Sharon Page has always loved to write (tapping out a first novel at age 14), but had to get a real job—drafting and R&D at a structural engineering firm. After having her first baby, she sold an erotic romance to Ellora’s Cave, and now has 6 books contracted with Kensington Aphrodisia.
Author Web site: www.sharonpage.com/
BookEnds: Describe your book in 50 words or less.
Sharon: (That’s always a challenge!) To save her destitute family, Venetia Hamilton draws erotic art—and her lush paintings are society’s secret pleasure. Targeted by a ruthless killer, she must accept the protection of Marcus Wyndham, the Earl of Trent—a powerful man whose expert touch is only the beginning of her carnal education. . . .
BookEnds: What do you think distinguishes your work from that of other authors of this genre?
Sharon: I love to blend genres to create richly detailed, emotional erotic romance, but I pace my stories like thrillers. For example, Sin combines my love of mystery and suspense with erotica and Regency historical romance. My sex scenes are poignant and emotional, as well as blazing hot and inventive. And since Sin is Regency-set, there’s lots of delicious banter. In fact, Romantic Times described my first erotic Regency romance as “witty, wicked, and wonderful.”
That’s what I feel distinguishes me, but I’m also thrilled to say that my writing has been compared with Robin Schone and Cheryl Holt, both USA Today bestsellers in erotic romance.
BookEnds: How did you come to write this book?
Sharon: Just after my son was born, and while he was taking one of those precious naps, I had a sudden inspiration. What if a feisty artist who saves her family from poverty by drawing erotic art meets a protective earl determined to stop her? The first chapter flowed quickly but then my son woke up, and I couldn’t decide where the story would go from there.
On an author’s loop, MaryJanice Davidson mentioned her sale of a hot who-dunnit to Brava and I had my next inspiration. As a teenager, I devoured Agatha Christie mysteries. What if the English country house party, the setting of the mysteries I loved, became an orgy? My cast of suspects would be elegant nobles and dazzling courtesans, all with dangerous secrets. The whole story clicked into place. My noble hero would be tortured by temptation. There he is, surrounded by inventive, erotic sex, but he’s determined to protect the innocent heroine and return her to London a virgin. And she’s prepared to do anything to solve the crime.
A book of Regency erotica inspired my heroine’s unusual profession. In that opening scene for Sin, the hero shows the heroine exactly how he guessed a woman was the artist of the erotic pictures. That was a deliciously fun scene to write.
BookEnds: What’s the next book? When and where should we look for it?
Sharon: The next book was a sinfully sensual indulgence for me—two heroes! The book is called Blood Red, and it’s a tale of vampire twins—one is an arrogant, powerful earl, the other is the bad boy younger brother, both with tortured pasts. Writing two alpha heroes and making them both men that the heroine (and the reader) would fall in love with was a challenge I loved taking on.
Look for Blood Red in January 2007. It should be in bookstores everywhere.
BookEnds: What was your road to published author like?
Sharon: A long and winding one. I wrote very seriously until we bought a house that needed much renovation. The house still isn’t finished, since our kids arrived, but being on maternity leave gave me time to write.
Then I met historical author Kathryn Smith, who taught me a lot about the industry. As a published author, she wrote a book every six months. Even though I was unpublished, I set that as my goal. And I did it. In 2003, I decided I really wanted to be published, wrote a new partial for an erotic historical romance, and queried Ellora’s Cave. I wanted to get in the door (hopefully) without a long wait. I loved writing the story, and EC bought it.
Becoming epublished opened up a new world of information and networking. I got the opportunity to query Jessica through author Kate Douglas, and I learned about Kensington’s Aphrodisia line when Kate announced her sale. I sent my proposal out right away. Hilary Sares contacted me just a few days after she received it, and I sold it in a three-book deal. Then I had to finish the book—but I knew I could complete a manuscript in four to six months. I’d had lots of practice. I had planned to finish the book first, but the opportunity came and I knew I had to move on it. Ironically, I had two completed manuscripts for vampire stories in my file drawer. The great news—I sold those also to Aphrodisia a month later.
My road to published author was a process of developing my voice and learning about craft, but also about learning to be prepared for opportunities.
BookEnds: What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Sharon: Write and keep the faith. Everyone says that, but it works! When I started writing to a real-world deadline, even though I was unpublished, I learned a lot—how to structure a complete story, how to hook a reader, how to create characters. And I developed my voice.
Before I sold to Kensington, I decided that I would plan to go to RWA Nationals when they were next in New York and pitch to NY houses. But I’d have to wait until 2011. A looong time away. Still, it was a plan, and I decided I would keep the faith. I’d get manuscripts ready. I’d have proposals finished. Of course, the best-laid plans always go awry, and I happily sold before then. So you never know when that first sale is going to happen.
I trained as a product designer and I see writing as a design-based small business. When I worked for a small engineering firm, we put in bids and proposals on projects all the time. Some contracts we’d win. Some we wouldn’t. Writing is like that, I think. You have to actively be pursuing the contract, and that means finishing books. That’s your apprenticeship, so that when you have a contract and a deadline, you feel confident and comfortable. Yes, you can write a book. You’ve had lots of practice. After all, you wouldn’t decide to try downhill ski racing in the Olympics if you’d never been on skis. And, when you sell, it is sooo helpful to have other good, completed books and proposals ready.
By now, you’ve probably guessed why I’m happiest writing a 100,000-word book—I love to write long. This has been a lot of fun, and thanks so much for this opportunity!
To learn more about Sharon Page, see Our Books at www.BookEnds-Inc.com.