"A Candle Loses Nothing By Lighting Another Candle" - Father James Keller

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Role Reversal: Shara's characters interview her

Following Donna’s lead (yesterday’s post) I asked the characters of my books if one of them would like to interview me. Unfortunately, several came forward, so I let them have their way. First up is Helena Terra from THE MEN ON MARS. She’s exiled from Earth because of her secret past and now she wants to get home by any means necessary.

Helena: So tell me a bit about your home on Earth. I really miss it.

Shara: Helena, I don’t know how it is on Mars, but here in Richmond, VA, it’s hot! We have air conditioners rather than biodomes, and my herbs are starting to look mighty brown. They always recover in the fall, though, so I can make sun tea. My son, age 11, doesn’t seem to mind the heat, but my dog looks like he’s going to melt every time we go out for a walk.

Helena: How did you decide I would meet Nate on Mars in the first place?

Shara: I was inspired as I re-watched the entire DVD set of Firefly in one week. A show that should never have been canceled. But I started writing The Men on Mars as a freebie for my newsletter—it was supposed to be nice and short, but your story, Helena, needed more space to be told.

Helena: Yeah, I had a lot to get over. Thanks for creating Nate for me.

Shara: You’re welcome. By the way, folks can sign up for my newsletter loop here to keep up with my upcoming releases and events.

Haden: {stepping in front of Helena} I have a bone to pick with you, Shara.

[Haden Blackwood is the hot werewolf from BLAME IT ON THE MOON. He’s wanted for murder but determined to prove his innocence.]

Shara: Oh?

Haden: What kind of irresponsible writer has a werewolf adopted by a human couple? I could have killed them!

Shara: You’re stronger than that, Haden.

Haden: And what’s the deal with hooking me up with a mind reader? I have secrets to keep, you know!

Shara: Ah, but Kitty has secrets, too, and she’s confident enough to handle a relationship with a werewolf.

Haden: Will I ever meet my birth parents?

Shara: We’ll see. I’m working on the sequel to Blame It on the Moon currently. I think you’re going to be surprised at what you discover when you start your search for them.

Haden: Well, hurry up and write, woman.

Heath: {quietly moves forward} I found Sylvia in the depths of a Mexican jungle. How do you choose your settings and how do you research them?

[Heath Williams from PRIMITIVE PASSION has a chronic phobia that makes him an unlikely and unwilling rescuer for Sylvia, who’s stranded deep in the jungle.]

Shara: I set most of my stories here in Richmond—writing what I know—but I still spend time visiting the areas I plan to use in my plots, taking pictures, and observing the people and architecture. But I’ve visited Mexico twice, the first time when I was an impressionable sixteen-year-old, so it’s always be in my heart. For Primitive Passion, I did a lot of research on Chiapas and the Lacandon Jungle, particularly the wildlife (ie. snakes).

Heath: Yeah, I’m sure Sylvia thanks you for that one. {wry smile} So you did research on agoraphobia as well?

Shara: Yes. I think the common perception is the afflicted person can’t leave his home, but that doesn’t have to be the case. It’s an anxiety disorder that involves avoiding places from which you can’t easily escape, like crowds, or places that may trigger a panic attack. For you, the surrounding jungle feels safe and familiar, but you don’t go into town and definitely not on a plane.

Kerry: Hey, let me be last. I want to know how you started writing in the first place and what it took to get Enlightened Love, your first baby, to publication.

[Last is Kerry Reynolds from my first book, ENLIGHTENED LOVE. She’s the homeless heroine on the run from a fiancé-gone-bad and in need of ex-Buddhist monk Rick’s help.]

Shara: Well, I’ve been writing my whole life, but I determined to write a novel when I was pregnant with my son. What I finished then was not fit to see the light of day, but then I started taking writing workshops and became a member of Virginia Romance Writers, a chapter of Romance Writers of America. I’ve learned so much from VRW and the folks in the chapter, like Carolyn Greene who taught me how to actually plot a book. Her Plot Doctor class helped me finish Enlightened Love, and another friend from VRW told me to submit to Liquid Silver Books. The process didn’t end with acceptance. My editor and I went through the book at least six more times before it was ready to go.

Kerry: And we all {gestures to all the other interviewers} want you to tell readers how to find us.

Shara: Of course. Visit http://www.SharaLanel.com for excerpts and links to Amazon, Loose Id, and Liquid Silver Books—all of which carry my books. I’m so glad I got to chat with you all. Brought back memories. Thanks so much!


  1. I love your book titles. Very provocative. Did you come up with them yourself, or did the publisher?

  2. I did, but sometimes I wish someone else would ;-) Like one of my short stories I named "A Ball Drop Between Friends" and I had a couple people make fun of that. NOW I can see the problem with that.

  3. A very clever idea. Enjoyed reading about your characters.
    Ann Ambrosio

  4. Thanks Ann! I don't think I've seen you in while--hope to see you at Sept. meeting.

  5. This was a cute way to let people know something about your books without having to do a synopsis.

  6. Yeah, I hate synopsis ;-) I'm glad you liked it.

  7. I enjoyed hearing from your characters. They seem like intelligent people:) Great interview.

  8. Fun post, Shara. I can't wait to find out what Haden discovers.

  9. That was fun, Shara, and a great way to introduce your characters to new readers. Especially liked Haden.

  10. What a cool idea, Shara. Thanks for letting your characters loose for us!

  11. Hey everyone, Thanks for coming by and I'm glad you liked the interview! Sorry I haven't replied sooner--we just got back from the grandparents--major storm out there (Louisa) and here (Richmond) you can't tell a drop even touched the ground.

  12. What a fun way to learn about the author and her characters and their books. Great interview.

  13. I enjoyed your characters interviewing you! Do you enjoy all the research you have to do for your books? They all sound really good. :)

  14. Thanks, Nikki.

    Annalisa, I do love the research. Sometimes I go way off tangent exploring more than is important to my story--then I have to drag my focus back so I can keep on writing.

  15. Hi Shara,
    This is a great way to do an interview! Very interesting and unique.

  16. Great interview! It was nice again meeting some of the characters I've encountered before in your books. They're all such fascinating people with interesting stories. Keep 'em coming! I'm sure you have more clamoring for the light of day.


In accordance with the new FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, Kiki Howell of An Author's Musings, would like to advise that in addition to purchasing my own books to review, I also receive books, and/or promotional materials, free of charge in return for an honest review, as do any guest reviewers.