Monday, 4 November 2013

Meet A Writer Monday Presents...

...Sharon Desruisseaux

1. Tell me about your book Tenacious Grasp of Reality and where you got your inspiration for it?

Well, I have several published so far and more in the works. However, my latest two are “A Tenacious Grasp on Reality” and “The Chronicles of a Dynasty Past”. Those two are only available on Amazon for both eBook and paperback. My other works are found on Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, Google books, and Barnes & Noble’s and Nook-for both eBook and paperback as well. The latest two will soon be on others as well.

My inspiration for “A Tenacious Grasp of Reality” is from living in my own haunted house in Maine-I just had a lot of fun and went overboard on it all to add to the eeriness factor. My inspiration for “The Chronicles of a Dynasty Past” is from my love of history. I wanted to write about the daughter of the legendary Cleopatra VII and my visit to Egypt made it all the more fervent to get it all in a book. This is the third book in my series and sort of adds to the other two. The series is called ‘From the Sands of Egypt to Eternity”.

2. Who has had the most influence in your life? What lessons did this person teach you? 

I have always had a very supportive family as a child and currently. My children and husband encourage me daily as well. I have also had wonderful teachers in history, literature, and English growing up and in college.

3. How would you like to be remembered? 

As an author who stuck to their principles and wrote from the heart and soul not for what is popular as that latter seems to change almost daily. For my determination and persistence and for defending other Indie authors unfairly wronged in this seemingly hostile area we face today as writers.

4. Do you have a writing process? If so describe it. 

Mostly, I am an historical fiction writer. Therefore, It could take years researching all I can on a chosen subject. Then I inundate myself in the era chosen as best as I could to get the feel of my characters. Then I write out an outline chronologically and from there, chapters are formed. The characters come alive and all I do is type as fast as I can to get it all out there as I reach each time period.

5. What is the most demeaning/demoralising thing ever said about you as a writer? 

In my first troll attack I was called a scammer by a group of trolls led by Angela Horn. It is complete libel… But that is the life of a writer, I guess-you have to deal with the freaks out there…

6. How do you react to a bad review of one of your books?

When I was new to this, I politely and privately inquired of that person as it came from another writer, especially as it was absolutely rude and horrible. I was floored at their response. I have since realized they were trolls and I ignore them completely and help others attacked instead and give them knowledge about the growing troll problem on certain sites. Knowledge is power and most Indies stick together for support and encouragement.

7. Are the names of characters in your novels important? 

In the historical fiction novels-yes they are, as they actually existed. In my modern literary fiction novels-they are made up and some even have their personalities as last names in a different language. One example would be of a character with the last name of CouRouge (which means red neck-on who the characters are based on), in my “Tenacious Grasp of Reality” novel.

8. Which do you find more embarrassing to write, violence or sex? 

Good question. The violence was essential in the time periods I wrote about as it was a part of life. As far as the sex scenes-I tend to take a shy route and write as Alfred Hitchcock and set the stage, put the characters in place and then close the curtains for the reader’s imagination to fill in the blanks. There are way too many modern books out there riddled with sex and only so many adjectives used to describe things. I like his approach as our imaginations can really do more than any words on a page. When I mentioned the technique used by Alfred Hitchcock, I am referring to a violent scene in the classic movie Psycho-no one actually sees the murder scene in the shower-but we all think we have. We just saw the blood on the drain and the shadow of the knife….

9. What are the most important attributes to staying sane as a writer? 

A big one would be not to take bad reviews personally-unless they are a downright malicious troll attack. I just block them (trolls) out, ignore them and flag them for abuse-if they are trolls. As far as those from non-trolls, you cannot please everyone when you are a writer and you need to be tough and take it with class. Very important I staying sane as a writer, is to have a plan in mind as any other business, and stick to it. I am a very disciplined person and owned my own business before (as an independent paralegal). Therefore, I know the importance of treating your writing as nobly as any other business. The busier you are-the less the time you have to worry. That is what works for me anyways.

