We love brand new authors here at The Book Pushers! Fresh new voices in our favorite genres gives us another person to cyber-stalk and glom onto! We figured since there are always new authors getting published through both the big New York publishers, as well as the smaller digital first publishers, we should take the time and hunt them down and introduce them to you. Today we are going to be featuring TWO very different debut authors today.
First up we have Sharon Lynn Fisher, whose debut novel Ghost Planet debuted on October 30th.
Thanks so much for having me!
Explain to us your journey to publication:
Sharon: I started writing when I was very young – 5 or 6. I always knew I wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t make any serious attempts toward publication until my early 20s. Over a few years I wrote a couple of fantasy novels, and started a couple more. I made it as far as a second reader on a partial at Ace. (Woo-hoo!)
Then life happened for a couple of decades. I never gave up the writing dream, but was both daunted by the hard road to publishing, and the fact I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write. After my daughter was born, I went back to fantasy for a while, but I hadn’t really found my voice yet.
For about a year I entered stories in the Writers of the Future Contest, and kept getting honorable mentions. I decided to try my hand at sci-fi, and the short story version of GHOST PLANET was the first story I’d been really excited about in a long time. WOTF gave that one an honorable mention too, but more importantly I was so inspired that I expanded the short story to a full-length novel within about six weeks.
That was early 2008, and over the course of the next five years I rewrote the manuscript a couple times, was named a finalist three times for RWA’s Golden Heart Award, found an agent, and finally in 2011 signed with Tor.
What’s your first published book about (start of a series, a stand alone, we want details!):
Sharon: GHOST PLANET is the story of a young woman (Elizabeth) who travels to an Earth-like world to work as a psychologist, only to discover she died en route to the planet, has been reincarnated as an alien, and is symbiotically bound to the sexy Irishman who was supposed to be her supervisor (Murphy).
I really love this description from Publisher’s Weekly: “… an absorbing and exciting story full of science, sex, and intriguing plot twists.”
The novel stands alone for the time being. I do have an idea for a sequel!
Do you have anything in the works? (contracted or not?)
Sharon: My second book for Tor, working title THE OPHELIA PROPHECY, is a post-apocalyptic bio-punk romance. A twisty tale with lots of color and texture, science, politics, and adventure.
I also have another Golden Heart finalist manuscript (ECHO 8) that I’d like to polish up and submit in the near future. It’s a sci-fi/paranormal blend about an energy “vampire” from an alternate Earth, the FBI agent intent on destroying him, and the parapsychologist caught in between.
Sharon: For the time being I’m sticking with sci-fi romance. I’m really inspired by science books and new scientific discoveries, and I find sci-fi elements a great way to inject freshness into a story. I love exploring relationship dynamics against the backdrop of speculative worlds.
It’s funny, I never really thought of myself as all that interested in science, despite the fact I enrolled in honors courses throughout junior high and high school. Maybe it was that final, twelfth-grade chemistry class — which I found very challenging — that put me off it for the next couple of decades. Also there’s a ton of math in most branches of science, and as Chuck Wendig once tweeted, every time a writer does math a fairy is beaten to death with an abacus.
What’s your writing process like? Has it changed from when you first started writing?
Sharon: Yes and no. I’m still a pantser at heart, but I’ve developed some process along the way in hopes of avoiding ever having to rewrite a book from scratch again, as I did with GHOST PLANET at one point. It tends to go something like this:
- Come up with a title
- Noodle on what a book with that title would be about
- Write a first scene
- Write a pitch-length description
- Continue writing the novel while developing a 1-2 page synopsis
The other thing I added to my process is character profiles. Before I get more than about a chapter into the book, I search for images and write up little descriptions that discuss each character’s background, family, etc.
When did you start writing? What was your very first story about?
Sharon: When I was 6, about a little girl who shrank and went on an adventure in her grandmother’s strawberry patch.
Who were some of your inspirations for becoming an author?
Sharon: Richard Adams (WATERSHIP DOWN), JR Tolkien (LORD OF THE RINGS), Madeleine L’Engle (A WRINKLE IN TIME)
Give us the story about when you got “The Call”
Sharon: I’ve had lots of those! A couple agents, a handful of Golden Heart finals, and finally my sale. All very exciting! But I’m guessing you mean for the sale.
GHOST PLANET had been on submission for about eight months. We’d received really positive feedback about the concept, but the fact that GP is 50% romance and 50% sci-fi seemed to be at issue at least to some degree. What we got from Tor initially was an interested email, but we had to wait a couple months because the editor was really busy with finishing up grad school, the holidays, etc. She got back to us with some suggestions, there was some back-and-forth between her and my agent, and then it was sometime in February 2011 that my agent called with news of the offer. At that point it wasn’t really a surprise, but still pretty exciting!
Who is the author you would most like to meet living or deceased and why?
Sharon: Oh, tough one! I think maybe George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans)? MIDDLEMARCH was one of the first classic novels that I loved. I really love the way her mind worked. She also had a fascinating life, living for a while with a man who had an open marriage (in the mid 1800s!), and later marrying a man twenty years younger than herself.
But I’m torn between her and Jane Austen, whom I suspect would be a lot of fun to chat with!
Thanks so much to Sharon for being here today! We always love finding new authors!! Tor has graciously offered to giveaway THREE copies of Ghost Planet to one lucky commenter. Please answer our final question “Who is the author you would most like to meet living or deceased and why?” to be entered to win. Contest is open to US/Canada only and ends on November 18th. Good luck!