All about Sharon Wray.

IMG_5582KaT member, Sharon Wray supplied all these photographs…take a look at them…aren’t they SO Sharon Wray?! She’s the most optimistic, genuinely kind and considerate friend/fellow writer I know.

I believe the entire romance writing world knows her because of her eight RWA Golden Heart nominations in six years, because she’s always volunteering for chapter positions or cheering others on through yahoo loop emails, and because of the hundreds of poignant photographs and heartfelt blogs she’s posted over the years.

We were hugely ecstatic but a bit confused when we learned her most important moment in being a writer (getting the coveted book contract offer from a publisher) was communicated in a Publisher’s Weekly announcement. (The rest of us usually type the news in all caps all over social media.) Sharon was in the middle of a hectic summer and getting ready for the RWA national conference, so she hurriedly told the overall story, but promised to tell the nitty-gritty details when she returned. And here she is:

Can you tell us about the moment you realized your publishing dream had just come true?

It was surreal. After I hung up on a Skype call with my agents (Deidre Knight and Kristy Hunter), having accepted Deb Werksman’s offer from Sourcebooks, I sat at my desk shaking. After all these years (11!), I’d actually sold a book. And two more! I couldn’t even call my husband. I was so afraid to say anything to anyone because I was worried someone would  tell me it was all joke.

But now that I have a deadline, I know it’s not only not a joke, it’s a dream come true. I’m so grateful to my agents and editor, and I’m determined not to let them down.

IMG_5545

Explain ‘auction’ for those readers who’ve never heard the term associated with novels.

An auction is when a novel has two or more offers for publication from different publishing houses, and a literary agent negotiates the best deal for his or her author. Negotiations can include (but aren’t limited to) advances, subsidiary rights, marketing plans, release dates, etc. For the author, it’s very exciting and a crash course in all things publishing. Here’s a great article by Rachelle Gardner who explains it much better than I ever could!

What was your family’s reaction after you sold?

DSC_0271

Donut the Dog whose lack of interest keeps Sharon humble.

They were all so excited, including the dog, and they gave me hugs and we all cried. Then we went out to dinner to celebrate! And while at dinner, the kids asked about going to Disney World to really celebrate. Still thinking about that one. 🙂

When did you you know you wanted to start writing novels?

In 2004, my four-year old twins and I moved to Savannah, GA from Fairfax, VA (temporarily) to take care of my father who was dying of cancer. Taking care of my dad and the twins, while my husband was still in Virginia, was one of the most stressful things I’ve ever had to do. There was little free time and lots of stress involved.

It was during this time that my sister-in-law Kieran Kramer (now a USA Today Bestselling author for St. Martin’s Press) suggested I keep track of everything going on in my journal. Kieran had always been a writer and was actively pursuing a romance writing career. And I’d always admired her talent and perseverance.

During the summer of 2004, I found that writing helped me find a place for all of my emotions and I slowly moved from non-fiction into fiction. I realized that all the stories I’d always had in my head needed an outlet. In 2005, after my dad’s death, I finished my first manuscript, joined RWA, and entered the Golden Heart (and didn’t final!). After that, although I was in the early stages of learning how to write, I was hooked!

Badge

In those 11 years, you’ve done an incredible amount of research and learning writing craft. What “Ah-Ha!” craft resources do you recommend?

There are so many, but here’s a list of my favorites:

Laura Baker & Robin Perini’s Discovery Story Magic 

Laura Baker’s Turning Points (DSM part 2)

Michael Hauge’s Identity to Essence

Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat

Alicia Rasley’s Emotion without Purple Prose

Kathleen Baldwin’s Scene & Sequel

Suzanne Johnson’s Plot Quilting 101

Margie Lawson’s Rhetorical Devices & Empowering Character’s Emotions

Tiffany Lawson Inman’s Madness to Method &  Writing Authentic Choreograph

Back to your contract details! Do you have tentative titles and publication dates?

