Author on the Couch: Sharon Wray
Today I’m conducting a session with…Sharon Wray!
Sharon is giving away set of 8 photographic notecards. They’re cards made from the photographs she uses on her blog!
Just comment and share this post to be entered into the giveaway! Feel free to use the handy-dandy click-to-tweet links to share it quickly.
Any Shakespeare lovers here today? Sharon has graciously shared on the blog today some of her photographs from her trip to Verona and Juliet’s courtyard!
Me: Tell me about an experience that had a profound impact on your life.
Sharon: This may sound clichéd, but having twins has had the most profound effect on my life. For the first thirteen years of my marriage, I was told I’d never get pregnant. I was only nineteen when I got married and by the time I was thirty-two, I’d seen every fertility specialist up and down the east coast who all said the same thing: We can’t help you. So when I ended up pregnant with twins, I was gobsmacked. (That’s the only work I can think of that even begins to explain how I felt!). There’s not a single day since that I haven’t offered prayers of gratitude. Having them has changed the way I look at the world. They’ve made me a better person because I probably wouldn’t have changed on my own. I’m more patient, compassionate, and much calmer. I’m still a Jersey girl at heart, but since the kids arrived, my Jersey (as the kids call it) only comes out in the most dire of circumstances. So if you see me visibly angry or upset, something is seriously wrong!
Me: Kids are game changers that’s for certain!
What personality trait of yours helps you most as an author?
Sharon: I’m stubborn. It’s not necessarily a positive trait, but it means I don’t like being told what to do and I don’t like to give up. It takes a lot for me to abandon my goals and I’ve been known to spend years pursuing them. Writing is a perfect example of this. It took me eleven years to sell my books and there were so many moments along the way where I could’ve given up. There were so many reasons to give up. But I knew what I wanted and I just kept telling myself “One more year. Just give it one more year and we’ll reassess.” 2016 was no different and I pushed myself to keep writing and revising all the while knowing I’d “reassess” in December. Then, in the summer of 2016, I went on submission and sold to Sourcebooks. No one was more surprised than I was.
Me: Stubborn is a good trait to have when you are chasing your dreams. Especially when they pay off. Congratulations! I’m so happy to be publisher sisters with you!
What personality trait of yours hinders you most as an author?
Sharon: I’m sure I’m not alone in claiming perfectionism as my most difficult personality trait. Writing first drafts is a nightmare for me and then I’ll revise and revise for months if I have the time. All in the pursuit of perfection. I love the cutting and pasting and wordsmithing, but I hate the drafting because all I want to do is edit when what I need to do is get the story down. And getting the story down is akin to a bloodletting. It’s messy and violent and as far away from perfect as one can get.Getting the story down is akin to a bloodletting. It’s messy and violent... @sharonbwray #amwriting Click To Tweet
Me: We are so alike in that!
What was your high point as a writer?
Sharon: I’ve had a number of high points as a writer and my agent calls them my stakes in the sand. Because if they hadn’t occurred when they did, I probably would’ve quit writing. My favorite one is the day I was on a Skype call with my agents Deidre Knight and Kristy Hunter (at the awesome Knight Agency) along with Deb Werksman, the Editorial Director at Sourcebooks. My agents and I had agreed that we’d take the offered contract but there were a few things we needed to work out, hence the phone call. During the call, after all the details were agreed upon, Deidre told Deb we were accepting her offer. Deb, Deidre, and Kristy were so happy that I started to cry. I was thrilled myself, but hearing how excited these three amazing women were to work with me and my stories was the absolute best feeling I’ve ever had as a writer. While I’ve always written, it was the first time I truly felt like an author.While I’ve always written, it was the first time I truly felt like an author. @sharonbwray #amwriting @abbie_roads Click To Tweet
Me: And what an amazing author you are! I can’t wait to read your books!
What was your low point as a writer—a time when questioned your path?
