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Sharon Gerlach believes in the power of words.

She believes a successful writer will know how to touch the hearts of readers.  Once that happens, the writer has done her job, and if monetary rewards accompany that success--then it's just frosting on the already delectable cake of authorship.

Read our interview with Sharon and gain insight into this writer's creative process.  She's got a heart of gold with a wicked sense of humor.  Someone you will definitely want to keep an eye on because publication is inevitable.

How Sharon describes herself:



Mom to many.

Cat herder.

Sit-down comedian (because I'm petrified to get up & talk in front of people).

I don't believe in global warming, evolution, or socialism.

I believe there is room in friendship for people to believe in different things without it affecting relationships.

I am not afraid to get old. I am enjoying life more now than I did when I was younger. Beauty fades; wisdom shines.

I'm very fond of ginger ale and tequila, but not together.

Oh, and I don't tolerate stupidity very well.

1.  When did you discover your talent/need to write?
I had to write a short story in 6th grade (33 years ago). Until then, I had simply been a voracious reader, but my short story--quite on the dark side--earned me an A+ with extra credit and my teacher used it as an example for years afterward. I found I wanted to write the stories as much as I wanted to read them. I had a job, so I laid down some bucks for a cheap little manual typewriter and started whacking out stories.
2.  What made you decide to write in this genre?
Dark fiction of any sort has always grabbed my attention. I love horror novels, so it seemed only natural to write in that genre. In high school I discovered Poe, Lovecraft, Robert Chambers, Algernon Blackwood, Ambrose Bierce--as well as Stephen King and Robert McCammon, modern-day masters. Since I re-read novels--it's like visiting old friends--I found myself studying their writing styles, descriptive and dialogue techniques, turns of phrase, and themes. I wanted in on it. A couple of years ago I also discovered a penchant for women's fiction--now if I can just blend the two...
3.  How much time do you spend writing?
Hard to say. I work full-time and have taken college courses September through June for the last 3 years with one more year to go. I can spend as little as five minutes or as long as fifteen hours in one sitting, depending on available time. When I'm not in school, I write until my husband threatens me with divorce.
4.  How often do you submit your work for publication?
Since finishing my second novel, I submit constantly. It's very competitive, though, especially in the current economic climate, and so far I have a growing pile of rejections and one request for a partial (to which I never heard back after submitting the partial). I will keep submitting both short stories and my novels until they are accepted.
5.  Do you find it difficult to keep going? What is your inspiration to keep going?
God, yes! Especially when I hear about others around me getting picked up by agents or publishers. I start to doubt myself then and have to read through my manuscripts to reassure myself that I don't suck (I don't) (really, I don't!).

I joined an online writing community in 2006. The other members poked and prodded and pushed until I actually finished my first novel. They edited, made suggestions, busted my chops for bad writing habits. When I think about giving up, I think about them; it would be an insult to them to just lay down the pen and walk away, to waste their investment in me when they've believed so much in me. There are stories inside me, and when I don't write, I feel frustrated and incomplete. I would write even if I never make a cent and my only audience was myself.
6.  Are you an avid reader?  What are some of your favorite authors/titles?
I read every day and my tastes are a little eclectic. It's typical for me to go from JK Rowling to Patricia Cornwell to Clive Cussler to Terry Goodkind. I don't read much sci-fi or fantasy, but the few I've read are favorites and I reread them frequently. The authors mentioned are among my favorites, as well as Stephen King and Robert McCammon. I'm pretty partial to a trilogy by Alis Rasmussen (who writes as Kate Elliot now) called The Highroad Trilogy and to The Wood Wife by Terri Windling; Dennis Lehane's Mystic River; Dicken's Great Expectations; Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing; Stoker's Dracula. One of the best werewolf books I've ever read is McCammon's The Wolf's Hour. It's one of the reasons I write dark fiction.
7.  Have you ever considered self publishing?
Only every day. I get really frustrated with the traditional publishing industry even though I completely understand the necessity of the set-up: they're inundated with loads of manuscripts, and much of it is crap. But when you have something you know will sell but can't get anyone to give it more than a cursory look, it's very disheartening. I might consider it seriously after exhausting all other avenues; the marketing terrifies me. I'm not much of a salesperson; I can't even speak coherently in public.
8.  What has been your worst experience as a writer?
Strangely enough, the worst experience has come from the various writers sites I belong to. Every place I join, I joined for the purpose of building a platform. I've suffered some pretty intense verbal attacks by other aspiring writers. I find that to be detrimental to everyone; while this is a competitive profession, we all benefit from helping each other.
9.  What has been your best experience as a writer?
A couple of things qualify there, the first being when one of my readers finished my second women's fiction novel and told me that it was "without a doubt THE best and most fulfilling book" she'd read in a long time. The second is another of my readers has read my first novel no less than four times, my second novel at least twice, is on the second reading of my third novel, and has read the uncompleted rough draft of my fourth at least twice. That is beyond flattering; that tells me I've done my job as a writer.
10.  If you knew you would never get published, would you continue to write?  Why?
I mentioned before that I feel frustrated and incomplete when I don't write. I also often joke that I write to give the voices in my head an outlet so I can stay off Thorazine. More and more I don't wonder if that isn't the truth. It's very rare to have my full attention, even in person; part of me is always off in some imaginary setting, orchestrating events and bouncing around dialogue. So yeah, I'd still write. If I can entertain one person besides myself, or touch them in some way deep inside, that's an incredible thing. That means I've spoken something into that person's life.
11.  What advice would you give to aspiring writers like yourself?
Keep writing. Don't give up. Don't shrug off advice given to you from other writers or from experts in the industry. There is always--ALWAYS--room for improvement. Read as much as you write, and read in the genre in which you write--but don't neglect other genres. Write every day, even if it's just to edit something you've already written. Find a group of writers willing to form a crit circle; no one understands the needs of a writer like another writer. Most of all, don't pin your goals on being rich and famous; if that's your main goal, you're writing for the wrong reasons and your stories are going to be lacking that WOW ingredient. Instead, write with the goal of touching your readers deep in their hearts. Your story being remembered is more of a testament to your talent than anything else.

Read some of Sharon's WORK

Desolation Station - poem

Like Sweet, Dark Wine -

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