Sharon Lynn Fisher writes sci-fi romance and battles writerly angst with baked goods, Irish tea, and champagne. Her novel Ghost Planet was named a finalist for the 2009 and 2010 Golden Heart Award, and she also took first place in both the Great Expectations contest and the On the Far side contest. Sharon’s first accomplishment as a writer came at the age of 10, when she received an honorable mention for her story “Ice Age Adventure” from Cricket Magazine. To learn more about Sharon and her writing, you can find her at the following links:
Sci-Fi Romance Brigade
Ruby Slippered Sisterhood
And now a little about Sharon’s back to back Golden Heart finaling manuscript -SHADOWED (previous title – Ghost Planet), which you’ll see in the Paranormal Category:
Psychologist Elizabeth Cole is about to discover three facts that will change her forever: She died en route to her new job. She’s been reincarnated as an alien. She’s bound to a man who believes she’s his enemy.
(Okay, can I just say I really want to read this book now? Just from those four simple sentences! )
I asked Sharon to tell us a little bit about herself before we dive into her post:
1) How long have you been writing?
Since I was six. The first story I remember writing was about a little girl who shrank and had an adventure in her grandmother’s strawberry patch. My sci-fi roots go deep. 🙂
2) Did you always want to be an author or is this something you fell into later in life?
I’ve wanted to be an author for as long as I can remember. Books have always been my passion, and as a child I played hooky so I could stay home and read. My first attempt at a novel came at age 13 — a story about a boy who used a spinning cube to travel in time. (Recognizing a pattern here?)
3) What do you do in your “other” life? (Day job, family, etc.)
I have a husband and young daughter, and I work as a freelance copywriter and editor. A friend and colleague of mine passed away two years ago, and she was only a couple years older than me. Since then I have simplified my life as much as possible so I can focus on my fiction writing. I’m also a mountain biker, food/wine enthusiast, shoe addict, and cupcake FREAK.
4) Who are your favorite authors?
This question is always really hard for me. Instead can I say the books that have inspired me the most? They are: A Wrinkle in Time, Watership Down, Jane Eyre, Lord of the Rings, Pride & Prejudice, Outlander, Maia, and Anthony Trollope’s Phineas Finn books. Also a nonfiction book called Touching the Void, because it is such an amazing story of survival through sheer mental focus.
5) Do you have an agent?
Yes, I’m represented by Robin Rue and her fabulous assistant Beth Miller of Writers House. More about that in my post…
6) Where do you see yourself in five years?
Supporting myself through my fiction, I hope, and trying not to stress about the fact my daughter is growing up too fast. I would also like to move to Ireland. I’m not sure my husband is going to go along with this.
(Oh, man…I want to go to Ireland with you…)
Okay, enough rambling from me. And now, in Sharon’s own words…
In January 2008, I had never heard of Stephenie Meyer. A friend gave me her copy of Twilight, saying, “You like vampires, right? This is set in Forks.” (I live in Seattle, just a few hours away.)
At that point in my life I was weaning an 18-month-old, and I was still telling myself that someday I’d get serious about my childhood dream of writing. I’d worked at it diligently for five or six years after college, but careers, relationships, and a cross-country move derailed all my good intentions.
I read Twilight, and it changed my life. It had less to do with the story itself (though I certainly read it as compulsively as the next person) than it did with reading the author bio, growing curious, and looking up the details of Meyer’s success story on her web site.
Meyer said the most important thing is to write the story that grabs you by the hair, drags you into a cave, and won’t let you out until you’ve finished it. Actually that’s not what she said, but you get the idea — write the story you love so much you feel compelled to tell it.
Even then, I knew how unusual success stories like hers are, but I’m a firm believer in “there’s only one way to guarantee it won’t happen.” So I took her advice to heart. Within a month of reading Twilight, I got the idea (or rather, IT got ME) for my two-time Golden Heart finalist manuscript, Ghost Planet (aka Shadowed). Eight weeks later I had a completed draft.
So much has happened since then… I signed with an agency that nurtured my talent and helped me evolve my manuscript. I attended my first RWA Nationals. I parted amicably from my agent when we both realized we weren’t the right fit. My book was named a GH finalist a second time.
