I had the honor of chatting with Sharon Bayliss, the author of Destruction (and winner of my Best Book Award!). She has an amazing imagination, and I wish her the best of luck with all her new and upcoming novels!
What are your ambitions for your writing career? What would your career look like in an ideal world?
My dream is to write full-time, essentially just to make enough money with my books to support my family comfortably without a traditional day job. Fame and fortune would be nice (well, at least the fortune…I’m not sure about fame) but all I really want is enough to pay the bills and afford vacations to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. :D
Which writers inspire you?
J.K. Rowling is probably my biggest influence (big shocker). Lately, I’ve also been enjoying V.E. Schwab and Hugh Howey. When I was younger, I was really struck by the novels of Margaret Atwood, Cormac McCarthy, and Ian McEwan.
What is the significance of the butterfly in Destruction?
The butterfly is a powerful symbol of transformation. The lowly, slimy caterpillar becomes something entirely different and breathtakingly beautiful. It always felt right for the December People Series because it shows how beauty can come from unexpected places. It also symbolizes hope and faith that things can be better, another critical underlying theme.
Will we learn more about light wizards in Book Two of the December People?
Very much so! There are four books in the series, and each focuses on a different season (while still centered on the Vandergraff family). In book 2, we learn much more about summer wizards. In book 3, we spend time with spring wizards.
Give us an insight into how you create your main characters.
I try to think of my characters as living, breathing people who weren’t really created by me, I just discovered them. Obviously, I did create them in my mind, but I try not to do it in a deliberate way. I put them in situations and see what they do, letting them create themselves. And yes, that was the most new-agey, pretentious, author answer ever. ;)
How do you pick names for your characters?
Well, I think about what their parents might have chosen. I like to create a sense of reality in my work, so I try to pick normal names that don’t distract from the story. The Vandergraffs all have fairly common Biblical American names, as I think Amanda especially would strive for that normalcy. In book 2, the Prescott children do all have names that have meanings of goodness and light. Their parents are proud to be summer wizards and as such, would be more likely to consider magic in their naming.
What are you working on right now?
Book 3 in the series! It’s actually in the hands of my beta readers now. After that, I’m going to work on book 4. I also have a December People novella series I’m considering.
What draws you to writing fantasy books?
I live in boring reality every day. When I’m writing, I like to add magic because unlike in the real world…I can!
Is that also your favorite genre to read?
Definitely. About 90% of the books I read have some kind of speculative element (sci-fi or fantasy). However, I also enjoy thrillers and mysteries on occasion.
How much research do you do before writing a book?
I actually do my research after writing, as opposed to before. Due to the nature of my stories, most of it can just come from my imagination. But I do research “real” magic and concepts to weave in during the editing process.
Why do you write?
It’s hard to answer that question. I’ve never considered not writing. I have always been a serious daydreamer and writing is a way to make my dreams reality.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
I’d say it’s tied between “staying motivated” and “editing.” I love writing the first draft, but I always struggle through the editing process. I’m a big picture thinker and worrying about all the minor details makes my brain hurt. Also, like most authors, I have many competing priorities. I don’t dedicate as much time to writing as I would like because there are so many other more pressing issues, like paying bills and taking care of my children and home.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
The actual act of writing comes naturally to me. I don’t have to struggle much coming up with ideas and bleeding out words. When I’m in the zone, it’s hard not to write. The rest of my life feels like an inconvenience.
What book/s are you reading at present?
I finished Deceptive Cadence by Katie Hamstead yesterday. She’s a friend and a fantastic writer. I’m also reading the first in Bella Forrest’s vampire series. It wouldn’t be my first choice, but I’m ghostwriting a vampire romance right now for extra cash and I wanted some inspiration.
Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
Book Bub and Kindle Daily Deals are worth their weight in gold. Do anything to snag those spots. Other than that, just be active in the writing and reading community. Seek out book bloggers, and not just big names, all book bloggers and prolific readers are incredibly valuable as fans. They’re the ones who will tell their friends about your book!
What do you do to get book reviews?
I ask! It can be time-consuming, but there is no quick way to get lots of genuine reviews. Just contact book bloggers one by one.
What is your favorite quote?
“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” – Thomas Edison
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
I am active on social media, so you can always get the most information on Facebook and Twitter. You can also check out www.sharonbayliss.com and sign up for my newsletter. I don’t send out many mailing, just notifications of new releases!
Check out my review of Sharon's book Destruction!
Also, check out Sharon's companion post to the December People series!