I asked Sharon Lynn Fisher if she'd do a brief interview for Spacefreighters Lounge in light of her success this past week with her second RWA Golden Heart final in the Paranormal category (which includes SFR). She graciously agreed.
Sharon, in 2009, you were a Golden Heart finalist with GHOST PLANET, and lightning struck again in 2010 with SHADOWED. I understand they are basically the same novel. Can you tell us the story on why you decided to re-title it?
Shortly after the Golden Heart final last year, I got some excellent feedback and decided to substantially rewrite the manuscript. A big rewrite is a daunting task, and I was so proud and pleased to have accomplished it, I decided to enter again.
My Golden Heart class of 2009 had been a wonderful source of support and information, so I asked the gals if others had entered a finalist manuscript a second time. A couple of them suggested that if the manuscript was substantially revised, a new title is a good way to indicate that to a judge who may have read the previous version.
So that’s what I did, but the original title is my favorite.
So, let's get to the important stuff. Details, Sharon, we want details! What were you doing when you got "the call" last Thursday? What went through your mind? What did you do next? How did you celebrate?
I had told my husband calls were going out that day, but that I’d rather try to forget about it. There are so many factors that can affect your chances of finaling in any contest, and I really thought it would take a miracle to final two years in a row. Also, I had entered the revised manuscript in a regional RWA contest a few months prior, and one of the judges did not care for my writing or my heroine - I was still smarting from that.
But forget about it? Yeah, right. I was sitting at the kitchen table working furiously to keep up with posting announcements and congrats for the Paranormalists blog. My husband was making pancakes, and our daughter was sitting next to me waiting impatiently for her breakfast. Suddenly, over the sizzling of bacon, I heard our home phone ringing in the bedroom. I always give my cell phone number on contest entry forms. But last year, RWA called the home phone instead, and my husband brought the phone into my office with a stunned look on his face. When I heard the home phone ringing this time, I jumped up and ran into the bedroom, thinking, “Could it be happening again?” Glancing down at the phone, I saw “Sharon Sala,” in the little window, and I knew. I whooped in the poor woman’s ear.
I had already scheduled dinner that night with a friend and critique partner, thinking she would help take my mind off not making the list this year. We upgraded to a nicer restaurant (one with champagne), and had a lovely evening. The next day was my birthday, and that of course involved more champagne.
Last year the Golden Heart finalists banded together to found a web site called The Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood. Has anything similar been initiated for 2010 finalists, yet?
We do already have a yahoo group formed, but I’m not sure if there are plans for a web site. The ruby sisters blog has been an incredible success, with 30,000 site visits in less than a year (the page views were nearly 100,000). It’s a fabulous resource for anyone thinking of entering the Golden Heart.
Do you plan to attend RWA this year? What sort of events and activities are held for Golden Heart finalists?
I think attending nationals is inevitable. I was on the fence about it because of the expense (travel+conference fees+hotel). But nationals really are an incredible experience, and if you’re a finalist, it’s a shame to miss it. There’s nothing quite like seeing your picture on a gigantic screen in front of a thousand or so people.
As for events, last year there were two awards ceremonies – one small one with just the finalists and board members, and then the big presentation on the final night, where they announce the winners. The Golden Network holds a reception – I was bummed to miss this last year, but I had to choose between that and the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal chapter’s party.
My favorite part was the little ribbon you get for your conference badge. :-)
Thanks, Sharon, and we'll keep our fingers crossed for you for the Golden Heart Awards in July. Of course, we'll most likely be right there with our cameras and party horns (well, maybe not the party horns), so this article might be...
To Be Continued in July!