You’d never know it by appearance. Since her image conjures thoughts of kindly neighbors bearing casseroles. She’s kind, funny, and smart. But what comes out of left field are her suspense/thrillers. As an author she writes romance and inspirational novels. On the flip side, her suspense/thrillers will make you cower in fear. Let’s give her a big hug! I present to you, author Sharon Donovan.
Susan: I’ve heard it mentioned you love masquerade masks. Do you have many?
Sharon: Hello, Susan. Let me begin with a warm thank you for interviewing me today at LRP and for that rather intriguing introduction. Collecting masks is a hobby of mine. While I don’t have as many as I’d like, the ones I have keeping vigil over me while I pound out the pages of my next thriller are authentic ceramic masks from a boutique in New Orleans. They are specially ordered and hand painted with fine detailing. Upon an interesting and informative chat with the owner of the boutique, sadly, I learned that ceramic wall masks are quickly becoming a lost art.
Among my smiling faces are a Crying MIME with a jeweled tear rolling down his cheek, a Sophisticated Lady with a bewitching diamond tattoo above her ruby painted lips, and Star Eyes, dazzling and spooky in true Mardi Gras style with her star-shaped eyes watching from behind a black and silver silhouette.
I also have quite a collection of face masks. My favorite is Cleopatra. The Egyptian queen is featured at the masquerade ball in Mask of the Betrayer. To cheer me up after my recent heart attack, one of my biggest fans sent me a gorgeous feather mask she spotted in an New Orleans boutique. Thank you, Julie!
Sharon: Oh, my, yes. Even before I got started on my rough draft, I gathered loads of information about the Gothic props in the ballroom, and once more, I relied on my psychology lecture notes to best illustrate the twisted mind of a sociopath. I also have a contact with a Pittsburgh homicide cop. The detective gives the bare bones about investigating a crime scene and how using reversed psychology is often the best way of getting a confession. He shared that common ground can sometimes prove resourceful. A suspect that enjoys playing basketball is quite likely to let something slip when in the comfort of his element. Suggesting shooting a game of hoops just might be the ticket to getting a confession.
Ever since I was a little girl, I loved being scared to death. Nothing could come close to the images Alfred Hitchcock conjured in my head. His stories made my skin crawl. The anticipation of the story he was about to unveil had my heart racing.
Thinking of some of these old plots that linger in my mind, I write stories of romance and suspense to hopefully give readers just a hint of that old Hitchcock magic. When I write a suspense book, the first thing I focus on is music. Think about a scary movie. Right before a murder or something dangerous, the chilling music clues us in and has our hearts racing.
In my latest suspense Her Biggest Fan, I chose Moonlight Sonata to haunt the reader. As you read, you’ll swear you can hear the eerie spiking of piano keys because I have planted them in your head. Recalling the old thriller The Wax Museum, I used wax gargoyles with wings as props in the ballroom. To please my many muses, I combined my love of a psychological thriller with Classic Gothic and old Hollywood glamor.
Susan: (Then) you indulged in your passion for painting. (Now) You placate your writing muse. Were you born with a creative streak? Or did the muse Calliope inspire you later in life.
Sharon: Absolutely I was born with a creative muse, although I didn’t choose writing as a passion. Contrary to most authors, I never enjoyed writing. I loved to paint and painting picturesque scenery was my passion. My career was as a legal secretary where I prepared cases for judges in the Court of Common Pleas. In my early twenties, I developed diabetic retinopathy, a condition that can lead to progressive blindness. For the next two decades, vision came and went. After one fateful surgery, I lost all vision and all hope. But when I attended a program for the blind and learned how to use a computer with adaptive software, converting text to synthesized speech, a new dream arose. Needing to channel my creative muse, I decided to try my hand at writing. And after a long and winding road, it did. Today, instead of painting my pictures on canvas, I paint my pictures with words.
Susan: Please tell us about Mike Andretti, your hero in Her Biggest Fan. I hear he’s a hard-working sheriff. Is he single?
Sharon: Yes, but from the minute he sets his sparkling golden brown eyes on Tess, sparks fly. Sheriff of Hancock County in Bar Harbor Maine, he is ruggedly handsome with shaggy blonde hair and eyes that shimmer like topaz jewels. When he isn’t keeping the island safe from harm’s way, you’ll find him on his ranch tending to his horses and a menagerie of pets. He’s as honest as the day is long and that’s why he has trouble believing Tess. Here’s why:
From the shadows of the woods, he keeps vigil. The stage is set to drive the pretty little princess insane. He’s coming for her. And when he catches her, he’ll pounce on her like the big bad wolf.
