Interview–Sharon Cullen

Today, I welcome a wonderful writer and friend, Sharon Cullen as she talks about her latest book The Notorious Lady Anne. So, Sharon tell us a little about yourself. Tell us a little about yourself.

It’s always so hard to talk about yourself. Let’s see. I have three kids, a husband and two dogs. I work part-time in Final Notorious Lady Anneretail and work full-time writing my stories. I live in southwest Ohio but dream of someday living on the ocean. My bio wasn’t wrong when I said I wanted to retire to St. Maarten. It’s about the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen with its bright blue waters and white sand. 

Oh, I’d love to retire on the ocean!

When did you start writing?

I started writing when I was nine years old. I’d always been an avid reader and I would rewrite the endings of books I read because I always wanted the happily ever after for the characters. I wrote in spiral bound notebooks and would create cover art for each of my stories. I remember my eighth grade science teacher making fun of me because my head was always in my stories. I graduated from Ohio University with a degree in journalism but writing newspaper articles or magazine articles really wasn’t for me. I wanted to write about love. So when my youngest was eighteen months old, I decided it was now or never. She’s now thirteen and I’m still going strong.

 That’s such a great story!

What genre/genres do you write?

LOL. This makes me laugh because I genre hop. I write romantic suspense, contemporary romance, paranormal romance and my latest, historical romance.

 LOL is right.

If you are a pantser, how do you handle when you write into a corner?

I used to be a panster until my newest publisher wanted an outline of a book that wasn’t written so I quickly had to become a plotter. And discovered I loved plotting better than pansting (is that even a word)

 Sure it’s a word! I hate to say this because I’m such a pantser, but I’m really considering plotting my next book—which I just got the idea for today.

If you are a plotter, how do you handle when your characters decide they don’t like what you have plotted and do their own thing?

Since I’ve only plotted one book, I haven’t had that happen just yet but I’m sure it will. I’m open to changes—anything to make the story better—and won’t be too upset if my characters revolt.

I have a feeling my experiment will be a full out war with my characters wanting to take over the story.

What do you think makes a good story?

The characters. For me, stories are all about the journey of the characters. If it touches the reader’s heart, if it makes the reader laugh or cry, then it’s a good story.

 I totally agree.

Whatever became of your very first book?

It’s still on the hard drive and that’s where it will stay. LOL. It’s a time-travel. About a woman who travels to the Wild West and meets up with a small town sheriff. I still like the plot but the story would have to be totally taken apart and rewritten.

 LOL… See this is where I would have totally taken it apart and rewritten it. I love that part of writing. Maybe you could steel bits and pieces of the plot and write a different story. It sound like something I’d love to read.

Who inspired/inspires you and why?

I don’t know if any one person inspires me. I have a drive inside me to succeed that hasn’t been squashed yet. I can’t see myself doing anything else. I truly believe that telling stories was what I was born to do.

You know, Sharon, that’s me too.

What advice would you give to new authors?

Never give up. Ever. Find a good critique group. Don’t be afraid to take the time to learn. Too many times I’ve seen authors who receive three and four rejections and get discouraged so they self-pub. I have hundreds and hundreds of rejections and each one drove me to learn more about myself and my writing. Even though they were painful at the time, I can look back and see that they were necessary. Learn from your mistakes and know that it takes hard work and plenty of “no’s” to get your one “yes”.

Amen, Sistah!!

Do you have any other books? What do you have planned next?

The Notorious Lady Anne is my twelve published book. The Infamous Lord Blythe is my next published book, the release date has yet to be determined.

Good luck with both!

What inspired you to write The Notorious Lady Anne?

I wanted to write a historical about an alpha heroine and a beta hero. The beta hero didn’t quite work out because Nicholas had other plans, which did not include Lady Anne rolling right over him. But Lady Anne is definitely an alpha heroine.

Oh, I remember you talking about in the Inkslinger critique group.

What can you tell us about The Notorious Lady Anne that isn’t in the blurb or excerpt?

While Lady Anne is one tough lady pirate, there is a very vulnerable spot inside her.

And I’m sure Nicholas figures out just where it is.

Is The Notorious Lady Anne part of a series? If so, tell us about it.

Yes! Nicholas has a brother and a sister. The Infamous Lord Blythe is about Nicholas’s sister, Claire. I just sent a proposal to my editor at Loveswept for two more stories. If they’re accepted then Nicholas’s brother, Sebastian, will get his story and Phin, who you meet in Lady Anne, will get his story too.

