Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Meet Bestselling Romance Author, Sharon Gillenwater

It’s great to welcome romance author, Sharon Gillenwater. First Sharon, could you tell us about your bestselling series, The Callahans of Texas?

Thanks for having me here, Katheryn.

The Callahans of Texas is a contemporary Christian romance series published by Baker/Revell. The Callahans are a wealthy, but down-to-earth ranching family in West Texas with strong ties to the small town of Callahan Crossing.  The three books—Jenna’s Cowboy, Emily’s Chance, and Megan’s Hero—are about the Callahan siblings Jenna, Chance, and Will finding their true loves.  Since they’re a close and loving family, everyone gets involved with the matchmaking.

Many of your books are based in Texas and I believe you are from there, but now live in Washington. What’s the best thing about Texas and what do you miss the most?
Yes, I grew up in Texas, but moved to Washington State after I got married eons ago. I love people connected to small Texas towns. Generally, they’re warm, friendly, and polite – where a man will nod or touch the brim of his hat in greeting when he passes a woman on the street whether or not he knows her. I think it’s part of the cowboy heritage and probably some Southern heritage thrown in. I miss that, along with Texans’ confidence in who they are. And though it sounds corny, I miss those wide, open spaces.     

As well as writing romances set in Texas, you have also written romances set in Regency England and Scotland. What inspired you to write these great books? 

In October 1983, Boeing sent my husband to England on a business trip in the Cotswolds.  We were in the midst of a kitchen remodel at the time, and I had the choice of buying a new refrigerator or flying to England four days later. It was an easy decision! We only could afford to stay a week, but we crammed in a lot, including a train trip to Scotland and a few days in the Edinburgh area. We even spent a night in Borthwick Castle, listening to the wind howl around us. I was fascinated by the history of both England and Scotland. And I fell in love with the Scottish people. They were so kind and helpful as we tried to find our way around Edinburgh, with everyone on the bus getting involved and trying to decide which stop we should take. They were delightful.

A year or two later, when I discovered Regency romances, I devoured them, and began to have some ideas of my own. I’ve always loved history, and the trip to England and Scotland was the catalyst for diving headlong into researching the country and era.

What are you working on at the moment?

Dabbling with some ideas for possibly another Callahan book. I’m just in the thinking stage right now.

Do you have a strict writing schedule?

I wish I did. I used to be better at that than I am now. I’ve had a lot of problems with my back the past several years, so I have to be careful how long I sit at the computer. I’ve been concentrating on getting my back list up as e-books, so I haven’t written anything new in a couple of years. I’m hoping I can get back in the groove and settle into a schedule soon.

What advice do you have for other romance authors?

Read a lot, especially the type of books you want to write to learn about pacing. If you can, go to writer’s conferences. If you can’t afford to go, then join groups that have online workshops. Make sure you have a good understanding of grammar, punctuation, etc. You may have a great story idea and beautiful prose, but if the grammar and punctuation are bad, an editor is liable to reject it because they don’t have the time to teach you the basics. And if you’re self-publishing, a lot of readers will be turned off if the basics aren’t right.

If you decide to self-publish, join the Indie Romance Ink Group in Yahoo Groups. They folks there are very helpful and encouraging.

Also, don’t sit for hours at a time! Get up every thirty minutes and move around, especially if you’re at a computer. Sitting for too long is terrible for your back, and as you get older (ahem), you’ll pay for it. I wish I’d listened to the doctor twelve years ago when he gave me that advice, adding that my back was already a mess. Maybe I wouldn’t have needed back surgery in 2011 and again in 2013.

What are you reading at the moment?

I just finished True North by Susan Diane Johnson. It’s women’s fiction and a wonderful book about dealing with loss and reconciliation. 

What do you like doing in your free time?

Read, play on Ancestry.com, watch TV with my husband, or discuss books he’s read. And play with our grand kids.

Where can readers buy your books?

My books are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Christian Book Distributors (CBD.com).  The easiest way to find them is to go to my website and click on the links from there.  http://www.sharongillenwater.com/New-Releases.html will take you to the opening page, then click on the other tabs for other books.

Where can readers find out more about you?

Thank you very much Sharon!

About the author

Sharon Gillenwater began writing in 1984 and sold her first book to Dorchester in 1987. Since then, she has published historical romances in the general market and both contemporary romances and historical romances in the Christian market. For the past year or so, she has been releasing her back list books as e-books and is now mulling over new story ideas. She lives in Washington State with her husband and their sweet Abbie, a shelter-rescue dog.

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