Thursday, March 20, 2008

Author Interview with Sharon Dunn

The Blog Studio band is playing when the camera pans across the audience. Everyone is smiling in anticipation of today's show. With a clash of cymbals, the song ends, and the burgundy curtains part. The audience applauds as Carol Ann walks center stage.

"Good morning, Blog Studio! It's great to see so many smiling faces today, and thank you for braving the roads this morning. It's typical Ohio spring weather. Two days of rain without ceasing, followed by snow! My hubby is pretty handy, but I never know whether to have him build a small ark or a sled."

Audience laughs.

"Today we have a wonderful author coming to talk about her books and share a bit about herself. Sharon Dunn is the author of five books, all of them humorous who-dun-its for the Christian market. Her second book in the Ruby Taylor mystery series, "Sassy Cinderella and the Valiant Vigilante," was voted Book of the Year by American Christian Fiction Writers.

When she isn’t writing or being the mom taxi for her kids, Sharon works part time at a university. She lives with her hubby of twenty years, three kids and three cats. She loves the first sip of coffee in the morning, the timelessness of C.S. Lewis’ writing and feeling sunshine on her face.

Please put your hands together and make her welcome. Ladies and Gentlemen, Sharon Dunn!"

Carol Ann claps as Sharon walks onstage and takes a seat on the set.

CAROL ANN: Sharon, thank you for joining me today in the Blog Studio.

SHARON: Thank you for inviting me. I'm so happy to be here today.

CAROL ANN: I've been looking at your book cover.

Carol Ann holds the book up and the camera pans in.

CAROL ANN: Will you please tell us a little about your book?

SHARON: Death of a Six Foot Teddy Bear is book two in the Bargain Hunters mysteries. Book one is called Death of a Garage Sale Newbie. My books have been called humorous who-dun-its. They are fun, follow-the-clues mysteries with a focus on relationships. You won’t find excessive blood or violence in my books.

The Bargain Hunters series features four women from different walks of life and different ages who are bonded together by the need to clip coupons and be first in line at doorbuster sales. The main character is Ginger; she and her husband Earl are recent empty nesters. Ginger’s heart beats a little faster when she gets close to a clearance rack. She is the senior Bargain Hunter in the group.

In Death of a Six Foot Teddy Bear, Ginger and her fellow bargain hunters head down to the fictional town of Calamity, Nevada to do some outlet shopping and attend the world’s largest garage sale. A man dressed in a bear suit (it was a publicity stunt) gets killed at the hotel where they are staying. Ginger and Earl are among the suspects (of course they are innocent) but they have to figure out who did it to clear their names.

CAROL ANN: Sounds wonderful! Something readers might not know is that it is really difficult to write humor. I admire any author who tackles that, and I love to read humorous mysteries. Tell me, what do you find isthe hardest thing about being a writer?

SHARON: The hardest thing is the isolation. I love working alone and setting up my own schedule, but a while ago, my life got a little out of balance. I was on deadline and so anytime I wasn’t working at my part time job at the college or taking care of family things, I was writing. I had to take deliberate steps to get back in the world and re-connect with the rest of humanity. It feels like I have better balance now. I moved my hours around at work so I could attend a Bible study and I get together with friends for coffee once in a while, which involve shutting off that voice that says “you should be writing.”

CAROL ANN: I know that voice. Sometimes it's hard to find the balance needed when you are a writer with other commitments. What stumbling blocks have you encountered and how have you overcome them?

SHARON: The biggest stumbling block for me is learning that my writer’s journey is going to look different from other writers’s journeys. Some writers work really fast and can write a book every four or five months; eight months is comfortable for me to finish a novel. Other people are able to put more time and money into promotion or are able to attend more conferences or can write in several genres or do both fiction and non-fiction. Some writers have a breakout novel that puts them on the map and others build an audience one book at a time. Some writers work for eight and ten hours at a stretch. My mental energy and schedule allow for three or four hours at the most.

I have to take deliberate effort to remind myself not to compare or to feel like I am not doing my writing career “the right way.”

CAROL ANN: That is an important thing to put into perspective. Good for you. How about a personal question?

SHARON: **grin** This might be scary, but go ahead.

CAROL ANN: **laughs** Okay, do you collect anything?

SHARON: I collect dust bunnies. With my writing schedule, I found it was easier to make pets out of them then to hope to ever find time to clean underneath the furniture.

**Audience Laughter**

I also collect fabric and patterns and some day I will have time to sew.

Before I had children, I collected dolls, Barbie mostly. I have a straight leg Skipper in her original outfit and a bubble head Madge. I have lots of other dolls, but those are the ones I am proudest of.

CAROL ANN: I've never thought of making pets out of dust bunnies, but that sounds like the perfect way to come to peace with them.

Okay, I have a serious question I like to pose to some authors. Do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword?

SHARON: I believe in the power of words to change things. On a big political scale, but also the power of words to change an individual heart. I think that is one of the reasons I write fiction. Fiction gets at the truth of the human heart by giving readers characters they identify with. Also there is something approachable about fiction. A lot of people who maybe don’t see themselves as Christian or who love God but have a hard time with church will pick up Christian fiction simply because they are looking for a good story.

When I am struggling with my own writing or I just don’t want to work on a hard section of my book, I picture that reader curling up in her chair with one of my books and for a few hours she gets to escape to a different world and may be see her own life in a new way. That makes me want to write even on my bad days.

CAROL ANN: What a wonderful way to push past those hard writing days. I may borrow that tecnique. Which inspires you more? A brisk walk in the autumn with the leaves changing color, or in the spring when the flowers are and trees are budding?

SHARON: I don’t care what season it is, walking inspires me period. We have a walking trail just down the road from our house. I have worked out and discovered plots and prayed through hard situations by walking it out. The hardest time of the year for me is when the trail gets too icy to walk. So winter is the only season that is not inspiring. Now, it’s March and the snow is starting to melt, so pretty soon, I’ll be able to walk again.

CAROL ANN: Many famous authors walk while they are plotting their books. I believe walking clears the mind. I've had many conversations with God while walking. I have one last question and you'll have to use your imagination to answer. You are sitting in a restaurant with several friends when someone walks up to you and thrusts a microphone in your hand. You have one minute to tell the world something....what will it be?

SHARON: Please, let me finish my dinner first because eating a good meal and being with friends is really one of the most important things in life. What matters most in life is the person sitting next to you at any given moment.

CAROL ANN: Sharon, it's been an inspiration having you join us in the Blog Studio today.

Where can readers learn more about you and your books? Website address, blog, email???

SHARON: You can find me on the web at and you can email me through the web site by clicking on “guestbook” on the home page.

CAROL ANN: Blog Studio, I encourage you to check out Sharon's website.

**The women hug and wave, then walk offstage amid a standing ovation from the audience.**

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