Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Writers' Wednesday: An Interview with Sharon Buchbinder

Welcome to another Writers' Wednesday! It's snowy here in the Northeast USA - how about where you are? I hope warmer (and less white) than it is here...

Anyway, for a cheering read today, pull up your chair and join me as I interview Sharon Buchbinder, author of Catastrophe, available now from The Wild Rose Press.

Hi Sharon! Thanks for being here today. Can you tell us a little about your background?

I was born in Washington, DC, grew up in Windsor Locks, CT, now live in Baltimore, MD. I discovered that a BA in Psychology enabled me to work for an airline caterer, chopping lettuce, so I went back a School of Allied Health at Hartford Hospital and became a Medications Technician in 1973, during a nursing shortage. More education, more degrees: MA in Psychology, AAS in Nursing, PhD in Public Health, and a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Children’s Mental Health—and I became a Professor. Still, I had the itch to write fiction. It drove me mad until I “ran away” for a month to our home in Florida and scratched my itch. I am still scratching at it. My website has more information and links to stories and articles. I love to hear from readers!

What an interesting journey to the world of writing! So when did you first begin? Was there an event or moment in your life that triggered your desire to write?

Always a scribbler, I began my “serious” writing in high school when my sister went off to college and I wrote her letters. She told me they were so funny, she read them to the girls in her dorm. Reinforced by that, I began receiving rejection letters from many, many magazines and even the MAN from U.N.C.L.E. I sent them a hand-written (on yellow note pad) script for the show.

Can you tell us about your latest writing project or published title?

The short story Catastrophe is now available! I had a lot of fun writing and rewriting this story and with the help of my editor, Nan Swanson, and cover editor and artist, Nicola Martinez, the story shines inside and out. I drew on my experience as a teacher, cat breeder (a decade ago), and dog owner. The names of the hero and heroine are actually the names of my great-great-great-great-(I lost track of how many greats) grandmother and grandfather. The story opens with Polly Griggs finding an eviction notice on her door. She’s devastated and desperate. Where can she go with twenty-three rescued cats? Old, maimed, and crippled, they were abandoned and she was the only person willing to take them in. Her drunken landlord can’t wait to get rid of her and harasses Polly at every opportunity. Little does she know that her academic advice to her handsome neighbor and secret crush, Simon, on how to succeed in his speech class will lead to her own rescue—and love.

Sounds like a charming story! How do you go about developing your characters?

They arrive on their own. They appear in my dreams, as I do housework, even shopping. I was standing in the checkout line at Sam’s one day, and a character demanded that I write about him. Usually they appear when I have no writing implement. Glad I had my PDA with me that day, as he turned out to be one of my favorites.

What advice would you give to new writers just starting out?

If you truly want your work published, you must be serious about your craft. Write, rewrite. Set time aside every day to focus on your story. Write, rewrite. Join RWA and the state chapters and go to meetings. Write, rewrite. Find a critique group/partner. Write, rewrite. Get readers you trust (my husband is my first reader). Write, rewrite. Grow a thick skin and accept constructive comments, and ignore the destructive ones. Write, rewrite. Take online writing courses. Write, rewrite. Read submission guidelines and follow them. Write, rewrite. Find the right niche for your work. Write, rewrite. Submit your work. Write, rewrite. Believe in your story. Write, rewrite. Resubmit. Write, rewrite.

OK, what do you find most difficult about writing? What do you find most exciting or rewarding?

The most difficult challenge is being disciplined and protecting my writing time. The most exciting and rewarding thing about writing is the impact that my words have on the reader. If I move someone to tears, laughter, a sigh, and the reader wonders about the character after the last page is turned, I know I have done my job well.

Thanks, Sharon! Readers, if you'd like to know more, visit Sharon's website...or leave a comment or question here for her. Have a great day :)


Sarita Leone said...

Catastrophe sounds great! Good luck with it. :)

LaskiGal said...

This sounds so fun! I love these interviews. Hearing the journey people make to becoming an author is so interesting . . . and inspiring! Thanks for these, Allie!

Diane Craver said...

Congrats on your writing success, Sharon! Allie, thanks for an interesting and great interview.

windycindy said...

Hello! I have a degree in Psychology, but that is it. I am impressed that you did all of the other degrees. Your book sounds like a great book to read! Thanks,Cindi