Sharon: The worst moment I’ve ever had was when I was with a small critique group at a writers retreat. I didn’t know any of the authors and we were supposed to read our work out loud and critique each other. I was brand new to romance writing and had finaled in a few contests. The other writers ranged from newbie to advanced. When it was my turn, I read my three pages and waited for my critique. I knew it wasn’t perfect but I didn’t expect the vicious reaction from one of the published authors. She ripped apart my writing, my story, and told me I’d not only never be published, no one would ever read my work. The other authors stayed quiet while she destroyed my work. I’m still not sure why this author reacted this way, or why the others sat in silence, but I remember the pain. The public humiliation was so traumatic it changed me for a while. I refused to share my words or critique others for almost two years. While I’ve gotten over the event, I’ve never forgotten it. I honestly think It’s made me a better critique partner and contest judge. I’m hyper-aware of the difference between gently teaching and drawing blood. I always go for the former and avoid the latter.
Me: Oh, Sharon. I feel your pain. I’ve had something similar happen. Took a long time to get over it here too. I wish people were more conscious of how their words can wound.
Which of your characters are you most like? Why?
Sharon: While I’m similar to Juliet Capel, the heroine in my first book When Next We Meet, I’m also like Sara Munro, the heroine in my second book Hope Craves an Execution. (These titles are still tentative. :)) Juliet is a landscape architect with a strong visually creative streak who owns her own business. Writing about a woman struggling to own her own artistic business is something I understand from my own experience as a former couture wedding gown designer. But where Juliet and I differ is that she struggles to rely on others while I’m always asking for help. Sara is the opposite of Juliet. Sara is an archivist dedicated to solving some of histories forgotten mysteries and has a strong geekish/academic drive. Although I share Juliet’s creativity, I’m also a librarian who worked as an historical archivist. Like Sara, I’m a control freak who likes her own way, I can’t let go of an unanswered question, and I don’t like it when people lie to me, especially when the liars are the heroes in my books. Both heroines are drawn from different aspects in my own life yet are truly their own women.
Me: You’ve lived a fascinating life! A couture wedding dress designer and a librarian! How cool!
What causes stress in your writing life? Why?
Sharon: Time causes me the most stress. Even though I write with an outline, it takes me a really, really long time to draft a book. I’m secretly a pantser trying to be a plotter. And the irony is I’m a character-driven writer who ends up with ridiculously complicated plots. It takes me forever to draft these books and I fight every word of the draft because I just want to spend all of my time revising. But since I spend so much time drafting, I never have enough time to revise the way I want to. In the end, I end up cursing Time. It’s all Time’s fault! (because it couldn’t possibly be mine. 🙂I never have enough time to revise the way I want to. In the end, I end up cursing Time. @sharonbwray #amwriting @abbie_roads Click To Tweet
Me: Time is a magic word that I constantly spend (my time) chasing.
If you could have dinner with any famous author who would it be? Why?
Sharon: J.R. Ward. She’s one of the hardest working authors in this industry and I’d love to learn where she gets her amazing self-discipline from. I’d also love to know how she structures her day around her family and writing business-related obligations. I’m in awe of her production schedule, the continuing quality of her writing, and her dedication to her readers. I want to be her when I grow up. Or something close!
Me: Me too! You know how much I love the Black Dagger Brotherhood.
Tell me about your upcoming romantic suspense, When Next We Meet
Juliet Capel knows the devastation of true love better than most. Eight years after her marriage died and her Special Forces husband was imprisoned, she owns a landscape architecture firm and has promised herself she’ll never rely on—or love—another person. Except now that her ex-husband has returned, harder and sexier than ever, she must choose between protecting her new life and risking her heart.
Ex-Green Beret Rafe Montfort destroyed his marriage and went AWOL to work for a vicious arms dealer. He’s lived a dark, violent life since leaving Juliet and has accepted his penance of life alone behind bars. Until he’s mysteriously set free and finds himself both hunter and hunted.
Now Rafe must convince Juliet they have days to find a seventeenth-century vial that started the centuries-long feud between their families. A vial she knows nothing about but is their only chance to free Rafe from his deal with the devil and keep her alive.
