"Look, you're a nice girl but I don't think we should see each other anymore." The voicemail ends and I freeze in the dentist's chair as I realize, I've just been dumped on live radio.
It took the most humiliating break-up for me to see that my life is in serious need of a do-over. Cue my anti-New Year's resolutions that even I can't fail:1. Stop dating. (Men are the worst.)2. Stop trying to lose weight. (I'm never giving up chocolate.)3. Stop working so hard. (Selling mortgages is not my dream career.)4. Stop trying to live up to unrealistic expectations. (Start living my best life.)5. Stop trying to please my mother. (It's not possible.)
But it turns out number five is harder than I thought, as she begins her campaign to get me back with my ex. So, what's the perfect solution to keep her out of my love life? An imaginary boyfriend-at least he was supposed to be imaginary until I blurted out my neighbor's name...
Nate, the bad boy next door with gorgeous hazel eyes, a razor-sharp jawline and a mysterious scar, might be hot, but he's definitely not my boyfriend. Now all I need to do is stick to my resolutions while also keeping my interfering family away from my non-existent lover who has no idea that we're fake dating. What could possibly go wrong?
Early reviews ~
“Let me be clear: The Do-Over is not a novel. It's a ray of sunshine. It's a sweet, endearing, empowering tale that keeps a smile on your face and a bit of a grip on your heart from beginning to end.” NetGalley Reviewer, 5 Stars
“As a reader you can expect lots of laughs, some tears at the corner of your eyes, adorable situations and a beautiful closed-doors romance that I would like to keep reading about.” NetGalley Reviewer, 5 Stars
Author interview with Sharon ~
Tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing.
I’ve always been a reader. I was the kid who asked for a nightlight not because I was scared of the dark but because I wanted to read by it after bedtime. As for writing, it’s long been a dream but I was too afraid to say it out loud. Over the years, I started (and didn’t finish) writing a couple of novels. Always in secret. Then around 2015, I started blogging at the urging of friends (who were probably tired of reading my very long Facebook posts).
I quickly discovered that while I didn’t like blogging much, what I did love was telling stories. But about a year later, my laptop broke. We have four children, including two with special needs. A large chunk of our budget went to pay for therapy co-pays. We just didn’t have the money to replace my laptop. Life has taught me to be ruthlessly practical so I set aside writing. Although I soon discovered that I missed it. A lot. It had sort of been a form of free therapy for me.
Then out of the blue, a friend called me up and asked me to meet her. She presented me with a laptop which she and other moms (most who didn’t even know me) in a local group pooled money to buy for me so I could “keep writing.” It was the most remarkable gift I’ve ever received. I decided then and there that I had to pursue my passion for writing. I had a whole cheering squad behind me and I didn’t want to waste the gift they’d given me.
So in between cleaning up spilled milk, at 1 a.m. and kids’ naptimes, I started writing and I didn’t stop until I finished.
Do you have a ‘day job’ as well?
I was a middle school English/ESL teacher in
an inner-city school for several years before staying home with the kids. After
that, I found ways to make money however that presented itself. I was a tax
preparer for a year (no, thank you). I had a small cookie business. Picture me
with three kids under five making 100 dozen cookies at Christmas time. Phew.
Mostly, I’ve been an online reseller for years which I like because it’s a bit of a treasure hunt and I have a legitimate reason to spend time in thrift stores (another of my passions). My best flip ever was a new-in-box and shrink-wrapped WWE Wrestling trivia game from 1997. I paid $2.99. Two weeks later, I sold it for… $1600! It’s stuff like that keeps me hunting.
Where do you get your ideas?
Everywhere? I love people watching and
imagining their backstory. I think writers as a whole tend to be people
watchers. Characters live in my head for a long time before I put them on
paper. I take them places with me and imagine what they’d do at the grocery
store or if a strange man approached them. I think really knowing your
character comes through in your writing.
Once I know that character, I think, “Hmmm. What situation can I put them in that would cause a whole lot of problems?” And we go from there.
Do you have a go-to first reader after you feel your manuscript is ready?
Yes! When I first started querying my first book in hopes of finding an agent, I received request for an R&R (revise and resubmit). I was a (very silent) member of Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) but I cautiously asked if anyone would be willing to read for me. A fellow member, Tracey Christensen, answered the call. Not only has she become my go-to critique partner, she’s become one of my biggest cheerleaders and closest friends.
Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences?
I think it’s hard not to leave a bit of yourself on the page when you’re writing. There are totally parts of me in Perci. I am absolutely awkward and don’t feel comfortable in my own skin a lot of the time. But I hope there’s a little bit of me in Mimi too. (Maybe without the animal print though.)
Do you have a favorite chapter or scene?
One of my favorite scenes involves Spanx being thrown on meatloaf. (If I ever put together a band, we’re calling ourselves Spanx on the Meatloaf.)
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Keep going. Keep going. Keep going. Publishing is not for the weak. It is hard. You will want to give up. You will face rejection. A lot of rejection. I mean, so much rejection, you’ll think your new name is Rejection and you live in Rejection City with your dog, Reject. So much rejection, it almost becomes a point of pride. “I got three rejections today. Boom!” Or maybe that’s just me?
It might take months, years, several writing projects before you get a yes. I queried my first novel for 16 months to 106 agents before I got an offer of representation. My first book didn’t sell. We started subbing my second book literal days before the whole country went into lockdown. It took almost two years to sell The Do-Over. But I firmly believe that perservance and plain old-fashioned stubbornness is what wins in the end. Also, ice cream. A lot of ice cream.
Favorite book and/or movie?
My favorite movie of all time is Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. As soon as I can figure out a way to make Stockholm syndrome and kidnapping funny, I am definitely be writing a book based on it.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?
I don’t know that I have any fans; Maybe one day but I promise to stay humble. (Ha!)
To anyone who picks up The Do-Over to read, thank you. Time is one of most precious commodities and that you want to spend it reading a book I wrote? That is truly a gift to me. Thank you.
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