My Interview with Sharon Cupp Pennington.
As I told you all yesterday, I would have an interview with Sharon to share and so here it is. Enjoy.
I appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview.
I appreciate the opportunity, Cheryl. Thank you.
What’s something about you that we’d be surprised to learn?
Hmmm. . .maybe my age, that I'm sixty and publishing my first novel. Or maybe not. Isn't 60 the new 40?
What’s your idea of a relaxing day?
A day when I don't have to cook. Having raised three kids, I suffer from terminal kitchen burn-out. Thank goodness, Wayne is masterful in the kitchen.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
And what is the worst?
Be yourself. I'm painfully shy. I think a lot of writers are, that's why we bury ourselves in our writing. In marketing my novel, I'm having to step fully out of my comfort zone and that's not easy.
Which comes first for you … the character or the plot?
Generally, the plot idea comes first. Then I add the necessary characters to develop that plot - or as the plot develops, characters just show up - sometimes these stories take on a life all their own.
In your opinion, what constitutes a good mystery?
A really good mystery is one where you're guessing "who dun it?" until the very end. A story where, as you read, you want so badly to get to the end, to solve it, and yet you know when you get there - to that end - the story will be over, book finished - and you don't want that either. Aren't sequels great?
Do you use an outline when plotting?
No, I just write. Usually I finish a chapter, and then I send it to my critique group for feedback. They're an excellent sounding board. Sometimes, if I'm stuck, I have certain members that I brainstorm with "back channel." That works best for me.
Your book Hoodoo Money has Braeden believing that there must be a curse when Angeline takes the coin off a gypsy’s grave. So I ask you do you believe in curses and ghosts.
Well, let's see. . .whenever Wayne (my husband of 42 years) and I go to the casino, I try to wear my lucky charm bracelet (think I paid three bucks for it at an outlet store) and the shirt I wore to the casino the last time I won big, and then we have this funky little good luck handshake we do in the truck on the way there. Oh, and I chew gum and talk to the slot machines - a few sweet nothings can't hurt. I definitely believe in karma, in what goes around comes around. I believe if there is good in the world - and there is - then who’s to say there can't also be evil? I see the way we live our lives as an investment. You get out of it what you put in. As corny as it sounds, I prefer to invest something good.
What do you love most about the book you’ve just written/released?
That it's finally finished. Just kidding. I love the characters in this book, Braeden and Montgomery, Charlie and Angeline, even old Bull Scully and Elizabeth.
What has been your best experience so far though this whole process?
Holding that copy of Hoodoo Money in my hand for the first time was an absolute dream come true. I ended up going with a small publishing house, Draumr Publishing, out of Maryland. The owner, Rida Allen, also my editor, is tough but fair. She added a personal touch to every aspect - from cutting unnecessary chunks of my writing to hashing out the cover art. It's been a really good experience.
What type of advise do you have for someone just starting out in the business of writing and getting their first book published?
Believe in yourself and the quality of your product. Remember that your acceptance or rejection is based on one person's opinion. It's hard to hold onto that belief when doors are closing in your face, or your query letters are simply being ignored. I even got one rejection on the back of a blue flyer. Guess they didn't want to waste the paper. Talk about impersonal. So hang in there. Keep after it. If you don't have faith in yourself, who’s going to? Also, and this is crucial, join a GOOD critique group, be it online or local. The experience you'll gain is priceless. It'll also toughen your skin.
What is on your bookshelf?
Oh, goodness, I love books. Love the smell of books and bookstores. I especially love romantic suspense, suspense in general. My keepers include novels by Linda Howard, Karen Robards, Stuart Woods, Jayne Ann Krentz, Stella Cameron - hmmm, let me go look - Tami Hoag, Kay Hooper, Julie Garwood and Catherine Coulter, lots of Nora Roberts and Sandra Brown and Iris Johansen. My favorite book is usually the last one I've read.
If you could save three books from burning, which three would they be?
That's a hard question. I feel like I should name some tome of deep moral value to humankind. But all I can think of is how often, when writing, I use a thesaurus. And then I'm thinking, "Why are these books being burned?" Should I be picketing, marching, protesting?
What book are you currently working on now?
Although I have several novels started, I'm concentrating my efforts on the sequel to Hoodoo Money, tentatively titled Under the Tortoise Shell Tree. My publisher has already shown an interest in this second novel which means I won't have to "shop it around."
Thank you again for doing this interview with me. My pleasure, Cheryl.
Hoodoo Money, a romantic suspense novel set in contemporary Louisiana and Texas,
Released: May 2008
Available at Amazon and other fine online booksellers