Interview with Author Sharon Ervin
by Jacqueline Seewald
Hi, Sharon, thanks so much for joining us today at the Author Expressions blog. First, let me congratulate you on the excellent review your new novel CANDLESTICKS has received from GUMSHOE REVIEW.
Question: Could you tell us a little about Jancy Dewhurst, the heroine of Candlesticks. We’d also like to know about Jim Wills.
Answer: Jancy, 24, is a bright, observant newspaper reporter who is unconcerned about clothing or appearances, hers or anyone else’s. She prides herself on looking beneath veneers to the person within. She often observes things others miss, but has no idea what they mean.
Jim Wills, 28, is a natty cop, not as observant as Jancy, but a snappy dresser. Jim is able to take Jancy’s observations and deduce their meaning. Combining their natural gifts, Jancy and Jim solve crimes.
Question: You’ve had two previous novels in this series, The Ribbon Murders and Murder Aboard The Choctaw Gambler. Could you tell us a little about each of them?
Answer: THE RIBBON MURDERS introduces Jancy and Jim. It is based on my first homicide--not one I committed, one I covered as a newspaper reporter. The sheriff who invited me on a homicide call all those years ago, lives again in Ribbons, under an alias, of course. MURDER ABOARD THE CHOCTAW GAMBLER also is based on a homicide I covered. In 1969, the managing editor of The Tulsa World asked me to check rumors that a prominent rancher was in financial trouble. County records verified that the heir apparent had mortgaged property, stock, equipment, etc., to the tune of $12.5 million. He and I had a confrontation detailed in the book. Several months later, the managing editor called to say the father or son rancher, had been shot and killed. I used that case to advance Jancy and Jim’s crime-solving techniques and their romance. In real life, the case remains “unsolved,” but that sheriff and I agreed on what transpired. Our solution is provided in Gambler.
Question: What inspired this series? How did it come about?
Answer: Advice is: “Write what you know.” I know about newspaper reporting, and I mixed actual murders and a little imagination. Melding fact and fiction made it easy.
Question: Can you share with us some information about your background?
Answer: The oldest of seven children in blended families, I have a degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma. Over the years, I worked on several newspapers, while Husband Bill was in the army, later when he was in law school, when he was an assistant district attorney, associate district judge, a member of the state legislature, and a small town lawyer. I am a probate clerk and work half-days in my husband and now our older son’s law office. Bill and I have four grown children. Life experiences--being a big sister, a wife, a mother, a campaign manager, etc., has provided a wealth of material for plots. I draw on all of it in my writing. I tell older writers they have just earned enough life experiences to be capable story tellers. Years and events season one.
Question: As a well-published author, what advice would you offer to those who have novels they would like to submit for consideration?
Answer: Before and during the time you are writing, DON’T discuss the project with others. Get it just like you want it, then present it for critiquing and input from others. Attend conferences and workshops. Take business cards with your picture on them. I hate pictures of me, but it helps agents and editors remember which one I am. After you are satisfied that the manuscript is exactly like you want it, submit it. Initially, send it to three agents or editors or all of the above at once. Some will take months to respond. When one rejects it, submit to three more, immediately. It’s better for your morale to have more than one submission out at a time. I tell pre-published friends they are not a professional writer until they have at least one rejection. If/when that one comes, I congratulate them on “becoming a pro.”
Question: I know that many of our readers are going to want to read your books. Could you tell us where they can find your novels?
Answer: Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com have them all most of the time, including CANDLESTICKS, the one released June 16, 2010. They have both new and used books and sometimes offer special deals.
Sharon, thanks so much for being our guest today! It’s a pleasure to learn more about you and your writing. You are certainly one of the best qualified authors to write mystery fiction, romantic or otherwise! And you offer novice writers excellent advice.
Readers and writers who have comments, please know that they are very welcome here. So feel free to join the conversation!