Writerly Questions with Sharon Ledwith

Warm weather has finally arrived and it is time to start thinking about what to read as you lounge around the pool, while your kids play in the park, or during your hour-long commute on the transpo. To help you prepare your summer-time TBR list, every Monday for the next few months I will be talking with some really fabulous authors about their latest or upcoming books.

It is my pleasure to have interviewed Sharon Ledwith about her new book The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis. This latest addition to the time-travel series was released exactly one month ago on May 18th from Euterpe. Don’t forget to stop by Sharon’s WebsiteBlogFacebook PageThe Last Timekeepers Series Facebook Page

When not writing or digging up the past, Sharon Lewith enjoys reading, yoga, kayaking, time with family and friends, and single malt scotch. Sharon lives in the wilds of Muskoka in Central Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, a water-logged yellow Labrador, and moody calico cat.

How would you summarize your book in one sentence?
Children are the keys to our future. And now, children are the only hope for our past.

That is technically two sentences, but I’ll totally let that slide *L0L* How long did it take you to write this book?
I started writing The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis in 1999. If my memory serves me (and sometimes it doesn’t) it took about nine months to complete the first draft.

Well, they do say an author’s books are like their baby, so I would say the time frame sounds right to me! How many drafts do you go through?
Hmmm—I’m going to say with this particular novel, at least six, but maybe more.

When do you write best: in the morning, afternoon, or at night?
Mid-morning to late afternoon is the best time for me. Nights are a struggle.

I on the other hand don’t seem to be a functioning person until after noon… Where is your favorite place to write?
In my writing studio, facing the forest full of fairies and gnomes. Honest.

You never know what might be hiding in the woods, and that seems the perfect vista to stare at while dreaming at your… At your typewriter, computer/laptop, or pen & paper?
Laptop when writing. Pen and paper when planning.

What do you drink or eat while you write?
Coffee in the morning. Tea in the afternoon, chased by a piece of dark chocolate. Water throughout the day. And the occasional dram of scotch with home-made pretzels in the latter afternoon.

Chocolate does seem to be a daily necessity in my opinion. How about music, do you listen any while you write?
I’ll admit, I like it quiet. It helps me concentrate. But when I started writing I had some favorite CDs I’d pop on—movie soundtracks like Braveheart or Titanic. Don’t judge me.

At least half of my CDs are soundtracks, no judging here! I don’t know if your writing studio is at home or elsewhere, so what do you wear when you write?Comfort clothes (anything fleecy) in the cold months. I’m Canadian, go figure. And in the warmer months (which unfortunately, aren’t long) I go for shorts and T-shirts and my Crocs.

I am also Canadian, but I do that backwards: shorts and T’s in the winter and fleece in the summer -mainly because I have no control over the building’s thermostat *0y* Do you have any other writing rituals?
When I start a new book, I usually burn incense. My hubby protests, but I insist it’s for the good of the whole.

How do you plot: Chapter by chapter or an overall synopsis?
Honestly, this is a toughie. I do a little of everything. I research first, with the idea of the book in my head, because I’m writing in the time travel genre. That said, I’ve taken a liking to creating a chapter by chapter mini-synopsis complete with chapter headings. I started out as a pantster—writing with a notepad beside me and jotting down ideas, then moving ahead with the scene, but my writing has evolved since then, and I find more detailed outlines have helped me tremendously. Although, I do give into my muse’s rants now and then.

And how do you decide which narrative point of view to write from?
I’ve always done third person. It’s comfortable to me and I love it. When I first started the Last Timekeeper series, I wrote it so that the first chapter was in one character’s point of view, then the next chapter was in another character’s point of view, until I’ve been in each of the five character’s heads, then started again. My editor with Musa Publishing suggested that I stick to one character’s point of view throughout the whole book so it wouldn’t be so confusing. I agreed, signed the publishing contract, and revised the entire manuscript. It turned out to be a fresher, better story because of my editor’s wise advice.

Editors are incredibly smart if I do say so myself *wink* How do you choose your character’s names?
I have a character-naming source book and use it constantly. Most of my character’s names literally pop into my head when I’m creating them, and I check out what their name means. Most times it fits that character to a ‘T’. Amanda Sault, who is the first point of view character in The Timekeeper series, is special. She is half Native American and I named her after Bill Sault, a Native American elder and teacher at a Native Awareness course I took in the 90s.