Sounds fantastic… Good luck!!!

Was The Notorious Lady Anne easy to write?

Yes and no. There were parts of it that were very easy to write. The sailing parts, the fights. The hardest parts were the emotional scenes between Nicholas and Anne.

Emotions can be very hard.

How long did it take you to write?

Years and years and years. LOL. Lady Anne was actually one of the first books I wrote. I put it aside to write other genres while trying to find my voice, but as I grew as a writer, I would take out Lady Anne and rewrite it. The story grew as I grew.

That’s how my first western (second published) was written.

What is your favorite part?

My favorite part is the excerpt I’m posting today. I love Nicholas’s thoughts on Emmaline (Lady Anne) interwoven with the description of the island.

What was your least favorite part to write?

I hate to admit it, but I don’t like writing love scenes all that much. There’s only so many ways you can word that. LOL.

LOL is right and I totally agree… The more I write, the harder it gets.

Who was easier to write–Hero or Heroine? Why?

Lady Anne. Because I loved her so much and pretty much knew everything about her from the beginning.

Why are your hero and heroine perfect for each other?

Because Nicholas is willing to let Lady Anne be who she is and Lady Anne is able to finally let her guard down around Nicholas.

What can you tell us about your world building? What makes your world stand out?

I don’t do much world building because I write historical. But I have to say I absolutely love writing about pirates. I love that edge about them, whether it be a female pirate or a male. And I love finding their soft spot, their reason or doing what they’re doing.

For Fun:

What’s your favorite TV show or movie of all time?

I don’t watch much TV because I prefer to read or write. But when I do watch TV I like watching Pawn Stars or reruns of Seinfeld and M*A*S*H. My daughter currently has me watching The Walking Dead. My favorite movie is The Help.

I used to never watch TV. So I understand. I loved M*A*S*H too!

If you could chose a period in history to be born in, what would it be and why?

The 19th century. I love the style of the dresses. LOL. I know, a great reason to choose that.

 LOL… I like the styles too, but I’m not so sure I’d want to wear them. My wedding dress was a Southern Belle style with hoop and all. It was a PIA!

What was the most embarrassing thing your husband/boyfriend/partner/friend ever did to you in public?

Okay, I’ve been thinking about this for days and I can’t think of a single thing. I’m sure there’s been something. My husband and I have been together 28 years and married 22 years. He had to have done something in all that time, right?

LOL!

What is the one place you have never visited but would love to?

The Mediterranean. See? I told you I was a water person.

NICE!

If you were stranded on a desert island and could chose any famous person (living or dead), who would you chose to be stranded with you and why?

Kid Rock. I love his music and I love how honest he is. Plus, I think he would be really fun to hang around.

I think he’d keep things interesting, that’s for sure.

Quick Quiz:

Cake or Chips  –  CAKE!

Steak or Veggie Burger  –  Ummm. Neither? I’m not really a steak person. I prefer chicken.

Chocolates or Roses   Chocolate!!!

Boxers or Briefs or Nothing at all  –  Boxers

Vampires or Cowboys    Cowboys.

BLURB:

From rising romance star Sharon Cullen comes a tale of the fiery passion between a noble naval officer and a female pirate that’s as tempestuous and as unpredictable as the sea.

Nicholas Addison, celebrated captain of the Blackwell Shipping Fleet, has agreed to take Mrs. Emmaline Sutherland aboard the Pride and ferry the raven-haired beauty across the Atlantic on what he imagines will be a routine trip. But when the ship is attacked by pirates, the seemingly innocent passenger is revealed to be none other than the infamous marauder Lady Anne, whose name strikes fear in the hearts of sailors everywhere—and whose seductive wiles commandeers Nicholas’s affections.

Lady Anne, a legend of the high seas, has spent the last eleven years plotting revenge against her father, the owner of Blackwell Shipping. She’s targeted the Pride in hopes of plundering its captain’s company secrets. But beneath her fierce courage and bitter determination, Anne has the delicate heart of a woman—a heart that cannot help falling for Nicholas. Now Anne must make a difficult choice: bring down Blackwell or surrender to love.