The Series title is The Deadly Force Series which I love. I honestly don’t know yet about whether or not I can keep my original titles. I also don’t know my publication dates, but I hope to know soon.

Right now the first three books are titled:

When Next We Meet

Hope Craves an Execution

Pale in Her AngerIMG_5555

I thought this saga was planned for 6 novels. Are you cutting the series short or planning on another multiple book deal?

For now I’m writing the first three books in the series for Sourcebooks. Hopefully, if things go well, I’ll be asked to write the next three.

Can you give us the overall story line for the series?

The Deadly Force series is about Colonel Torridan and his group of elite ex-soldiers who operate a self-defense school while seeking the truth behind an operation gone wrong.

These men are devoted to each other, determined to seek the truth instead of justice, and willing to risk their honor, their lives, and their souls to save themselves and the women they love. And, in the process, protect the world.

Do you believe in Serendipity?

Yes. I also believe in God’s timing. And in my case, the timing couldn’t be more perfect. I have three books to write in the next two years, but the kids go off to college next summer. I was already worried about how I was going to handle that (I suspect I won’t be handling it well) but now that I have three books coming out, I know I’ll be too busy to cry or feel lonely.

The timing of Sourcebook’s offer isn’t an accident and I’m so grateful that when the twins do go off to school, I’ll have plenty of work to focus on (besides my husband and dog!). I’m also grateful this didn’t happen earlier. I wouldn’t give up the time I’ve spent with my family for anything in the world.

Three Books you’d take to a deserted Island?

JR Ward’s Dark Lover (Paranormal Romance), Stephen King’s The Shining (Horror), and Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me (YA)

 Favorite foods you can’t say no to?

Oreos. Perfection in a small, round cookie.

Yummy. 🙂 Do you have any advice for writers still waiting for the call?

Never Pillow

Never stop writing. But Winston Churchill said it best in his October 29, 1941 speech at his childhood school (he almost didn’t graduate).

“. . . never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.”

This quote–this speech–has never failed me in my darkest moments of self-doubt and worry.

Sharon, I think you know how much we’ve looked forward to celebrating your publishing contract, and how excited the eight of us are for you! Thanks for the pictures, and even formatting this for me, because that’s just the kind of friend you are!! –Sarah

Sharon-Wray

You can find Sharon here at Kiss and Thrill and DON’T miss her own blog www.sharonwray.com (it’s what a blog SHOULD be!)

She also loves to connect with readers on: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Goodreads

All photographs courtesy of Sharon Wray.

About Sarah Andre

Romantic Suspense That Keeps You Up All Night! I live in sunny FL, love daydreaming, reading and chocolate. I write in the wee hours of the morning before my helpless hubby and 2 male Pomeranian pups awaken with their demands. :) My debut LOCKED, LOADED and LYING is available now.

Posted on July 26, 2016, in Author Interview, Author Spotlight, book recommendations, Sarah Andre, Sharon Wray, Writing Craft and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 60 Comments.

  1. Good morning!
    I’m horrified that I have not read one of those craft books. And I’ve only heard of several. 😦
    (Guess I have my work cut out for me!)

    Cyber confetti and champagne to you and your agent, Sharon. Your series sounds so exciting, I can hardly wait to hold the first book in my hands.

    And just think! You’ll now be sitting at the RITA tables…

    • Thank you so much, Sarah, for your support and friendship. I couldn’t have gotten this far without my friends. 🙂
      As far as the Rita tables, I’m trying not to laugh — and this is why I love you!

  2. I am so unbelievably happy for your sale, Sharon. The timing couldn’t be better! And I agree 100% with your advice. The only writers who won’t sell are the ones who give up. Write write write–that’s how you improve.

