Look Who Stopped by for a Chat
T: Good Morning Sharon thanks for joining me this morning. I hope the coffee is strong enough?
T: I promise for this set of questions I’m going to keep things fun and light (well light for me) so let’s get started.
T: Grammar cop? I’ve heard you called a few times and I’ve seen you edit yourself during live writes. How did this nickname come about?
Actually, my PA Julie Beckford loves calling me that. When I started writing my first novel, ‘The Chat Room,’ almost three years ago, I didn’t know a lot about grammar or editing. But through the process of writing my story, getting it edited, published and subsequently writing other books, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve also learned about the flow of the story and the ease in which people read it and the use of proper grammar, is a huge part of that. I want the reader to see the characters, as opposed to way too much of their surroundings or extra words that get in the way and do nothing to add to the value of the story. I’m certainly no expert on editing, but I’m not too shabby either. It drives Julie crazy when I correct event posts, teasers, banners or pretty much everything she posts for me. She’s gotten used to it now (as if she has a choice lol) and has started picking up things on her own, without me saying anything. I want to do my very best on anything that bears my name. One of the reasons people have embraced my books, is because the story flows from one chapter to another in an almost seamless read. That’s what I’ve been told by several readers and I always smile, knowing all my time and hard work has paid off and it matters to others, as much as me.
T: You’re pretty loyal to your friends, does it ever kick you in the ass?
Yes, unfortunately it has. It’s very sad, that loyalty means different things to different people. I’m not a fair weather friend, I never have been. No one is perfect, we all have flaws, so as a true friend, you need to understand that no one will agree all the time. Once you’ve become a part of my life, like gum on the bottom of your shoe on a hot summer day, you’re stuck with me. And for those people who have hurt or disappointed me at one time or another, I can honestly say, I’ve learned something from each experience. One of the most important, being that I haven’t changed who I am inside. Forgiveness is a choice, making different decisions is a choice and I choose not to waste more time on something or someone that can’t be changed and focus on what can be. I have a saying, “If there’s anything in your life that’s toxic, you have to walk away, because it’s not worth wasting one more minute of the time you’ll never get back.”
T: So, I know you’re a football fan, but do you prefer college or NFL?
Definitely the NFL and my Dallas Cowboys! I’ve had people ask me over the years, why I still like a team that’s had more bad seasons than good. I simply tell them, it’s like my children; they may disappointment me, but I’ll always love them no matter what. And as you so rightly stated, I’m very loyal.
T: Do you miss the Thanksgiving game?
Nope, I never miss a game. In fact, I’m usually the first one to ask when it starts and make sure the TV is on in plenty of time to catch the pre-game show lol
T: You recently moved, and you’re now living in my conference for NFL, have you worn a Cowboys shirt yet?
I haven’t yet, because the season hasn’t started, but I’ve bought some new Cowboy shirts and sweats and I’ll definitely be wearing them when my beloved Cowboys take the field again in August for pre-season.
T: What made you start the Coffee House Poets Live Write?
I’d watched two other authors do live writes on Facebook and I was intrigued by what I saw. I’ve always been quick on my feet, able to write on the fly and I fell in love with the idea of creating a story from a picture prompt, live while others look on. After seeing the responses from people who were at the other two events, I wanted to try it myself. The name was inspired by something that was done in the 1960s. Back then, there were lots of little coffee houses and shops, spread all across the country, people would sit around drinking coffee or tea, while listening to featured poets read aloud, his or her poetry, while sitting on a stool with a spot light on them. Since our event is similar in some respects, “The Coffee House Poets Live Write” was born. I also realized, there was a huge potential of bringing a larger audience to our event, through the different guest poets and authors. As authors, we all have a following, some larger and some smaller. There are fans who will come to see a particular author or poet whose work they enjoy reading, but may not be familiar with the work of their writing partner. Over the course of an hour, while watching both writing partners bring a story to life, there are those who will want to learn more about the other writer; checking out their author page, book links, teasers and bios. Alone, in a traditional author takeover event or on a blog site, this could never be accomplished, but together, the effect can be monumental and everyone wins. And it’s a lot of fun for the writers as well. My writing partner thus far, has been the very gifted and beautifully expressive Elias Raven, the author of ‘Cain Sins of the Father’ and ‘The Painted Shadows’. He makes doing the Live Writes such a pleasure for me. Fortunately, for the foreseeable future, Elias will continue to be my writing partner, for which I’m very grateful.
