About Sharon Anderson:
I grew up in a haunted house in the sleepy wilds of Ballard in Washington, where front lawns seemed grander, roads wider, my dad’s hands larger, and everyone was a friend or at least a potential audience member. And while our ghost never showed itself, it did make its presence known from time to time with doors mysteriously opening, lights blinking on and off, and the feeling I was never alone. A less creative person might chalk it up to older house issues and an off-the-charts imagination… I spent my time daydreaming, making up stories to share with the neighborhood kids.
We moved onto a 15 acre parcel and became farmers. City girl meets farm life. Suddenly, my daydreaming hours were taken up feeding rabbits and geese, slopping pigs, chucking rocks from the garden, and fighting hens for their eggs. I tried milking the goats, but that didn’t work out. I was regulated to Pig Wrangler, a title I did not wear with pride in those days. I developed a love for rising before the sun, gardening, and long walks with my faithful Airedale and companion, Cindy. The stories by this time were an integral part of me and kept pouring out.
I often dream of that farm, except in my dreams the house isn’t sinking and the fences are repaired. Not one weed in the garden. I walk through the rooms and hear the sounds and voices of a happy time, distant and now gone. We moved from the farm and shortly after, the landlord sold the entire property to a developer who removed the very ground we farmed on – 30 feet of soil straight down and built office buildings and a hotel on what is now flat, stagnant land. It’s said you can never go back, and in this instance, it’s true. But the apple tree my dad pruned with a chainsaw one year is still standing, and the cedar we butchered our rabbits on is there for all to see. I wonder if the people working away in those office buildings ever look out their windows and see the memory of us ghosting through the motions of our everyday life.
I went on to Seattle Pacific University and studied clothing and textiles. I foolishly put away the childhood dream of becoming an author. But, strange things happen to writers who don’t write, or grow their craft. You don’t want to see it. Trust me. I’ve always had stories coming out of me, something like the plague, and finally I started writing them down.
Today I live in a farming community with my charming husband, brilliant children, amazing dog, two rapscallion cats, a dodgy guinea pig, and a collection of indifferent fish. My writing grew when I shared my work with other writers in a supportive, caring environment. I believe in writing communities, wherever you can find them. My stories are dark and twisted with a sense of humor, because if you can’t laugh at yourself, you’re already in hell.
What inspires you to write?
I think I probably have always had stories coming out of me, some stories come from dreams, some come from headlines, or a phrase or a place. They just come and I no longer try to stop the process. And, I like to have control over my world. It seems that the only real way to be in control is to write my own stories where my characters get to say and do things – fantastical things – that I could be arrested for in real life.
Also, I think people who write cannot help but write. It took me a long time to realize that I feel better, think clearer, am actually a friendlier person after I have written. It must be something that is integral to me (or any author) as a person. It’s what I do. I cannot possibly leave it behind or suddenly stop! That would truly be a nightmare.
Tell us about your writing process.
I used to be a seat of my pants writer, then I sort of became a bit of an outliner, and now I’m a little of both, I suppose. This comes from getting a handle on story structure, what needs to happen, where is the character arc. To be entertaining and well-crafted a story must hit the high point.
But when I write, I really love to write fast for short periods of time. Sometime I labor over meaning – but that comes later. The biggest challenge I have is banishing my inner editor long enough for my creative mind to take over. Once that happens, once characters come alive and jump into my reality, there’s no telling where the story will go. That’s why when it’s all on the page, that inner editor is invited back in to sort out the structure and figure it all out.
I used to use a big chalkboard in my office. But then my son moved home from college and I no longer have an office…
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I don’t so much interact with my characters…I become them. I actually put myself in their ‘shoes’ and the words just come. Channeling characters? I guess that’s the best description of what I do!
What advice would you give other writers?
Here are a few things I try to keep in mind:
It doesn’t need to be perfect.
Get it on the page.
You can fix anything.
Don’t throw your work away!
Your story is unique and no one can tell it like you can.
Keep Writing. Facebook can wait.
If all else fails, get better butt glue.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I asked around – I have plenty of friends who are self-published and doing quite well, and friends who are more traditionally published and love it. I decided on Booktrope (a hybrid from Seattle) for my first release because I liked the marketing plan, the team approach. I’ve learned a lot, too.
I just recently put my award winning short story, Stone God’s Wife, up on KDP direct because it had already appeared in Mark Souza’s anthology Nightmares: Bedtime Stories for the Wicked, and the online magazine Chanticleer Reviews. So, we’ll see how that all works out.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
People will always be in need of story. It’s how we learn who we are. So, I think publishing has a future. There is a market for super-literary books with sentences so convoluted only a master’s in English can get through it, and there is definitely a market for genre fiction. Non-fiction will always sell – anywhere. Everyone will find a place. It isn’t the end of the world for books or publishing as we know it.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Magical Realism, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance (light on the romance), Horror, Comedy, Women’s Fiction, and Y/A
What formats are your books in?: eBook, Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you, the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.