10. Do you research your novels? 

Absolutely, from as many sources as possible. I write historical fiction novels and that is essential with my work. I prefer first hand and eyewitness sources of course, though have reviewed many others as well, and weed out the more legit sources of historical events for my sources. Some events in history were falsified to please a monarch or dictator and I had to review other standpoints as well to find the more feasible truth of the past issue researched.

11. What would you do with 1 million ping pong balls? 

Lol! Love that question! I would love to drop them down during a major tennis tournament. I grew up a tennis brat, and know how serious that world can be and it certainly would be funny to witness! Lol!

12. Do you believe in love at first sight? Have you ever experienced it?

I do. I thought when younger that was all there was and then realized there is much, much more to it. Nevertheless, the initial glance does bring us in for further inquiry. I married my soul mate and felt that from my first glimpse of him. Yet, the more we grew to know each other as friends first and then with our relationship and marriage-I made the right choice.

13. What’s your favourite book and why? 

I have so many favourite books. I will let you in on a few of them. I love all books written by Marion Zimmer Bradley, as her take on historical events from a woman’s perspective was inspiring from when I initially read them as a teenager to now as an adult. “Mists of Avalon” and that series based on King Arthur was what reeled me in, and what cemented my allegiance to that author was her book on the Iliad from Cassandra’s perspective called, “Firebrand”. I also love books my Colleen McCullough on ancient Rome, books by John Jakes on the Revolutionary era, etc. I have read those books over and over, and would read them again. They inspired me as a writer with their well-researched and detailed style of writing. They put you into the time-period written about and that is what I try to do.

14. What do you like most about being a writer? 

I love choosing what I want to write about and being the master of my own destiny. I love the research as well as the actual writing. I love the marketing and the graphics as well that I add in as I am an artist and web designer. I also love hearing from my readers and other authors as well. It is all wonderful. You get out of it what you put into it and I love what I do so much, I have people telling me to step away from the computer as I often lost track of time.

15. What’s the nicest thing you’ve ever done or ever been done for you? 

In all of my years and travels there has been numerous and countless acts of kindness that I have witnessed, done without a thought for others and have had done for me. There is definitely more good in the world than bad and I have seen endless examples of it. So, I could not narrow it down to one either way-just that there is amazing good out there in the world.

16. What is one of your favourite traditions from your child hood that you would like to pass on to your child? (or if they’re older, have passed on.) 

I suppose reading, as if that is a shock-would be the one passed down to me and then, I in turn passed down to my three daughters. We are more prone to open a book and read on a rainy day than sit by the television. I have a house full of books as did my mother and it was open for anyone to share in the house. Due to this, I actually started reading John Jakes in the fifth grade. The book was called “The Bastard”-my fifth grade teacher got such a kick out of my reading choice and how I described it that I was never asked about summer reading since. They knew I came from a household of readers. I do the same for my daughters give them unlimited access to my library and am there for any questions they may have, as my parents did for me.

17. How do you overcome writers block? 

I usually do not have it as I have many series all researched out that I am working on, and if I get stuck on one project, I work on another. I write down all ideas for future projects on endless lists to keep me somewhere on any of the many tracks I can be on in a given day. So, blank page-confusion? Nope-I just write and eventually it clears out and makes itself known to me. (The closest thing to writers block would occur during a blog I am writing. That is when I use that exercise of writing until the sentence reveals itself and then I go from there to where the page leads me)

18. Say you’re dead but are a ghost? You can’t be seen, can make objects float and walk through walls. What would you do? 