A week or so after the GH calls went out this spring, I came full circle with my Meyer “connection.” I had queried an agent at Meyer’s agency, Writers House, during my first agent search. I was lucky enough to receive a manuscript request, and a wonderful critique from the agent’s assistant. Finding myself agentless in February, but fortified with a freshly rewritten manuscript, I approached the assistant again. She remembered my book and agreed to read the new version.
From the research Meyer had done before querying, she considered Writers House a dream agency, and so did I. I was proud of the work I’d done on the manuscript, but I tried not to have expectations. In early April I got the call — actually an email requesting the call — and I signed with my dream agent.
Today I wonder if I’d have had the guts to stick with it this far if I hadn’t read Meyer’s story. I mean, there’s a lot of terrific, essential information out there for writers these days, but much of it seems to imply there’s a better chance of Bella choosing Jacob than of you ever selling your book. You have to shut all of that out and write the story that grabs you by the hair.
Now it’s your turn! Do you remember the moment when you decided, “Okay, I’m really going to do this”? Who or what inspired you?
May 20th, 2010 at 8:10 am · Link
Great interview, Sharon, and congrats, once again, on your second Golden Heart final! I even learned some things about you I didn’t know–like about the Ice Age Adventure story and Cricket magazine.
What inspired me? It’s been a whole sequence of books and media giving my muse little retro-boosters along the way–Star Trek, Dragonriders of Pern, Star Wars, Games of Command, Firefly, The Outback Stars…
Though I’ve dabbled with science fiction romance and romantic science fiction all my life, I think what really ignited my long-range directional burn to pursue publication happened in 2007, when I watched a Lord of the Rings marathon on Halloween night. The funny thing is I’d seen the trilogy before and didn’t care for it much. But for some mysterious reason during this particular viewing, something sparked and set my muse on fire.
I sat down at my computer the next day and began pouring my inspiration into the keyboard in what became my first Science Fiction Romance WIP. Two more followed in (relatively) rapid succession. I now have a LOTR scene as wallpaper on my computer…a daily reminder what lit that candle for me.
I find it amusing we both found inspiration to write SFR via Fantasy stories. 🙂 Best wishes for the GH finals in July!
May 20th, 2010 at 8:12 am · Link
Great interview, Sharon. I love hearing these Golden Heart stories with their Happily ever after endings!
May 20th, 2010 at 8:13 am · Link
Great post Sharon, wishing you the best of luck on your way to signing that publishing contract!
As a writer who definitely writes what is in her head and heart, I completely agree with both you and Stephanie Meyer. The difficulty this tends to get me into is that I end up writing cross subgenre, which confuses both agents and editors, but especially agents. 😕
By the way, as an advertising creative with a very picky taste level in book covers, I really love the Stolen series covers Elisabeth!
May 20th, 2010 at 8:15 am · Link
Sharon – your story sounds fantastic!! And I love that you put the blinders on and just went for it. I have a lot of writing friends who jump from site to site reading about how hard this, that and the other is in the publishing world. I try to let all that go in one ear and out the other – the story is the key to it all and if you deplete your energy with worrying, where will you find the oomph to get to THE END?
The “Okay, I’m gonna do it” moment (more of a roll out) for me came when my current critique group formed and I realized that we all were committed to our writing careers. Having the support of like-minded folk felt like coming home. I hadn’t realized how important talking with people who “get” the writer part of me was until we started meeting. Wouldn’t give it up for worlds.
May 20th, 2010 at 9:06 am · Link
Hi, Sharon! Great interview. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your new blurb for your book!!!!! How could publishers not snap it up???
Can’t wait to read it!
Also, your fave books list is remarkably similar to mine (not many people love both Trollope and Gabaldon…though they darn well should.) But I’ve never read Maia. Must check it out.
Best of luck to you with everything! Will we see you in Orlando?
May 20th, 2010 at 9:29 am · Link
Hi CP! LOR gives me chills every time. A lot of my early writing was fantasy. In fact I think I may still have a fantasy or two lurking in the gray matter. Thanks for sharing your story, and for being the first to comment! (Oh, and look for “The Hunt for Gollum” on YouTube if you haven’t found it already.)
Hey GH sister, thanks for popping in! 🙂
I hear you on the cross-subgenre thing. I know many writers in that same boat. But I also know lots of folks who love to read cross-genre (me!), so I have to believe there’s hope! Thanks so much for the good wishes. (And those Stolen covers ARE gorgeous, aren’t they?)
