Thursday, March 14, 2013

On Tuesday, author Sharon Dunn shared her thoughts about collaborating with other writers on a book series. Today, we ask her a few questions about herself.

(And no, silly, that's not Sharon's head shot! Read on for the explanation.)

Q. What do you love about being a writer, and what do you like the least?

A. I love most everything about being a writer. I like setting my own schedule. Love going to conferences and meeting other writers and learning new things. Don’t mind working alone, but I love collaboration too.  My current book, Guard Duty, is book three in a six book series, so I got to work with five other writers.  The interaction and encouragement was energizing.

What don’t I like? I find I’m reluctant to do some of the promotional stuff I’m expected to do and I think I finally figured out why.  A lot of the social networking starts to feel like high school all over again.  How many “friends” do I have? How many “Likes” do I have? What’s my rank on Amazon? It’s like a popularity contest. So much of that stuff can create a false sense of importance. I would rather focus on writing a great story and seeking out genuine interaction and connection with readers.          

Q. Amen to that! I'm pretty sure you have a lot of fellow-writers in that frustrating boat with you. We'd much rather spend our time writing! 
So on that subject, please tell us: how do you get your best ideas?

A. Ideas are everywhere. The hard part is figuring out which idea to pursue, which one would make a good story. Since I write romantic suspense, I also have to think in terms of which idea would fit the construct of a fast paced suspense with a romance thrown in. Let me give you an example of a spark of an idea that I am working on right now. In these early stages, I don’t write anything down. I just let the idea brew in my head. If it passes the brewing test (meaning I see story potential) then I’ll start to brainstorm and free write on the idea to flesh out the story. But here is where the spark for the idea came from. When all the news reports for Hurricane Sandy and all the graphic pictures were being shown, my mind immediately started to think in terms of a story.  There is all that looting going on. There would be huge physical threat to the characters and there would be a degree of isolation. A good foundation for a suspense story. Don’t know if that will ever become a full blown story but the spark for an idea come as easily as that.

Another spark happened when the story of the ex-cop in California who was seeking revenge from being fired from his job started to hit the news. I saw characters who were maybe taken hostage by this guy or were related to him. Or what if my character was one of the lawmen who had to find that guy in the California mountains? That’s how the spark works. Asking lots of what if questions, seeing a character as part of the story. If I pursued either of those ideas, by the time I put the story together, it wouldn’t look anything like the news stories. I’m not trying to recreate those events. I’m using those events to fuel my imagination.      

Q. Plainly, you're a writer at heart! Now let me ask you this, for a little change of subject: Do you have any pets? If so, do you own them, or they you?

A. I’m so glad you asked about pets because it gives me a chance to talk about a new favorite guy in my life. His name is Bart and he is a very energetic border collie. We got him from the shelter. All they could tell us about him was that he and his mom were found abandoned in a rental house.  He’s super smart and super stubborn. I can’t tell you how much this dog has added to my life. When it’s just me and him and the cats in the house, he’s my writing buddy. He comes and lies on my feet (not at my feet) if I’m working at my desk and he checks on me if I am working with my lap desk on the bed. Gotta love those puppies. Bart is almost three now, but he’ll always be my puppy. My new book, Guard Duty, is about a Texas K-9 unit, so it was fun to write about the bond between owner and dog. It was something I have become familiar with and see as a pretty special thing.

Q. Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, Sharon! We wish you the best in all your promotion efforts (smile). Give Bart a scratch behind the ears for us, too! 

Don't forget to come back tomorrow, when you can enter to win a free copy of Sharon's latest release, Guard Duty!


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