Who is the first person to read your manuscript?
Kelsey Bolt—then twelve—now twenty-three. She was a huge Harry Potter fan and a voracious reader. When I originally wrote my book (1999),  I tested it out by giving it to a friend’s daughter. This was around 2001. I wanted to know if my story appealed to her. It did, though there was some changes I had to make. Believe it or not she still has that manuscript!

She sounds like the perfect person to be having critique your manuscript! What did you do immediately after hearing that you were being published for the very first time?
I freaked. This is it, I thought. There’s no turning back now! Then told my hubby and phoned my family. They were all so proud of my accomplishment. After that, I poured myself a shot of 21-year-old single malt scotch.

If your book were to become a movie, who would you like to see star in it?
What do you mean ‘if’? Grin. The kids would be hard to pin down to any specific actor or actress, but the adults are easier. I thought Scott Bakula (Quantum Leap fame) as Professor John Lucas and Amanda Tapping (Stargate and Sanctuary shows) as Melody Spencer. I can see the ‘Rock’ Dwayne Johnson playing Belial. And I would love to see Taylor Swift playing Lilith.

Yoohoo, Hollywood, please option this book if only to put this cast together! All right, back onto the topic of books what is the first one you remember reading?
I’d need a time travel portal for that! Hmm—I’m stumped here. Wait – Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. Loved it! I also remember my grade seven teacher, Mrs. Greer, reading To Kill a Mocking Bird to us. I loved it too. In fact, Mrs. Greer influenced me so much I gave her a cameo in The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis as the principal of White Pines Elementary School. Payback is sweet!

What book is on your nightstand right now?
I’m reading Tempest by Julie Cross and Cannibal Island by Cornell DeVille on my Kobo Vox ereader. In hard copy I’m reading Napoleon Hill’s Keys to Success—The 17 Principles of Personal Achievement.

Do you have a guilty pleasure read?
Anything by Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander series, but to be honest, those books are so damned thick and time consuming! However, I do read a lot of self-help books. Go figure!

I kept hearing how wonderful the Outlander series is, and now have the anniversary edition waiting on my bookshelf. How do you organize your library/book collection?
My books are all in sections. I have everything supernatural on one shelf and everything historical on another shelf. My writing and self-help books are on other shelves, as well as my fiction books. It works for me!

Did you always want to be a writer?
No. In fact, I’m a late bloomer. I started a graphic trade business with my hubby in the mid-80s, and didn’t get the writing bug until 1995. I read a lot of romance books during the 90s, and one evening while I was reading, I thought how simple the structure and dialogue was. You can write, you can do this, a voice urged inside my head. Let me tell you, I almost fell off my chair. But the words sounded authentic, true to me. So, I took writing courses, met a great couple of gals, started a writing circle (or trinity in our case), and wrote my first novel—a paranormal romance.

If there was one book you wish you had written what would it be?
Such a hard choice. Oh, crap, no it’s not—Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. You said book, not a series, so I took the first one!

Who wouldn’t want to have written Harry Potter? At least half of the world’s population loves those books! If you could talk to any writer living or dead who would it be, and what would you like to ask/talk about?
Another hard choice! Drat you! Okay, this is a serious answer—Anne Frank. I know she was only writing her private thoughts in her diary, but they were pure and real. I would ask her how she felt, really felt about her situation as a young girl trapped within the horrors of the Nazi regime. I would tell her that she touched the world in a way no one else would dare. That she had talent, she had pluck.

If you could be any character from any book, who would you be?
Quasimodo. Think about it. He rings bells for a living. He brings awareness. How cool is that?

I agree, that would be a pretty sweet job to have! Just a couple more questions… What is the best gift someone could give a writer?
Inspiration. Hands down.

How about the best advice someone could give a writer?
Keep at it. It will happen.

And finally, what is one random thing most people don’t know about you?
I’ve recently been contacted by One Match, as a possible bone marrow donor. This organization matches bone marrow transplant recipients with donors. This is something near and dear to my heart—to make a difference in someone’s life by giving them a second chance.

 Previous Interviews: June Kramin InterviewJanis Flores InterviewMarySPalmer Interview

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Author: JaimeKristal

JaimeKristal is a freelance editor and writer. She started her book review blog "Tales of a Booklover" for the enjoyment of sharing her love of reading.

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