Friday, 14 December 2012

Friday Feature: Author Interview with Lydia Sharp

While I don't normally read that many novellas, I really enjoyed Lydia Sharp's Twin Sense. (One thing that e-publishing has been brilliant for is people being able to release shorter books at great prices!) When I realised she was a fellow member of the fabulous Absolute Write site, I got in touch asking for an interview and was really pleased that she accepted.

1. When you close your eyes and imagine your readers, who do you see?

This isn't meant to be narcissistic, but I see myself. I see my teen self, the one who needed these stories some-odd years ago but couldn't find them, and I see my adult self who refuses to grow up. I know there are plenty of other people out there like me, or like I was, and that's who I'm writing for.

2. Who came up with the fabulous cover for Twin Sense?

The cover was a dual effort between me and Musa Publishing's lead cover artist Kelly Shorten, although Kelly must be credited with the actual product--I simply provided ideas. One of the benefits of being with small a press is how much say the author has in the final cover. Kelly and I went through 15 mock-ups before putting together the final. And I knew as soon as I saw it that it would be The One. It was insta-love (which is bad for stories, but great for book covers!).

3. You have a huge online presence! As well as your own blog, you contribute to Write It Sideways and Writer Unboxed, while I first found out about Twin Sense when you posted on Absolute Write. How important do you think the internet is to a writer today?

Very important. But I don't view it as just having a large online presence, as if to say that is my main goal. The main goal is always to genuinely connect with my audience. So I view social networking more as doing what I love doing, and doing what is necessary to survive in today's world of publishing. Everything you mentioned above came about through years of continual effort and refusing to let my public persona flicker out of existence. "Success" and growth don't happen overnight, and shouldn't be expected to, especially before you have anything published. It also shouldn't take over your time so much that your writing suffers. Building an online presence is never more important than producing quality work for your readers.

The good thing about the Internet now, even compared to when I started blogging 3+ years ago, is that there are so many more choices. Some view this as a bad thing, but that's because they think you have to do everything. You don't have to do everything. Try each venue once, for at least six months, then stick with the ones that work best for you and the needs of your career. Blogging suits me. In addition to the blogs you mentioned above, I've also blogged for the YA Contemps, Gay YA, and The Book Book (all of which are no longer posting new content, or I'd still be with them). Twitter works well for me too. I like the speed of it. I'm giving Facebook a try, but still not completely sold on it. Pinterest? Been there, done that, no thanks. Google+... Is that even still a thing? And there are many others--the point is, you don't have to utilize them all to see results.

In addition to being social media savvy, I believe writing communities like Absolute Write are essential. Not necessarily to sales, directly, but to learning the craft, the business, and forming a camaraderie with fellow authors. 

4. Despite not usually being a fan of love triangles/quadrangles/etc, I really liked the one at the centre of Twin Sense. What's your own favourite love triangle from someone else's book?

Thanks, I'm glad you liked it! I'm not usually a fan of love triangles either, but that's because they are often done poorly. When they're done well they can enhance the tension and conflict of any story. The first good one that pops into my head is fromMatched by Ally Condie. It was very basic--choosing between the one you're supposed to be with and the one you want to be with--and I think that's why it worked so well for me.

I also liked the complex love... pentagon(?) that E. Lockhart had going on in her Ruby Oliver series (one of my absolute favorites--you all must read it!). I learned a lot about how to keep the reader guessing by reading those books. Love triangles (and beyond) that are too predictable have the greatest potential for reader frustration. If it's obvious who the lead character is going to choose in the end, why should anyone waste time reading the story?

5. I know you've talked a bit about a novel called The Seven Deaths of Kat Monroe, which sounds brilliant! What do you prefer, writing novels or writing short stories?

Aw, thank you again! Seven Deaths is my fifth completed novel, and I've lost count how many works of short fiction I've completed. By short fiction I mean either flash fiction, short story, novelette, or novella. I have three short stories published in anthologies, and Twin Sense is my first published novella. To be honest, I don't have a preference. Each length presents different challenges and different joys. For instance, one of the nice things about writing a short story is how quickly I can reach the satisfaction of finishing it. However, I also love how deep I can get into my characters' lives through the long stretch of a novel.

6. Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what was the soundtrack for Twin Sense?

I can't NOT listen to music while writing, preferably with lyrics. For Twin Sense I listened to a lot of punk--bands that were really popular in the early 00s. That type of music is very fun, upbeat, and quirky, which helped me keep the right frame of mind for writing a romantic comedy. Here are a few of the songs I listened to for Twin Sense:

"In Too Deep" by Sum 41:
"Dammit" by Blink 182: 
"My Friends Over You" by Newfound Glory: 

7. What are you reading at the moment?

An ARC of Liberty by Annie Laurie Cechini, a YA sci-fi that will be a 2013 debut: 

8. What's next for Lydia Sharp?

Right now I'm working on a YA rom-com short story for an upcoming anthology with Musa Publishing that will release in spring/summer 2013. In addition to that, I'm in the process of querying agents for my YA novel we talked about above, Seven Deaths. I've also just begun work on a new YA novel, which will likely become my Big Project for 2013.

At some point in the future I'd also like to write the kind of novels people rave about at their book clubs, in between bites of cheesecake truffles and sips of wine. (yes, I know I'm dreaming, but at least my dream includes cheesecake)

Twin Sense 

As girlfriends of the Taylor twins, Layna and Sherri have only been friends by association. But when Sherri breaks up with Keith (for real this time), and Kevin gives Layna a promise ring (whoa, what?), Layna's whole world spins off balance. She avoids Kevin's unwelcome pressure to commit by spending more time with Sherri.

Without the twins around, Layna and Sherri are tempted to go beyond friendship status. Then Keith tries to win Sherri back, and Kevin apologizes for rushing Layna. Now she's stuck inside a double-trouble love quadrangle that has her reaching for the consolation cheesecake. The only way to sort out this mess is to make an impossible choice - between the one she wants and the other one she wants - or she might end up with no one.

Lydia Sharp is a novelist and short fiction author who grew up on the shores of Lake Erie. Then she got tired of finding sand in her clothes so she moved further inland, but she'll always call Ohio home. Laughing is her favorite pastime. Kissing is a close second.

You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon and the blogs linked above. You can also e-mail her at lydiasharp4sff (at) yahoo (dot) com

You can also find some Twin Sense extras on her blog! If you'd like to buy Twin Sense, you can do that at Musa Publishing, Amazon or B&N.

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