T: Where do you want the Coffee House Poets to go?
Our first “Live Write” started in January and in that short amount of time, we’ve steadily gained a larger following with each passing month. As time goes on, it’s my belief, other authors will see the bigger picture and want to get their name on the monthly schedule. The more people who see our “Live Writes,” with different writers, the more fans the authors will gain because of it. I know people have busy lives with lots of choices, but knowing “The Coffee House Poets Live Write” is held consistently on the first Saturday of month at the same time, people have started marking it on their calendar for each one. It’s also another way of paying it forward. By creating this event, with the help of my PA Julie Beckford (my evil genius as I call her) it gives new and upcoming authors/poets, the chance to have their work seen by new readers. It doesn’t matter how great a writer is or how wonderful their books are, if no one ever reads their work.
T: The Eclectic Poet & Friends, how did you come up with the idea to bring all of you together? Will we see a volume 2? Will there be new poets or the same ones?
The idea for “The Eclectic Poet & Friends” was inspired by author Elias Raven. He published an amazing poetry book called, “The Painted Shadows” in it, he featured nine guest poets. I was already planning on publishing my own poetry book, but after seeing Elias’, I loved the idea of helping other poets get their work out there and seen by others. My book features seven different poets, some established, as well as some who’ve never been published. I decided to do poetry for seven different sections for the book. The first section is called, Love and Love Languages. Elias Raven writes the most beautifully expressive words and I knew he’d be the perfect choice for this section. He’s also become a wonderful friend. Suzanna C Ryan, another dear friend, who thankfully has survived breast cancer, wrote for the section called, Hope. There are women with cancer who feel alone and isolated, but through Suzanna’s words, they’ll realize they’re not. T Lee Hunt, was one of the featured poets in Elias book and I had the privilege of meeting her during the release party of her poetry book, “Love Undone Poetry,” and we became fast friends. She survived several years in an abusive marriage and thankfully, she has her life back and is one of the bravest women I know. I asked her to write for the section called, Deception. Cary Gregory and I met last February, in a poetry group we were both a part. We’ve became good friends, which started because of our mutual love for poetry and our friendship is one I cherish. It wasn’t long after we met, I learned his daughter and only child, Kelly, died unexpectedly three years previous, at the age of 27. Somehow through it all, and despite his almost unbearable grief, he’s helped countless others, by letting them know they’re not alone. I asked him to write for the section called Joy. Deanna Powers, and I met through my PA Julie and we’ve become good friends. She’d written lots of poetry, but was hesitant about putting her work out in public. She’s in the process of writing her first novel and becoming a first time author because of Eclectic Poet, has given her the motivation to push forward. I asked her to write for a section called, Eclectic. Ryan Baird, or my partner in rhyme, as he calls me, I met last May, when he came to me and asked if I’d like to write a book with him. At the time, I’d never considered writing with anyone and I was hesitant to say yes at first. But it didn’t take my Aussie friend, to convince me our different styles meshed together perfectly, and our words were magic on the page. Ryan was unpublished until Eclectic as well, but he does have a pretty impressive amount of followers on Twitter. He and I, will be publishing our collaborative poetry book later this year. Ryan has his first solo poetry book planned for this year as well. He was also the inspiration for my second book,” Poetry of The Heart” a book of twenty-five short stories, all ending with a perfect moment. It was a natural fit for Ryan to be a part of the section called, A Poet’s Words. Mark Davis, is a poet I discovered in the fall of 2014. Until that time, I never knew poetry could make me feel so inspired. He writes the most incredible erotic poetry, and after reading several of his pieces, the seed was planted and I was hooked. I wanted to write the kind of poetry that inspired others, just like I’d been. Three weeks before I finished “The Chat Room,” I wrote and posted my first poem publically. Since then, I’ve fallen in love with poetry and now, I can’t imagine my life without it. I’ve been blessed to gain my own following on Facebook, that has grown steadily since last year. Mark, who has a large following on Facebook and Instagram, and I, have become the best of friends as well, and he was the natural choice for the section called, Erotica. It’s important that people understand, not only are all seven poets very gifted poets, they’re also actual friends, who I care very much about and that’s why that’s another reason why this book, mattered to me so much.
