Welcome to author Sharon Michaels who gave us a wonderful look into her life as a writer, past and present, in this interview.
Describe your favorite/current writing spot or space.
In an ideal world I would be sitting in a luxurious beach house with a spectacular view of an ocean. In the real world my office is in the desert southwest. I love my office, don’t get me wrong. I start writing early enough so I can watch the beautiful desert sunrises out my window. The gorgeous colors as the sun rises over the mountains always puts a smile on my face.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I generally set pretty ambitious goals for myself. I write short reads and novellas – that’s about 10,000 – 20,000+ words per book. I like to write books that are part of a series. My goal is usually one book per month. Some months are better than others. It usually depends if the characters in my head are in a talking mood or if they decide to remain silent.
I’m a morning writer. I’ll get up at four or five in the morning, grab my caffeine, and start a series of twenty-minute writing sprints. After twenty minutes, I’ll get up and move around for five minutes or so and then start writing again until I have at least one thousand words written for the day. I can get a decent first draft done in two weeks. Then comes the dreaded editing process. Generally, editing takes as long as, if not longer, than writing the first draft. I dislike editing!!!
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I have five unfinished books/stories. They are anywhere from almost beginning stages to almost finished stages. I guess I’ve lost interest in them. Why? I have no idea. It’s probably the next shiny object syndrome.
I have a full-length novel finished but can’t seem to bring myself to edit it. I think it is the fear of being judged. The practical side of me says I should pull up my big girl pants and get on with it. What’s the worst thing that can happen? No one buys the novel, or I get bad reviews. I’ve learned you have to develop thick skin if you want to be a published author.
What comes first for you, the plot or characters?
It depends. Sometimes it is the plot and sometimes characters. The first series I ever wrote, The Oscar the Doxie Detective short read cozy mystery series, was based on our mini-dachshund Oscar. I wrote the four books to honor his memory and feisty spirit. That series was all character-driven.
I’ve written several sweet clean romances, and those are mostly plot-driven.
The cozy mystery series I call the RV series, (the first book is Dog Treats, Doxies & Danger) again stars Oscar and the main characters from the Doxie Detective series. The RV series is a combination of plot and character. I wanted to expand on the human characters and include the fun aspect of traveling around the United States. I enjoy writing about the characters, especially ninety-two years young Aunt Tabitha. I’d say this series is both plot and character driven.
On Santa’s Naughty List cozy mystery is a novella mostly character-driven. I woke up one morning with the main characters needing to be heard. The cozy mystery plot shares the stage with a sweet romance between Pam and Paul Bigelow. Honestly, the characters spoke to me.
Can you hear your characters talking?
Yes!!! Sometimes I cannot write as fast as they’re trying to communicate with me. I have to ask them to slow down. I actually hear the different pitches and speech patterns of their individual voices. I work to capture the emotion I’m hearing from each character. I’ve even cried a few times while writing a scene.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
My mascot is Oscar our red smoothie mini-dachshund. Oscar passed over the Rainbow Bridge about eight years ago. I have pictures of him all over my office. He’s even on the cover of all four Oscar the Doxie Detective books.
He’s my mascot because of his never-give-up attitude. I won’t go into the entire story, but he had to overcome many health issues and not once did it stop him from enjoying life. My husband and I still talk about how Oscar was our mentor. He taught us to take each day as it comes, never allow negativity to consume you, and live life to the fullest.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
My new computer, I’d be lost without it.
What is your favorite childhood book(s)?
Hands down, Nancy Drew – the entire series. I even reread all the books as an adult.
I wanted to be like Nancy Drew when I grew up. She was smart, independent, respected and had meaningful adventures. I was a shy girl with thick glasses – Nancy Drew was everything I was not.
My dad would take me to the department store every couple of months to buy the next book in the series. Good memories…
What’s next for you and your writing?
1. Finishing those unfinished stories and sitting down to edit the finished novel that’s been sitting on the closet shelf for three years.
2. Finish my Hat with Nine Lives Woman’s Contemporary/Historical Fiction series – I have Books 1-6 published with three books to go.
3. Write more cozy mysteries. I enjoy the genre and love telling a good story with relatable characters and plot twists and turns.
4. Keep having fun writing!!! When writing becomes a chore, that takes the joy out of it. If I’m struggling to write, the readers will be able to tell.
5. I want to be like Nancy Drew. Every day I wake up and strive to create a day filled with meaningful adventures.
For me the perfect day is sitting at my computer and writing uninterrupted for hours. The world seems to disappear and my vivid imagination begins to run wild. I have so many stories rolling around in my head, I can’t wait to share them with you.
I’ve been writing and publishing nonfiction for over twenty-five years. It wasn’t until recently I gave myself permission to publish fiction. I guess I was too worried about my imaginary stories being judged. For a “recovering perfectionist” the potential of being judged has been a difficult hurdle to overcome.