If there’s one author that Jane, Jayne and I have all enjoyed reading, it’s Sharon Shinn. So when I floated the idea of interviewing her, it was met with great enthusiasm and it quickly grew into Sharon Shinn week here at Dear Author. Of course, the whole thing hinged on the author herself agreeing to be interviewed. Luckily for us, Sharon Shinn said she would be delighted to do the interview. So we sat down togeth– well, no, not really. We sat down at our computers to send the questions and answers back and forth. The result was this interview, here for your enjoyment. — Janine
Tell us a little bit about how you got started writing and how you came to be published.
I wanted to be a writer from the time I was about 8 years old. I wrote my first novel the summer I was 20 and working at a pretty slow-paced government job. Every time one of my co-workers asked me what I was doing, I said I was writing a letter. All summer! But that book was unreadable, and the next few were unpublishable. I finally started hitting my groove in my early 30s.
Still took a while to get anything published. I sent out a few unsolicited manuscripts–one of them languished for two years in the slush pile before it got rejected. Finally found an agent, and it was still three more years of sporadic rejections before my first book sold. But since then, the sales have been pretty steady. So I always tell people I’m the poster child for perseverance.
Which books and authors are your personal favorites? Which books do you feel have influenced your own writing?
Georgette Heyer was my first major influence. I still know a few scenes in her books by heart, and I can tell when newer Regency romance writers quote one of her lines. In the sf/fantasy field, the authors I loved before I started writing were Anne McCaffrey, Patricia McKillip, Robin McKinley (lot of Mc-authors), and Peter Beagle. More recently, I’ve discovered Juliet Marillier in the fantasy field, and a few in the romance field: Suzanne Brockmann, Jennifer Crusie, and Susan Elizabeth Phillips.
All three of us who write for Dear Author are avid romance readers, and we’ve all enjoyed your books and think that many of them would appeal to readers of that genre, so I want to ask you a few questions about the romantic aspect of your books.
Several of your books have a strong romantic thread or storyline. What is it that inclines you to write about romantic love?
You know, I write the kinds of books I like to read. I read fairly widely, but I always enjoy a book more if a love story is part of it. So while I try to layer on a lot of the fantastical elements of sf/f, and I certainly hope to provide a compelling plot, I usually think the love story is the core of the book. To enjoy the romance again is why I tend to re-read the books I bother to re-read, and the romance is often the part that’s the most fun to write.