08 September, 2020

#Interview with Sharon C. Williams, #Author of A Rainforest Adventure - @NewEngland_Muse #ChildrensBook

About the Author:
Sharon C. Williams is a native of New England raised in Northern Maine. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and son. She is also owned by a flock birds.

Sharon has a B. S. degree in Chemistry and two A.S. with one being in Biology and the other in Math. She loves to read, sketch, take pictures, walk, exercise, go to the movies, and listen to music. She is a budding bird watcher, and knits on the side. She is a huge sports fan of baseball, basketball, hockey, football and MMA. She is also a shutterbug and is always looking for the next big shot.

Two of her short stories were published in the anthology, Cassandra's Roadhouse, which is no longer published. Sharon also has two short stories published in the Dragons in the Attic anthology, which was written by her writing group, The Wonder Chicks. The second edition of her children's chapter books, Jasper, Amazon Parrot: A Rainforest Adventure, and Jasper: Amazon Friends and Family were published by Peculiar Possum in July of 2019. Volume three, Jasper, Amazon Parrot: The Perils Of The Jungle, was published by Peculiar Possum on November 27, 2019. Her comedy novel about her war with her backyard squirrels, Squirrel Mafia, was released in 2015 by Peaceful Musings Publishing, followed by an anthology titled Everyday Musings, which was published in in 2016 by Lysestrah Press. She has two short stories in the anthology The Reading Corner: Book One which was released by Fountain Blue Publishing in 2016.

Sharon on the Web:
Website * Twitter

Interview with Author Sharon C. Williams

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?

I came to the writing game late. In 2009 my husband told a good friend of ours that he felt I wrote good. Of course why tell me? LOL That friend told me. It got me thinking. I had always thought of writers as special and would place them on pedestals. How it was reserved for people with talent, skill and a master of the language. Who was I to think I could write? But hearing what my husband thought I started to wonder what could I write about. I literally looked around my house trying to come up with an idea that might work. That is when I placed my eye on Jasper. He is our rescued and adopted parrot who came home to us in 1999 at the age of five.
Just being around him at that point for 10 years it was an easy transition to write a series around him using his mannerism and personality into a story.
Thinking I could write a children's book for any future grandchildren I decided to go in that direction.
I found out how much fun it was to write and from that day since the stories have continually formed in my head. At the moment I have five books of my own plus six short stories in three anthologies. I have stories in my head that are forever begging and screaming to be let out. The fever is in me. May it never burns out.

What inspires you to write?

Hmm, what inspires me? A friend of mind said I could look at anything and come up with an idea for a story. Other local authors agreed with the statement.
When I look at things, people or animals I am looking at it for a few reasons. The first is the beauty. The second is me wanting to take a picture of it. I am a freelance photographer so I am always looking for the shot. So I try to be as observant as possible. By doing so I look at things a bit different. Third I look at objects or living things in the sense of how can I use this in a story I am working on or how can I weave a story about something.
Let me give you an example. I love writing and picture prompts. I feel it releases creative juices within us that does not often get tapped into. 
One particular writers meeting we had an exercise where we were shown a tree that had a door stuck high up among the branches. From that I wrote my first ever paranormal story. It became a short story that ended up in a published anthology.
So, what inspires me? The answer to that is anything that I come across. All I have to do is take the time to pause and give it some time on how it can work for me or if it can work for me.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?

First of all my goal for this series have been two fold. The first being to entertain children. The other is to educate them. I am very bias toward the Amazon rainforest and the issues it deals with since this is where Jasper’s family is from.
I researched in my last book the  various issues that the rainforest and the animals have to deal with. From that I made a list of possible topics to weave into future volumes of the series.
Volume three had to do with the logging industry while volume four has to do with the poaching industry.
I am trying to engage the children so they care about the environment, the animals and the region as a whole. We need to get the next generation on board if we are to save this incredible and beautiful region. 
That is how I am approaching and coming up with ideas for this series.

Are there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day?