    • Thank you, Erika! You are so right about the timing. It couldn’t be better and I’m so grateful for it. I loved seeing you at the conference. I just wish we lived closer. 🙂

  3. Sarah, and ladies of KaT, thank you so much for recognizing Sharon’s achievement with this blog and other expressions of support. Gosh, I’ve watched he for years and years her doing the same for others, with 100% sincerity, and prompting over her shoulder as she typed, “someday someone will do this for YOU.” So seeing this today is very meaningful to me. I’m a LITTLE bit biased after thirty years of marriage, but I can vouch that every wonderful thing you said about Sharon is TRUE, and those are only the beginning of a list of things to admire about her–despite her serious weakness for Oreos. Meanwhile, I have to take exception to her phrase “….and we all cried.” Ok, I did NOT cry, but we did give lots of hugs. Finally, the back story on the mention of Disney World is that “mommy” promised to take us all to Disney World when she got her publishing contract. When she first promised that, the kids were still of the age that they’d happily wear Mickey Mouse ears. Well…not so much now–we’re in the surly “I’m too smart and cool for words” teen phase now. But Sharon, you can take ME to Disney World, including for RWA next summer. 😉 Love, The Husband/Fixer/Luggage Carrier Guy.

    • I would love it if you came to RWA with me next year. I hate carrying my own luggage. 🙂
      And thank you for all your support over the years. Now back to writing — “Operation Kept Husband” is in motion!

    • It’s one of our CYBER HUSBANDS!!!
      So nice to finally ‘meet’ you, Patrick and I’m thrilled you’re taking joy in this simple blog (that your wife felt compelled to format for me!) 😦

      Hope to definitely see you both in Orlando, with a small pre-stay 4 hours south at our house. (You can take lessons from my golfing-all-day-husband on the kept-man thing. He’s a pro after 7 months.)

  4. Reblogged this on Book Smart TV and commented:

    The story of author Sharon Wray’s journey to publication is so inspiring!

  5. I love this interview, and I love you both! Sharon, I am so absolutely thrilled for you! You are an amazing writer and person, and I can’t wait for the world (including me) to read your books! I hope you take your kids to Disney (or maybe Universal, for Harry Potter world?!), and I think you are right that everything happens for a reason, at the exact, right time. I am so proud of you, my friend, and I feel so blessed to have met you and to be traveling this path with you. (And gee, I think we have the same taste in craft books! Lol!)

    • Thank you so much, Pintip (my amazing Rita-winning friend!) I know Karen was behind all of this and would be rolling her eyes at all the craft classes we’ve taken together! I’m so glad we’re on this journey together as well. It makes the hard times that much easier. 🙂

    • Thanks for helping us celebrate, Pintip (my fabulous, famous, award-winning friend!)

  6. A quote from W.C. Fields:

    “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point in being a damn fool about it.”

  7. Lovely interview. Congrats, Sharon.

  8. Congratulations, again! I am so thrilled for you! And yeah, we share some of the same craft “junkie” hangouts…lol. But I also hear you about timing. Everything works itself out, and I can’t wait to read your books!

  9. Sharon, it’s such a joy to see all your hard work, generosity, and talent rewarded in such a spectacular way. I can’t wait to watch you soar!

    Sarah, wonderful interview!

  10. I agree with EVERYBODY!!! LOL!!

    And congrats, Pintip, on your Rita win!!!! So well deserved!!!

    Okay, so Patrick, do you mind if I carry at least one of Sharon’s suitcases? I want to be her lady’s maid next year in Orlando!!!

    Sharon, you ARE an amazing person, and you are a beautiful example of faith and courage and kindness to all who know you. I love ya, my fave New Jersey girl. Go get ’em!!!!

    XOXO

  11. Congratulations, Sharon. So very very happy for you. May it be all that you dreamed. Enjoy the ride.

  12. Woot! So well-deserved! Congratulations, Sharon! You’ve worked hard and persevered and I’m so thrilled for you. I can’t wait to hold your book in my hand!

  13. Sharon: You know how happy I am for you (I hope!). Can’t wait for the world–and me–to finally read your stories. It was so great to see you in San Diego and congratulate you in person. Enjoy the ride!

