In addition to authoring award winning young adult novels, PJ Sharon owns and operates ABSolute Fitness and Therapeutic Bodywork, a private practice massage therapy and personal training business in East Granby, CT. With over twenty-five years in the health and fitness industry, Ms. Sharon offers a multidisciplinary approach to wellness.
As a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA), Massage Therapist (LMT), Certified Personal Fitness Trainer (CPFT), and Yoga Instructor, Ms. Sharon brings a wealth of knowledge to her clients and workshops. A graduate of Springfield Technical Community College and the Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy, Ms. Sharon also holds certifications as a trainer through the NFPT and teaches therapeutic yoga.
A Black Belt in the art of Shaolin Kempo Karate, and former figure skating and power skating instructor, Ms. Sharon’s passion for holistic health and healing comes through in her writing—whether she is penning romantic and hopeful stories for teens, or sharing her wisdom and experience with clients and workshop attendees.
When she’s not writing, or spreading the love through her practice, she can be found kayaking in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts, and renovating an old farmhouse with the love of her life.
Social Media/Contact links:
Signup for PJ’s Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bm7rj5
“Like” PJ on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pjsharonbooks
Short Blurb: Due out in January of 2016, Overcome your Sedentary Lifestyle will guide even the most inactive of people toward improved health and wellness with easy to incorporate exercises that you can do–even at your desk, and steps to making or breaking any habit. There will be tips on ergonomic design of office space, help with choosing your Healthcare Team, ways to snack healthy, and much, much more.
Available for pre-order now! http://www.amazon.com/dp/B017JL1E20
Interview Questions and Intro:
Thanks for inviting me to share in celebrating your big milestones, Gail! Congratulations on publishing your first novel. What a wonderful accomplishment and a testament to your perseverance. It gives new meaning to the phrase, “It’s never too late to follow your dreams.”
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
By far, being a mother to two wonderful sons and raising them to be sweet, kind, and productive individuals has been my greatest accomplishment. Writing and publishing seven novels is a close second.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I always try to have a three year, five year, and ten year plan cooking in the back of my mind. The funny part is that I’m never where I thought I would be in ten years, LOL. Life has a way of surprising us with adventures and side trips, doesn’t it? I’m hoping to continue writing and publishing books, running my practice, and enjoying my time with family. I figure if I keep working at my current pace, I’ll have thirty or so books on my cyber-shelf in ten years. That should count for something toward my retirement.
Were you already a great writer? Have you always liked to write?
I’ve written in one form or another since I was a child. Before I even started kindergarten, I remember writing down stories with my grandfather as we would make them up. We would also spend hours playing cards, which taught me about numbers. Gramps gave me a great head start! I could read, write, add and subtract, way ahead of my peers. I kept journals and diaries all through grade school, high school, and beyond. My teachers, friends, and family always encouraged me with praise for my effort and I think there was some raw talent there, but nothing that made me consider publishing until my kids were grown and gone. Learning the actual craft of writing took several more years of education and practice. I’m still learning new ways to improve all the time! I think that’s one of the things I love about writing. There is always room to grow.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad or perhaps do not read your reviews? Do you respond to your reviewers?
I am one of those few who like reading my reviews. I never respond to them with more than a generic, “Thank you for reading and reviewing my book.” Everyone is entitled to their opinion and not everyone will love what I’ve written. I’ve been fortunate enough to have far more positive reviews than negative and it warms my heart to know I’ve touched so many lives with my words. I really do want to know what readers think of my books! On the rare occasion I do receive a negative review, I take it with a grain of salt and figure that person is not my target audience. If there’s something constructive that will help me improve my writing, I try to be open minded and take the critique, but most negative reviews are pretty silly and unhelpful. I wish retailers would give some guidance to those people who wish to leave a review. Instructions NOT to tell the whole story would be helpful. Also, terms like “honest but kind” would be useful tips for reviewers. It’s sad that some people just want an excuse to be mean and have found an opportunity to do so as they can hide behind their anonymity.
What is your best marketing tip?
Marketing is by far the hardest part of this job. The industry changes so quickly, it’s hard to keep up with the latest trends in marketing. In addition, what works for one person may not work for others. Many of our social media efforts are simply a way to keep our name and brand out in the public eye, but things like Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, etc., are fast becoming white noise to consumers. By far, the best tool for capturing readers and defining an audience of repeat customers is building a mailing list. Newsletter subscribers have chosen to sign up for what you have to offer. If an author can keep them happy with new content and useful information on a regular (but not spammy) basis, I think you’ll see results in sales, word of mouth exposure, and genuine fans who’ll look forward to hearing from you when a new release comes along. I send newsletters out quarterly, but more often close to a release.
Are you a plotter or a pantster?
I used to be a pantser, but over time, found that it cost me a lot of time and frustration on the cleaning up end of writing a manuscript. I’d often get stuck on plot points or my characters would take me on a detour that led nowhere. Although I still don’t plot out the whole book, I’ve learned to do some prep work that helps stream line my process. Doing a character grid to clarify the goal, motivation, and conflict for each character helps me to get to know them before I get into the story. It also helps me be clear about their fears and what black moment they will have to face to get to their HEA. Michael Hague’s story structure course helped me considerably in that I “plot” out the turning points, which gives me a guideline so I don’t go too far off track. It has helped my pacing and tightened my story structure nicely.
Writing non-fiction is a completely different animal, LOL. I outlined my chapters, wrote the book in sections, and moved things around as needed for clarity. It was much less a linear process for me and more about functionality. It requires a very different part of the brain and was a surprisingly easy process. There’s no making it up as you go along. It’s simply imparting information I already know or can easily research, and then sharing the info with others. It’s been a nice break from the emotional angst of fiction writing for teens, but I’m definitely ready to get back to the creative aspect.
What are you working on now? What is your next project?
I’m currently working on a series of novellas based on my character in Savage Cinderella. Brinn Hathaway was such a strong character and her story so powerful, I felt I needed to see where she went after THE END. A HOLT Medallion winner, SAVAGE CINDERELLA was a favorite with readers and has over 3.5 million reads on Wattpad. I’m hoping my Wattpad readers will enjoy seeing more of her. I’m doing a huge promotion with several other authors of “Cinderella” themed novels this winter, culminating in a countdown to midnight on New Year’s Eve. We’ll be offering a free book of excerpts, recipes, and party tips, and doing a Princess Pampering basket giveaway. You can find out more info here: http://stacyjuba.com/blog/glassslippersisters/ or find all of our books here: http://astore.amazon.com/glassslippers0b-20
My Savage Cinderella novellas will be serial in nature. They pick up a year after Brinn’s return from years of living in the wild. Because of her experience of having been kidnapped as a child and left for dead in the high country of North Georgia, she has some special abilities that make her an asset in solving other kidnapping cases. Think Veronica Mars meets Castle. I was hoping to have the first one done by this month, but alas, my non-fiction project has taken most of my time this year. Brinn’s first adventure will be called FINDING HOPE and should be out in early 2016.
Thanks so much for having me, Gail. Peace and blessings to you and your readers!
Paula, thank you for the lovely interview. Your processes and suggestions are wonderful. I agree that Michael Hauge’s structure suggestions are valuable. Without a good structure, the building will fall. And so will a story fall without a good foundation/structure. If my readers missed it, you discuss this in my question, “Are you a plotter or pantster?” It is always a pleasure to have you visit my blog.
You are welcome to touch base, or comment. Paula would love to chat with you, so here’s a great question from her to you: When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone and tried something new, took a risk, or followed a long held dream? How did it work out for you? Any regrets?