Author Interview with PJ Sharon, Indie Author Extraordinaire!

Happy Monday, Mer-friends! Today we are interviewing PJ SHARON, and indie author with three books published (so far!). PJ is a YA author, with wonderful sensitivity for the concerns and interests of young adults today. In addition to being a massage therapist and a black belt in martial arts, she has recently begun training in weapons. You know, like guns and things? One thing we know about Paula, she never goes into any new venture half-hearted.

Take it away, Paula!

Please tell readers a little bit about yourself.

Thanks so much for inviting me, Susan. In my day job, I’m a Massage Therapist, personal trainer and yoga instructor. My business, ABSolute Fitness, has been a wonderful and thriving part of my life for the past seven years, and outside of writing, keeps me plenty busy. In my spare time (hahahaha), I can be found in my garden, hiking the endless web of trails behind my house, or paddling the lakes and ponds in New England. Now that my sons are grown and off doing their own thing, and my husband is so self-sufficient, it’s nice to have time to myself to pursue whatever floats my fancy.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

The short answer is about six years. I’ve written on and off since I was just a little girl, but never considered myself a “writer” or imagined I would actually become published one day. Unlike most writers I’ve met, writing toward publication was a choice made on a whim, and not a lifelong dream for me. After attending a financial seminar about ten years ago, I began kicking the idea around that I could maybe write some books and make some money for my retirement. The idea kept popping up, so I started researching the book market, figuring out what people read, and discovered that Romance novels were 55% of the book market. I thought, I could write one of those. I know about romance.

So one day, while talking with a friend about how great it would be if we could stay young forever, live on a beautiful island, and have handsome young men to do our bidding, my first plot was born. I went home that day, started writing down the characters, taking notes about the “movie” I saw in my head, and didn’t stop writing until I’d written THE END nine months later. It was badly written, but I had another idea right away, so I figured if I’d done it once, I could do it again. It was about that time that I joined RWA and decided to give myself five years to learn the business and become published. I studied the craft by reading books about writing and working with a retired high school English teacher friend who continues to edit some of my work and give me writing tips. I’ve taken a ton of on-line workshops and have attended conferences like a groupie. I even amassed seven full length manuscripts in six years, so I figured I had reached my 500,000 words of practice. I jumped through traditional hoops for a while and then decided to independently publish my books. Somewhere along the way, I became a writer.

Please tell us about your latest work.

WANING MOON, the first book in the CHRONICLES OF LILY CARMICHAEL, takes place in the year 2057. A sixteen-year-old girl, genetically engineered to survive the plague that destroyed three quarters of the earth’s population, must evade the rogue Government agency that would seek to capture her and her brother. But Lily’s gift for healing has its limits and her brother’s gift isn’t the only thing the family is hiding. The uncle they live with has his own secrets and if found out, it could cost them everything. Book One chronicles Lily’s journey to the trading post in Albany with her new friend Will Callahan. She’s on a mission to get the medicine that could cure her uncle’s cancer, but Will is along for reasons of his own, and Lily finds much more than she bargained for on her trip. I’m finishing up the first draft now and the book is slated for a fall release. I’m also working on a companion short story that will be the prequel to Book One. That one will be from Zephron’s (Lily’s brother) POV and is called HARVEST MOON. It will be published in the WG2E October anthology and will be available on e-book through Amazon.

SAVAGE CINDERELLA is very different from your first two books. Can you talk about that?

I write young adult fiction, and as an indie-pubbed author, I don’t have the restrictions of having to write the same types of stories every time. I still want to make sure that I’m living up to my readership’s expectations, but as long as my message of hope comes through, I think readers will enjoy seeing something different from me. SC was written back in 2009. I wrote it in third person point of view because it was a romantic suspense and I wanted the hero’s and the villains POV in addition to my heroine’s. Back then, I had some issues with staying in deep POV, so a fellow writer recommended I try writing in first person. What came out of that was ON THIN ICE, and then HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES, which were both told from the main character’s POV. Since HIFH came easily and quickly, and felt like my best writing to date, I released that one first. Then I released OTI, and after much revision, published SC in March. I think the common theme of all of my stories is that no matter what challenges a person faces, it is possible to find the inner strength to overcome. The other thing you can be sure to find in my stories is a sweet romance…because who doesn’t love a sweet romance?

What was one of the most interesting things you learned in researching your book?

I learned a lot about native plants indigenous to the Smokies and Northern Georgia. I’ve never been to Atlanta, so I did a lot of research on the city so I could create a real experience for my readers. But I think the most difficult research was reading about victims of abduction and delving into the psyche of pedophiles. I lost more than a few nights of sleep.

Do you have a formula for developing characters?

That would probably make things much easier, LOL. No, I don’t. My characters kind of come to me fully formed. Like friends, I have to spend time with them to get to know them. They generally come to me with a problem and I get to help them solve it. I’m still more of a pantser than a plotter, but I do like to work out a character grid. If I know what their goal, motivation, and conflict are, it tells me a lot of what I need to know. I also ask myself questions about them, like what is their fatal flaw? What is the thing they are most afraid of? What is the thing that keeps them from having what they want? When I know these deeper character traits, it makes it easier to see what would create conflict for them and what their big black moment might be. Beyond that, details about them evolve as the story unfolds and they reveal themselves to me.

Do you have any interesting writing quirks?

Oh, I’m sure I do. Do things like hanging upside down when I need to focus, or spouting daily affirmations at my computer count?

What was the last amazing book you read?

I’m almost done with Kristan Higgins’ latest, SOMEBODY TO LOVE. Everything she writes is amazing.

What’s next in writing for you?

Since I’m committed to the trilogy, I should be pretty busy into 2013. I’m hoping to release some short stories in between each book. I have another contemporary YA that I started last fall and I’d love to get back to work on that. I also have some ideas for non-fiction projects, but until I’m able to write full time or hire some help, production will move along at whatever pace my limited human condition can handle.

Can you leave readers with a little teaser from SAVAGE CINDERELLA?

Okay, here’s a creepy snippet for the suspense lovers:

“Do you recognize any of these men?” It was Karen Sutton, the Assistant D.A. from her father’s office, asking the question. The woman’s voice sounded distant.
“He can’t see me, can he?” Brinn glared through the glass. He was older but had the same wiry frame and narrow face that she remembered. A sick pain thundered through her flesh, reminding her of the nightmares she’d had for years. Stockman’s face suspended, immortal in the recesses of her mind, affirming that even sleep was no escape.
Her nights were tormented more than ever by dreams and memories. Now, her worst nightmare was standing no more than ten feet away. The bile that rose in her throat burned. He knew she was there behind the mirror. She could see it in his eyes—that confident, cruel look that sent a wave of terror through her chest.
“He absolutely cannot see you, Brinn.” The detective reassured. The woman wrapped an arm around her shoulders, supporting her as her limbs wobbled and threatened to give way.
“He knows that I’m here. I can feel it.”
“Which one is he?”
Brinn raised her hand and pointed a shaky finger. “That’s him, the third one in.” Her breath came in shallow gulps. “He’s the man who took me.”
“You’re absolutely certain?” Karen asked.
“Okay, Brinn. We have your statement and you’ll have the opportunity to testify when he goes to trial. Someone will contact you when we have more details.” Detective Walker led her out and down a hallway, followed closely by the tall blonde attorney who was already making conversation with someone on her cell phone.
In spite of the voices around her, Brinn was distracted by a stabbing shot of needles that pricked her spine. She looked over her shoulder. The men from the lineup were filing down the hall in the opposite direction and as he came out of the room, Roy Stockman looked down the narrow corridor, met her eyes, and let a wide, evil grin cross his face, a facade of charm showing even from a distance. He mouthed the words, but Brinn heard it as if he had whispered in her ear. “I will find you. I promise.”

Well, that’s it for today’s interview!  PJ’s covers are featured below, with buy links embedded.  As well, in the next spot are links to her website, Facebook, Twitter, blog and group blogs.  She’s a busy, busy woman!

Thank you, PJ Sharon, for sharing your story and insights with the Mermaids today!


Contact Information for PJ Sharon
Book Trailers:
Follow PJ on Twitter: @pjsharon
“Like” PJ on Facebook:
Find PJ on Amazon’s Author Central page:
Follow PJ’s Promotional blog @
Follow PJ’s Tuesday blog @
Follow PJ’s Friday Healthy Teen Tips blog @

About Susan Jeffery

I am loving the challenge (sometimes) of re-entering the contemporary romance market after a lifetime of raising two fantastic children (it never ends, btw). Just when I thought I was done with kids, I accepted a position as librarian to 900 boys in a Bronx private school. I'm a vintage published author, Harlequin American #206 Fair Game (1987). Winner of the Golden Heart, 1986. Currently exploring the possibility of indie publishing under my new pseudonym (see fresh name, above).

23 thoughts on “Author Interview with PJ Sharon, Indie Author Extraordinaire!

  1. Happy Monday, PJ and Susan! There’s just too much I want to say that I enjoyed about this interview! Savage Cinderella is such an awesome title, first off. I’ll be thinking of that next week when I’m in Disneyland!
    Hehehehe–”Do things like hanging upside down when I need to focus, or spouting daily affirmations at my computer count?” YES THOSE COUNT AND MAKE ME SMILE!
    Also I love the feeling you give off in our waters of calm when it comes to having a positive plan for your writing.
    “…as my message of hope comes through, I think readers will enjoy seeing something different from me.” AMEN!
    Thank you so much for being here today, PJ. Nice to meet you!

    1. Carlene, isn’t that the greatest title? It’s a terrific read as well. She really is an incredibly positive force in the CTRWA writer’s group.

    2. Thanks, Carlene. I live to make people smile! Thanks you for all the kind words. Savage Cinderella almost didn’t get to be the title because 2 very well respected author friends of mine thought it wasn’t right for the story, but I had to go with my gut. So far, that gut feeling thing has not steered me wrong. It goes to show how important it is to trust ourselves and our process.

