Friday 18 September 2020

Author Interview with Sharon C. Williams - A Rainforest Adventure (Jasper - Amazon Parrot Book 1)

A Rainforest Adventure (Jasper - Amazon Parrot Book 1)
Series Title: The Jasper, Amazon Parrot Series
Author: Sharon C. Williams
Genre: Children’s chapter book, middle grade, action adventure
Publisher: Peculiar Possum
Publication Date: Volume one and two are second edition volumes of the series
vol. 1: July 9, 2019
vol. 2: July 23, 2019
vol 3: December 10, 2019

Book Description:
Jasper is no ordinary parrot.

He lives in the rainforest, which secrets he’s eager to explore. Jasper loves his home and his family, and he's also in charge of his younger brother Willie - a responsibility Jasper takes very seriously.

When he meets Charlie - a spider monkey with a penchant for food and a laid back attitude - he realizes he’s in for an adventure he never thought possible.   Even if this means getting into danger and worrying his mother to no end.

Exploring the boundaries of the forest, Jasper understands that there is more to the world around him. Who are the strange new creatures that have come there? With Willie and Charlie by his side, he will soon find out.

Buy Links:
Amazon US ¦ UK ¦ Audible ¦ iTunes

Author Interview with Sharon C. Williams

1. Tell us a bit about your writing background. How did you get started writing children's books?
Actually I came to the writing game late. In 2009 my husband told a good friend of ours that he felt I wrote well. That friend told me which got me thinking. I had always thought of writers as special and would place them on pedestal. How it was reserved for people with talent, skill and a master of the language. Who was I to think I could do that? But hearing what my husband thought I started to wonder what could I write about. I literally looked around my house trying to come up with an idea that might work. That is when I placed my eyes on Jasper, my Yellow Cheek Amazon parrot.

Thinking I could write a children's book for any future grandchildren I decided to go in that direction.

I found out how much fun it was to write and from that day since the stories have continually formed in my head. They are forever begging and screaming to be let out. The fever was in me. 

I write in a few genres now. I hope the fever never burns out.

2. Who/What were your earliest influences?
It would definitely be my main character to my children’s series, Jasper. We rescued and adopted Jasper at the age of five in 1999. He turns 26 this October.

After being around him for so long I have learned his personality and mannerisms. He is a very smart bird. But not only that, he has the ability to learn, adapt and move forward the narrative of who he is. 

To me that is fascinating to transpire before me. 

Most of the personality traits in the series are traits and action that has happened around him.

Living with my main character is a privilege. Without him I would never have gotten as far as I have with my writing and successes.

3. Did you face any early challenges to finding success in writing?
I will answer this where it concerns the genre of children’s books since I write in a few genres now.

There are a few challenges that come to mind. One thing especially is convincing people that I am an author. I actually had an author in my area, when he heard that I wrote in this genre, that it was easy and he could write a children’s book in one day and be successful at it. How there was nothing to it.

I was too shocked to say anything. To belittle another author was one thing but to belittle children because they are children was frustrating.  Just because you do not write in this genre does not mean it deserves anything less. 

I have had people since that happen to give me the same reaction. My reaction now is this. “Do you have children? If so, don’t they deserve a well written book?

Unfortunately this is not the only issue. I have had people look dumbfounded when I tell them about researching for this genre. One author from the same group actually told me, “Why are you researching for a children’s book?” I guess children don’t deserve that attention to detail.

I don’t get why people, including authors, feel that a children’s book don’t abide by the same rules as other  genres. You still need a plot, chaos, dialogue, setting and heck everything that other books need.

It is sad to get this from authors.

This is just the adults. I haven’t even addressed the kids yet. LOL Kids are an interesting group. You can’t write above or below their heads. They will call you out on that in a minute. 

Writers know the difficult job of getting your hook right. Even with that, if adults don’t like a book we will, I believe, give it a chapter or two before putting it down. Children will give you a page or two at most for a book they don’t like. If you don’t grab their attention quickly you will find them already reaching for another book.

It is a tough challenge to get it right for this age group. I do find it more difficult than the other genres I write in. Yet, I find it so rewarding. I am rather glad I have stuck with it.

4. What are your favorite books as a reader today? What qualities in them appeal to you?
What you will find on my bookshelves are Agatha Christie, Stephen King, James Patterson, Bentley Little and Greg Iles. 

I have always been a fan of horror when it comes to movies, TV shorts and  books. I love how it is set up, developed and presented to the  views.

I started reading King simply because he is from my home state. Plus, he is the master when it comes to this genre. 

It made sense to me at my young age that I would enjoy his works. I fell in love with his mastery of writing. I always am excited to see the next page, chapter and the end to see how it all goes down. His suspense and characters are interesting, regardless if they are the villain or hero, and I tend to get a fondness for them. 

King recommended to viewers this new author which was Bentley Little. Loving King all these years it feels like I am reading a book authored by one of his children. It is masterful as well as entertaining. And again, it is in a field of horror fiction which I do enjoy.

Christie comes down to the genre. I love mysteries. But her brand of mystery. I enjoy trying to figure out the clues she laid out for her readers. Her Mrs. Marple and Hercule Poirot are a delight with their deductive reasoning. I just truly get a kick out of reading her works.

