About Me

I'm just going to write because I cannot help it. (Facebook Post) (Instagram Post (Square))

Hello! I’m Sharon. Thanks very much for visiting my website. Make sure you’ve got a cup of tea or coffee to hand, then settle yourself down for a good browse, because there’s plenty going on here. Where to start? Well, since this is the “About” page, I suppose that’s where we should begin.

So, a bit about me.

 

How did I start writing?

I’ve been making up stories ever since I learned how to form letters into words. I’d wait impatiently for my weekly Tammy comic so I could catch up with my favourite characters. Since a week seemed to drag, I started making up my own adventures for those characters, and I suppose that’s how it began. I was a voracious reader, spending a lot of time at the local library. I was lucky because my parents were readers, and would happily take me to the library whenever I wanted to go. They also bought me books every Christmas, and sometimes I’d get one as an extra treat during the year. One magical day, my dad decided I was old enough to have pocket money, and not long after that my mum allowed me to get the bus alone into town for the first time.  I knew exactly where the local branch of WH Smith was and that’s where I headed! Every Saturday would find me browsing the shelves, selecting a pony book. As I got a bit older I’d venture deeper into town, to the market, where the incredible delights of second hand book stalls meant I could get three or four books every single week. What joy! All those books stirred my imagination and made me want to write my own stories, and I couldn’t begin to guess how many “Chapter Ones” I wrote over the years. I spent a lot of pocket money on writing pads! I was very good at starting a story. I just ran out of steam long before I finished it.

 

An Impossible Dream?

I got married, had five children, and stopped writing stories. There wasn’t the time and, frankly, I was too knackered to even think about it! I never stopped reading though, and now and then I’d think wistfully of the days when I dreamed of being an author. Not that I thought people like me could be an author you understand! Authors were posh people, with cut glass accents, who lived in massive country houses and employed secretaries to type up their stories. Well, I was basing a lot of those assumptions on Enid Blyton, but to be fair I’d never heard of any working class authors then, so how could I be expected to know people like me could really do that job too? I even mistakenly believed my new favourite author, Catherine Cookson, must be from a wealthy background. How wrong can you be? It was only when I discovered Sue Townsend, and later Milly Johnson, that I realised how wrong I’d been and began to dream all over again.

As the kids got older, I decided to do something constructive with my passion for reading, and studied literature at the Open University. I loved it, and knowing that I was capable of writing essays made me wonder if I was capable of writing the novel I’d always dreamed of completing.

 

On the Write(!) Path

I think it was about 2006, or thereabouts, that I watched a documentary called, Reader I Married Him. It was about women who were making a living writing romantic fiction, and it was gripping.  I realised the longing to write was still there, so I took a creative writing module as part of my degree and enjoyed it so much that I knew this was something I wanted to explore further. I started reading “How To Write” books and making tentative notes, but it wasn’t until a few years later that inspiration finally struck.

On a journey to Somerset, some characters popped into my head and refused to leave. They were so insistent that when we got to our holiday home, I went straight out and bought a notepad and pen and began making notes. When I got home at the end of the week, I started outlining a story, and, determined to see this through for once, I entered NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). By the end of November I’d written 120,000 words. Don’t ask me how! It was a finished first draft and I naively thought I’d done it. I’d written a novel! It was a further two and a half years before  the book was ready to show to anyone. I joined the RNA (Romantic Novelists’ Association) New Writers’ Scheme and sent my manuscript to them. It came back with lots of positive comments and some useful constructive criticism. Delighted and relieved that it wasn’t the total rubbish I’d feared, I set to work rewriting it. 

By then I’d made friends with a bunch of writers who, having met through the RNA, formed a blogging and support group called The Write Romantics. They asked me to contribute to a charity anthology they were putting together called Winter Tales. I was nervous but couldn’t turn down such a great opportunity, particularly as at least one of my children is a carrier of the Cystic Fibrosis gene – one of the charities the book was supporting. 

 

A Published Writer

I submitted a short story called The Other Side of Christmas, and was relieved by the positive feedback. Not long after that I was invited to become a Write Romantic myself. What a day that was! You can find out more about the Write Romantics here. 

