Name: Margaret Lynette Sharp

Age: Young enough to know how to dance!

Where are you from: Sydney, Australia. Born and bred. Liked the place, so I stayed.

A little about your self, i.e., your education, family life, etc.

I matriculated while still 17, and my major studies focusing on writing. Undeniably I was naïve and romantic.  But I think those qualities made me a gentler, more sensitive writer.

After a break to attend to the needs of my family, I completed my studies in writing with special emphasis on short stories, but more in the service of my own interests than with a view to pursuing a literary career. My parents developed health issues, though, and after the early death of my father I stayed to help my mother. She passed away in her eighties, just six months before I met my future husband, Ronald Sharp B.E.M. Music-minded readers may recognise him as the designer and builder of the Sydney Opera House Grand Organ.

Ron and I live in a quiet part of Sydney. We are both members of a local Swimming Club. Ron is a timekeeper and I’m a competitor. We have a lovely little white dog, Chicki, whom we rescued from an animal shelter two years ago, and two budgerigars.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

My latest news is that I’m learning to drive! I hope this stunning revelation will inspire people to try to get new skills in their mature years.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

After a gap spanning decades, I began again three and a half years ago. My niece had just gotten married. This seemed to send me a message that it was time to move on to new things. And I’m glad I did…

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

The moment I held the bound copy of my first title, ’25 Stories of Life and Love in Australia’, in my hands.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

I wanted a project. The notion of a book of short stories somehow appealed to me.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

Most of my books are written in a gentle, flowing style. ‘Amelia’s Call’, my first novella, is a little different, though. It’s been described as ‘powerful’ and ‘page-turning’.

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

I have ten titles, and naturally there are different reasons for different titles. Take ‘Amelia’s Call’, for example. Amelia is the heroine, despite her conflicted motives and many imperfections: she’s very human.  Her ‘call’: well, there are many ways of interpreting its meaning.

Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Despite having written ten books, I haven’t a novel to my credit. My most lengthy work, ‘Michaela Betrayed’, is a heartwarming romance, and I guess the message here is that despite change and adversity, things can turn out well.  I don’t like bleak stories meant somehow to “enrich” readers by depressing them.  I think some fiction can afford to have happy endings.

Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?

The entire book is realistic. The events and characters are, I believe, true to life.

Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Not the events depicted or the characters, per se, but their reactions to situations are certainly informed by my observations of people.

Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?

That’s a tough question. My love of reading has been nurtured by my enjoyment of titles by Louisa May Alcott, James Herriot, Jane Austen, George Eliot and so many others.

Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

It’s hard to say.  Probably I’ve been most influenced by James Herriot.

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

I’m reading, and thoroughly enjoying, David Prossor’s title ‘My Barsetshire Diary’.

Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

At the risk of repeating myself, David Prossor is one lesser-known but highly engaging new writer.

Fiona: What are your current projects?

In the literary sense, I’m taking a rest from creative writing and just focussing on my blogging for now. In the sense of practical life projects, learning to drive is occupying much of my attention, just at the moment.

Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

One of my first readers, Jeanette (though I guess I wouldn’t call her an ‘entity’), has been a wonderful source of belief in my writing. Despite our never meeting face-to-face, I see her as one of my most loyal and enthusiastic supporters.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

A vocation, yes. A career? Who knows?

Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

My latest title, ‘Lauren Played’, is a novella, and people have told me they think very highly of it. So I’ve become fond of novellas, and no, I wouldn’t change anything.

Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I guess most readers have at least considered the possibility that they could write. More pressing to me, though, is my fervent desire to create: to leave something behind.

Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?

I’m having fun, blogging. Maybe later this year I’ll take another shot at creative writing.

Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Finding the right environment in which to write is probably the most difficult part.

Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

James Herriot. I just love most of his stories, especially the ones that incorporate more humour.

Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

No.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

My husband Ron designed them, in collaboration with me.

Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Finding the time and energy.

Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

That I could still write. J

Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Be prepared. If your aim is publication and commercial success, be aware that it isn’t an easy road to travel. And never forget: you need to continue to read and analyze the works of others.

Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Most of my stories are meant to be heartwarming romances. If you like clean, well-crafted stories, then please take a look at these.

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Not sure. It may have been one of the ‘Famous Five’ series.

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?

I love swimming, and have competed at Club level for over thirty years. I love animals. And I love music and dancing.

Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I like programs about animals. And I like Doc Martin.

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music:

Foods:  Roast beef and baked vegetables. Ice-cream. Fruit.
Colours: Blue, pink.
Music: Classics (light) and popular of 50’s to 80’s.

Best regards

Margaret Lynette Sharp

Australian writer.