Posted by Lizzie Lamb
It is my pleasure to welcome Sharon Booth to my blog. Sharon and I ‘found’ each other via Facebook and the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Sharon is a hardworking and inspired novelist and a generous supporter of other writers.
We met ‘in the flesh’ for the first time last year at the RNA Afternoon Tea in York. Sharon is every bit as warm and friendly as I’d imagined. Take it away, Sharon . . .
I write contemporary romance, with a generous sprinkling of humour thrown in for good measure. For many years, I tried to write big, dramatic, historical sagas, as I’d grown up reading Catherine Cookson novels, and thought that was the sort of thing I should be writing. It took me quite some time to realise that, as wonderful as those books are, they’re not the sort of books I need to write. I started to create contemporary stories, filled with heroines I would happily hang out with, and heroes I fell in love with. Now, I have nine books published! Two of those books started life as People’s Friend pocket novels, which was a dream come true, as it meant my work was actually on the shelves in supermarkets and WH Smith.
I have also sold the large-print rights for the pocket novels, to Ulverscroft, and the first one was published last April, as part of its Linford Romance Library, with the second one coming out in March. This means I also have books in libraries.
I live in East Yorkshire with my husband and German Shepherd dog. I have five grown-up children and seven grandchildren. I’m one tenth of the blogging group, The Write Romantics. I’m shamefully prone to developing huge crushes on fictional heroes, and I never lose hope that, one day, I will hear the sound of those Tardis engines …
A Q and A session with Sharon. I’m sure you’ll find her answers and inspirational.
advice for fledgling authors
- If you really want to write, do it. Don’t wait until you “have the time” or until inspiration strikes. Pick up a pen, or sit at that computer, and start. I’ve been told, many times, by various people, that they would love to write a book “if they had the time”. The fact is, you have to make the time. I have a family and a day job. If you want to write, you will push everything else aside and do it.
- Seek out other writers. It’s a very lonely business if you don’t make contact, and the writing community is so supportive. Join a writing group, or make online connections. Maybe join the Romantic Novelists’ Association if your genre is romance.
- Read the genre you write in. Read how-to-write books. If you can afford it, take writing courses.
- Be prepared for rejection and develop a skin like a rhinoceros hide – or, at least, pretend to.
- Don’t expect to get rich. Keep writing. Don’t give up. If you want this, you must make it happen.
- Be kind to other writers. It’s a tough world out there, so share their news, encourage, support and congratulate. Learn to promote your own stuff, but don’t be afraid to promote other people’s. There’s room for everyone.
- Most of all, don’t forget to enjoy it. Writing is a job, and it’s undoubtedly hard work. You started writing because you love it, never lose sight of that.
Who or what has inspired you the most to become a writer?
- Enid Blyton, whose stories sparked my love for books and reading, which, in turn, made me want to write my own stories.
- My English teacher, from the age of thirteen until I left school. My English teacher was so encouraging and supportive, really making me believe that this was something I could do. For the first time in my life, I began to think that writing was a gift, and that I should nurture it and be proud of it.
- A BBC programme, Reader, I Married Him, back in 2008, or thereabouts, ignited that flame of hope again, after years spent raising children, and writing nothing more exciting than shopping lists.
- Jane Wenham-Jones’s book, Wannabe a Writer? convinced me that, yes, I really, really did, and led me to study creative writing, read numerous how-to books, and eventually join the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme.
- Milly Johnson and Sue Townsend. Reading books by these two wonderful writers, about people I knew and understood, I finally realised that I could write about people like me, and that books could be funny, too.
If not a writer – then what?
I do have a day job, working for the NHS. If I’m honest, though, that’s not a path I chose, exactly. I’d already given up on the idea of university, as I’d been assured that it wasn’t for “people like us”. I wanted to be a primary school teacher at one point, in my early thirties, and took a further education course aimed at women keen to return to work after having children. A careers guide visited us, and suggested I should aim lower, and try to be a teaching assistant instead. My already fragile confidence was shattered. I spent a few more years floundering, before finally gathering my courage and signing up for a degree in literature with the Open University, graduating with honours in my mid-forties. I want people to know that it’s never too late to realise your dreams, don’t listen to the doubters.
Tell us a little bit about where you set your novels
I set my novels in Yorkshire – which is such a huge and diverse county. My Kearton Bay novels are set on the North Yorkshire coast, in a little village that bears a remarkable resemblance to Robin Hood’s Bay. Bit by bit, I’ve built up a whole world around that village, spreading out into the Yorkshire Moors and creating a network of villages and towns that also feature in my Moorland Heroes and Bramblewick series. The Skimmerdale series, on the other hand, is set over in the stunningly beautiful Yorkshire Dales. I have another series in my mind, which will take place in the Yorkshire Wolds, which is an area on my doorstep – the Wolds Way actually starts in my home town of Hessle, right by the Humber Bridge. It’s an underrated area, often overlooked as people rave about the Moors and Dales. I absolutely love Yorkshire, and like nothing more than heading out for the day to take in the stunning views or ancient buildings. We’ve got plenty of castles and abbeys to choose from, that’s for sure.
It’s the time of peace on earth and goodwill to all men, but at Carroll’s Confectionary, the meaning of Christmas seems to have been forgotten. New boss, Kit Carroll, is hardly winning friends with his high-handed attitude, his foolhardy approach to production, and his tight-fisted treatment of the factory’s employees.
Marley Jacobs, his self-styled PA, is determined to make him see the error of his ways, and return the festive spirit to Carroll’s Confectionary.
Unfortunately, the little matter of their previous relationship, along with Kit’s callous treatment of her when they were teenage sweethearts, keeps getting in the way of her good intentions. With encouragement from co-worker Don, romantic sister Olivia, and — astonishingly — the usually sceptical Great Uncle Charles, Marley decides to save this modern-day Mr Scrooge from himself, despite having no well-meaning ghosts to help her.
But revisiting the past doesn’t just stir things up for Kit. As Marley struggles to deal with bittersweet memories, present-day events take a surprising turn. Can the future be changed, after all? And is it only Kit who needs saving?
“Sharon Booth’s writing just gets better and better…” Review of Saving Mr Scrooge: Being Anne Book Blog.
“Everything you want in a Christmassy book”. Review of Christmas at the Country Practice: Writer up the Hill.
“A terrific book from a terrific author”. Review of Resisting Mr Rochester: Antrim Cycle
“There Must Be an Angel is one of those delightful stories that grabs you by the hand on page one”. Review of There Must Be an Angel: Jaffa Reads Too.
“A hugely entertaining jaunt of a novel through the Yorkshire dales”. Review of This Other Eden: Random Badger.
I’m currently working on the second in my Skimmerdale series, the sequel to This Other Eden. I’m very much enjoying revisiting my gorgeous Yorkshire Dales sheep farmer, Eliot! I’m also working on the third Bramblewick novel, which continues the story of the village surgery, and the medical and reception staff who work there.
You can find out more about Sharon and her book here – www.sharonboothwriter.com
**featured image – Whitby, Yorks – https://unsplash.com/@grafiklee