AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: KELLY SHARP
Kelly Sharp has dropped by to chat with Joyfully Reviewed about her writing….
Kelly what is your most current work?
Jumping Off the Rollercoaster published by Lazy Day Publishing
Tell us a little about Jumping off the Rollercoaster:
I got divorced several years ago, and it was a rough time getting settled into the single life. A few years later I was trying to get my fantasy series published when my boyfriend said “You ought to write about your divorce, that’s something women would be interested in.” I looked around and saw the popularity of “chick lit” and the “Fifty Shades” phenomenon and thought “He’s right!” So I started writing about things that happened to me, friends of mine, things we WISHED would have happened to us (LOL).
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
It depends. In the romance story, I had an ending I knew I wanted to get to, so I kind of directed the characters. They DID take some side trips, however. In the fantasy, my writing partner and I just turned them loose. They really surprised us at times!
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
The genre of this book – romance – just kind of took over the story. I never made it my aim. I just wanted to tell the story and here is where it ended up. My fantasy story was the same. We just wrote the story and then other people said “Oh, this is a fantasy.”
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
I do. Two, actually. In Jumping Off the Rollercoaster, my favorite character is Jack. He is roughly based on a friend, but in the book I could make him “over the top”, which was fun. In the fantasy series, my favorite character by far is Jewel. He just puts his head down and guts out whatever happens to him.
Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far? The toughest to get right was the ex husband in Jumping Off the Rollercoaster. Because I was thinking of my own divorce when I was writing, it was hard to keep him “even” and not the monster that my ex appeared to be to me at times. I know everyone has their own perspective and I tried to show in the book that perhaps there was more than one, even if Beth couldn’t see it.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
Oh yes. I’ve seen people handle their divorce in different ways, and I incorporated some of them into the book. Fun stories? Well, in the book Beth goes to a nudist resort; I’ve actually been to one, too, and the moment when you have to take your clothes off in front of strangers is a bit unsettling, to say the least!
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
Time. As I said, working full time, having a home and family, your time just evaporates. Then when you do get a half hour to write, it takes time to get back into the story and have some continuity. Oh, and feedback. When you trust someone to read your stuff and they don’t love it as much as you. That’s always tough, even if it is necessary to point out weaknesses in the story.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
I’m a history geek. Love it. My TV is always tuned to History Channel.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Guilty pleasure? I love those trashy TV shows where everyone is a loser and you feel better about your life after watching them. “Cheaters”, “Hoarders”, “Parking Wars” That kind of stuff. One episode of “Honey Boo Boo” or “Big Fat Gypsy Wedding” and I think “Oh, my life is soooooo in control. My house is clean, my kids are disciplined. I’m good!”
What TV Show are you addicted to?
Addicted to? Nothing. I’m a reader more than anything. BUT, I will admit to DVR’ing Househunters International, What Not to Wear and Dr. Who. (Weird combo, I know.)
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is just a must have or the creative juice don’t flow?
Some quiet and again, TIME. I think out a lot of my stuff before writing, so I might appear to be sitting, staring out into space, but inside my head, my characters are making love or climbing mountains, or there’s a sword fight!
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song? Yes, I love music and listen to all kinds (except rap, which does not count as “music” in my book) Jumping off the Rollercoaster doesn’t have a theme song, although there might be one for the sequel, since Beth and Jack have more adventures based on my own life and I have some special songs with my boyfriend. I actually made a CD of theme music for the fantasy series, based upon events in the story.
If your story was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
Hmm… No clue. I’m so out of it with the “beautiful people” I don’t even know who’s popular now. Maybe Helen Hunt could be Beth – she’s about the right age and has that little edginess I wanted Beth to have. I would like Aaron Eckhardt for Jack, but Boyfriend says no way, it should be Kevin Spacey. As for the ex – hmm, is Lucifer busy? LOL
Where were you when you got your first contract? Who did you tell first?
In the car on the way out to dinner. I checked my email on my phone and looked at my boyfriend in shock. He was the first to know!
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
Probably about twelve. My mother didn’t read them, but my aunt did and would send up bags of books when she was done with them. (Confession – I don’t read much romance… I prefer big, fat, detailed historical dramas or science fiction. Anything over 700 pages gets my attention…)
What author causes you to “go fan girl”/ squeal over/anticipate upcoming books?
Like I said, I’ll read just about anything, except mysteries (they just piss me off – who killed who – who cares?) So I’ve always got about 20 books stacked by the bed (and now loaded on the Kindle). So, I don’t “wait” on anyone. I just read what I get hold of next. I do miss the anticipation of the next Harry Potter books, since I read them with my kids and we all enjoyed them together. I love books by Sharon Kay Penman and am always happy to find a new one by her. I also was thrilled to find a new one by Jean Auel a few months ago.
If you still have one of those pesky non-writing jobs what is it?
One that would get me in hot water if they knew I was writing erotic romance. Let’s just leave it at that.
Do you have a favorite movie you have seen in the last few months and/or an all time favorite?
Favorite book and movie – Gone with the Wind. Read it about 25 times. Seen the movie about the same, 5 times in the theater. The scope of the story, the characters, the use of Margaret Mitchell’s own personal story in the Scarlett’s, the colors of the movie (in “Technicolor!”) and the glamor of its making. Perfection, at least in my view.
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
Well, I’m trying to find some time to work on a sequel to Jumping Off the Rollercoaster, you know, the “further adventures of Beth”, LOL. I’m also doing some research for a book I always wanted to write about my grandmother. She was born in 1907 and died 2 weeks short of her 100th birthday. The amount of stuff that happened during her life, both in the world and to her personally, is just phenomenal and would make a great story, I think. I’m also always working on trying to get a huge four volume fantasy series that my writing partner and I have written published. It’s completed and (we think) awesome! So far lots of query letters and lots of rejection slips.
If you could co-write with another author who would it be?
My writing partner right now is pretty awesome. She lives in the UK and we haven’t much chance to write together lately, but when we do, it really hums! As for “famous” authors? I’ve always admired the detailed worlds of people like JK Rowling and GRR Martin. I also admire the research of Bernard Cornwell and Stephen Ambrose.
How do you pick your characters names?
In different ways. Sometimes if the character is kind of based on someone I know, I just use the same initials and make up a different name, (not very original, I know). Sometimes it is a name that, to me at least, suggests something about their personality. Or the opposite. Once in a while it’s just a name I heard and thought was attractive sounding.
Do you prefer the love at first sight approach or a steady growth throughout?
I don’t really believe in love at first sight. Lust perhaps! LOL. Loving someone means knowing someone, their strengths and their weaknesses, their flaws and their gifts. You can’t do that at first sight.
Where can readers find you?
I’m on Twitter – @KellySharp51.
That’s about it. No web page yet. Or Facebook.
I work full time and write when I can. That doesn’t leave much time on the clock for social media!