Wednesday 20 February 2019

Valentine Countdown Day 13

Stan published his first book at age 5, when he managed to win a local writing contest for the library.
He's matured (slightly) since then, and has switched from writing about a boy and his dog, to clean contemporary romance, murder mysteries, and light fantasy/sci-fi.
Along with his wife,  9 (and counting) children, and a ninja cat, he inhabits a place with a pair of national parks in his backyard.
He considers himself really rather blessed.

~ Website ~


Jim Sharp is the only widower in the senior class of Mendon State University. Still reeling from the tragedy that claimed the love of his life, he struggles to pick up the pieces and close his heart forever to love. 

When an otherworldly encounter places him squarely in the path of new love, Alex sees no way to give his crushed heart away a second time. 

His wife, however, has other plans.

Q&A With the Author:

1.     Tell us about things you enjoy — what you do for fun or personal satisfaction besides writing?
o Along with my wife and children, I love taking advantage of the two national parks in my backyard, camping, hiking, and taking in scenery people come from all over the world to see. I also enjoy playing games with my kids, reading books (aloud) with my wife, sketching, building models, and (very occasionally) woodworking.
2.     When did you first realize you were an author?
o The first time I consciously decided I wanted to publish was in 2008. After writing various short stories (largely fan fiction for a game), I began listening to a number of audiobooks during my daily commute. When I realized that I was on par with a number of the authors whose books I was listening to, I decided it was time to work on getting myself published. Four years later, my first novel The Cinderella Project was put in print by Breezy Reads Publishing.
3.     Have you done anything writing-related, but besides actually writing your books, that seemed to get a lot of positive response? Something that encouraged you?
o During a college course on technical writing, the former head of the school's English department pulled me aside and complimented me highly for my writing. He was so impressed that he wrote a glowing recommendation for use in my upcoming post-graduation job hunt. While I already knew I enjoyed writing, it hadn't occurred to me that I was particularly good at it until the professor in question (who I had never met before the course) pointed it out to me. That one event bolstered my confidence tremendously, and was a motivational stepping stone toward publishing.
4.     What is the thing you struggle with the most while writing? And how do you defeat it?
o Moving forward and finding motivations amidst the busy-ness of any given day is probably my biggest struggle. Once I "get off the ground," so to speak, I can lay down a few thousand words (on a good day) without breaking a sweat. It's getting past the inertia of not writing that I find most difficult.
I've used several techniques to deal with this problem. The first is a daily word count goal (I keep it very modest). This gives me a measurable target that keeps me moving forward (even if not very quickly), while still fitting into my oft-taxing daily schedule. A more recent technique is simply "Writing to write," where I push myself to put words on a page, even if they're not well polished, and I know I'll have to go back and edit them. When I do this, I still make progress, and I find it's much easier to fix poor wording than to fix a completely blank page.
5.     What is the “message” of your writing? (For example, is your purpose to encourage old-fashioned values, encourage romance, or do you have different purposes in different books?)
o I feel that writing has long had a variety of purposes, among which education and entertainment are two of the most common. I can't bring myself to write pure "fluff" pieces, most of the time. While I don't intend to be didactic or to push any specific views or agenda, I do aim to provide opportunities for readers to evaluate the way people face challenges using a solid, moral core and personal determination. In other words, "Good guys don't necessarily finish last."
I write clean romance because I know that both my wife and my oldest daughter read my books; I'd rather not have to explain to my teenage daughter why I wrote something racy.
6.     Are your characters/stories/scenes, etc. based on anything in real life?
o Absolutely. My first two published novels, The Cinderella Project and Love Spell were based heavily on real-life events and people. The Cinderella Project features a scene in which the main characters are having a discussion about love. The male lead tells the story of a girl he once loved. That story is, in fact, my own story from my freshman year of college.
Similarly, my novel Love Spell is (in large measure) an apology to a girl I was unfortunately cruel to when I was still in high school (thankfully, I've grown past that).
My novel Autumn Wings is set on a campus based heavily my university's campus and its surroundings. The story also involves events that parallel my college career.
7.     What are your future projects?
o Several projects are currently in the works. My most active one is a yet-to-be-titled tale that blends dragons and the Old West, and may yet become serialized. When two immigrants from opposite ends of the social spectrum find themselves transformed into dragons, and tasked with bringing the species back from the brink of extinction, they struggle to come to terms with their hastily arranged marriage, and the tremendous change of their very beings. Set against the backdrop of the San Francisco Gold Rush, the two of them must learn to love one another before they end up killing each other, and still manage to save the world as they know it.
o An on-going back burner project is a middle-grade sci-fi fantasy blend series. In the first book, a boy with literally no imagination is thrust into a world created by his father's flights of boyhood fancy. Desperate to prevent his parents from divorcing, he sets out on a quest across his dad's imaginary world to find the one person who may be able to convince his father not to leave the family. Who he finds, however, is nothing like the person he was looking for. Further books follow the boy, his family, and inter-planar friend through adventures that risk breaking the fate of two worlds, three planes, and Creation itself.
o I have numerous other story idea covering several genres, but they will need to wait their turn.

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