ground, to get a loose framework but still be able to satisfy my little pantser heart.

    By the way, it's always nice to see what the lady we know from the classes looks like! :)

  4. Sharon, your STORM FRONT series sounds wonderful. Love born in tragedy is so emotionally compelling. I'm also looking forward to your legal/money workshop with Libby and hope you address the pros and cons of operating under an LLC. Joy & Peace!