Yes, there will definitely be more “Eclectic Poets & Friends” books. When I chose the name “Eclectic” it was for two reasons. First, I am very different from a lot of poets, in that I write in all sorts of styles and the only consistent thing about my poetry, is that it’s never consistent and people never know what to expect. And second, because the name “Eclectic” isn’t about a specific kind of poetry, each volume will be different. The next book, volume 2, will have poetry about depression and hope. There are so many people, including myself, who deal with the real pain of depression and way too often, they feel alone.
And that no one understands. I’ve been amazed by the number of people who’ve thanked me for writing poetry that speaks to them in ways nothing else has. It touches me so much, knowing something I’ve written, could have such a profound effect on others. Knowing they’re not alone and someone else truly understands their daily struggles.
And you’ll see some of the same poets, as well as new ones, depending on whether or not the poet is the right fit for the book.
T: How did you dream up The Chat Room, did something trigger the characters?
One evening when I wasn’t doing anything special, I saw this picture in my mind, of a man and woman sitting across from each other tapping at their computer desks, while on their laptops. Only they weren’t in the same room, and it was over the internet. I love kissing, and so often times, everything you read or see on television, is almost always one big heart stopping kiss. But what if there’s more to it than that? Maybe the kiss involves lots of little things, that make it seem more like foreplay to a kiss. It took me several days to get it just right, but when I did, I wrote my book around it. Like this:
Foreplay to a kiss
He gently cupped her face in his warm hands. Lifting her face up to meet his, looking deeply into her sparkling blue eyes; there was a look of understanding between these two lovers, a tale yet to be told. Her eyes and lashes becoming heavy and half closed with desire. As he nuzzled her nose, slowly working his way down to the nape of her neck until her breathing became shallow, only a soft moan escaping her throat. He wrapped his arms around the small of her back, pulling her closely into himself. His final destination, her tender, wet waiting lips, all for him he thought. With the tip of his tongue, he ever so slightly parted her lips; searching her tongue out, his mouth becoming hungrier and more hurried. As their tongues finally joined becoming one, they melted into one another, not knowing where one lover began and the other ended. The kiss was sweet and tender at first, almost as if allowing her to catch up. Then at last, both lovers were breathless and so enraptured in each other, while the world fell away and only the two remained.
T: If you could meet Alessandra Torre anywhere, where would you meet her?
She and I have actually talked about this. We’d meet in a coffee house or somewhere for lunch.
T: How did you start writing?
When I was six years old, one of my teachers started teaching us about poetry. I’ve always been curious by nature, so I took to it like a fish in water. I’d write Haiku and simple rhyming poetry throughout the years, as well as keep journals. I didn’t have the best childhood, but I could write, so I did. I didn’t have a spoken voice as a kid, but I did when I wrote. Being able to write down my thoughts about pain, hopes and dreams, was like written therapy for me. I’d always written poetry and inflicted it upon friends and family. I say that because it was very raw and the ideas were there, but it would be years, before the expressiveness would come to the level I am now.
T: How often do you write?
I write every day.
T: When do you write?
