Thursday, April 7, 2011

FREE eBook Giveaway- Interview With Author Sharon Noble

Welcome! I had the great pleasure in interviewing author Sharon Noble.

After reading the below interview with Sharon, don't forget to leave a comment because one lucky person will win a FREE eBook copy of VELVET AND TOPAZ.

You DO NOT need an e-reader like kIndle or Nook to enter. The book will be emailed and you can read it right on your PC. This event runs through Saturday morning.

BIO: Sharon received her B.A. and M.A. from the University of Colorado, and placed her first novel, AUTUMN DESIRE, in that locale. After graduation, she took a teaching position at the University of Winnipeg, in Manitoba, Canada where she taught in the Theatre Department for several years before moving to Toronto, Ontario where she met her husband, a Canadian actor. After working in theatre, film, and television for a number of years, they moved to California. They now live in Los Angeles where they're enjoying a break from the cold Canadian winters. She teaches English to new immigrants, and they maintain a household of dogs rescued from various shelters. Her second novel, PASSION'S DESIGN, is set in South America, and her third, VELVET AND TOPAZ, takes place in England.

Thanks for being here, Sharon. It’s a pleasure.

Thank you for inviting me. I'm absolutely delighted to be here.

#1- Tell us a little about yourself outside of your writing career…

Hmmmm, where to start. . . I'm really quite ordinary. I grew up in the American South, with limited exposure to other cultures. But when I moved to Canada, my horizons widened exponentially after we bought a house in a culturally-diverse neighborhood. I think that was the trigger for my teaching English as a Foreign Language. I very much enjoy meeting people from other countries and learning about how their cultures differ from my own. My husband and I love Argentine tango, and we go dancing as often as we can. I practice yoga randomly – when I can get to a class. I can't do it at home because the dogs think I want to play, and they sit on my belly. Oh, yes, I'm a chocolate addict and can go through a box of Godivas in about three days. I play the piano badly and not very often. I don't like gardening, but I love a beautiful flower garden. Luckily my husband enjoys all horticultural activities, so I reap the benefits of his labor. I read voraciously, and my favorite genres are thrillers, spy novels, romances, and anything to do with English/Scottish/Irish history. I just finished The White Queen by Phillipa Carr. It's about Elizabeth Woodward, queen to Edward IV, the first Yorkish king.

#2- Can you tell us a bit about the book in this giveaway and where the inspiration came from?

Ah, yes. I love this book. The genesis of VELVET AND TOPAZ was my first trip to England. My older daughter and I are Tudor history buffs, so we took the trip that I've written about in the book, and we found the 16th Century brought to vivid life by the costumed players in many of the castles. Hampton Court was especially impressive, and I wanted Caroline and Marjory to enjoy the experience as well – although Caroline delved more deeply into the ambience than I did. We attended a Renaissance Faire where we enjoyed jousting matches and costumed enactments. We're also a family of dog lovers. My younger daughter has three, and I have two – all from rescue organizations, so I gave that quality to Caroline, and, as it turned out, that very quality provided a key element in the story development. Caroline and Adam are at fundamental philosophical odds in a fight over strong social issues that define who they are as people. They loathe each other's social stance, but they are powerfully drawn to each other sexually. So, how to break the stalemate . . .?

#3- How do you handle the negative reviews and critiques you receive?

Well, it's not easy. But I was an actor for many years before being struck by the writing muse, and one of my first directors handed out good advice not to read reviews. He said they could cause an actor to alter a performance. But, having natural human curiosity, I admit I read reviews, and, so far I've had only one negative review – and it really hurt my feelings. It was for the hardcover edition of my first book. The reader didn't like the heroine, and she thought the price of the book was too high. But luckily the positive reviews far outweigh this one, so I write from my heart and hope I reach the readers on that level. I know everyone receives negative reviews from time to time, and I like to think I'm prepared to take them in stride and continue to write what I love.

#4- You've worked with a couple of different publishers now. How did they compare and were there any complications?

That's a good question. As a relatively new writer (three published novels), I hadn't realized that there would be differences. The most interesting differences are in the house rules for word count, grammar usage, point of view, etc. Some editors don't like certain words while others have no problem with those words but don't like other certain words. What I find gratifying is that, although one publishing house may reject a manuscript at first glance, another will find it “the best thing I've seen all year.” There are certain consistencies, POV issues for example, that I still wrestle with, but I've grown enormously as a writer by having worked with the various publishing houses, and I value the input from the different editors. I can cut the editing process much shorter by anticipating their needs and wishes and writing appropriately in the first draft.