While they seek a biological weapon last used during the American Revolution, the tragic lovers find forgiveness and joy in the one place they were afraid to look—each others’ arms.#Author on the Couch @sharonbwray shares an excerpt of her novel that went to auction!Out in 2017 #mustread Click To Tweet
Me: <bouncing up and down in my seat> I can’t wait to read this!
Share with us a favorite paragraph or two from your newest release. Why do you love this paragraph? What makes it special to you?
I love this excerpt because it shows (hopefully) Juliet’s confused emotions regarding Rafe, her ex-husband who abandoned her eight years earlier. He’d sent her a brutal letter explaining why he was leaving her, and this letter haunts them both throughout the book. Before this scene, she’s already been attacked and saved by Rafe. She knows things around her are changing—that they’re far more dangerous than they were the day before—and she’s finally understanding that she needs his help if they both want to survive.
In this scene, she’s just woken from a nightmare about something that happened to the two of them when they were kids (he was 16 and she was 12). Rafe is there because he heard her screaming.
“Rafe?” The word hurt coming out of her chest. Like knives carving each letter along the way.
“I’m here.” He still spoke with that soft droll that used to lull her to sleep.
She rested her forehead against his uninjured shoulder. Now she knew the source of the heat. His body threw off warmth enough to reset the thermostat.
Why was she such a coward?
“That letter you sent me—”
“Things aren’t what they seem. I can’t tell you everything that happened to me, just please trust that everything I’ve ever done has been for your safety.”
“I’ll help you and you help me? Then you’ll leave?”
“Yes. But there’s something else. We have one week.”
She raised her head to meet his gaze. Before he left, she’d been able to read his eyes. His secrets and dreams. His unspoken desires. Now there only were shadows tinged with sadness and regret. The blazing fire she’d loved had turned to cold, gray ash. And for some reason she didn’t want to examine, it mattered. She blinked a few times, determined to keep herself together and him separate. “Then we start tomorrow—I mean later today.”
He held her head with one hand while his other arm wrapped around her waist. Her breasts flattened against hard chest muscles. His breath tickled her nose, both warm and forceful. How could she consider being this close to him? Working with him? He brushed a kiss against her cheek. The sensation hit her system like the bottle rockets he used to shoot up to her balcony. Every nerve ending shattered into a million blazing fragments, and she closed her eyes. His lips traced hers and the tingle curled her toes.
How, after all these years, could she still be so susceptible to him?
Because he’d once been her husband. The one man in the entire world she’d loved beyond reason.
She tilted her head and he pulled her closer until the brush became a demand. The demand became an ache in her womb. And the ache became need so great she threw her arms around his neck. Her world tilted under a blaze of heat and desire and bliss. His arms tightened around her while his lips explored hers as if he’d never kissed anyone else ever.
He broke away suddenly, leaving her a shaky, disoriented mess.
“Juliet.” The word rolled like a wave break. Forward, then retreating. His chest heaved and he ran his hands over his prison-shorn hair. “I’m sorry.”
Those words stung more than his rejection. Of course he was sorry.
Hadn’t he said so in his letter eight years ago?
“You should leave.” She wrapped her arms around her waist and glanced at her clock. “It’s almost three am and we both need to sleep.”
Without warning, he swung her up in his arms and laid her on the bed. “I don’t expect anything from you. But I’m asking you to help me fix what I’ve ruined. Then I’ll leave you in peace. Your life can go on as you want it to be, as it was before I came back.”
Her eyes drifted closed. The nightmare’s adrenaline rush left as swiftly as it came in, leaving her shaky and depleted. She heard the words, but his face blinked in and out of time and space. The bed sagged and she scooted over so he could adjust his body. Then, just before the weight of sleep hit, she reached out to feel his warmth.
No, she wasn’t happy he’d been released from prison. She wasn’t happy he’d come home. And she wasn’t happy he’d kissed her and she’d kissed him back.
But right now, she didn’t want to be alone. And that was going to be a problem.
You can find Sharon here:
Abbie Roads writes dark emotional novels featuring damaged characters, but always gives her hero and heroine a happy ending… after torturing them for three hundred pages. Her first novel RACE THE DARKNESS is available now!
HUNT THE DAWN is available for pre-order now.