Being someone who loves puzzles in all forms Christie just drew me in and kept me there.

Patterson and Iles comes back to the genre. While they don’t have the “Who done it?” mystique like Christie, the drama and solving the crime is thrilling for me. These authors keep me on my edge and I tend to inhale their books relatively fast. Their characters, plotting and laid out structure flows to where reading is a joy not an effort.

5. What do you do outside your writing life?
I have way too many hobbies. But considering how things are now a days it does help. I been an avid reader for as long as I can remember. I am also an avid sports fan from baseball, football, hockey, basketball to MMA. I love to go out and take photos. I am always trying to find the shot that all photographers have on their mind to get. I knit, make jewelry, love to exercise and walk, go to the movies, listen to music and hang out with my family. I also love to travel. Plus, I tend to take a class at the local community college with one in the Fall and one in the Spring to keep the noggin going.

I hate to be bored. I really do.

6. What encouragement helped you along the way?
To be honest I have to go with the members of my writing groups  Through their energy and encouragement I have  gain the confidence to write and to continue to write. Being around other writers I have seen how amazing they are and that has been a wonderful experience. I get to see their passion, their never give up attitude and the joy in what they and I do. Their support for me is truly appreciated. It is impossible to not drink their cool aid.

But not only that, followers through my social platforms and fans of my writings and books give me such a big boost. Their reviews, compliments and words of encouragement when I do well and succeed in various aspect of my brand just blows my mind.

It has been a true blessing to have such amazing people in my corner rooting me on. It has definitely moved me forward to where I am now.

7. What advice do you have for beginning writers?
Believe in yourself and your book. It will take a lot of work and time but it is so worth it. Writing is like magic. You are making up something out of thing air. But again, believe in yourself. There will be days you will be the only one who does.

A second piece of advice would be to invest in an editor. If your end goal is to be published, you need your manuscript in the best possible shape possible.

Tradition publishers get so many submissions on a daily basis. They only need one small reason to toss your work in the trash can. Even if you self publish you still need to do so. Reviewers can be brutally honest. If you work is riddled with errors that will be touched upon in the review.

I know editors are expensive. Perhaps check with a high school teacher, college student or someone just starting out. They are more likely to not charge as much. If that is still not an option find some beta readers or a writing group. It is not ideal, I grant you, but you need other eyes on your WIP. You will not catch everything.

8. What's up next for your fans?
I’ve finished volume four to my Jasper, Amazon parrot series and just finished the first round of edits. I also finished volume two to my Squirrel Mafia series and I’m working on those edits as well.

And since I feel I have so much free time, LOL, I am working on a drama that is still untitled, a YA novel titled Lost Faith and a true story about racism called A Woman of Color. 

9. What has been your biggest compliment?
If I had to choose one it would be this. A grandfather purchased the first two volumes of my series for his grandson as a Christmas gift. He later told me that when his grandson saw the books he put  down his electronic toy and started to read the first volume. He sat there on the couch and didn’t move until he was done. He than asked his grandfather for the second volume.

My goal for my children’s books has always been to entertain and educate children. I also want them to fall in love with reading.

The fact that this is happening has cemented my reason to write for this genre.

10. Is there anything you'd like to say to your fans and readers?
My series, Jasper Amazon parrot series, is now paperback, ebook and audiobook. It has been translated into Spanish and Portuguese.

Recently I was interviewed by a radio station out of England. It is here at 33 minutes and 29 seconds in.

Book Trailer

Other Books in the Series:

About the Author
Sharon C. Williams is a native of New England, raised in Northern Maine. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and son. She is also owned by a flock birds.

Sharon has a B. S. degree in Chemistry and a minor in Biology and Math. She loves to read, sketch, take pictures, walk, exercise, go to the movies, and listen to music. She is a budding bird watcher and loves to knits on the side. She is a huge sports fan of baseball, basketball, hockey, football and MMA. She is also a shutterbug and is always looking for the next big shot.

Two of her short stories were published in the anthology, Cassandra's Roadhouse, which is no longer published. Sharon also has two short stories published in the Dragons in the Attic anthology, which was written by her writing group, The Wonder Chicks. The second edition of her children's chapter books, Jasper, Amazon Parrot: A Rainforest Adventure, and Jasper: Amazon Friends and Family were published by Peculiar Possum in July of 2019. Volume three, Jasper, Amazon Parrot: The Perils Of The Jungle, was published by Peculiar Possum on November 27, 2019. Her comedy novel about her war with her backyard squirrels, Squirrel Mafia, was released in 2015 by Peaceful Musings Publishing, followed by an anthology titled Everyday Musings, which was published in in 2016 by Lysestrah Press. She has two short stories in the anthology The Reading Corner: Book One which was released by Fountain Blue Publishing in 2016.

Author Links:

It's been a pleasure hosting Sharon C. Williams today and learning about the wonderful Amazon Parrot Series. Don't forget to grab your copy of this children's book series and explore the rainforest with Jasper and his friends.

Thanks for stopping by!

1 comment:

  1. This looks marvelous. Thank you so much for your time and effort in shining a light on Jasper and me.