Friday, January 12, 2007

BookEnds Talks to Sharon Page

Sharon Page
Book: Blood Red
Publisher: Kensington Aphrodisia
Pub date: January 2007
Agent: Jessica Faust


(Click to Buy)


Sharon Page has always loved to write (tapping out a first novel at 14), and juggles managing an R&D program with writing her six erotic romances contracted with Kensington Aphrodisia. The first, Sin, was a September ’06 release. Sharon will be an erotica panelist at the 2007 Romantic Times convention.

Author Web site: www.SharonPage.com

BookEnds: Describe your book in 50 words or less.
Sharon: Regency miss Althea Yates has defied society’s dictates to become a vampire slayer. Adept with the stake and crossbow, Althea is fearless. But now she must destroy the ultimate evil and she must turn to twin vampires—the seductive Earl of Brookshire and his sensual, rebellious brother Bastien—for help.

BookEnds: What is your favorite thing about this book?
Sharon: I love three things dearly about Blood Red. The first was the challenge of writing a romance with a heroine and two heroes. Blood Red is my first menage story and I quickly discovered that I had three romances to build—the two relationships between the heroine and both heroes, and the romance of the three together. Each sub-story had to be emotionally compelling. Each character had to experience growth. Balancing the two heroes added a complexity that I really enjoyed. My heroes had to be strong enough that a reader could fall in love with both men, even if she secretly had a favorite. In the back of my mind, I was thinking of the fantastic way Janet Evanovich handles her two heroes in her Stephanie Plum series.

I also loved writing about twin heroes. Yannick is the responsible but sensual older brother, who inherited the title and wealth; Sebastien is the younger rebellious brother who loves wild erotic games and hungers for love. Since the younger brother loses out on being a wealthy earl by a matter of minutes, yet feels a strong bond for his twin, I felt this was an incredible conflict. This is the way my hero sees it: “Bastien had been the one on top in the bloody womb and what did it get him? Out second and always second.” (from Blood Red)

Finally, since I love writing about the Regency period, I’d yearned to write a historical vampire story. Dracula inspired the concept of Blood Red—I wanted to have a female vampire hunter fighting for recognition in a paternalistic society of vampire slayers, so the Regency era was the perfect setting. It was fun for my heroine to be torn between life as a Regency lady, vampire hunting, and a dangerous forbidden love for two vampires.

BookEnds: What is your writing process like?
Sharon: I was recently discussing this at the last meeting of my Romance Writers of America chapter. We were talking about goal setting and how to get motivated to write. My process is basically F.O.G. Fear of God. I have deadlines and I meet them, but actually my motivator is much stronger than mere deadlines. I want to make a career out of writing, and to do that I have to make a name for myself and sell. Which means that I write every day (which I also really enjoy).

Many people advise that you set up a writing nook—a workspace where you can write—but I can’t do that. With two little kids, I have to be portable with my writing, and that helps me accomplish a lot.

To set up a book, I start with a “high” concept: for example, “And Then There were None meets a Regency era orgy” was the premise of my September ’06 Aphrodisia release, Sin. Sometimes it is an aspect of character that intrigues me. Black Silk, my Dec ’07 book, currently under way, was inspired by a true story I read about a boy whose father repeatedly attempted to murder him. It was so horrible to think of a young boy who could never feel safe, and I wanted that feeling to shape my dark hero.

Once I have the preliminary idea, I write a short synopsis, and then start writing. I write linearly, unless I think up an inspired scene. Then I’ll jump ahead to capture that scene. It’s usually dialogue that comes to me that way. When I have a mystery in my story, I spend more time up front setting up a spreadsheet to keep track of suspects, etc. Since my process is still a work in progress, I believe every writer needs to experiment until she/he finds a process that works.

BookEnds: Why have you chosen to write in the genre in which you write?
Sharon: Stories with a gothic feel have always appealed to me. I loved Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca. And there’s nothing more gothic than historical vampires. Blood Red combines all the genres I love—it’s historical vampire erotic romance—which made it so much fun to write. Since Blood Red is paranormal, the stakes are high and intense. Life or death. Losing one’s soul. Vampire legends are erotic to begin with, and the eroticism of Blood Red deepens the conflict for my heroine. As a vampire slayer, not only does Althea have to defy her father to change her views of good and evil, she must also defy the moral dictates of her society to follow her desires and her heart.

BookEnds: What has been your most successful marketing campaign?
Sharon: As a new author, marketing plays a big part of my life. I recognize the need to promote myself, and get my name known to readers and in the industry. I’ve tried many different things to stand out and to see what works.

With Blood Red, I think I’ve found a great promo piece to mail to bookstores. At a writer’s conference, I’d heard that December and January are bad months for book releases. Blood Red is releasing in January, so I wondered how I could actually use that to my advantage. I wanted also to do an eye-catching poster and have a chapter excerpt that I could send out. I decided to do a poster with an excerpt on the back. To capitalize on the January release date, I added a calendar to the bottom. On the calendar, I could also show my other releases coming through 2007. The poster was light enough to mail easily, and I hoped the addition of an excerpt and calendar gave it some “staying power.”

I did my first book trailer for Blood Red, which has been a great tool. What is the most important aspect of book trailers? Exposure! I’d heard that just putting the trailer on my website wasn’t enough. So I was able to quickly and easily post on YouTube and MySpace. I then directed readers to it during online chats and on readers’ loops. It also has given me a reason to contact a major buyer, to inquire about using the trailer for marketing. And my publisher is excited about using it on their website.

My centerfold ad in Romantic Times BOOKreviews has also garnered a lot of interest, which to me means it has been successful. So, as a new author, my approach is to try and catch the attention of readers, buyers, and publishers.

BookEnds: What are you reading now?
Sharon: In fiction, I have a towering “To Be Read” pile and I’m reading Bertrice Small’s Forbidden Pleasures, Thea Devine’s His Little Black Book, and Renee Bernard’s A Lady’s Pleasure, and I’m looking forward to picking up Hannah Howell’s latest.

Also, I have a lot of nonfiction reading to do. I’m reading a vampire compendium called, surprisingly, The Vampire. This book is just terrific, as it includes many vampire tales from the 19th century. I’m also reading up on Celtic Britain.

Thanks so much for the opportunity to chat!


To learn more about Sharon Page, see Our Books at www.BookEnds-Inc.com.

4 comments:

Kate Douglas said...

I was lucky enough to read Blood Red in pre-production, and it's a wonderful story. I can't recommend it enough! Sharon writes absolutely delicious prose, the kind where you find yourself rereading a paragraph just for the sound of the words. Her books are a real treat.

Claudia said...

Sharon, I REALLY appreciate what you say here about "wanting to make a career out of writing" as something that motivates you to write. That's so straight and it is the simple truth for me, too. It's funny how that can move a lot of ego out of the way for me. And your marketing strategies are so exciting -- thank you for sharing those.

Anyway, I really enjoyed this interview, especially since I have a little thing for vampires myself! I'm off to visit your web page.

Sharon Page said...

Hi Kate,
Thank you very much. It means a lot to me to have you compliment my work!

Sharon Page

Sharon Page said...

Hi Claudia,
I'm delighted you enjoyed the interview. I've worked in an engineering field which involved design work all the time, and I learned quickly about creating to deadline! I hope you enjoy the excerpt up on my site--and I hope it gives you an intriguing taste of Blood Red.

Thanks,
Sharon Page