Over the last year, I’ve gotten the chance to know Sharon Buchbinder! Not only is she a remarkable writer, but she’s funny, brilliant and fights for what is right. It’s my pleasure to share some of her writing history, tips, tricks and info on her new release, An Inn Decent Proposal, with you today!
When did you realize or decide you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve been writing fiction since middle school and have the rejection slips to prove it. I even handwrote a script on yellow lined paper for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. It was rejected, but little did I know at the time I was writing fan fiction. All I knew was I had a massive crush on Ilya Kurykin, played by David McCallum, and I wrote myself (well, my older, more sophisticated alter ego) into that script as his love interest. Yes, even then I was writing romantic suspense—I just didn’t know it was called that
What has been your best experience as an author so far?
My job as an author is to create a story that entertains and moves the reader. When I hear from readers how a story made them laugh, cry, or sigh, that’s the best feeling in the world.
What sort of challenges have you faced as a writer? How did you overcome them?
After graduating with a BA in Psychology and no job, I realized my dreams of working in the attic writing great novels would have to take a back seat to the simple pleasures of eating, drinking, and having a roof over my head. After working in health care delivery for years, I became a researcher, association executive, a Registered Nurse and an academic with a PhD in Public Health. When I hit age 52, after publishing my first textbook, I realized it was now or never to get back to fiction, my first love.
The biggest challenge I have now is time management. Some authors get up an hour or two earlier than normal. I confess, that only occurs when I have insomnia. LOL. With a busy family life, a day job I love, and the need for marketing and promoting books, sometimes my writing gets put on the back burner. To overcome this, I write in chunks, a writing blitz, if you will. When I can clear my calendar for the weekend or an evening, then I make great progress.
How do you research and plan your books?
I’m a research junkie and will spend years researching a book before I begin to write. I include recommended readings in my Author’s Notes for all my books because I want others to see 1) I really did research the book and 2) they might enjoy reading more about specific topics. Even as I’m writing, I’m still researching.
My husband and I travel a lot for business and pleasure. Over the forty plus years of our marriage, we have stayed at everything from a stunning boutique hotels to fabulous bed and breakfasts to corporate chains. We even stayed at a Motel 6 in a blizzard in Davenport, Iowa in the late 1970s. It was so cold, my husband had to keep going out and starting the car every two hours so it wouldn’t freeze and we had to put towels at the door to keep snow from blowing in. After sharing numerous travel horror stories with a writing friend, she said, “You should write a book about this!” Ta-dah!! I’m up to three books about hotels and counting…
Do you find outlining helps or hinders your process?
I’m a reformed pantser. Having learned the hard way on my first novel, which I revised ten times (no, that’s not a typo), I realized I needed a better plan. I took courses and settled on a blend of the Hero’s Journey and Alexandra Sokoloff’s plotting grid. With an outline, I know where I start and it’s okay if I take a side road—I know how the story will end.
Have you learned anything really cool or interesting while researching your books? What’s been the weirdest research you’ve ever had to do?
In my Jinni series, I draw on the pre-Islamic and current Middle Eastern entities along with Judaism, Christianity and Coptic Ethiopians. I spent four years researching these religions and myths to create that series. What amazed me was that we are more alike than different in our religious beliefs and that Jinnis pre-date Islam and continue to have a large presence in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Hands down, so far, it has to be exorcisms. Who knew Judaism, Islam and Catholicism have exorcisms? For entities called by different names, but still…exorcisms…
What advice would you give to new writers in the field?
I have ten tips for new writers!
- Read the genre you want to write.
- Learn your craft. Take courses. Go to conferences. Be among other writers.
- Write and publish your best story for your genre.
- If you are self-publishing, pretend you are the biggest publisher in the world and you are submitting to them.
- Again, if self-publishing, find a great editor who knows how to work in various publication formats.
- Publishing is a business. Read your contracts, understand royalties, and learn to use spreadsheets.
- Promote your work without being a jerk.
- Don’t respond to reviews—except to say thank you!
- Participate in and submit to contests.
- Be patient.
Tell us a little about your writing nook! Favorite tea/coffee/writing snack?
We have a finished lower level in our townhouse and we put the office—my writer’s cave—downstairs. At first it was just because there was more space, but now I realize it helps me to “get away” from the rest of the house and things screaming to be done, like laundry and dishes.
An IV drip of coffee would make me very happy.
Of all of your own characters, who would you most want to date?
