A lot of people have asked me how did I end up writing a book and getting it traditionally published.
To understand where I ended up, one has to explain where I came from.
I’m from a small town in Northern Maine, where books were my best friends as they enabled the creative imagination of a young girl who was a dreamer, and still is, to this day. They filled my world, and ended the boredom and loneliness I felt growing up.
I think it was inevitable that I would become a writer. What better place to explore new worlds that otherwise would be impossible to visit, you know? Books. They’ve been my friend, my comfort, and my security blanket. To be able to help others in this way is just amazing and a true joy.
I now live in North Carolina with my husband, son, and a flock of eight birds. I have a B.S. Degree in Chemistry. I love to sketch, take pictures, walk, exercise, go to the movies, and listen to music. I’m a budding bird watcher, and I knit on the side. Sports play a huge role in my life as I follow my teams in baseball, basketball, hockey, and football. My degree is also in Chemistry.
How does a chemist become an author? In 1999, I became disabled, and had to retire from a field I absolutely loved. I became a stay-at-home mom. Life moved on as my son grew. In 2009, my husband told a good friend that he felt I wrote really well. She shared that with me. In the summer of the same year, I started tossing ideas in my head just for kicks.
In the Fall of 2009, I had two unrelated surgeries within six weeks of each other. Having a lot of time to recuperate, I decided to pen down a story that had been brewing in my head. What I ended up with was my first book, “Jasper, Amazon Parrot: A Rainforest Adventure,” which is based on my parrot, Jasper. I am fortunate that my main character is a breathing member of my family.
That started an adventure that has gone full steam ahead due to the stories in my head calling me to place them on paper. They scream so loud, my only recourse is to write them down. I love it. To work on it until you get it just right, or as best as you can, is so worthwhile when you look at those written words. You get a sense of pride that you did it, not someone else, but you. I’m a writer due to this. To leave them unwritten is not an option for me.
I have the writing bug, but I didn’t want it to stop there. I made the decision to submit my novel to a traditional publishers. I felt strongly in my book, and thought it had a good shot at being picked up. Now, don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against self-publishing. In fact, I have self-published two books. I believe in not putting all my writings in one basket. That, as an author, I need to optimize every opportunity.
Roughly, I contacted between 20-30 publishers. I was fortunate that it got picked up that quickly. The process is grueling, for you are putting yourself out, naked like, to strangers as you share your baby, your manuscript, to the eye of the publishing world.
I first had to prepare myself mentally before I even started. Once I was confident with my query letter, which took a few edits, I started sending it out. Knowing the history of rejection letters from other authors, I braced myself. The day I prepared my query letter to be sent out for the very first time via email was hard. Once I had completed the requirements, all I had to do was hit send. I stared at that send button for about two hours as I paced in my office. Talking to myself, I tried to encourage myself to just hit the button. It took me a while to do it, for once it was hit, my letter was out there, and there was no turning back. It has gotten a lot easier for my mantra, or one of my writing mantras, is, “All I need is one yes, just one,” which I have taped to my desktop as a reminder.
I was fortunate with the publishers who replied to me. While not picking up my book, they gave me either tips on how to improve my book, or gave me bits of encouragement. Those are worth their weight in gold. One particular publisher told me why they did not pick up my book, and proceeded to tell me in detail. I asked him, once I had revised, would he check it out again afterwards, and he said yes. Thanks to his suggestions, my book was picked up two submissions later.
I have kept all of my rejection letters, for I consider them my badges of honor. It shows me that I am still trying, still moving forward with my craft. I kinda of like that.
The reason why I continue on this journey is due to my readers, and how I want them to feel as they read my book. I want them to sit back and enjoy the ride. To love it so much they don’t want to put it down. To laugh when they’re supposed to, and to smile in other cases. To read the last page, and not regret they picked it up. I want to take them on an adventure from beginning to end. I want them to feel the same way I feel when I read a book—alive.
I learned recently, in a review, that a third grader literally put down his electronic device so he could read my book. How can you beat this? You truly can’t get much better than this.
So it’s been a few years since I have reinvented myself. From the thought of writing a book to read to my future grandkids to one that is being read by others. That still blows my mind. That me, little old me, a small girl from the country in Northern Maine is now writing books that people are enjoying. While it has been an amazing, incredible, frustrating, stressful, and a fantastic ride, it still humbles me. It shows that dreams do happen. All you have to do is to start dreaming; a trait of mine from the age of four.
Sharon is a native of New England, raised in Northern Maine. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and son. She is owned by a flock of eight birds.
Sharon has a B.S. Degree in Chemistry. Writing keeps her busy. She tends to lose all track of time. The world could be coming to an end, and Sharon would be oblivious to it. When this author is writing, she envisions the scenes in her head. She tries to imagine the reality of what is written down on paper. The different options, scenes and problems will be listed down on the side in case she can use them later.
Sharon tends to write by long hand – the flow works better for her this way. The authors you would see in her bookshelves would be Stephen King, Agatha Christie, Bentley Little, and James Patterson.
She loves to read, take pictures, walk, exercise, go to the movies, and listen to music. Sharon is a budding bird watcher, and knits on the side. She is a huge sports fan which includes baseball, basketball, hockey, and football.
Two of her short stories were published in the anthology, “Cassandra’s Roadhouse.” Her children’s book, “Jasper, Amazon Parrot: A Rainforest Adventure,” was released in September 7, 2013. In December of 2013 Sharon along with members of her writing group, The Wonder Chicks, released an anthology called “Dragons in the Attic.”
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2 thoughts on “Guest Author Sharon C. Williams about Books, Birds and Family”
I’m going to disagree with ThisKid here – well, maybe not disagree, but ADD that writers almost all know how hard it is… and that’s why reading a story like this inspires us: by showing that it can happen to anyone (with a great story to tell, of course!)
Thanks for sharing your publishing story. I don’t think a lot of people realize how hard it is to get a book traditionally published.