Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Sharon Thompson to the blog in a special Getting to know the writer feature as part of the blog tour for her novel, The Abandoned.
Tell us a little about yourself
I love hearing/reading about authors but I didn’t realise how hard it is for them to put things like this together. How much do people really want to know?
I live in Donegal, Ireland in a rural village. I’m married, with one dog. My family are elsewhere in the country, so I travel to visit them and we like to travel out of the country when we can. Socialising and meeting people is something I enjoy and social media takes up a good part of the day too! I’m involved in charity work and patient advocacy projects but writing takes up most of my time. I co-founded a writing tweet-chat on twitter and it’s doing really well. It trends regularly (this is good) and getting it organised keeps me busy.
When did you become a writer?
I still feel like an imposter and stammer when people ask me what I do. It’s hard to believe I’m a published author. Unlike other writers, I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer. I wrote in diaries and loved English at school but I never dreamt I’d be published. Writers to me were exceptionally clever and talented folk, who studied the classics and literature. I merely was an amateur cook and real writers were Master Chefs with Michelin Stars.
I did a copywriting diploma and various writing courses, joined writing groups and contributed avidly in their challenges. I’ve practiced and worked very hard to be a writer so I suppose I should be proud of how far I’ve come. But then again they say pride comes before a fall?
There’s also a regular column of my work on weekly at Woman’s Words on Donegal Woman website. This has helped me get readership and grown my profile. It is all very exciting but I do work hard.
Developing my website www.sharontwriter.com with a designer made me feel more professional. It all seemed more real when my publisher started revealing covers and blurbs to me.
I’m hoping to have other books published so I can continue to be a writer, but sure who knows. I love to write and am content and happy with my new life, so let’s hope the magic continues, eh?
Where do you write?
I have a big old-fashioned desk at a large window in our living room, and I sit there with my dog close by. It looks out onto the messy garden and I can see Lough Foyle too. It’s a great space, which isn’t always tidy as I work, but at the end of each day I try to keep it clutter free.
When do you write?
As a full-time writer, I’m exceptionally lucky to be able to spend all day writing. There are distractions of course but I try to work ‘office hours’ and then sometimes I write all day at weekends too. If I am in a flow of consciousness I can usually let it all onto the page and just tell my poor husband to let me be. However, there are times when I stare at the blank page and spend too long on twitter. I write full-time basically but I love that I can take time out to go for lunches or trips.
How did you write your novel?
I wrote The Abandoned in a linear way. Each chapter followed the next I then would re-read and edit the scenes directly before where I would start each day – but it was a fairly straightforward process. Each scene followed the next until I had a first draft. Then I needed to re-jig the chapters a little. I re-structured it slightly and felt happier. I tried apps like Scrivener but I had to abandon them, as I spent too long trying to come to terms with the features and not enough time writing. In re-writing and editing I hopped about a bit to make changes and check research but mostly I tried to edit from Chapter one and kept it as smooth as I could. Other manuscripts might not work like that but Peggy had her story and she knew where she was headed, even if at times I wasn’t sure of where we were going.
Did you not know the ending then?
No. I never do. I am a pantser. I don’t plot yet. I’ve never yet known an ending, until I get there. Even in short stories I love not knowing. It is part of the fun for me.
Where did the idea come from?
I like the 1950s. Three of my manuscripts now, are in this era. I love the glamour of the era but I wanted a change from this side of the period.
In researching 1950s women with criminal records, Peggy evolved from many of the life-stories I read. Peggy just appeared in the words and she lead me through how I thought these many women might have lived. She evolved from an initial idea of – what if an unmarried woman wanted to make a living and life for herself. Women had to give up their jobs if they married in Ireland, so I wondered what profession they might have and how the more fiesta of them might have tried to hold onto their independence. Peggy of course, took on the church and society’s norms and she paid for that, so I wanted to explore her life. I hope the reader enjoys her story.
Thank you so much for sharing your writing life with us, Sharon! I think it’s a wonderful tip for new authors to build a professional website, an online presence is so important.
Now, if you’ve yet to hear about The Abandoned, here’s the blurb …
Peggy Bowden has not had an easy life. As a teenager her mother was committed to an asylum and then a local priest forced her into an abusive marriage. But when her husband dies in an accident Peggy sees an opportunity to start again and trains as a midwife.
In 1950s Dublin it is not easy for a woman to make a living and Peggy sees a chance to start a business and soon a lucrative maternity home is up and running. But when Peggy realizes that the lack of birth control is an issue for women, she uses their plight as a way to make more money. Very soon Peggy is on the wrong side of the law.
What makes a woman decide to walk down a dark path? Can Peggy ever get back on the straight and narrow? Or will she have to pay for her crimes?
Set against the backdrop of Ireland in the 1950s The Abandoned tells the story of one woman’s fight for survival and her journey into the underbelly of a dangerous criminal world.
OMG doesn’t it sound thrilling?! I’ve not had chance to read it yet but it’s jumping up my TBR as I just can’t get the plot, or the cover, out of my head!
You can grab your copy now over at Amazon:
About the author …
Sharon Thompson lives in Donegal, Ireland. She is a member of Imagine, Write, Inspire. This is a writing group, under the mentorship of HarperCollins author Carmel Harrington. Sharon’s short stories have been published in various literary magazines and websites. #WritersWise is her collaboration with writer, Dr Liam Farrell. This is a trending, fortnightly, promotional tweet-chat with corresponding Facebook page and website (www.writerswise1.wordpress.com). Its mission is to encourage and support writers to reach as wide an audience as possible. Although she mostly writes crime fiction, Sharon does have a fun-side and she writes the quirky Woman’s Words column for the Donegal Woman website. Sharon Thompson. Writing Fun is her writing page on Facebook and she tweets @sharontwriter.
You can keep up with all Sharon’s news over at: