Thursday, June 23, 2016

An interview with fantasy author Sharon Bayliss!




Today we are lucky enough to get to visit with Sharon Bayliss, author of the contemporary dark fantasy series, the December People.  She kindly agreed to answer some questions I had about her writing process and her most recent work. So welcome to my very first author interview in the role of the interviewer!  Exciting!  
  
Sharon!  Thank you for joining us today! I admire your work so much, and have lots of questions for you as a writer. Let's get to it!
  • It's hard to balance working full-time, being an author, and being a mom.  What have you found works best for you in terms of juggling your many responsibilities?  Any tips to those who struggle to carve enough time out to write?

Oh yes, it’s been very challenging, especially in the past year when I’ve been working full-time. Although finding time to write is certainly a challenge, my biggest challenge is finding the mental energy. When I write, I am immersed in the story and have difficulty concentrating on anything else. I can’t be like that all the time! :)

So instead of writing a few hundred words when the kids are asleep every night, I’m either “on” or “off.” Most of the time, I do not write at all. When I’m ready to work on my next project, I get immersed and write in all my free moments.

I love this idea! I can very much relate to being totally submersed in what I’m writing and am relieved I’m not the only one who jumps  in and hyper focuses like that.  But still, I’m always feeling guilty when I’m not writing or when I’m not parenting enough or not cleaning…it’s like there’s no way to win!  But if I give whatever I’m doing my 100%, maybe there would be not so much room for the guilt and the worry!  Thank you!
  • A Taste of Death and Honey is your fourth published book. Have you found that your writing process or writing style changed over the years, and if so, in what ways? 

Well, I do think I’ve gotten better! :) Every editor I’ve worked with has taught me something new and I incorporate their suggestions into the next book. In the beginning, I needed several passes from beta readers and a lot of work with an editor. Now, I can get the book close to publishing-ready on my own. Don’t get me wrong, I still need lots of feedback and help, and I’m sure I always will. But I’m able to correct a lot of my mistakes and bad habits before the editor even sees it. That helps me write a little faster, although it may not seem like that to my anxious readers. ;) Maybe more efficiently…not faster. Ha ha.
  
Excellent! I hope I also continue to improve and reach the point you are at!
  • What have you enjoyed the most about writing the December People series? 

The characters. I have loved getting to spend time with them, watch them grow, and learn all their quirks. I have enjoyed watching the story evolve and take me by surprise. Even if no one else had ever read the books, I’d be proud of the characters and the world I created.

Love this!
  • Can you tell us anything about Book 4?  I can't wait to read it! 

Book 4, Harvest, is the one that focuses on fall wizards. Unfortunately, it’s really hard to give you many details about book 4 without book 3 spoilers! But I can try to keep it general. 

In book 4 we meet a family of fall wizards, most specifically a brother and sister, Carlos and Elena Vega. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll remember that Carlos actually showed up in both book 2 and book 3. He also mentioned his sister Elena in book 3. While Carlos was talking to Samantha in book 3, I was beginning to build the book 4 story line. Also, pay attention to what fall witch Jess Oppenheimer says to Emmy on Easter.

We know that fall wizards are incredibly perceptive, to the point that they can forecast the future, but other than that, I haven’t revealed much about fall wizard culture. In book 4, I reveal a whole new part of the December People wizarding world. Fall wizards have more structure to their world. Rules. Leaders. A government of sorts. They also have a very dark secret that might make them the nastiest group of wizards yet. ;) 

Harvest is tentatively scheduled to release in fall of 2017.

Oh my gosh, this sound amazing!  Fall is my favorite season, so I’ve always wondered about fall wizard culture and can’t wait to read more about it!  Yay!
  • Do you have any other projects in the works or plans for what happens after you complete this series? 

That’s a very good question. I’m really not sure yet. I have a few ideas floating around, but I’m also looking forward to being able to take a break and focus on myself and my family without the constant looming responsibilities of deadlines and writing responsibilities. But we’ll see. If my muse takes hold, I’ll follow where it takes me.

I look forward to seeing what you do next! I’m sure it’ll be awesome, no matter what it is! Be sure to keep us all posted!
  • I have one last question before I let you go-- what's your top advice to aspiring authors? 

Write for your characters. Write for the story. The publishing world is a scary place and it’s so easy to get lost in all the conflicting advice and ever-changing marketing tips. Of course, you have to deal with some of that scary stuff if you want anyone to read your book, but always return to the characters. If you’re writing for your characters, and not your publisher, your agent, your readers, or even yourself, you’ll always have motivation to keep going.