“If you deplete your energy with worrying, where will you find the oomph to get to THE END?” – Love that, I’m going to print it out. And thank you for sharing about your critique group! Finding people who “get” you and what you write is so important. When I rewrote my GH manuscript, I fed my CP 50 pages at a time, and I am forever indebted to her enthusiasm, which helped keep me churning out pages.
May 20th, 2010 at 10:06 am · Link
Sharon, what a wonderful story! I love the twilight saga as well.
I decided to write after having the time of my life participating in Avon’s Fanlit competition in the fall of 06.
May 20th, 2010 at 10:11 am · Link
Hey, another 2009/2010 two-timer! I’m so glad you like the blurb. Aren’t those things stinkers to write? This is at least the third version of mine, but when I got it down I thought, “That’s it!”
Another Trollope lover! (Spoken out loud that doesn’t sound quite wholesome, does it?) As for Maia (Richard Adams), it’s sort of a quirky, epically long fantasy/literary/erotic heroine quest with a romance at the end. It’s been 20 years since I read it, but parts of it really stuck with me. Be warned that some consider it not so PC!
Yes, I’ll be in Orlando – we MUST talk! 🙂
May 20th, 2010 at 10:30 am · Link
What a great story! I love Beth Miller. She’s given me more feedback and hours than any assistant should…especially when I wasn’t with the agency! I wish more people in publishing were like her. Diana Gabaldon was one of my key inspirations to write. I loved her books and wanted to write like her. Somehow I ended up writing romantic suspense instead.
May 20th, 2010 at 10:48 am · Link
Ah… Maia’s by Richard Adams. This makes total sense, too. Don’t know why I haven’t read it yet–Watership Down is one of my all-time, all-time favorites… from sixth grade through much of high school, I read it annually, and just read it last year to my daughter, who also loved it. (How I managed to read that final page aloud without falling into outright weeping, I’ll never know.)
Great to know you’ll be in Orlando!!
May 20th, 2010 at 11:31 am · Link
Thank you for sharing your story! I’m not familiar with that competition, but sounds like an opportunity for fraternizing with other writers, which is always a hoot.
I think Beth needs a fan club. 🙂 (BTW, for those looking for professional feedback, both Beth and Robin have critiques up for auction on Brenda Novak.) I love the title of your finalist MS, Kendra (Stronger Than Bone)!
I hope to see you both in Orlando!
May 20th, 2010 at 11:43 am · Link
Oh, me too! Read Watership Down seven times between sixth grade and graduation. I played sick three days to finish it the first time.
And I just discovered a fascinating, in-depth interview Keli Gwyn did with Prof Elisa today, when folks are finished reading this one! (romancewritersonthejourney.wordpress.com)
May 20th, 2010 at 11:48 am · Link
Wonderful interview. Thanks for the insight.
My defining moment came very early in life when I realized I had to make something of myself and get out of Dodge so to speak. I became a ceramic engineer and moved two states away and have NEVER looked back.
May 20th, 2010 at 12:01 pm · Link
VIKI – Oh, now I MUST know what a ceramic engineer does!!!
May 20th, 2010 at 12:07 pm · Link
Sharon – We used to say that we engineer/make anything that isn’t metal/wood/or vegetation . But I got into aerospace and worked in making ceramic cores that form the cooling channels within turbine blades for all military and commercial aircraft, submarines and the space shuttle.
May 20th, 2010 at 12:41 pm · Link
VIKI – That is SO cool. I had a feeling it didn’t have anything to do with making coffee mugs. 🙂 I am so in awe of you mathy types. I am the only writer in a family with a civil engineer, a mechanical engineer (also in aerospace), and a developer. I’m waiting for the day my mom sits me down to tell me about my “real parents.”
May 20th, 2010 at 1:06 pm · Link
Sharon – great interview! Being a long time fan and friend, I know how much blood, sweat and tears has gone into this journey of yours. Thank you for sharing about your love of writing throughout your life – it’s great to know these details. I can’t wait until I can go to my favorite bookstore and pull Ghost Planet from the shelf…it won’t be long!
May 20th, 2010 at 1:23 pm · Link
LISA – Oooh, I can’t wait either! Thank you so much for dropping by today, and for all of your support and encouragement!
May 20th, 2010 at 1:32 pm · Link
What a fabulous interview, Sharon, and such great follow-ups on the comments here. And the blurb about your book–wow!
Man, this is a wicked cool bunch of Golden Heart finalists.
