Sharon Cathcart is a fellow author with TreasureLine Books and Publishing: in fact, it’s all her fault (smile!) that I am part of the TreasureLine family. We seem to have one of those long lists of no more than six degrees of separation and yet we only came face to face two years ago. An animal lover (works with a shelter to get homes for those without,) an equestrian, and a lover of history, Sharon has in my opinion all the right stuff. Certainly she has all the right stuff to author a beautiful story giving a new sense of understanding to the Phantom of the Opera, with powerful imagery and well researched details to give her reader the feeling they are in 19th Century Paris. Sharon is internationally published and, her responses to the interview questions are indicative of this as well as quite enlightening.
Assuming you’ve always been a writer, at heart, at what point did you decide “now is the time to put it into publication?” What made you take the leap?
Sharon: Wow. This one is kind of hard. I’ve definitely always been a writer, creating little stories and plays for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I spent a lot of time living inside my head, making up tales to help me cope with everyday life. Some of them even made it onto paper. Unfortunately, my mom decided to do what she called “digging out” my room when I was a teen, and a lot of those stories and poems wound up in the trash as a result. Most of them probably weren’t very good, but the main thing is that I have no record of how I progressed as a talent.
I was a newspaper editor and journalist for a while, and my first book was a work for hire in 1995: Born of War … Dedicated to Peace was a souvenir book to commemorate the inactivation of Sixth U.S. Army on the Presidio of San Francisco. It was 2005 or so before I even thought about publishing again; the short story that formed the basis of In The Eye of The Beholder just kept growing and growing until it was a full-fledged novel. I’d always wanted to write a full-length work of fiction, and there it was.
I decided to take the leap as I watched some folks around me find publishers; I figured that it couldn’t hurt to try.
What sort of blocks did you run into that nearly stopped you from making your book happen?
Sharon: The biggest obstacle was my own fear on some levels; I nearly gave myself a heart attack when I sent off my sample to a publisher whom a friend recommended. They asked for the full manuscript, which I sent – and they rejected. It took me a long time to get past the detailed criticisms and look at the letter objectively. In truth, I got a real blessing out of that rejection letter, because I took the criticisms with which I could agree and, ultimately, I believe that In The Eye of The Beholder was a better book for them. In 2008 I found my UK publisher, and in 2009 I found my US publisher. It’s been a wonderful experience that came out of some painful growth.
What parts of your book, events or characters come from deep inside you – and do you really want to tell us why?
Sharon: At the time I started writing In The Eye of The Beholder, I was an equestrian athlete – as is my main character, Claire Delacroix. The parts of her that come from me are specific to that aspect. Everything else has been non-fiction, short stories or essays – including two memoirs. Baring my soul wasn’t always easy or pleasant in those memoirs, but I believed it was necessary and important. In the case of Les Pensees Dangereuses, for example, I talk about my experiences coping with depression. One of the reasons I did it is that I kept discovering more and more people in my life managing this disorder … and most of them felt like they really were the only one having the experiences and feelings that we all share. I wanted to make sure that people knew that they weren’t alone.
What is your take on the eBook vs printed text book discussion? Do you think traditional publishers are becoming obsolete? Basically, how do you see the future of published writing?
Sharon: I think that the Big Six are getting a surprise and a run for their money, from the small presses, indie imprints and self-publishing opportunities – including eBooks. I truly believe we are in the middle of a real evolution in terms of publishing – and it’s great to be in on the ground floor.
What is the best way to get your book? A Brief synopsis?
Sharon: For print titles: http://treasurelinebooks.com/SharonCathcart.aspx
In The Eye of The Beholder:
When French equestrian Claire Delacroix loses her fiancé in a tragic accident, she comes to live at the Paris Opera during its 1890s heyday. Life is not easy for a woman in fin de siècle France, where her rights are determined by a male guardian. Claire, both intelligent and independent, chafes under the strictures of her time.
Whilst working at the opera, she meets a mysterious, masked stranger: Erik. Is it possible that the two of them will heal the pain of each other’s past?
You Had to Be There: Three Years of Mayhem and Bad Decisions in the Portland Music Scene:During her teenage years, author Sharon E. Cathcart dreamed of working in the music business. She lived that dream for seven years, beginning at age 18. Unfortunately, she learned that sometimes dreams turn quickly to nightmares.
http://www2.smashwords.com/profile/view/fiona64 (Includes the above two titles, as well as Sui Generis, Les Pensees Dangereuses, and 2010 Hindsight: A Year of Personal Growth In Spite of Myself)
http://www.scribd.com/doc/16078362/Born-of-War-Dedicated-to-Peace – a free download of my very first book.
And one more freebie, an anthology to which I contributed a short story entitled “No Eyes But Mine Shall See”: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/62029
Thank you so much for this opportunity!