So the final day of Indie Authors week is upon us and today you can hear from the lovely (if a little Wicked!) Sharon Sant, author of the Sky Song Trilogy and Runners. As before I posed the same questions to Sharon and here is what she had to say.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always made up stories. I’m not sure if that’s the same thing! I remember reading books even as a youngster and thinking how amazing it would be to make other people feel the way they made me feel, but the conscious desire to become a writer didn’t come until much later on, when I was in my teens, and even then I didn’t imagine I was capable of it.
How difficult is it to get your books out there?
Incredibly. I push myself to work long hours – a typical weekday sees me get up at 6am to get the kids to school, go to my day job myself, come home, do the evening meal and then get the kids to bed at around 9.30 when I start to work on my books until around midnight. I have a couple of days a week off from the day job and I spend the majority of those writing too. I’ve been working to this schedule since January when I first released Sky Song. In the beginning most of the time I set aside for writing was spent actually writing, but now, only a tiny proportion of that is spent writing new books, and the majority of it is spent promoting the ones I have already released. I’m not saying this to bleat about it – it’s something I love doing and I think it’s worth the sacrifices – but to illustrate the level of commitment you need to show to make any headway in a publishing world that has new authors coming out of its proverbial ears. The marketplace is saturated with authors as talented and committed as you are, you just need to keep your eyes on your own lane and keep running and hope that you can cross the finish line alongside the best of them. And even with all that work, I still don’t envisage a day in the near future where I’ll be earning enough from writing to match even my part-time salary so that I can quit the day job.
How important are book bloggers and reviewers when it comes to attracting readers?
To be frank, they’re an author’s best friend and a valuable connection between writers and readers. Without book bloggers and reviewers, I might as well just leave my books on my hard drive and settle down to a nightly Coronation Street Omnibus. I’ll be honest about sales too – a lot of the time you don’t really see a huge increase in sales after one good review, but what I think happens is that if you keep getting them across different sites then people will start to remember you, and then they’ll take notice the next time you pop up and maybe take an interest, and then maybe even check out your book. My good friend Mel Sherratt made a lovely analogy for this; she said it’s like spreading a breadcrumb trail across the internet for people to find you. The more breadcrumbs you leave out, the more likely it is that someone will end up at your door. So, for that to work, we need to be seen in as many places as possible. That’s what the growing army of fantastic book bloggers helps us to do. For readers, book blogger sites are the go-to sites for book info after the book merchants themselves; readers know that they can trust the opinions expressed by the people who run these sites as they’re passionate about literature. Even big publishing houses realise their value, so quite often you’ll get a mix of reviews on any given site for both traditionally published and indie published books. From an indie’s perspective, this is a fantastic place to be seen.
ALSO: give me a short “me” paragraph telling me about you – perhaps hobbies or interests outside of writing.
Now you’ll find that I’m not quite as literary as I would like to pretend! I love cult TV shows and films, the geekier or cheesier the better! I have a particular obsession with BBC’s Merlin, which ended last year and I’m still not over that! I love music and any chance I get to watch a live band I will, though it’s not as often these days as I would like. It goes without saying that I read a huge amount. I also run, again, probably not as often as I’d like – last year I ran the Stafford half marathon to raise money for my niece, who has cerebral palsy, to have an operation in the US that would help her to walk. Afterwards I said that I would keep up my training and do it again for another charity, but good intentions went out of the window! I also love travelling (when money allows), socialising, going to the theatre, eating out (a lot of eating out!) and generally living life to the full.
You know I used to be stupid enough to think that the YA genre was just for Young Adults quite literally – and sadly I am no longer one of them. Then someone forced me to read “The Hunger Games” and I thought, well, lets just hang on a minute…since then I have devoured many many YA novels, mostly completely briliant, occasionally oh so terribly bad. This one comes under the “completely brilliant” category it has to be said. Jacob wakes up one night to find a stranger in his bedroom (and a stranger stranger you are unlikely to meet!) telling him all sorts of weird and wonderful things about his true identity.It seems that he is from quite a long way away. So starts his adventure and what an adventure it is. I’ll leave it at that. No really, you need know nothing else – except if you choose to read this book you will be oh so very far away from that land called “disappointed”. Enjoy.
Once again the wonderful Mr Jack Croxall provides the following review for Runners.
Runners begins with teenage Elijah and a band of other tearaways (or Runners) struggling to get by in the ruins of an old house. The group dynamic, with its varied mix of personalities and ages, is fascinating from the off and the snippets of information concerning how the novel’s dystopian world came to be such a wreck are intriguing to say the least.
Of course, the group’s situation quickly becomes about more than merely feeding themselves and Elijah and his friends soon find themselves stuck in a dismal situation engineered in no small part by the sinister Mr Braithwaite. On top of this, a chance discovery in a mysterious woodland (an exciting interpretation of a hypothesised spatial phenomenon) catapults them right into the heart of an even bigger menace and, by the end of the book, the numerous plot threads really do intertwine beautifully.
The book’s crumbling world, with such bleak scenery as dilapidated windmills, sparse marketplaces and grim work camps, is exquisitely described by the author and this is one of those novels that really pulls you into the setting, making you feel as though you’re right there with Elijah and the other Runners as they deal with the torrent of problems that come their way. It’s lucky, then, that Elijah is such a well-crafted character and sharing time with him is something you will certainly look forward to doing, despite the bleak nature of the book’s world.
Other characters deserve a mention too, teenage girls Rosa and Sky seem poles apart but are both utterly mesmerising and it’s testament to the author’s writing that you care so much about secondary characters, even with so much else going on.
Runners is exactly the sort of novel a YA title should be; engrossing, thought-provoking and brimming with grizzly situations that develop in a realistic manner.
To find out more about Sharon click here. http://sharonsant.com/
To follow her on Twitter click here https://twitter.com/SharonSant
To purchase Sky Song clickety click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sky-Song-trilogy-ebook/dp/B00B0CQWV8/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374797653&sr=1-1&keywords=sky+song
To purchase Runners clickety click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Runners-ebook/dp/B00DD5TNJI/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374797699&sr=1-1&keywords=runners+sharon+sant
Thank you Sharon!
Well that brings us to the end of Indie Author week but its been so popular I will be doing it again sometime later this year. Keep an eye out!
Next week on the blog you will be able to read a diary from a first time visitor to Harrogate, my good friend Steph. Also there will be an article about those twisty turny tales we all love and later in the week you can find out about the 6 books that made me cry. Have a great weekend.
Happy Reading Folks!