Welcome, Shar. It's great to have you here. Please tell us about yourself.
I love to write! Whether it’s a chapter in my next romance novel, a blog entry, a poem or a software manual, I’m always writing. I’m also an avid reader. I’m partial to romance novels from contemporary to historical, but will read most anything. In my free time I also enjoy photography, running (I just ran my first 5K last week without taking walk breaks) and flower gardening. I’m married and have two daughters, ages 11 and 6 and a step-son, age 20. I have a Master of Arts in English from Bowling Green State University and work as a technical writer by day to pay the bills.
I am so impressed that you ran a 5K. Wow! With all your activities, I'm amazed you have time to write. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I can’t remember when I didn’t want to be a writer. I actually have some old stories I wrote back when I was in first or second grade. They are funny to read now!
I'll bet they are. How long does it take you to write a book?
When I start working a rough draft of my novel, it usually takes me one to two months to write. I write mainly in the late evenings (or sometimes when I’m extra motivated the early mornings) when the girls are sleeping. So, I only have one or two hours a day where I can dedicate myself to writing. Before I start writing though, I’ve thought about the plot, characters and done preliminary research for a couple of months. After my rough draft is written it takes me another month or so to re-work and incorporate edits. Then I take a break to regenerate and read!
Another "wow"! You are a fast writer! How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I have written two contemporary romances: Take a Deep Breath and Take Your Time. It’s really hard to pick a favorite. I love Take a Deep Breath because it’s my first novel and the main character deals with anxiety and panic. This is something I too have dealt with over the years. On the other hand, I really like Take Your Time as that is the book I just finished and is still fresh in my mind. I’m working on a third novel, Take My Hand, so I’m sure that will be my next favorite!
That's how I feel, too. My favorite is the book I'm working on. If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?
If I could go back in time to my younger self the biggest piece of advice would to not let fear and anxiety hold me back from doing what I want to do.
Good advice. What two authors would we find you reading when taking a break from your own writing?
Right now you would find me reading either Nora Roberts or Barbara Freethy.
Tell us about your latest book.
My latest book is a sweet contemporary romance called, Take Your Time. In Take Your Time, the young heroine, Maddy Adams often feels more comfortable observing life rather than actively participating in it. For the past five years she’s focused only on her studies and building her photography career. Just graduating from college, Maddy is taking an extended vacation at Lake of the Pines for her sister’s wedding. While she’s happy for her sister, Maddy wonders if she’ll ever find love herself. Meanwhile, her college roomie pressures Maddy to go out with her older brother, who happens to be vacationing at the same lake. Maddy doesn't want to go on another blind date, but after blowing it with the gorgeous man she met on the beach she figures she doesn't have anything to lose.
Mason Ellis finds himself on a beautiful house boat docked at Lake of the Pines after finally taking his best friend’s long-standing invitation to visit. He has two long weeks away from his fast-paced software development business to relax and unplug if he can. Six months ago the woman he'd lived with and hoped to marry left him for someone else. Tired of meaningless hookups, Mason wants more, but is afraid of getting burned again. When he spies a woman on the beach taking his photo, he's intrigued. However, when he finally meets the mystery photographer, she brushes him off. Meanwhile, his little sister keeps pestering him to go on a blind date with her old college roommate. Mason decides a blind date is just what he needs to get back into the dating scene.
Excerpt from Take Your Time:
Maddy’s phone vibrated in her pocket, distracting her from her thoughts. She glanced at the kids now building a sandcastle on the shore and pulled her phone out. The screen told her it was a text message from her best friend and college roommate, Monica. Speaking of pity dates, Maddy thought as she scrolled through the message. Monica was always trying to set her up with some guy. This time the guy happened to be Monica’s older brother.
“Hey Mad, how’s it going? Mason is visiting friends at your lake! I know you would hit it off. I can set it up!”
Maddy frowned. She’d never met Monica’s brother, Mason, and had no intention of going through another painful pity date, especially a blind one. She didn’t want to hurt Monica’s feelings, but she also didn’t want her brother to be obligated to go out with her on his vacation. She sighed as she touch-typed her response.
“I’m not sure I’ll have time with all the wedding stuff going on.”
A few seconds later Monica’s reply flashed across the display. “You’re always too busy. Take some time for you this summer. At least think about it.”
Monica was not going to give up. “I’ll think about it,” Maddy typed and pressed send.
“That’s better than ‘No’” Monica’s reply popped up seconds later.
Maddy rolled her eyes at her friend and tucked her phone back in her shorts pocket. She picked her camera back up and shot some more candid photos of her sister’s children building their sand castle. She scanned the horizon and the surrounding boardwalk with her zoom lens. She’d left her telephoto at home, but her every-day lens still had a decent zoom on it. She snapped a photo of a sailboat skimming the water. A few seconds later a pair of seagulls dipping into the water filled her frame. She panned over to the docks and the line of boats tied to it. Sail boats, speed boats, jet skis, row boats, pontoon boats and even a canoe were moored to the three long wooden piers that jetted out into the lake. A small houseboat made its way into one of the open spaces on the pier closest to Maddy. She saw a golden colored dog sitting on the deck of the boat. She zoomed in a little closer. The dog sat perfectly still except for his wagging tail and panting tongue. The dog stared straight ahead as if guiding the boat into place. The boat bumped the edge of the dock and the dog didn’t flinch.
Maddy watched as a man joined the dog in her view finder. She sucked in her breath at the sight of him. He wasn’t wearing a shirt and his well-muscled back glistened with sweat. Unable to turn away, she snapped a photo as he turned toward the dog. The man bent down and reached to pat the dog’s head. He had a broad smile across his tanned face. Just as the man scratched the dog behind his ears, the dog turned and flicked his tongue right into the man’s mouth. Maddy giggled to herself as she continued to snap a series of photos as if on autopilot. The man quickly stepped back and wiped the back of his hand over his mouth on reflex. He wagged his finger at the impish dog and gave him a mock scolding, before scratching his ears again, this time with his mouth closed. Maddy adjusted her camera to see if she could zoom any closer and caught the sun in her lens. She could see the glare as it flashed across the man’s face. Crap. So much for blending in.
The man looked up and out toward the beach and Maddy. She quickly dropped her camera back around her neck as she felt her cheeks grow hot from being caught watching the man and his dog. She’d been so mesmerized by their interaction that she couldn’t help herself. The photos were for her personal collection and wouldn’t be sold, so there was no real harm taking them. With more people now dotting the beach, he probably hadn’t even realized she’d taken his photo. She was worrying for nothing. Maddy waited for her heart to start beating normally before she looked up and glanced over toward the man again. He seemed to be watching her, studying her. He must see someone he knows, she thought as she continued to stare at him. He wore a pair of faded cut-off jeans that hung off his slender hips. His dark eyes caught and held hers a moment as he slowly brought a smile to his lips. Maddy felt her cheeks burning again. He’s not looking at you anyway. So why are you blushing? she chided herself. He raised his hand and waved. Maddy quickly turned to look behind her. He surely wasn’t waving at her. Her imagination must be playing tricks on her again. She swallowed and glanced back to the pier, but both the dog and the man were gone.
Take Your Time: http://www.amazon.com/Take-Your-Time-Pines-ebook/dp/B00BCBMTGE
Take A Deep Breath: http://www.amazon.com/Take-Deep-Breath-Pines-ebook/dp/B007WN3BSG
One last question, Shar. Where can readers find you?
Shar, it's been great having you here. Wishing you much success.