#5- I admire how you acquired your dogs. Can you share that story and any challenges with us?

Now you've struck an emotional chord. I come from a family of animal lovers. We had a horse, three cats, a series of dogs, a rabbit, a raccoon, and I had a pet rooster (Pete) that slept with me in my bed – against my mother's rules. The first of our rescue dogs arrived after we moved to Los Angeles. We had just lost our Shamus, a 14 year-old Golden Retriever, so we were ready for a new animal. The Brittany Foundation was holding adoptions, and we fell in love with a gorgeous Boxer/Pit Bull mix named Bernard. He became the angel of my heart. We then adopted another Pit mix, our beautiful girl BJ. When we lost Bernard to cancer, we needed a companion for BJ, so we adopted another Pit mix, Julius, who, at 80 pounds, sleeps next to me under the covers. Then, last year BJ reached the end of her 15 years, and we adopted a Pit/Sharpei mix, our girl Foxy, whom we call Crazy Dog because she has bursts of energy that propel her up the stairs, onto the bed, off the bed, down the stairs, outside to the garage, then back inside to repeat the process a dozen times. Generally speaking, we adopt dogs that no one would want; e.g dogs with fear issues, dogs who don't like other dogs, or white dogs (for some reason people don't usually want white dogs). At the moment we have two white dogs, and my carpet is dark green, so you can imagine what it looks like. My younger daughter also takes dogs that no one wants. She lives in a tiny guest house that she shares with her three rescues. She lost her fourth, 16 year-old Zoey last spring, so Christmas was difficult for all of us.

#6- Are there any upcoming releases we would like to know about, and could you give us your web site so readers can check it out?

All three of my books are in release, and I'm working, albeit slowly, on a new story about a woman who inherits a castle somewhere in Europe and goes there to sell it. She meets what she thinks is the groundskeeper, but of course the readers know he's much more. My embarrassingly incomplete website is I paint in my scarce spare time, and some of my paintings are on the website. I'm hardly a professional artist, but I enjoy dabbling.

#7- This about concludes it. Thank you again for joining us. Is there anything else you would like to share?

Yes, I really value feedback from readers, and I hope to have a spot on my website where readers can leave comments, suggestions, etc.

NOW, don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win!


Kelly Moran said...

*NOTE* Please be sure you are leaving your email addy in your post, or letting me know where to find you, IE: Facebook, Goodreads, Blogger, etc, so we can contact you if you won.

Be sure to follow the blog, as I had some blog trouble!

Comment away for Sharon...:)

Sarah Grimm said...

Sharon, Velvet and Topaz sounds like a great read! Kudos to you for adopting dogs others don't want. (although I don't understand why no one would want a white dog.)Three of the four dogs my husband and I have had are rescues. Rescued pets make the best pets! :)

Sandra Crowley said...

Sharon, I, too, have had a family of rescue dogs. I also loved a couple registered--one a boxer, the other a basenji. Then, there have been the cats, horses, birds, chickens...unfortunately my rooster experience was nowhere near as nice as yours.

I love your book's title--Velvet and Topaz. Yummy! Intriguing premise. Wishing you success.

Kelly Moran said...

humane society rescued our dog right before we adopted her. she was abused. a black lab. have had her for 7 years. she's so good with the kids and is a big baby. xo

booklover0226 said...

Hello, All.

Sharon, you're a new author for me but not for long; I look forward in reading your works.

Velvet and Topas sounds really good and I love the cover.

Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com

Ilona Fridl said...

Hi, Sharon!

I'm a relatively new author as well with my third book coming out this summer. For me, being a theater major in college, that helped me get behind my characters POV in writing.

I have to look for your novels.

Hey, Kelly!

Aimee said...

The cover is sexy. I will look it up for my Kindle!

Aimee (Facebook)

Samantha Ray-Myspace said...

I don't want to be included in the give-a-way. I just want to say how kick-ass it is that you do the adoptions for unwanted animals. There are so many abused and neglected cases on the news.

Kelly, love your music and blog!

Kelly Moran said...

Saturday, April 9th, 8:30 a.m.

And the winner is...Tracey! Grats, you'll get an email soon.

Big thanks to Sharon for being here, and come back soon everyone!


booklover0226 said...

Thank you, Sharon and Kelly!

Tracey D

Sharon Noble said...

THANK YOU to all who left your kind comments. As this is my first venture, I'm warmed by your generous responses. I hope to get to know you all as I proceed down the romance writing road. If I could invite you all to my next Thanksgiving, what a conversation we could have!! I'm off to Toronto to visit my merkin-making daughter, and I'll ask her if she has a photo.