~ Interview by Melina Kantor
Today we welcome chapter member Abigail Sharpe to the blog!
Q: You once dreamt of being a stage actress, and you’re still involved in community theater. How does theater influence your writing?
A: Ah, the lullaby of Broadway. I love community theater. The fact that the participants are just doing what they love is so similar to the writing world. In fact, I have a friend who is doing some work in New York and we likened auditions to the query process.
The last time I performed was in 2010 in a production of Singin’ in the Rain. It was my Golden Heart finalist year, and all I could think about was getting back to my computer. I decided then to audition only for shows that I really, really, really wanted to do. And I have, but didn’t get cast.
One of my first attempts at writing was with the advice of write what you know. The hero and heroine meet during a production of Brigadoon. He was the lead and she made costumes. (Men in kilts!!!) I didn’t get much beyond 30 pages, but it was a start.
Q: Tell us a bit about your latest novel, Who Wants to Marry a Doctor. Why did you choose a doctor?
A: My first book was Who Wants to Marry a Cowboy, so with the second, I wanted to switch up the genders of the character everyone wants to marry. I work as a technical writer and as exciting as that is in real life, it didn’t translate well to my heroine’s profession. I decided on a doctor because it was diverse enough for me to have her in the story’s situations. (Yes, despite her killer red heels on the cover, the doctor in my story is a woman. There’s a reason the hero is wearing the scrubs, though.)
Q: What types of research go into your books?
A: Oh, blessed Internet.
How much would I have loved to take a trip to Wyoming for research purposes? I had to make due with asking folks who had lived on a ranch or resided in Wyoming for help with the setting.
Quinn, the hero in Who Wants to Marry a Doctor, is a war reporter who was injured in Afghanistan. He’s suffering from Acute Stress Disorder, which is a precursor to PTSD. I needed the help of military personnel to figure out the process for getting him home, and I had to rely on a counselor to beta read the story and make sure I got my ASD reactions and treatment correct.
Q: In your opinion, what is the appeal of contemporary romance?
A: It’s the fantasy that this could happen to you, here and now, on this Earth, and without vampires. It’s the stories of modern men and women who can take charge and still love with all the passion in their souls.
I read all romance genres, though. Bring on those historicals, paranormals, romantic suspense – I’m all over them.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I’m writing a proposal for the third book in the With This Ring series, Who Wants to Marry a Fireman. It’s about a zoo keeper and a chef.
Okay, just kidding with that last sentence.
Q: Do you have any advice for authors just starting out or working on getting published?
A: Stick with it and learn all you can from whomever will teach you. Go to RWA workshops. Be part of a critique group. But also know what lessons to agree with for your voice and your style and tuck away the rest of it.
Melina (aka Melissa), thanks for having me here today! I always enjoy talking writing and books. And since I’ve been on the hot seat, I want to turn tables on the blog readers. Tell me about an aspect of your writing where you imitate your life in your art?