Sadly, I have quite a few of those. I got caught up in the NaNoWriMo phenomenon and tried four times. I won four times. Those stories mean a lot to me. I keep saying I need to spend more time on them. 
My problem is I have to many stories and WIP I want to work on. It is not unusual for me to be working on two to three manuscripts at one time.

Tell us about your writing process. 

I am not a plotter by any means. Granted, I have in my head how it will start, continue and end in my head. But I will let the characters decide for me what direction to go into even if it is not clear how it will end up.
People have told me repeatedly I am a panser. I like that a lot for it does explain well my writing method. I love the freedom of it all with having no outline to work by. And to be honest I just don’t want to take the time to plan things out. I just want to sit down and write.

What is your most interesting writing quirk?

I tend to write by hand. I feel freer in doing so. Granted that means I have to retype it all which can be frustrating. But I honestly feel I work better this way. But not only that. I feel a connection to the past when that is how writers would pen their manuscript. I feel I am grabbing the torch and hopefully I can pass it on to someone else. 
This may not be a quirk but the more people I come across it seems the less and less people do this.

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?

The only advice I have ever been given has been to write on what you know. Being a new writer I ran with that. That advice is how my children’s chapter book series came about. I have learned over the last few years that piece of advice is not as wide given as usual. I can see why. But it got me started on this journey of writing. 

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?

I would say believe in yourself and your book. There will be times you are the only one who will. But also love it. If you don’t love it why do you expect anyone else to?

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?

I have way too many hobbies. But considering how things are now a days it does help. I been an avid reader gosh for as long as I can remember. I am also an avid sports fan from baseball, football, hockey, basketball to MMA. I love to go out and take photos. I am always trying to find the shot that all photographers have on their mind. I knit, make jewelry, love to exercise and walk, go to the movies, listen to music and hang out with my family. I also love to travel. Also, I tend to take a class at the local community college once in the Fall and once in the Spring to keep the noggin going.
I hate to be bored. I really do.
Do I have a favorite place? I love being outside just about anywhere outside. I love the movie theater. Something about that atmosphere is endearing to me. 

Can you share with us something off your bucket list?

Oh, I love this question. There are two things that I have had on my list for a long time. One is skydiving and the other zip lining. 
Last August I was in Canada with family and friends. They have a zip line company in the area. That was the point of us going. When it was our group’s turn the young man asked which one of us wanted to go first. I looked at my cousin, who is more like a sister, and asked her if she wanted to. I figured even though I was scared out of my wits the best formula, short of not going, was to just get it over with. On the way to the other end I was hanging on for dear life. On the return trip I had my eyes open and screaming in glee. I am so glad I did not chicken out for I did come close to doing so.
I am checking into skydiving in the area, and back home, to see if I can check that off in the next few years. 

Tell us three fun facts about yourself.

I graduated from college with a B.S. degree in Chemistry and two A.S. degrees in Biology and Math. I am from Northern Maine which makes me a proud Acadian. I have been rescuing and adopting birds since 1998. My parrot, Jasper, who we saved at the age of five in 1999 is the basis for my children’s chapter book series.

What do you have in store next for your readers?

I have a children’s chapter book series-Jasper, Amazon parrot series. I just finished volume four recently so now I am working on edits. I also finished volume two of my Squirrel Mafia series which is a comic relief book. I am working on those edits as well.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers?

My children’s series is now in English, Spanish and Portuguese so more of an opportunity for readers to read them. Plus, I am also in audio.
I been fortunate that since this year began my series has been on the Amazon’s Best Selling Audio list and Amazon’s Best Selling Kindle list multiple times now placing at number 1 in a few countries

About the Book:

Jasper is no ordinary parrot. He lives in the rainforest, which secrets he’s eager to explore. Jasper loves his home and his family, and he's also in charge of his younger brother Willie - a responsibility Jasper takes very seriously.

When he meets Charlie - a spider monkey with a penchant for food and a laid back attitude - he realizes he’s in for an adventure he never thought possible.   Even if this means getting into danger and worrying his mother to no end.

Exploring the boundaries of the forest, Jasper understands that there is more to the world around him. Who are the strange new creatures that have come there? With Willie and Charlie by his side, he will soon find out.

Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon