Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
I’m Sharon C. Cooper and I write contemporary romance, women’s fiction and romantic suspense. I’ve been writing since 2012, and have published 27 books that include four book series and several standalones.
I wasn’t always a writer. Right out of high school, I went through a sheet metal apprenticeship and worked construction for ten years. After that, I ran (and owned) a couple of businesses, and also worked in higher education for a while. I dabbled with book writing, and started with a children’s book – BUT I WASHED MY HANDS YESTERDAY. It didn’t sell, but when I turned it into a children’s play, it sold within a week.
It was years later when I entertained the idea of writing a romance novel. I loved reading them, but didn’t know if I could actually write one. I studied the craft and joined writing groups, including RWA (Romance Writers of America), as well as GRW (Georgia Romance Writers). The organizations helped in teaching me how to write, set up a story, and I had an opportunity to meet other writers. From that, I landed a few critique partners who are now some of my best friends.
What inspires/inspired your creativity?
Everyday life inspires my creativity. Something I see on television might spark an idea, or someone can say something that gets me to thinking – what if… Inspiration comes from all over. I also paint (abstract), and sometimes that gets my writing brain fired up.
But I think some of my best ideas come from everyday life. For example, my Jenkins Family series was inspired by my days of working construction, as well as growing up in a family of entrepreneurs. And my love of action movies (especially those that include romantic elements), is the inspiration behind the romantic suspense series that I’ve penned.
Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
I don’t actually have a set way of choosing titles and covers, but titles pop into my head often – even when I don’t have a story to go with them. A couple of years ago, I started a spreadsheet with a list of title ideas. So whenever a concept for story comes to mind and I need a title, I first refer to my spreadsheet to see if one might fit. Often times, there is one that can work but might need to be tweaked to fit the story.
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
I’m a little obsessive. And since I know this, I really try not to read negative reviews, especially if I’m getting ready to start another writing project. The few times I have looked at them, I try to determine if there is any truth in the reader’s assessment. If I think they’re right, I’ll keep it in mind and make sure whatever issue they’ve identified, doesn’t show up in the next story. If I think they’re wrong, I ignore the statement and chalk it up to the person not enjoying my work for one reason or another.
How has your creation process improved over time?
I think my creative process has improved because I learn something new with each project. Whether it’s something with craft, or how to better tell a story, I feel my process is getting tighter because of experience. I’ve also learned from my mistakes, as well as information that I get from other authors on what not to do.
What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?
The best thing that I get out of completing a book is the satisfaction of knowing I finished something that I started. The worst thing I’ve encountered while writing a story is when a story changed and went in a different direction than I intended – after I was already 30,000 words into it. That was frustrating. I think the most surprising thing about completing a book is how much work is involved in marketing the finished product. Social media helps, but creating promo material, doing blog tours, and just trying to get your work into the hands of as many people as possible is extremely difficult, time consuming, and also frustrating at times.
Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
I try to balance the two. I’m slowly learning what my readers enjoy (strong heroines, true love stories, a little action). In knowing some of those things, I try to incorporate them into my stories. I also make sure the story satisfies me. I try to tell the story that’s playing around in my mind and/or heart and be true to my characters by telling their story the best I can.
Do you have any creativity tricks?
I don’t know if I actually have any creativity tricks, but one thing that helps me is having a notebook for each story. Occasionally, when I need to work out an idea, I’ll jot down thoughts or various scenarios for a character. That helps in determining which situation might be the best for a scene. In that same notebook, I break scenes down into short outlines (though I usually have a master outline for the whole book).
What are your plans for future books?
I just released by 27th book – SOUL’S DESIRE (Unparalleled Love series). Now I’m currently working on books five and six of my Atlanta’s Finest series. I also have a novella idea floating around in my head (smile).
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself.
If you were to ask my family this question, the list would probably be ridiculously long. Lol! But there are a few quirky things that I can think of about myself, some might even fall under pet peeves.
- I always keep my appointment book on the left side of my laptop when I’m working.
- I usually write the first draft of my book all the way to the end before editing – except, I have to nail down a solid first chapter before I can plow through the rest of the story.
- I usually always have at least two ink pens to the right of my computer mouse, even if they have the same color ink. (Weird – I know)
- I will not use a fork at a restaurant if it’s sitting on a bare table (has to be wrapped in a napkin or sitting on top of a napkin).
- Dishes in the sink and kitchen cabinet doors left open, drive me nuts!