EXCERPT:

They anchored in a hidden inlet on the southwest side of the island. The sailor in Nicholas was impressed. Emmaline’s faster, smaller sloops maneuvered well in the shallow inlets, and were at once hidden from sight. Looking in from the ocean, no one could tell a fleet of pirate ships resided here.

Crewmen rowed the small tenders to shore. When Nicholas climbed out, unsteady without his land legs, Emmaline was already on the small beach.

The island displayed all its late-spring glory. The trees were green with vegetation. The flowers bloomed in a riot of color that hurt the eyes, but was a balm to the soul after weeks of seeing nothing but the gray sea on all sides. Emmaline bent, scooped up a handful of white sand, and let it sift through her fingers. The breeze caught the granules and whisked them away.

Nicholas paused, caught up in the scene before him. Not of the flowers, though they were a sight to behold, but of the woman. The enigmatic Emmaline Blackwell Sutherland was as beautiful as any of the exotic flowers blooming along the tree line. As beautiful, and as mysterious. And like those flowers with their velvet-soft petals, he wanted to pluck her, to explore her depths, to hold her in his hands and examine her beauty.

She’d surprised him when he first saw her on the ship dressed, not in the breeches and shirt he was accustomed to seeing her in, but in a deep-rose gown in the height of fashion. Her ebony hair, usually pulled into a braid and trailing down her back, was coiled into a tight bun hugging the nape of her neck.

Nicholas’s reaction had been visceral, coming upon him so fast it made him dizzy. Weeks ago he’d been almost embarrassed at the sight of a woman wearing men’s clothing. Now he hated the gown, preferring her in breeches and a silk shirt.

He longed to pull the pins from her hair, to release her curls to the ocean’s breeze and bury his fingers in the sun-warmed strands, while he plundered her mouth with his tongue. Emmaline Blackwell was wild and untamed like the water they sailed on, not cultivated and demure, trussed up in the bone-crushing corset she now wore.

BIO:

After earning a degree in journalism from Ohio University, Sharon found the stories inside her head were more interesting than what Sharon Cullenwas going on in the world around her. Yet, it wasn’t until years later that she decided to pursue her secret dream of writing a romance novel. Since then she’s been published in romantic suspense, paranormal romance, contemporary romance and historical romance.

Sharon’s other job descriptions include chauffer, laundress, cook and mediator to her three very busy kids, her husband and two dogs. She lives in southwest Ohio with her brood although her dream is to someday retire to St. Maarten and live on the beach.

If you’d like to find out more about Sharon and her books, you can visit her at her blog or her website. She’s addicted to social networking so you can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Friend her! Like her! Follow her! She’d love to hang out with you and talk about her passion—books.

WEBSITE LINKS:

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

BUY LINKS: 

Random House | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

 

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Categories: Lassoing the Words of Romance | Tags: , , , | 13 Comments

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13 thoughts on “Interview–Sharon Cullen

  1. great interview, Sara! Sharon, I call it pant-lotting – because I write an outline…but I allow myself to veer off-course if the characters (or situation) demand it. 🙂

  2. Wonderful interview – fantastic excerpt.

  3. Great interview! Sharon, loved the excerpt 🙂 And I feel much better now after having read your interview… I wanted to get my journalism degree, and I’ve had lots of “what if” moments. But I’ve told myself over the years “how could a journalism degree really help me when I’m a romance writer.” Now I feel justified in my decision to pursue my own writing and sticking to legal work by day 🙂

    • Niecey – There are times when I regret my choice of degree. I keep thinking I should have done something more…useful. But then I probably wouldn’t have started writing if I didn’t do what I did.

  4. Great advice, Sharon! I need to lean to plot…
    Your book sounds awesome and I love historicals…
    Looking forward to the read,
    Neecy

    • Neecy – I was adamantly opposed to plotting but now that I plot, I love it. I wrote my second book after plotting it and I wrote it in a third of the time I would have if I’d pantstered it.

  5. D'Ann Lindun

    Great interview! I can’t plot to save my soul. What would I do if I ever got in that situation? Oh, boy! I need to get paid so I can get your book.

  6. Jennifer Lowery

    Wonderful interview, ladies! I’m a hardcore pantser! I’ve tried to plot and failed every time. But I’m okay with my process 🙂 Your book sounds fabulous, Sharon!!

  7. Pingback: Spotlight on Sharon Cullen and The Nortorious Lady Anne | Romance Writer Sara Walter Ellwood

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