That's really helpful to hear! Thank you for sharing that.  I know I’ll strive to keep that in mind as I struggle to revise my current WIP.

Thank you, Sharon, for answering all my questions and for giving us such wonderful books to enjoy!

I hope that all of you who are writers out there have also found encouragement from Sharon’s words today.  And if you don't write, I hope that you've found that learning a little bit about the life of an author makes you enjoy reading your books just that much more. 


Friends, if you haven't read it yet, Sharon’s December People series is on book 3, the newly released A Taste of Death and Honey.  Book One, Destruction, is a great place to start if you’ve never read any of Sharon’s works before—this series is adult contemporary dark fantasy.  She also has a stand-alone called The Charge, which was her debut and is YA/New Adult fantasy set in an alternative history of Texas which was a ton of fun for me to read, as a fellow Texan. 

About Sharon


As an author and social worker, Sharon has devoted her life to making the lives of real people better and the lives of fictional people much, much worse. 

When she’s not writing, she enjoys living in her “happily-ever-after” with her husband and two young sons. 

She can be found eating Tex-Mex on patios, wearing flip-flops, and playing in the mud (which she calls gardening).

Author Facebook: 

Author Twitter: @SharonBayliss






About A Taste of Death and Honey

When Samantha’s parents died, she lost everything. Her home. Her friends. Her hope. Then a life-loving spring witch at the children’s shelter fills her life with light and joy once again.

But like the springtime, Samantha’s happiness doesn’t last forever. Her friend dies violently in front of her, the victim of a mysterious killing spell. Furious and grief-stricken, Samantha resents her own weak spring magic. She doesn’t need life and renewal. She wants revenge…and death.

Homeless and alone, Samantha seeks shelter with her old friends, the Vandergraff family, and finds an unexpected ally in the powerful winter solstice witch, Evangeline. The girls’ anger and eagerness lead them to cast a killing spell before knowing the truth behind Samantha’s friend’s death or the identity of her killer. 

Once the spell is cast, they can’t take it back, and they must fight to stop their own curse before it takes away everyone they love.




Read about it on GoodreadsWatch the trailer!

Thank you, wonderful readers and writers, for spending time with us today.  You can find Sharon on social media and you can learn even more by going to her website at http://www.sharonbayliss.com.  

Talk to you next time! And c
oming up soon--  more virtual author videos and mini-lessons by me, free for teachers and homeschoolers!



Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Congratulations to Sharon Bayliss on the release of A Taste of Death and Honey!

Today marks the release of the third book of the December People series, by Sharon Bayliss. Congratulations, Sharon!

I usually only post about YA or MG books, but I really enjoyed this adult contemporary fantasy series. It is a darker series that asks big questions, with a large cast of characters of all ages.

Because it's the third in a four book series, I do recommend you begin with Book 1, Destruction, and move on from there.  This series is well worth your time.


Blurb:
When Samantha’s parents died, she lost everything. Her home. Her friends. Her hope. Then a life-loving spring witch at the children’s shelter fills her life with light and joy once again.
But like the springtime, Samantha’s happiness doesn’t last forever. Her friend dies violently in front of her, the victim of a mysterious killing spell. Furious and grief-stricken, Samantha resents her own weak spring magic. She doesn’t need life and renewal. She wants revenge…and death. 
Homeless and alone, Samantha seeks shelter with her old friends, the Vandergraff family, and finds an unexpected ally in the powerful winter solstice witch, Evangeline. The girls’ anger and eagerness lead them to cast a killing spell before knowing the truth behind Samantha’s friend’s death or the identity of her killer. 
Once the spell is cast, they can’t take it back, and they must fight to stop their own curse before it takes away everyone they love.


Learn more about the book and series on Amazon or check out the Goodreads page. My review is up at both locations! 

She has a beautiful trailer that really captures the mood, plus teasers you can find here. 


About Sharon


As an author and social worker, Sharon has devoted her life to making the lives of real people better and the lives of fictional people much, much worse. When she’s not writing, she enjoys living in her “happily-ever-after” with her husband and two young sons. She can be found eating Tex-Mex on patios, wearing flip-flops, and playing in the mud (which she calls gardening).

Learn more about Sharon and her work:

Author website: www.sharonbayliss.com
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorsharonbayliss/
Author Twitter: @SharonBayliss


Now I just have to wait for Book 4...

Amy