    • I’m so glad I got to see you too, although it was way too short of a visit. Hopefully you can make it to Orlando–or maybe we’ll run into each other at W&M if that works out for my daughter. 🙂

  14. Awww…your husband is just too sweet!!! And, I think it is so cool cool that you and Kieran are both published authors now!! What a family! Congrats and I love the quote from Churchill. Also, I appreciate the list of craft books…although nothing and no one will be able to change my panster ways:)

    • You and me, Laura! We’ll be like the Thelma and Louise of Pantser writing.
      Although I read a blog the other day that called it ‘misters’ or writing-out-of-the-mist.
      That had a nice ring to such a spastic talent…I’m adopting said phrase.

    • I’m really a pantser too! The problem is it takes way too long for me to write a book that way so I’ve been trying to absorb all these non-pantsing ideas. Some of them help in the drafting, but mostly I use all the craft stuff in revisions.
      So glad you like the Churchill quote. It’s one of my favorites!

  15. Awesome Awesome Awesome

  16. I love this, Sharon! You are so right about the timing. It happens at the right time, never late and never early. Congratulations! The series sounds great and I can’t wait to read it!

  17. Congratulations,Sharon!! I’m so glad I was able to congratulate you in person in San Diego. And like Sarah, those are some craft books I’m not familiar with. I look forward to finding them. 🙂 Wishing you all the best in this next stage of your career!!

    • Thanks so much and I’m so glad I got to see you as well, Shelly! And if you ever want to talk “craft”, just email me. Or just email me any time you want to talk about anything. 🙂

  18. When I think of romance novels, I don’t think of military intrigue and global espionage, wow, I can’t wait to read your series. I love your quote above from Churchill, so inspiring, and the counter quote from W.C. Fields, haha. I didn’t realize the twins only have one year until college, now that makes me crazy.

    • Suzy, thanks so much for stopping by! I still can’t believe the twins go to college next year as well, and I can’t wait to give you a copy of When Next We Meet. Hopefully you’ll love the romantic suspense genre as much as I do. 🙂

  19. I can vouch for Sharon’s never ending supply of support and encouragement. It’s such a joy to share in the celebration of this exciting book deal! Sharon, it’s wonderful to read more about you– we share a love of craft books– many of the same ones, though you’ve named a few I’ll have to try! Now I can’t wait to read YOUR BOOKS. ❤

  20. Congratulations, Sharon!!! This is SO FANTABULOUS! Every author’s dream come true–and yes–it sounds like the timing is perfect! ; ) Yay!

  21. I’m SO happy for you, Sharon! Can’t wait to grab them when they come out!

  22. So very happy and proud of you, Sharon! I tried to comment this morning but my computer crashed, err!
    Fixed now though and I just wanted to let you know how much of an inspiration you are. Not just in your writing career, which is heading for the stars!, but as a person also. You always have a kind word for everyone, and I see by the pictures you share and your hubby’s comments above that you have strong family values- something we all need more of!
    Can’t wait to get my hands on your books, best of luck!

  23. Congratulations again, Sharon! Loved the interview and hearing about how you got to here 🙂 Should have known you’re into oreos–they really are the perfect cookie!

    Thanks for the list of craft books, too. There are some her I’ve been wanting to try.

    Your Churchill quote is just what I think of when I think of you. It can be easy to lose faith and let setbacks bring you down, but through it all you’ve maintained a positive outlook and didn’t give up. Which makes seeing you gain this success so sweet.
    Xoxo

    • Thank you so much, Manda. I’m so glad I’m not the only one crazy for Oreos here! And I’m happy you found a few craft books that may be of interest, and that you liked the quote. It’s my absolute favorite and I keep it posted on my desk, near my computer. I hope I get to see you next year in Orlando!

  24. Your perseverance is an inspiration to everyone. Your success is so well-deserved. Celebrate. (I vote for Harry Potter at Universal.)

Thrill us with your wit...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: