It’s Thursday so it is time for another author interview! Today I talk with Shari Green. Shari writes middle grade and young adult fiction. She's in love with stories and the sea, and can often be found curled up with a good book and a cup of tea, or wandering the beaches near her home on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. In her non-writing life, Shari works as a Licensed Practical Nurse. She's married to her high school sweetheart and has four children.
When did you decide to become an author?
I first wrote novel-length fiction during NaMoWriMo 2005. I'd dabbled in writing non-fiction for many years, but once I finished a first draft of my first novel during that crazy November challenge, I was hooked.
Tell us about your journey. How did you get your first book published?
My first book was a YA novel called Following Chelsea. It was my third completed manuscript. After revising based on feedback from critique partners, I researched agents and started querying. I signed with an agent and worked with her on more (and more!) revisions. However, we parted ways before going on submission, so I ended up subbing the manuscript myself to Evernight Teen. I was thrilled when they offered! Following Chelsea was published as an e-book in 2014.
Was there ever a point when you felt like giving up?
There were times when I was seriously discouraged and when I wondered if all the work and trying and rejection was worth it. I still get discouraged some days. It can be a difficult journey, for sure! But I've never wanted to give up.
Is there anything about being a published author that has surprised you?
I think I had fairly realistic expectations -- perhaps a perk of taking a long while to break in to publishing, and of having many writer-friends! But maybe I was struck a bit with the truth of "it doesn't get easier" -- there are still days when everything I write is garbage, when my work is rejected, when I wrestle with doubts or imposter syndrome. And yet, I appreciate the journey I'm on. I know I'm lucky to have my books out in the world, and I'm so grateful to have the support of friends, family, fellow writers, and especially readers.
Any advice you would give to a writer just starting out?
Read widely. Find your tribe (other writers who "get it", who can offer honest but kind feedback on your work, and who can be part of a mutual support and encouragement team). And don't lose sight of the joy -- remember what you love about writing, so when the publishing journey is hard, it won't overwhelm you.
My most recent books are both middle grade novels in verse -- ROOT BEER CANDY AND OTHER MIRACLES came out in 2016, and MACY McMILLAN AND THE RAINBOW GODDESS in 2017. I hadn't planned to write in verse when I began working on RBCAOM, nor had I planned on the story being middle grade, but that's how it came out, and it felt like the most true-to-me writing I'd ever done. I learned from that experience the importance of both trusting my gut and following my heart (which is advice I probably should've included above!).
Thank you, Shari!