Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Interview with Sharla Scroggs

I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend. I know, I know. It could have been much longer if you had your way. Well, to ease the sting of the work week, let's chat with another great aspiring writer, Sharla Scroggs.

Welcome, Sharla! Tell us a bit about yourself.

Well, when I was five... LOL... I know, let's not get crazy. I live in Southeast Texas, down by the coast, with my husband and two nearly grown kids, 15 and 20. Well, I guess 20 is grown, but...um...not. I have 2 dogs and 9 cockatiels (We breed them. The birds, not the dogs) and I work full time. Oh yeah, and I write. One day I'd love to put that further up the list, on that day when I can call myself a published author. But until then, I write every day. It may be 2000 words or it may be a sentence as short as "Jesus wept." but I try to do something after work before supper and laundry and drivers ed for my 15 year old. Maybe I should write about that.

Sounds like dedication to me. How long have you been writing?

I've been writing since I was a kid, but I took it seriously eight years ago, when I started writing short stories on an online critique site. I'd never experienced feedback from other writers before. That was awesome and I was hooked. I wrote my first novel then, which took me a couple of years around some difficult times, but I did it. What was funny is I knew no rules back then. I ended up with a rambling, all-over-the-place whopper at 215K words. LOL! Yeah. Imagine my bewilderment when I found out it should be under 90K. I learned all about editing.

What is the name and genre of your current manuscript?

My latest is called Seeing Alex, and it's Women's Fiction with a Paranormal Romance twist. I can never seem to just fall in a category that's easy to query.

Here’s the part where you pitch it. What’s your story about?

Haven't written a pitch or synopsis for this one yet, so bear with me as I wing it.

Seeing Alex is like Ghost Whisperer meets Hope Floats. It's about a woman having to trudge back to her home town after twenty years to start over, and reinvent herself in a town that won't let her. She sees spirits, and that didn't go so well for her growing up as she talked to people no one else could see. Especially Alex. Now she's gone from ad exec to filling shrimp buckets at an old bait shop, is falling for her hot but moody boss, and keeps having hot flashes over Alex. Alex is hot enough to melt her shoes...but he happens to be dead. Add in a mouthy teenage daughter that inherits the ghostly trend, and a well hidden family secret that will shake everyone's shoes...

Sounds a little bit like True Blood with ghosts—how cool! How did the idea of the story come to you?

Honestly, it ended much different from where it started, but don't they all? I was watching Moonlight at the time, and I loved the romance idea with someone you can't have. Granted, that was a vampire, not a ghost, but it got the seed planted, and I already had the "mom and daughter coming home" thing going...it just grew from there. These things always take off on their own for me.

Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

I don't chapter my writing until I'm completely done, it's just one long document. Then I self edit to within an inch of its life, till I can't find anything else, then I have a handful of trusted crit partners I run it by, and I cringe while waiting to see all the red notes. Eeek. And they are always right.

But helpful, right? I love it when crit partners point out things I completely miss. What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Finding the time. I've tried a set time every day, like punching a clock, but it never lasts. Life gets in the way and tells me otherwise. So I now grab whatever I can get, and force myself away from the internet. Yes, that is my weakness when those characters get ornery and don't want to run lines with me or just go awol... Facebook and Twitter and blogging wave their shiny little flags and beckon. Sometimes I have to unplug.

What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

Sweet tea. Or coffee. Other than that, red spiral notebooks and a medium pt blue rollerball pen. I usually write longhand first because I can be messy and scribble and cross out and not edit. When I type, my inner editor comes out and I can't be free. And this I can take anywhere and write in the doctor's office or at a red light. (don't honk if you're behind me) And the pen? Yeah...I'm a little OCD about that. :))

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

I would want to be The Invisible Woman! So I could spy on people and conversations and really get the goods on my kids! LOL

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: chimpanzee, orchestra, and yo-yo.

He looked crazed as he directed that orchestra, jumping up and down on the podium and flapping his arms like a chimpanzee working a yo-yo.

Heehee, that's good! Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

I thank everyone!!! My family for putting up with me. My friends for nodding and smiling as I keep calling myself a writer and keep plodding along. I thank all my amazing online writer friends I've made through blogs and AbsoluteWrite and Facebook and Twitter. And my wonderful crit partners I met online and also at the DFW Writers Conference! I am constantly humbled and awed by the talented people I've met, and who have helped me.

And finally, where can people find you online?

AbsoluteWrite forums
Twitter (sharlascroggs)
RWA-Womens Fiction online chapter
My blog http://www.sharlascroggs.blogspot.com/

Thank you so much for chatting with us, Sharla. Let me know when you get published, I'd love to read your book!


Janie Emaus said...

Your book sounds great!

Kathryn Magendie said...

Loved it! *big smiling* -- and I've often thought I wanted my super power to be an invisible woman, too!

Wonderful interview ... and fun!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Great interview! I love to peek in on others' writing process. Your ms sounds really good. A nice cross over genre. You can do it! Yes, even with family, kidlets, social media demands, blogging, etc. :D Go, Sharla!

I'm now following your blog here.

Dorothy Dreyer said...

Thanks for the great comments, everyone! :)

Gina said...

Sounds like the writing bug bit early...but took a little time to stick. No worries....every start and stop is another opportunity to grow! The book synopsis even when winging it sounds fairly interesting....best of luck! Great job on the writing test too....LOL thinking of the chimp with a yo-yo impression...

Great interview, Dorothy...but then again, that's usually the case. Still getting great posts out there even with the job stealing some of your time. Way to go!

Eileen Schuh: said...

I sympathize with the time issue, Sharla. Real life can be so disruptive! I've learned though--one must enjoy the journey and not just anticipate the destination.

I always enjoy your creative interviews, Dorothy.

Eileen Schuh
Author "Schrodinger's Cat'