This evening in the Library, I am delighted to welcome fellow Irish author, Sharon Thompson, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.
Please tell us a little about yourself:
Sharon Thompson here, Irish author who is living in Donegal. I write anything I can but my debut crime novel just launched in January 2018 with leading digital publishers, Bloodhound Books UK. It was a #1 Best-seller on Kindle.
Did you read much as a child? Are you an avid reader now? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?
I loved to read but possibly wasn’t an avid reader. Enid Blyton and The Famous Five were firm favourites. The Secret Garden and Black Beauty stick in my memory. Recently someone mentioned the Thorn Birds and I read this in my teenage years and it brought me back to that book. English was my favourite subject at school.
Now, I love to read all sorts of books. I adore crime fiction writers like Louise Phillips, Andrea Mara and Liz Nugent, contemporary women’s fiction by Carmel Harrington, historical fiction from Hazel Gaynor and I’m throughly enjoying Prime Time by Jane Wenham-Jones. Short-stories by Kelly Creighton and yourself Pam Lecky are great to find. I love to write and read short stories. Oh memoir too! Lorna Sixsmith novel ‘Till the Cows Come Home’ is out soon and I was lucky to read an advance copy. It is a must-read in May. Alana Kirk is also fabulous in this genre. I love blogs and follow the likes of The S Mum/Maria Rushe and ‘Thoughts on a page’ by Tric Kearney. I like writers to make me smile as well as cry.
Are you self-published or traditionally published?
My debut novel The Abandoned launched in Jan 2018 with Bloodhound Books at #1 on Irish kindle crime fiction. It is doing well in sales and reviews and I’m delighted.
Which genre do you write in and why?
I skip around with genres. I write anything I can. However, my manuscripts are mostly historical crime fiction. But ….. I also write short stories, contemporary fiction and non-fiction pieces. I love to write and therefore write everything and anything to continue in this ‘writing life’.
Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?
This is a tough one. If I say that I feel John McGathern influenced me, it feels wrong, as he is such a great writer, who I never will even touch in terms of ability – but I love his work. Louise Phillips’ books were huge for me when I stumbled across them on a shelf when wanting a female, Irish crime-writer. Carmel Harrington, is like my writing fairy-godmother. We found each other on twitter and she suggested I write for fun and changed my life. Vanessa O’ Loughlin encouraged me to believe in myself. My writing group gave me confidence and are thriving as writers themselves and are leading lights in my writing life.
There’s also a magic that inspires me to write and I dedicate my books to this magic.
Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?
My novel is based in Dublin, Ireland. Most of my work is Irish based. Therefore, it is hugely influential on me. The Abandoned has a definite ‘Irish style’ and I’m told it has a rhythm or flow which is possibly unique to Irish writers? Others could let me know if this is accurate please.
What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?
Editing for me is the most difficult. I never know if and when a manuscript is ready to go to submissions or back to the publisher. I tend to over-think, over-write and worry about trivial details. I tried to overcome it this time by writing with ‘abandon’. I’m not sure I mastered it and am awaiting my edits on my book 2 from Bloodhound Books with trepidation.
Do you have a favourite time of day to write?
Anytime really suits me but possibly the morning is when I get the flow of words best. I am lucky to be a full-time writer with no children, an elderly, sleepy dog and an understanding husband. I write when I want to. Lucky me!
What is the best thing about being an author? And the flipside – what is the worst?
Being published is nice but there’s such fear about sales, reviews and future books. I think writers are their own worst critics. It is a brave thing to call yourself a writer.
The up-side though is that I can spend time coming up with ways of meeting others and sharing my work. The best thing is the writing process itself. I can get lost in my worlds and enjoy what I do everyday. Hearing from readers who loved the words I enjoyed putting down, is fabulous too. Most things are great while I’m at a keyboard. It’s the world outside that’s scary.
Is social media an essential chore or something you enjoy? Which forum do you prefer?
I adore social media. It takes up a large part of my time. Twitter and Facebook are my homes. Thankfully (touch wood) my experiences have been positive on both. I run a writing tweet chat and have found it excellent for net-working with writers and readers. #WritersWise is a fun forum anyone can dip into on Thursdays 9-10pm. http://www.writerswise1.wordpress.com
I find it a chore when I spend too much time on it and use it as a way of getting out of editing! writing.ie and my website http://www.sharontwriter.com have posts of mine, which are resources for writers and information on getting published.
I write for two online women’s magazines. #WomansWords on DonegalWoman.ie and #Indulgeinbooks on indulgem.ie, so a presence on social media is not a chore for me. I’ve started my own small digital magazine for subscribers to my website.
If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?
I used to be primary school principal. If I wasn’t writing, I’d probably have to do a ‘proper’ job. I like to think I’d be an artist of some kind.
It’s the last day and the earth is facing oblivion – what book would you read?
I probably would be feverishly reading the Bible!
Please tell us about your latest published work.
Thanks Pam for your support and sharing my novel ‘The Abandoned’.
What makes a woman decide to walk down a dark path? Can Peggy ever get back on the straight and narrow? Or will she have to pay for her crimes? Set against the backdrop of Ireland in the 1950’s The Abandoned tells the story of one woman’s fight for survival and her journey into the underbelly of a dangerous criminal world.
Bloodhound Books have signed me for a further two novels and my next one will hopefully be out later this year.