Don’t tell Jim Rawlings (my hero in An Inn Decent Proposal), but now I’m crushing on Bronco Winchester. He’s sex on a stick, covered in tattoos, riding a Harley with a bobcat in his backpack. He’s the kind of guy a woman with any common sense at all would cross the road to avoid! But of course, under the Bad Boy exterior, there’s a Good Guy with a great sense of humor.
What project are you currently working on?
I have two books demanding attention. One will be the third in the Kiss of the Jinni Hunter Series and the other will be the third in The Hotel LaBelle Series. Just when I think I have my research done, something new and interesting (bright and shiny things!) drops into my lap.
What’s next for you?
World domination with an army of pugs. But in the meantime, I’m working on my character sheets for the next Hotel LaBelle book. I’m very excited about her because she is my grandmother reborn, every smart, sassy, stubborn molecule of her. Of course, she has paranormal skills, too. Not sure if my grandmother did, but who knows?
Sharon Buchbinder has been writing fiction since middle school and has the rejection slips to prove it. An RN, she provided health care delivery, became a researcher, association executive, and obtained a PhD in Public Health. When not teaching or writing, she can be found fishing, walking her dogs, or breaking bread and laughing with family and friends in Baltimore, MD and Punta Gorda, FL.
About the Book!
ls his name daily. After finding himself standing in front of poker table once too often, Jim decides he can’t stay in the casino, no matter how good the money is. He takes a drive around town and finds a down on its luck hotel for sale. It’s as if his prayers are answered. He must have it.
Sous Chef Genie King is living her dream, working in one of the finest restaurants in the casino, if not the country. The only problem is the executive chef is a madman and she longs to have a place to call her own. When a frying pan nearly hits her head, Genie runs out of the kitchen and jumps into her car. She has no idea where she is going, but she can’t go back to that job. When she sees the aging mansion with the for sale sign, she knows she must have it.
Jim takes the biggest chance of his life—bidding at auction for a once-grand inn. Genie never expects another LBC employee to bid at the sale—much less the guy she had a major crush on in high school. Working together means Jim must share long-hidden secrets. Will Genie reject the man with a past? Or will she love the man he’s become?
Short Blurb: Jim Rawlings takes the biggest chance of his life—bidding at auction for a once-grand inn. Genie King attends the hotel auction, never expecting another LBC employee to bid at the sale—much less the guy she had a major crush on in high school. Working together means Jim must share long-hidden secrets. Will Genie reject the man with a past? Or will she love the man he’s become?
Jim Rawlings takes the biggest chance of his life—bidding at auction for a once-grand inn. Genie King never expects to bid aAn Inn Decent Proposal
by Sharon Buchbinder
Contemporary, Small Town, Suspense
Recovering gambler Jim Rawlings works as a mid-level manager at one of the largest casino resorts in the country, La Bonne Chance Resort and Casino. Despite employee rules about gambling on site, temptation calgainst the guy she had a major crush on in high school. Working together means sharing everything, including secrets. Will Genie reject the man with a past?
Can an hotelier with a past and a chef with a future revive the grand dame in a neglected old inn?
“But you wanted the Inn, didn’t you?” Genie placed a tentative hand on his.
“Yes—but what I did was crazy.” Jim shook his head. “I spent every dime I had, plus every one you had. Now what do we do?”
She let out a long breath. “We do what we’re good at. I’m an outstanding chef. You’re an experienced hotel manager. We’re under forty. We have our health and are extremely motivated to succeed. I’d say we have an embarrassment of riches. Partners?” She extended a hand.
A small flame of hope flickered in Jim’s mind. He reached out and squeezed her fingers. “Seriously?”
“Yes.” She withdrew her hand slowly and sipped her latte. “Why did you want this place?”
“The old girl called to me, begged me to save her.” He gave Genie a wistful smile. “Do I sound crazy?”
“You call the Inn ‘she,’ too?”
“Yes, she’s like a grand old dame who’s fallen on hard times. Remember the parties? The famous people who stayed and played there? Celebrities came to the Inn because they knew their privacy and secrets were safe with us. If those walls could talk! Every day was new and exciting. I would love to bring back her glory days.”
Genie leaped up, ran around the table, and threw her arms around him. “I have the same dream. We can do it.”
He hesitated for a moment, then returned the gesture, his hands unable to resist lingering on her luscious curves just a tad too long. Genie’s inviting cleavage made him wish they were somewhere private. He could scarcely breathe and had to shake his head to dispel naughty images of nuzzling her soft breasts. “We can do what?”