Admitting that writing fiction is what I’ve always wanted to do and that I had spent my life doing everything but that because I was afraid I would fail finally made me take the plunge into writing full time. It’s not always easy, but I am so happy that I did.
May 20th, 2010 at 1:34 pm · Link
Lovely post, Sharon. Congrats on all of your success. I can’t wait to see your book on the shelves 🙂
As for me, when I finally decided to get serious about writing, I went to the library and picked up a book called “The Idiot’s Guide to Writing Romance.” Ha! But in it, I learned all about RWA, joined and found my local chapter and my learning curve started there. I never would have gotten this far without the incredibly giving writing community that pen romances.
May 20th, 2010 at 1:38 pm · Link
Great interview, Sharon. Congrats on your 2nd GH final and a successful agent search.
My okay, I’m going to do this moment happened in February ’06 when a travel article of mine got published (thank you Erik) in a sailing magazine. I said to myself, hey, I really can do this writing thing. I’ve been going strong ever since.
May 20th, 2010 at 2:20 pm · Link
Ha, I’m a compulsive comment-follow-upper (follower up? help!). I had a (un)healthy measure of “fear of failure” myself. I’m so impressed you overcame it all on your own! We ARE a wicked cool bunch, aren’t we? 😈
First I have to say I love your photo! Just from the one shoulder I can tell that top is adorable. The romance community is an incredibly supportive bunch, isn’t it? I once read in a newsletter from sci-fi writer David Farland that romance writers are great at supporting and promoting each other, and now I’ve seen it for myself!
A little validation goes a long way, doesn’t it? Thank you for the congrats, and for sharing your story! Also you reminded me I left out one of my hobbies. Traveling, not sailing. Me and boats – not a good combo. 😯
May 20th, 2010 at 2:38 pm · Link
Great interview, and wow, LOVE the blurb! Blurbs might be the hardest few lines of writing in this whole process, and yours is compelling.
My eyes popped when I read your list of favorite books — all of the ones I’ve read are faves of mine too, and you can be sure that now I’m going to read the others as well. And Twilight, well, did I mention that my dog’s name is Bella??
It was nice getting to know you a little bit — I’m looking forward to meeting you and all of our fellow GHers in Orlando.
May 20th, 2010 at 3:20 pm · Link
Hi LISA C.!
Ack, yes, blurbs – how I unheart them. (Notice as it gets later I’m using more and more unwords?) I’m so glad you liked it!
I’m tickled that a couple of folks have connected with my book list – it is SO all over the place! Of course later I thought of a few I left out. Clarissa (the longest book I’ve ever read – you could kill someone with the PAPERBACK version) and its companion Sir Charles Grandison. And a sweet little book called Plainsong. Any recommendations for me?
I loved your interview Tuesday – especially your unique story of how you tried so hard NOT to be a writer. Clearly, the universe has put you in your place. 🙂
May 20th, 2010 at 4:32 pm · Link
Great interview, Sharon, especially the part about being a cupcake freak–I’m with you there! Isn’t it amazing how a book can make us commit to our own writing?
I was inspired to write when I was 13 or so, and a favorite character in a book series was killed off. I rewrote that book so Mike got to live, and I’ve been having fun ever since. But I didn’t *really* get serious until I was standing in front of a massive display of how-to books in a B&N in New Haven and thought “Someone’s making their livelihood this way, why aren’t you?”
May 20th, 2010 at 9:32 pm · Link
GABRIELLE – A local coffee shop makes one called “Salted Caramel” — chocolate cake with caramel frosting. And then there’s the “Irish Whiskey,” which is sort of like a Bailey’s cupcake…hmm…wonder if they’re still open…
I used to do that too! (Write spin-offs or revisions of stories I liked.) Thanks for sharing your story, Gabrielle, and I hope to see you in Orlando!
May 20th, 2010 at 9:38 pm · Link
I’ll read/respond to any new comments tomorrow, but I wanted to pause for a heartfelt thanks to our lovely hostess, Elisabeth – it’s been a blast! I look forward to the rest of the interviews …
May 20th, 2010 at 11:13 pm · Link
Hi Sharon, what a great interview!
Sorry I’m late for the party. I just wanted to stop by and say a big congrats to you again on being a GH finalist.
