Wow, can you believe it's almost fall? I've even put away the summer flower blog logo. But it's always the season for book talk, and today I'm visiting with author, Sharon Ervin.
It is nice to meet you, Sharon. What may I get you to drink?
SE: I'd love coffee with sugar and creamer.
Ally: Coming right up! While I pour, tell readers about yourself.
A former newspaper reporter, I have a degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma, am married and the mother of four grown children. I live in McAlester OK, population 18,000, and am probate clerk and flunky in my husband and older son’s law office.
I have 13 (soon-to-be 14) published novels, from 6 (soon-to-be 7) publishers. JACK SPRAT COULD is Lucky Number 13.
Something unusual that isn't in your regular bio: "I was campaign manager for my husband's successful run for state representative back in 1972. Upset when he won and had to be away four days a week during Oklahoma's legislative sessions, and with three small children, I consoled myself by taking flying lessons and earning a private pilot's license. It bolstered my stay-at-home mom's flagging ego."
Contact the Author:
Sharon can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
On Facebook, Twitter, her website which at sharonervin.com
And her blog: sharonervin.wordpress.com
Ally: We'll showcase your featured book at the end of this interview, but tell us what type of book it is so we have a frame of reference for your writing.
SE: JACK SPRAT COULD is a romantic suspense, probably rated PG-13.
Ally: Tell us a little about your main character(s).
SE: MaryBeth Gilland, a wealthy socialite who models for charity, suddenly needs to support herself. Of her family's many investments, she seeks what she thinks will be stimulating employment at For Your Eyes Only Detective Agency, which has been a tax write-off for a corporation too big to care. Gray Wheeler, 36, a snappy dresser, has been lackadaisical, content to muddle along not doing much in the investigative business. Until the two meet...
Ally: Who or what first inspired you to write fiction?
SE: Creative Writing Professor William Foster-Harris came across the hall to the office of the OU school paper and personally invited me to sign up for his class. He had a waiting list and I had not been able to enroll until he authorized it. I wrote news, not fiction, so I was not sure if his invitation was a compliment or an insult. With his help, my first short story to “Seventeen” Magazine nearly sold (they wanted me to change the ending). That made it look easy. I continued news reporting, however, to get Husband Bill through law school and established before I ventured into fiction. Able Oklahoma author Carolyn Hart was firm. If I was going to insist on writing fiction, I was going to have to “pay my dues.” She answered my letter of lament by saying, “Marilyn Harris (an amazingly successful writer) had 278 rejections on eight manuscripts before she sold her first.” The letter was kind, but in essence said, “keep on slogging, you sissy.” So I did.
Ally: What was your journey to publication, including bumps and missteps?
SE: I felt nudged to write a book, and attended a novel writing short course at OU in June, 1982. With four children at home, I wrote from 5:30 to 7:30 on summer mornings so as not to neglect my family. By the time school started, I had penned 378 pages of brilliant prose. It did not sell. I returned to the short course the next June and wrote a second marvelous book. It didn't sell either. I continued to write one unsellable manuscript after another, was working on #12, when a brand new publisher offered a contract for #8. I suspected a scam. It was not. I am now working on #25, and recently signed a contract for publication of #15. Our children are all grown and, while I am not getting rich, writing makes me feel fulfilled. My husband continues to indulge the muse and me.
Ally: What's your best marketing tip?
SE: The owner of an independent book store told me, before my first signing, to put my picture on everything: bookmarks, cards, brochures, banners, and posters, and to make eye contact, smile, and speak to every potential customer. I didn't like pictures of me. He said that didn't matter, just to do it. We sold a dozen books at that first two-hour signing, which he deemed remarkable. It was to his credit. I did exactly what he said.
Ally: Which of your books is your personal favorite?
SE: A sister once asked if I was partial to one of my four children. I said yes, I was, but it depended on when you asked! By the time I sold my first book, I had 12 completed manuscripts. All were written for the mood that struck at that time, and I loved each one, a lot.
Ally: What is your next writing project? Anticipated release date?
SE: DO YOU LOVE ME? is due out in March, 2018. WHITTAKER is the best book I've written so far. It is complete at 76,000 words. No one has been interested, but it won first place in the mainstream novel category of the Oklahoma Writers Federation competition. Meanwhile, I'm fictionalizing a local true crime event I call FATHER OF THE YEAR. Also, our younger son Jim died March 1, 2015 of colon cancer. He was 39. Writing can be therapeutic and I'm working on a sort of a memoir I call JIMMY'S SMILES. At the same time I’m polishing a YA written several years ago that I call UNTIL THE MEEK INHERIT.
Ally: Let's finish up with a few get-to-know-you short answer questions.
- a. favorite book: GAUDY NIGHT by Dorothy Sayers
- b. book you're currently reading: THE LAKE HOUSE by Kate Morton
- c. an author (living or dead) you'd love to take to lunch: John Grisham or Judith McNaught
- d. favorite movie: "You've Got Mail"
- e. favorite quote: "If you think you can't or you think you can, you're probably right."
Ally: Thanks for chatting with me, Sharon. Let's show readers your book, but I have one last question. How did you choose the title?
SE: Jack Sprat is a nursery rhyme that was the theme of the entire plot.
Jack Sprat Could
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Your Eyes Only Detective agency was a corporation’s tax write-off, until the death of the CEO sends his socialite daughter, MaryBeth Gilland, to Private Investigator Gray Wheeler for temporary employment. Instant discord between Gilland and Wheeler masks the chemistry of their mutual attraction.
Enter Treena Flowers, 51, in a flap, accusing Leland “Jack” Sprat, her sister’s new, younger husband, of killing his wife, although the victim is not dead yet. Wealthy, obese Clover Sprat, 54, arrived at the hospital that very morning in a coma. Her husband cannot explain her condition, but her sister is full of ideas, all pointing to Jack as a would-be killer.
Wheeler sees this as an easy case and invites Gilland to help investigate, an opportunity for MaryBeth to show she’s more than just a pretty face, and for Wheeler to prove he can actually investigate. After all, the husband’s a cinch to be responsible for his wife’s imminent death, isn’t he? The bickering duo takes the case.