I write all hours of the day and night. I have trouble sleeping, so my brain never stops and the ideas continue to come. I’m in a very unique situation, having written two novels, a book of short stories and a poetry book as well. I know not all authors do more than one type of writing, so I feel especially blessed that I’m able to write in many different ways.
T: What do you do for relaxation?
I enjoy walking, reading, listening to a very eclectic mix of music and of course writing. I stopped watching television over a year ago, except for football season. And like most, I have family and friends I enjoy spending time with too.
T: How long does it take you to write a novel?
Well, it took forty-six years to find my first novel, ‘The Chat Room’ and eighteen months to write it, needless to say, I’ll never be known for my record speed. Lol. The follow-up to Chat, is ‘His Second Chance Love,’ which is about the man not chosen and it took nine months (apparently a lot of people wanted him to have his happy ending as well) to write. I wrote ‘Poetry of The Heart’ in four months after a conversation I had with my friend Ryan Baird, one morning about the lost art of spooning. (it’s 25 short stories, all ending in a perfect moment) and ‘The Eclectic Poet & Friends, which came together in less than two months, because I had about five-hundred poems already written. Both Poetry of the Heat and The Eclectic Poets, were published in between the two novels.
T: How do you come up with your characters?
‘The Chat Room’ was my first book and since I’d never written a book before, I had to figure out what to do as I went along. My characters started out very basic and nothing special. But over time, they became more substantive and three dimensional. The first two characters who needed to be brought to life, were Sarah and DJ. Sarah is a single woman who’s twenty-eight, smart with beautiful long, wavy auburn hair, hazel green eyes and a lovely figure. Not the perfect body, like you’d typically see in many romance stories. Chat was about falling in love and choosing the right man for her, not a traditional romantic, formulaic story by any means. DJ is a widower, who’s lost his wife Lauren, three years earlier, in a tragic car accident and he’s raising his seven-year-old son Jacob alone. Not only did I have to bring DJ and Jacob to life, I also had to do the same for DJ and his dead wife Lauren as well. I realized several months into the story, if the readers didn’t connect with Lauren and DJ’s love story, it wouldn’t feel authentic. And I had to do it almost immediately, to establish their heartbreaking love story and that amazing kiss. Matt was the other man in the love triangle. He was the boy Sarah grew up with, dated in high school and reconnected with on a trip back home, after DJ mysteriously disappears. I had to make their relationship just as real, as DJ and Lauren’s, in order for them to have shared a past, I had to create scenarios that felt as through you could visualize it in your mind. There was the best friend, Shawn; you know the one, we all have them. They’re our rock, they’re our heart and we love them to pieces, but they’re also the ones who embarrass the crap out of us, without apology lol. There were Sarah’s folks and her annoying little sister named Becky, who would torment Sarah (all in good fun) but they’re bond was strong and they shared a very sweet relationship between them. The reader had to believe both men were amazing, but she loved one just a little more than the other, to connect and care about her choice when the story was finished. I’ve been blessed with the knack of drawing pictures with my words, whether it be in my novels, short stories or poetry. I can honestly say, “The Chat Room,” as well as my other three books, have all received 5 star reviews. To say I feel blessed beyond measure, is an understatement. I hope to continue writing the kind of books that never disappoint the readers who choose each book to buy and read.
T: What comes next?
I’ve been working with Poet Ryan Baird, on a collaborative poetry book, since last June and it will be out later this year. I’ve also recently started working on a new novel with another author. It’s a series of love letters written back and forth between either an engaged or married couple (yet to be determined) before and during the Korean War. It will be a throwback to an era of innocence in a much simpler time. He and I are both very excited about this project, he’s someone I respect immensely and I hope to collaborate with on other projects as well.
T: Well Sharon that’s all I have for you today. Until next time, thanks again for joining me, now get back to work and write your next book.
Teresa, I want to thank you for taking time from your busy schedule to put together such wonderful questions, that are very unique to me, as well as putting this interview on your blog site; Wicked Cool Flight.