That’s a great question. What inspired me to write fiction? I’d have to say Star Trek and the Stargate series, and so many other SF books and movies it’s hard to say only a few. (But I will say the words, Avatar and Outlander here.) About two years ago I just decided to sit down and write until the MS was finished. Since then I’ve penned several short stories and novellas, two novels and a SFR series with three related stories. I believe writing Science Fiction Romance is in my soul. For me, it was a total Stargate inspiration moment with a touch of Star Trek thrown in for good measure!
I wish you good luck in your publishing quest. I just know we will see SHADOWED on the bookshelves soon!
May 21st, 2010 at 1:43 am · Link
Waving madly to my super talented Ruby Slippered Sister *and* agent sister! I so agree with you (and Stephenie M) that you have to write the story that grabs you by the hair. My GH book had a real hold over me when I wrote it. I was fortunate enough to an understanding boss who let me take a week off to finish the book. The darn thing had a very tight grip on me.
Fab interview, Elisabeth!
May 21st, 2010 at 6:30 am · Link
Wonderful interview, Sharon. I’m sorry I’m late but yesterday was crazy. What inspires me? Just like you said, that story that won’t let you alone. I’m a huge believer in writing what thrills you. I can tell when I read a book if an author’s heart was in it. When editors and agents allow an author that kind of freedom, that’s when amazing stories get told.
May 21st, 2010 at 8:43 am · Link
Inspiring story! Glad you didn’t give up on the book. Can’t wait to read it. I’m a great believer in not giving up on a story you love.
May 21st, 2010 at 8:54 am · Link
Hi, Sharon. Congrats again and a lovely interview.
What inspired me? Being too tall, lonely and friendless meant I loved TV and movies and made up stories with me as the heroine in TV series and movies with the stars I liked. I walked to school with guys like Kevin Costner – we had all sorts of discussions! I have hundreds of fan fiction stories all featuring a tall, friendless blonde with horrible parents. Mine weren’t, of course, I just thought they were!
May 21st, 2010 at 9:54 am · Link
KAYE- Another SFR Brigader, yay! Congrats to YOU on your recent (early) release of Forbidden Love. Thanks very much for stopping by and sharing your story!
May 21st, 2010 at 9:57 am · Link
Hiya sister! Wow, I love your boss. Though I suppose it could be that she/he just didn’t want to watch your muse dragging you around the office by the hair.
You’re not late at all, the party’s still going! You’re right – you CAN tell. I think that’s the secret ingredient of those books you just can’t put down.
Thanks for dropping by ruby sisters – see you guys in Orlando!
May 21st, 2010 at 10:13 am · Link
Thanks so much for dropping by, and for the encouraging words!
Oh, I did that too! I had whole spin-off versions of the movies I liked, starring…ME. I played them in my head at night when I was going to sleep. As for “tall, lonely, and friendless,” I don’t know about the first two, but I can’t imagine you being friendless. Thanks for popping in, Barbara!
May 21st, 2010 at 7:57 pm · Link
As usual, I’m slightly behind the times, but I wanted to say I really enjoyed your interveiw. As far as what inspired me to actually sit my butt down and write that first story, I can’t say it was a specific person or thing. It was just a blasted story which refused to vacate my head.
Congrats on being a finalist and I can’t wait to meet ya in Orlando!
May 22nd, 2010 at 9:18 pm · Link
Hi Lynda! I know stories like that. In fact, I’m working on one now. I walked out of the bathroom today and was all the way in another room when I realized the faucet was still running. I had washed my hands and walked out without turning it off. Book brain!
See you in Orlando!
May 25th, 2010 at 8:05 am · Link
Congrats on all your contest success, Sharon.
That’s one catchy blurb. I can see why you were able to go after your Dream Agent and end up with an offer of representation. I foresee a First Sale in your future.
I dreamed of writing as far back as I can remember. It wasn’t until our daughter entered high school that I revisited my dream. I began writing my first inspirational historical romance four and a half years ago when she was halfway through her freshman year. I received my offer of representation from my Dream Agent this past December, on the eve of Christmas Eve. Talk about the best Christmas present ever! I’m currently working on a rewrite under her guidance.
May 25th, 2010 at 4:50 pm · Link
KELI – Thank you for the good wishes!
Wow, that IS the best kind of Christmas present. Congratulations on your GH final, and on signing with YOUR Dream Agent. Thank you for sharing your story!
See you in Orlando! (And BTW, fabulous interview you did with Elisa.)