Interview with writer Madeline Sharples

Novelist Madeline Sharples is chatting with me
today about her new historical fiction with immigration and feminist/romance
themes, Papa’s Shoes.
Welcome,
Madeline. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in
the Chicago area and fell in love with writing in middle and high school. I attended
the University of Wisconsin as a journalism major, but transferred to UCLA my senior
year attaining a degree in English.
I worked in the
aerospace business (TRW and Northrop Grumman) as a technical writer and editor,
web content writer, and proposal manager for almost thirty years. I also worked
for non-profits as a development director, managing capital campaigns, and
writing grant proposals.
I finally
fulfilled my dream to work as a creative writer and journalist late in life. After
many classes and workshops, my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On: A Mother’s Memoir of
Living with Her Son’s Bipolar Disorder
and Surviving His Suicide, was
released in 2011 (Dream of Things).
I co-authored Blue-Collar Women: Trailblazing Women Take
on Men-Only Jobs
(New Horizon Press, 1994), co-edited the poetry anthology,
The Great American Poetry Show,
Volumes 1, 2 and 3, and wrote the poems for The
Emerging Goddess
photography book (Paul Blieden, photographer). My poems have
also appeared online and in print magazines.
My articles
have appeared in the Huffington Post, Naturally Savvy, Aging Bodies,
PsychAlive, Story Circle Network’s HerStories and One Woman’s Day blogs, and
the Memoir Network blog. I have appeared on panels at writers’ conferences and
have spoken about and read my work at book clubs, book stores, libraries,
churches, writing groups, and on the radio. I also post about writing on my
website Choices and host authors on my
website who are marketing their books through the WOW! Women on Writing virtual
book tours.
I am proud to add that my
memoir Leaving the Hall Light On was
on a list compiled by Erin Burba of BookRiot of the 100 Must-Read Biographies
and Memoirs of Remarkable Women. This list included memoirs written by Mary
Karr, Joan Didion, Cheryl Strayed, Sonia Sotomayor, Madeleine Albright, Maya
Angelou, Anais Nin, Malala Yousafzai, Patti Smith, Katharine Graham, Nora
Ephron, and many more.
Please
tell us about your current release.
Papa’s Shoes, is a work of fiction about immigration with a feminist and
historical bent. At 99,968 words, Papa’s
Shoes
is a stand-alone novel with series potential.
Ira Schuman is
determined to move his family out of their Polish shtetl to the hope and
opportunities he’s heard about in America. But along the way he faces the death
of three of his four sons, a wife who does not have the same aspirations as
his, and the birth of a daughter, Ava, conceived to make up for the loss of his
boys. Ava grows up to be smart, beautiful, and very independent.
Besides having a
feisty relationship with her overly-protective mother, Ava falls for the
college man who directs her high school senior class play. With the news that
she wants to marry a non-Jewish man, Ira realizes that his plan to assimilate
in the new world has backfired. Should the young couple marry, he must decide
whether to banish his daughter from his family or welcome them with open arms.
Even though he won’t attend their wedding, he makes her a pair a wedding shoes.
In his mind, the shoes are simply a gift, not a peace offering.
What
inspired you to write this book?
While my
husband was writing our family histories some twenty-five years ago, he
interviewed some of the elders in our family and collected other writings. I
became very intrigued with what my aunt – my father’s sister – wrote when she
was well into her eighties. That she wrote a whole page describing her
friendship – as she called it – while a senior in high school with a young gentile
teacher. He regularly picked her up at her family home and take her to school
plays and concerts and then out for tea afterward. She also wrote that her
brother (my father) objected so strongly that he got the family to move to
Chicago to get her away from this gentile man. That she remembered his name and
could describe his looks and the way he dressed after 64 years made me think
she must have still carried a torch for him. While in real life she met and
married a Mr. Milk Toast, had two children, and lived the rest of her life in
Chicago, I decided to let her have her true love in my story.
The lives of my
grandparents, father, and aunt also inspired my story. However, my idea took
the story in Papa’s Shoes far afield from how they actually lived their lives.
What exciting
story are you working on next?
I am working
on another memoir about aging. I’m a year away from turning eighty, so I
thought I’d write about how it feels and looks, what my life is like at this point,
regrets, and what I do to live healthy at my age.

When did
you first consider yourself a writer?