After receiving a disturbing fan letter, New York Times best-selling author Tess Kincaid flees to the New England home she’s inherited following her father’s suicide. The manor has been tainted with, every room staged to resemble the way it was in its glory days. But when Tess calls the police, the chilling props vanish into thin air.
Ruggedly handsome Sheriff Mike Andretti is called to investigate the reported burning candles, dancing gargoyles and otherworldly. When he discovers no trace of the eerie setting, he finds himself caught between duty and desire. Is the woman with the bewitching green eyes delusional--or is this a trap of twisted wit set by a demented fan?
Susan: Pick the one you feel best describes Sheriff Andretti. Law-abiding, protective, or downright sexy.
Sharon: All three do it. Smile.
Susan: From heroine Tess Kincaid’s POV please tell us why she called the police.
Susan to Tess: Thanks for calling the sheriff; I just love a man with a badge! Sorry, I’m digressing. Why’d you call the sheriff?
Tess: I fled from my New York condo after receiving a disturbing fan letter from a demented fan followed by a phone call whispering that he’d enjoyed running his fingers through my black lace thong while I was out for the evening. When I arrived at the century old estate I’d inherited after my father’s death, here’s what I saw…
From the grand ballroom, the soft floating of piano keys drifted, louder and louder, faster and faster, reaching a spiking crescendo that shook the chandelier.
Inching my way a bit deeper, I crept, heart pounding. Beads of sweat trickled my spine. A door banged, sounding like shutters smacking the house. Then I felt a rush of cool air coming from the grand ballroom, dank with the smell of rain and something else. Burning candles.
Fear clutched me from deep within. As I got closer, the scent of jasmine grew stronger. Just as I reached the arched column to the massive hall, a bolt of thunder exploded in the sky, followed by an illuminating flash of lightning. Then all went dark.
I stood at the entrance, polarized. Goose bumps prickled my flesh. When the icy instrumental of Moonlight Sonata started all over again, I took a step back and gasped. Peering into the massive hall, I stared in disbelief.
On either side of the mahogany bar, standing candelabras gleamed, long white tapers flickering in the dark. Open terrace doors banged in the wind, bringing in the pouring rain. The air carried the mingled scent of jasmine and stale tobacco. Pleated silk drapes billowed out like wings.
Rain puddled the cherry wood floor that once sparkled beneath the mirrored ceiling and crystal chandelier. The ghostly sound of piano keys escalated as Moonlight Sonata played on the old Victrola. And in the center of the room, looking for all the world like guests of honor at a grand masquerade, two wax gargoyles danced cheek to cheek, costumed in feather masks as bizarre as the setting.
Susan: Some authors have a preference for writing under certain genres or subgenres. Which do you feel comes naturally to you?
Sharon: Suspense thrillers always. I grew up watching them.
Susan: Aside from roasting authors, what else do you enjoy?
Sharon: I love to cook, something I enjoy very much, especially when I have time to dabble in one of my favorite cuisine’s as chicken or pasta.
Being a wee bit Irish, legend and lore fascinate me to no end. Extremely family oriented and holiday bound, traditions are the backbone of who I am. So spending time with loved ones and friends is quality for me. As a writer, pounding away on my keyboard sucks me into the land of cyberspace for hours at a time, so I never say no to going out for a bite to try a new restaurant or bistro. But I adore my online friends and would be lost without them. Smile
Last but not least, I love sampling new wines and is the reason I joined a wine tasting group. Wanting to be a connoisseur of fine wines, I was under the impression we would learn such things as the bouquet, etc. No such luck. This group is more interested in gulping it down. LOL But they are a fun bunch and plan some unique adventures as going to a recording studio where Francis Ford Coppola movies as The Godfather played while we sampled his wines..
Susan: This area is dedicated to shameless self-promotion. What would you like to share with LRP readers?
Sharon: Here is where you can find me
Allow Oliver to serve you a drink with a wink and a smile
The Author Roast and Toast:
where Hywela Lyn, Mary Ricksen and yours truly promote an author every Friday.
Links to my books:
Book one in the sequel series
Voted book of the week LASR
Second place winner YGR video contest
See the video by Triad Production
You’ve been asking when Oliver’s book will be released
It’s here in time for Christmas!
CHARADE OF HEARTS
PART OF THE JEWEL OF THE NIGHT SERIES
Read an excerpt at www.sharonadonovan.com.
December 15-January 15
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Sharon: Thank you for the lovely interview, Susan. You ask great questions.