I would have way too much fun with that. I actually live in a haunted house. I would probably make the tv turn on and scream and wail about and , ohhhhh so much on that one. I wrote a literary gothic ghost story and had a lot of fun with my ghost characters on that-so I suppose something like what I wrote about in “A Tenacious Grasp on Reality”

19. What three things would you save from a fire at your house? (assume that all your family get out safe.)

 My pets too? Besides all of that, it would be my laptop (I have all my files and photographs-ancient family ones to current), a painting from my mother and one from my grandmother. It is tough as I have a house full of precious (to us) family heirlooms. I am a third generation artist and paintings are all over my house. My grandmother’s are priceless to me as she is no longer with us and they are the very few things I have from her. That would be tough as memories as valuable to me and my house is full of them from people no longer in my life…Sorry, that question always gets me…

20. How did you come up with the title for your latest book? “A Tenacious Grasp of Reality”. 

Since it is a very gothic ghost story, my main characters go through quite a bit while living in their antique dream home. The main character, Sophie, questions her sanity on several occasions and fortunately has the loving support of her family who back her up-though they all hold tenaciously onto the reality, as they once knew it before moving into that spooky house detailed in the story.

21. Are there any new authors that have grabbed your interest? 

There are quite a few actually. I totally support other up and coming Indie authors in being one myself. One in particular in Jaq D. Hawkins who writes wonderful steampunk stories and opened me up to that new and exciting genre.

22. What are your current projects? 

Currently I am finishing up with the updates to my social marketing platform and graphics. I will soon be working diligently on my sequel to “The Point of No Return”. I am also conducting interviews with other Indies, whether writers, artists or musicians as I am meeting quite a lot now. If you are interested in one back, please contact me J By the way, I love your questions! J

23. Do you recall how your interest in writing occurred? 

Since people started noticing my writing at an early age, back in elementary school. I won a few writing contests and my teachers have encouraged me since then as well as my family.

24. When did you first consider yourself a writer? 

Officially, back in 1998 when I became serious and intent on finishing that first novel “Cleopatra Selene, Legacy of the Sun and Moon”-which was finally published back in 2010. Since then, the books and novels keep flowing out and the writing is continuous. When you finish one-the rest follow

25. If you couldn’t be an author, what career would you chose? 

I did have a very successful career as a paralegal and a claims examiner in insurance and even in sales for insurance. However, being a writer was all I ever wanted to be and the other careers just brought me here to where I want to be.

26. What’s your favourite love story? (movie or book) 

One of them is a movie with Christopher Reeves called “Somewhere in Time”. There is a book I loved called “A Knight in Shining Armour”, oh so many of those as well. Love is timeless and will never tire a dedicated reader for the hope of true love is what inspires all, even wars… such as the Iliad… lol!

27. If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be? 

Never give up, and get as much education as possible, and never stop from there. I stupidly dropped out of college when my parents paid for it years back. They shut me off when I dropped out. Since then, I have been going back to college non-stop and the tabs on me. I suppose that is a good thing, as now I appreciate it more.

28. Someday I want to...? 

See my own daughters achieve their own dreams as well. I am so proud of them and want to see them shine as well as they deserve it. I am a proud Momma of three wonderful daughters.

29. Name one thing that drives you crazy. 

Mean people. A bumper sticker I would love to have is “Mean people suck!” lol! We need more smiles not bitterness and grumpy people out there J

30. If you gave one of your characters the opportunity to speak for themselves, what would they say?

That is tough since as I write, I literally put myself in the scene and they take on lives and personalities of their own quite dramatically to be written down. I usually have to type drastically fast to catch it all. They have made it quite clear to me their own personalities so I believe I captured them all as they wanted. I am a very imaginative person and it is easy for me to become the scene. The hard part is bringing the reader into it to see what I do. I am an artist and also try to “paint” the scenery and emotion in words most fitting.


 About Sharon

Sharon Desruisseaux and her daughters have moved to the rural foothills of Maine from the bustling Southeastern Massachusetts area where they were raised, in search of a better life and a refreshing new pace. She is the former owner of "Meadow Brook Farm & Studio" (a fiber farm) and presently with her husband Rob Goding-they are the owners of a paintball business called "Slab City Paintball". As artist and owner of the fiber farm, Sharon, specializes in children's portraits and hats made in an ancient technique from her herd of Icelandic Sheep. She has many years experience as a paralegal and insurance, which has only aided her research skills. She currently has a career in Finance as well as being a published historical fiction novelist.  She wears many hats and even the ones she makes from the wool of her own Icelandic sheep!

Twitter: @sharondy

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