I considered
myself a writer when I worked on feature stories for my high school newspaper.
I also was considered a technical writer and editor at the day job I had in the
aerospace industry for over thirty years. Now I consider myself a creative
writer and poet, work I turned to very late in life.
Do you
write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other
than write and how do you find time to write?
I write every
day of the week; However, I work on particular writing projects only during the
work week. I always start my day working out, then breakfast, then a shower and
getting dressed. Then I go to my home office and stay there for three to four
hours. Right now, I’m working on a new memoir. I also write at least one poem a
week, one blog post a week, a small two to three-line piece that I post on a
Facebook page devoted to “small stones” every day, and a journal entry every
day. My goal for my memoir writing is one thousand words a day. My journal
entries are usually five hundred words.
What would
you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t eat
or drink or listen to music while I write. And I usually stay in that chair
without a break until I’m finished for the day. When my husband wants to talk
to me, he stands at the open door of my office and says: “knock, knock.” He doesn’t
want to interrupt me but of course he does. If the door is closed, he doesn’t
disturb me.
As a
child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to
be a writer as far back as seventh grade. In high school I decided I wanted to
be a journalist. However, I grew up at the wrong time. Women were few and far
between in the late 1950s and early 1960s in those fields.
Anything
additional you want to share with the readers?
I thank you
for agreeing to host me and give me these very good interview questions.
Links:
Thanks for
stopping by today!


Readers, feel free to visit any of Madeline’s other tour stops to learn more.

June 4th @ Coffee with Lacey
The lovely Lacey reviews “Papa’s Shoes” by Madeline Sharples and shares her review with readers at Coffee with Lacey. This is a blog stop and review readers won’t want to miss!
June 5th @ Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews
Lisa Haselton interviews well known author and memoirist Madeline Sharples about her latest novel “Papa’s Shoes” – the story of a Polish shoemaker and his family as they settle in America. This insightful interview is one you won’t want to miss!
June 6th @ Beverley A. Baird
Beverley A. Baird shares her thoughts after reading the touching story of a Polish shoemaker and his family as they settle in America – “Papa’s Shoes” by Madeline Sharples is a book that is sure to please readers!
June 7th @ Linda Neas
Today’s guest author at Words from the Heart with Linda Neas is none other than well-known author and memoirist Madeline Sharples. Today, her guest post is titled “How I reinvented myself from a technical writer and editor to a creative writer – and at my 
age.” Heart from Madeline and learn more about her latest novel “Papa’s Shoes”! 
June 12th @ Linda Neas
Last week, readers at Words from the Heart with Linda Neas read a guest post penned by Author Madeline Sharples and today, Linda will share her review of Madeline’s latest novel “Papa’s Shoes”. This is a blog stop you won’t want to bypass!
June 18th @ Selling Books with Cathy Stucker
Cathy Stucker interviews Madeline Sharples at Selling Books. Readers will flock to learn more about Sharples and her latest novel “Papa’s Shoes”.
June 26th @ Linda Appleman Shapiro
Fellow author and memoirist Linda Appleman Shapiro shares her review of “Papa’s Shoes” by Madeline Sharples. Don’t miss Linda’s insight into this touching story of one Polish shoemaker and his family as they move to America!
June 27th @ World of My Imagination
Nicole Pyles reviews the latest best selling novel “Papa’s Shoes” by Madeline Sharples – readers will delight to hear what Nicole thinks of this crowd pleasing story of one Polish shoemaker and his family!
June 28th @ Deal Sharing Aunt / Vicki Brinius
Vicky Brinius reviews “Papa’s Shoes” by Madeline Sharples. Find out how she feels after reading this touching story of one Polish shoemaker and his family as they settle in America.
July 2nd @Author Anthony Avina
Fellow author Anthony Avina reviews “Papa’s Shoes” by Madeline Sharples – this is a touching story of one Polish shoemaker and his family as they settled in America.
July 2nd @ Amanda Sanders
Amanda of Amanda Diaries reviews Madeline Sharples latest novel “Papa’s Shoes” – read Amanda’s review and add this lovely story to your TBR pile today!
July 4th @ Author Anthony Avina 
Readers at Anthony Avina’s blog will delight with today’s guest post and author interview with Madeline Sharples – learn more about her and her latest work!
July 5th @ Lisa Buske
Lisa Buske shares her review of “Papa’s Shoes” – the latest novel by Madeline Sharples and a touching story of one Polish shoemaker and his family as they settle in America.
August 12th @ Kathleen Pooler’s Memoir Writer’s Journey
Readers and writers alike will want to stop by Memoir Writer’s Journey to hear from Kathleen Pooler and friend / fellow author Madeline Sharples as they discuss Madeline’s latest book “Papa’s Shoes”.

14 thoughts on “Interview with writer Madeline Sharples

  1. madeline40 says:

    Thank you so much for hosting me on your wonderful website, Lisa. I feel very honored to be here. Your interview questions are great.
    All best, Madeline

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