I sent my revised manuscript to three of The Write Romantics: Jo Bartlett, Jessica Redland and Alys West. Jo messaged me to say she was setting up a publishing imprint called Fabrian Books and would like to sign me as her first author, publishing the four books that I’d planned to write in this new series. I was stunned but delighted. The book became There Must Be an Angel, the first in my Kearton Bay series. Just before publication though, Jo and I had a chat where she admitted she was having second thoughts about running Fabrian Books as a publishing company. After some discussion, we agreed that it should be an author collective instead, enabling self-published authors to publish under the Fabrian Books imprint, but with the freedom to choose our own editors and cover designers, and keep more of the profits.  Not that there were any profits – at least, not for a while. It’s hard for any debut author to get noticed, but with so many books on Amazon and no publicity machine behind me, it was almost impossible for me. In early 2016 I was actually on the point of giving up, but my lovely husband wouldn’t let me. He had absolute faith in me, and the very next month Book 3, then titled This Other Eden was published, and I started to earn money at last. 

 

What do I write?

I write about the lighter side of life, love, magic, and mystery. My characters may be flawed, but whether they’re casting a spell, solving a mystery, or dealing with the ups and downs of family life or romance, they do it with kindness and humour.
My stories of love, community, family and friendship are set in pretty villages and quirky market towns, by the sea or in the countryside, and a happy ending is guaranteed.
If you love heroes and heroines who do the best they can, no matter what sort of challenges they face, beautiful locations, and warm, feelgood stories, you’ll love my books.

I’m a member of the Society of Authors and the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and an Authorpreneur member of the Alliance of Independent Authors, and I’ve been a KDP All-Star Author on several occasions. I also set up my own publishing imprint, Green Ginger Publishing, and publish under that name rather than Fabrian Books these days. I’ve had a short story and two pocket novels published through DC Thomson for People’s Friend, and I’ve had five of my novels published as large print books with Ulverscroft. I also sold the audio rights to two of my books to WF Howes.

 

What else?

Hmm, what else do you want to know? Well, I like reading (obviously), researching my family tree (I’ve raided it on many occasions for character names!) and watching Doctor Who and Cary Grant movies. I love horses and hares, and enjoy nothing more than strolling around harbours and old buildings. Seriously, take me to a castle, an abbey, or a stately home and I’ll be happy for hours. I must also admit that I’m prone to all-consuming crushes on fictional heroes. Jamie Fraser, Poldark, Sherlock, Sidney Chambers … ooh, where was I? 

In 2018 I was lucky enough to be able to give up my admin job at a local medical practice, and take up writing as a full-time career. It was a risky move but I’m really glad I went for it. I love writing and I honestly think I have the best job in the world.

I live with my husband (the expert tea-maker) and our daft-as-a-brush German Shepherd dog, Tessa. She’s an old lady now, though she can still act like a puppy when she puts her mind to it.

After many years of trying to write books while balancing a laptop on my knee in front of the television, I’ve now got my own little office, which I absolutely love. It’s my favourite room in the house, and all my “writerly” stuff is in there, along with my “how-to” books and many of my favourite novels. Not ALL of them, though. I have so many favourite novels that I’ve run out of room. Recently I had to send a lot to a local charity shop, and others are now stored in the loft. How sad is that? 

I grew up in East Yorkshire, even though at one point we were told we’d been renamed North Humberside. It was a dark time, people, and we still don’t talk about it…

 

What next?

So that’s me really. My latest book is book 4 in The Witches of Castle Clair series, Will of the Witch. You can buy that here. Book 5, His Lawful Wedded Witch, will be published in January 2023, and you can pre-order it here

If you’d like to know a bit more about the locations and settings for my contemporary romance books – real or fictional – head to this page for some stunning photos, or to this page for the inspiration behind Castle Clair in my paranormal fiction.

I haven’t written many paranormals yet, but don’t worry because there will be a lot more! I really enjoyed writing about The Witches of Castle Clair, so there’ll be six books in that series altogether. After that I’ve got a spin-off series to work on. So I’ll be expanding the paranormal sections of this website quite dramatically before too long. I’m also keen to start my cosy mystery series, and I have plans for a series of books about family life and romance set in a rural community, but in a different era!  

Contemporary romance lovers needn’t worry though. I’ve got a whole new series called Tuppenny Bridge planned. The first one, Winter Wishes at The White Hart Inn features Sally and Rafferty from my How the Other Half Lives series, and it’s available to pre-order here. It will be published in October, so as you can see I’m going to be quite busy for some time!

As Charlotte Bronte, author of my all-time favourite book, Jane Eyre, once said:  

I'm just going to write because I cannot help it. (2)