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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Blog Tour - Thicker Than Water - Sharon K. Owen

·         Where do you hail from and what do you love most about your hometown?
I grew up in O'Donnell, Texas which is a small farm and ranch community near Lubbock, Texas. I value the close friends I made there and am still in touch with most of them. Yet, I always preferred the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex where I visited family members during summer vacation. I've lived in Fort Worth most of my adult life and always enjoyed the benefits of the larger city. Two years ago, I moved to a smaller lake-side community and am appreciating the small town experience.

·         As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? How has that childhood dream affected your career?
As a kid, I was such a daydreamer--always making up stories where I was the heroine. I also loved reading and usually had my nose stuck in a book anytime I had a free moment. So, in college, I majored in English and became a college English professor. In my spare time, however, I continued to make up stories with characters that intrigued, inspired and entertainedme. Eventually, i wrote them down, hoping others would like them as much as I did.
·         Tell us about your latest book.  Do you have anything new in the works and can you tell us a bit about it?
My first published novel, Thicker Than Water (Brands Crossing Series) was published in July of 2011.As a child, KATE O'DONNELL spends summers at her grandparents' estate in Brands Crossing where she and her girl cousins battle make-believe monsters, rescue endangered victims and a save a mythical kingdom. At twenty-five Kate is a singer/songwriter living in Nashville and pursuing a promising relationship with computer game designer PHILLIP NORWOOD. There, her only battles are fought in Aidenne's Revenge, Phillip's online fantasy game based on her childhood adventures. With her grandfather's sudden death from injuries he sustained in a suspicious car crash, Kate is forced to make a choice. Will she remain in Nashville to focus on Phillip and her music career? Or will she move back to Brands Crossing and honor the promise she made to her grandfather that she would investigate the mystery surrounding his death? Family trumps career and romance and Kate heads back to Texas where the monsters, victims and endangered kingdoms are all too real. In an attempt to protect Kate from danger, Phillip joins her quest and helps her search for incriminating documents, investigate a centuries-old family feud and confront an anonymous rose-bearing admirer who stalks Kate in both real and virtual universes. Thicker Than Water is the first in a series of novels set in Brands Crossing, Texas. It chronicles the lives of the Kincaids, a prominent family in this mythical town, and focuses on a mystery that extends back to the mid-eighteenth century and the young Texas Republic.

My second novel, Whatever Goes Around (Brands Crossing Series) is scheduled for publication in March of 2012. CLAIRE KINCAID is the self-appointed fixer of all problems in her family. Despite her siblings' and cousins' beliefs that they are capable of managing their own lives, Claire knows they really need her guidance and offers it at every opportunity. When she discovers that sinister forces are disrupting her sister Madelaine's and her cousin Ann Marie's personal and professional lives, she doesn't hesitate to take steps to set things straight. Unfortuanately, she underestimates the enemies she confronts and unknowingly puts herself and her family in danger. Forced to rely on the help of family and friends, she has to reexamine her long-held belief that she always knows best.

·         Have you ever used contemporary events or stories “ripped from the headlines” in your work?
I often bring in contemporary events and popular culture into my stories. I also add in real life events from my own experiences. I am always fascinated by the people I encounter and their conversations. Although, I consciously change the names, physical descriptions and circumstances, many of these encounters find their way into my books.

·         Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?
The blank page is always intimidating and it's hard to turn off my internal editor to get the first draft (which is always flawed) down on paper. So, I guess, overcoming my perfectionist tendencies is the hardest part of the process.

·         What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Read, read, read. I don't believe anyone can become a successful writer without first being a reader. In my experience, it is better to write the kind of books you like to read. If you enjoy cozy mysteries, maybe you could create an amateur sleuth who outsmarts professional crime fighters. If you enjoy romantic comedies, you might create similar stories. The same would be true about action adventure, fantasy or science fiction. Next, I recommend taking creative writing classes from published writers. Finally, I suggest that they find a supportive writing-critique group. Writing is such a solo profession. We need to build support groups of like-minded individuals.

·         Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?
I don't have writers' block so much as periods where I am creating the stories in my head before I put them on paper. I've learned to be patient with those periods when the story needs to "cook" a little longer before I know the direction it is going. Of course, there are also times when I'm just procrastinating instead of producing, allowing myself to be distracted by anything that puts off the process of writing. During those times, I take my laptop to McDonalds or Starbucks or some other friendly café that allows me to use their Wi-Fi and drink bottomless cups of coffee. Away from the distractions at home, I can focus on the writing and get back on track.

·         Who is your favorite author and why? What books have most influenced your life?
My favorite contemporary fiction writer is Nora Roberts. She is an amazing story teller and so prolific. Her greatest strength is the ability to create three-dimensional, interesting characters that remain in the readers' mind long after they've finished the latest novel. Other favorites are Georgette Heyer, Jane Austin and Janet Evanovich. All these authors write what I call novels of manners. These are clever, witty, character-driven novels that describe the culture as well as the history of a particular time and place. William Faulkner's books have greatly influenced my writing. He created a mythical place and populated it with people who come in and out of all his books. That's what I've tried to do with the Brands Crossing Series.

·         How did you deal with rejection letters?
After the initial disappointment, I tried to find areas in which I could improve. This is difficult when it is a form letter. I find that the more submissions I make, the less disappointed I am with individual rejections.

·         What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Books, for sure, both reference and fiction.A computer with internet connection and good word-processor software.Legal pads and pens.A writers' support group. Writing buddies.

·         Where do you as an author draw the line on gory descriptions and/or erotic content?
I don't make judgments on what other writers include in their books and in critique groups I focus more on the writing itself than the content. For myself, I'm not really comfortable with gratuitous violence, gore or sex. That's just a personal preference. If there is a murder, a sex scene, or any type of violence that is essential for my story, I, of course, include it. I don't, however, make those the prime focus of my books.

·         What's the weirdest thing you've ever done in the name of research?
I played an online, multi-player, fantasy adventure game. Such a game and the dynamics of it were important components of my first novel and I had to play to be able to describe those elements in the book.
·         Don't forget to give us links to your website etc.
My books are available at:
 Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Thicker-Than-Water-Brands-Crossing/dp/1453772936/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1325034364&sr=8-1
Smashwords.com and barnesand noble.com  http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/72883
Barnesandnoble.com http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/thicker-than-water-sharon-k-owen/1104562615?ean=9781453772935&itm=1&usri=sharon+k+owen


Patricia said...

Nice interview. I always am interested in how other authors live their lives as writers, what inspires them, and their background.
Thank you.

Sharon K Owen said...

Thanks for the interview Brynna.