  2. So happy you stopped by today, PJ! Great interview, Susan-Mermaid! 😉

    PJ, besides your English teacher friend, do you have anyone else edit/critique your manuscripts before you publish?

    1. Absolutely, Kerri. I have several critique partners, and two different editors I use, depending on who’s available and can work with me on deadlines. I also have a few beta readers and a proof reader. My books go through at least a half dozen hands before the final draft is uploaded to Amazon, BN, and Smashwords. I also go through 2-3 physical proof copies through Createspace before i do my printed copies.

  3. Hi, PJ and Susan (and Avery, and all you other mer-chicks)! Can’t wait to sink my choppers into this new story of yours. Would love to hear how you structure your day so you accomplish everything you need to. As many times as we’ve talked, I think that’s one subject we’ve never addressed.

    1. Hey, Suze! Thanks for popping in. For all you folks who are looking for a fabulous editor, Suze worked on Savage Cinderella with me, first as a critique partner, and then as editor!

      My day? Hmmm. I still work a few full days at the office, so on those days, my writng life goes from about 7 pm-midnight where I catch up on e-mails, write blog posts, and take care of social media stuff. If I’m home for the day, it looks like this:
      Up at 7 am. Tea and E-mails/social media/blog updates until about 9 a.m.
      Walk the dog and work out for an hour, then breakfast.
      Writing or Business stuff until about 2 and then a light lunch.
      More writing/business stuff (I call it “stuff” because it is the miscellaneous minutia of the job such as producing my newsletter, website updates, researching promotional opportunities, etc.). Actual WRITING is what I do for fun. I’ve been successfully blocking out time the past few weeks to write for several hours a day rather than focusing on promo stuff. I’ve accepted that I can’t do everything and do it well. So promo is on the back burner until this first draft is done and off to my editors:-) SOON…very soon!

  4. Hi, Diana. Thanks. I hope you enjoy them. And YES! Susan, thank you for going above and beyond to get everything up and running today, my friend. Great job!

    1. Same to you, PJ. It wouldn’t be an interview without you sharing your wisdom. PS, can you share the link to your experience with the firearms lesson? I thought was an especially good column – was it in 7Scribes?

  5. Thank you, Diana! – I was thanking the heavens for EVERYONE’S concern this morning, and your tips on “break the link first” for embedding the links in the images. That one morsel made a tremendous difference in the appearance and functionality of this post.

  6. Hi Susan and PJ! I feel so at home! My name comes from a mermaid, you know… The one that sits on a rock in Copenhagen? So glad to learn more about PJ! (hanging upside down? Lol!) I’m so happy I found out about her books. I’ve been a fan since. Love her voice and her stories are just great! AND she likes Kristan Higgins! I say these are just both amazing ladies!
    Smiles, Lorelei

    1. Great to see you here, Lorelei! Thanks for stopping by and sharing the love. I’m so glad Kristan brought us together!

  7. Thank you for visiting, Lorelei! I didn’t know she hangs upside down either (makes note to try this when discouraged by writing).

    1. Lol! I wish I had a place to try hanging upside down in the house! It’s always a pleasure meeting friends or fans of authors I enjoy so much. I met PJ through Kristan and have been blessed by enjoying their awesome work, that truly brighten our lives with their tales. A thing I’d like to add is when I read both PJ and Kristan’s books, I’m just drawn into their stories and cannot put them down til the very end. That to me are the best ones. I remember telling PJ I started skimming SC and had to stop. She thought is was because it might have been bad, I told her, it was so good, but had to find the time to read it in one night, but at the time I couldn’t. I was not disappointed. It was awesome! Thank you!

  8. Hi, PJ! I get the privilege of claiming myself as one of your earliest fans with SAVAGE CINDERELLA, way back when! Loved what you said about the characters coming to you fully formed…and your job is to get to know them. Very fabulous way of thinking about characterization! And thanks for the shout-out. Your new endeavor sounds so cool…good luck with it, and I look forward to hearing more.

    1. Thanks so much Kristan! Brinn came a long way from those early days. It was part of my writing evolution to be a part of that CTRWA critique group with you and the gang. Your input and suggestions were greatly appreciated. I recall you ALL yelling at me that “NO! Cody can not rescue her at the end of the book. She needs to rescue herself.” It was a smack in the head moment…duh! Of course she does!

  9. Paula, great interview. You know I love your books though I’m one behind. I need my copy of Savage Cinderella. I’m just finishing Somebody to Love also. Great book. Good luck with all your books. Marian

  10. Thanks, Marian. I love reading Kristan’s books, but I find myself dissecting her mastery of sentence structure and characterization, among other things. She is a wonderful writer and I only hope to be that good someday:-)

  11. Thank you, PJ, for all your comments today. It’s been a pleasure having you here in the lagoon, and I’m sure all the Mermaids and our friends wish you the very best in your writing. We’re eager to hear more about WANING MOON. Keep us posted!

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