Children’s author Sharon C. Williams is here today and we’re chatting about her new MG chapter book, Jasper, Amazon Parrot: A Rainforest Adventure.
Sharon C. Williams is a native of New England raised in Northern Maine. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and son. She is also owned by a flock birds.
Sharon has a B. S. degree in Chemistry. Plus, she has two A.S. degrees with one being in Biology and the other in Math. She loves to read, sketch, take pictures, walk, exercise, go to the movies, and listen to music. She is a budding bird watcher, and knits on the side. She is a huge sports fan of baseball, basketball, hockey, football and MMA. She is also a shutterbug and is always looking for the next big shot.
Two of her short stories were published in the anthology, Cassandra’s Roadhouse, which is no longer published. Sharon also has two short stories published in the Dragons in the Attic anthology, which was written by her writing group, The Wonder Chicks. The second edition of her children’s chapter books, Jasper, Amazon Parrot: A Rainforest Adventure, and Jasper: Amazon Friends and Family were published by Peculiar Possum in July of 2019. Volume three, Jasper, Amazon Parrot: The Perils Of The Jungle, was published by Peculiar Possum on November 27, 2019. Her comedy novel about her war with her backyard squirrels, Squirrel Mafia, was released in 2015 by Peaceful Musings Publishing, followed by an anthology titled Everyday Musings, which was published in in 2016 by Lysestrah Press. She has two short stories in the anthology The Reading Corner: Book One which was released by Fountain Blue Publishing in 2016.
Please tell us about your current release.
My latest release is called Jasper, Amazon Parrot: The Perils of the Jungle. It is volume three to my Jasper, Amazon parrot series. The series has a running them of family, friends and learning to get along with those different from us. In this volume the issue of logging in the rainforest is addressed as animals start to lose their homes.
What inspired you to write this book?
All my books are based on my Yellow Cheek Amazon, Jasper. We rescued and adopted him at the age of five in 1999. When book one of this series was written, Jasper had been in his forever home for a decade. After all this time, I was very much familiar with his personality and mannerisms.
In one of the volumes, for example, there is a scene where fire ants climb onto Jasper and his brother, Willie. That actually happened to Jasper. His reaction was pretty darn close to how it is written.
He gives me a lot of material to work with. I just have to pay attention.
I get to live with my main character of my children’s series. How many can say that? He is my inspiration for this series.
Excerpt from Jasper, Amazon Parrot:
Jasper walked over to the entrance of their nest and stood by his brother’s side. Looking in the direction Willie was staring at, he saw a large group of birds flying across the horizon.
“Wow. That looks like so much fun. I can’t wait until our wings are fully grown.”
“Why wait?” Willie asked.
“Well, duh. We would fall,” Jasper said, thinking to himself that Willie must have hit his head while sleeping to come up with such a suggestion.
“No, we won’t,” Willie replied, flapping his tiny wings. “All we have to do is the same as those guys and don’t stop.”
“Mama said it would be a few more weeks before we could start to fly,” Jasper reminded his brother.
“What, you’re chicken?” Willie goaded. A smile formed upon his face.
Now, if anyone knows anything about anything, they know that no one likes to be called chicken, especially by their baby brother.
“Mama just left before you woke up. She will be gone for a bit,” Willie continued.
Willie apparently had forgotten it was due to him that Jasper had been woken up from a good sleep.
Not wanting to be the one to back down, Jasper said,
“Okay. Let’s do it. You’re right. How hard can this be?”
“I saw the birds just lift off, so if we jumped out that should do the trick,” Willie suggested.
Both brothers looked at each other for a few minutes and then looked back out. In unison, they jumped out of the nest, flapping their tiny wings. Instead of flying with ease like they’d seen the other birds do, they started to fall, and fast.
“Flap, Jasper, flap!” Willie yelled as he did the same.
“It’s not working!” Jasper shot back.
Both of them continued to fall toward the ground. It didn’t take long for the two of them to hit the soft leaves lining the floor of the jungle.
Looking around, Jasper searched for his brother, but he was nowhere in sight. “Willie … Willie? Where are you?” Jasper shouted.
“Willie … Willieee?” he repeated.
Jasper shivered. It was a bit cooler down here than it was up in their nest.
Where could Willie be? he wondered. Okay, don’t worry. How far could he be?
Jasper looked up and saw how far he’d fallen. This wasn’t good. He should have never listened to Willie. The leaves rustled from the small breeze making its way to the bottom. It reminded Jasper of where he was.
Should he sit here and wait, or start looking for Willie? He honestly didn’t know what to do. He would call out for Willie one more time, and then move on. Sitting here wasn’t going to help either of them at all.
“Willie? Willie? Come on, stop playing, Willie!” Jasper yelled.
Jasper took a deep breath and walked slowly from where he’d landed, taking the time to cry out Willie’s name, just in case. Taking small steps, Jasper arched his head and kept a lookout for his brother. He had to find him. He didn’t want to be all alone in this strange place.
When he’d thought Willie hadn’t made it, Jasper mourned him, not truly understanding what it meant to have a brother. What he knew now was that he didn’t want to be by himself. He wanted his brother with him; someone who was just like him, who understood what it was like to be a young parrot.
Jasper made his way to the nearest tree and rested near it for a tiny bit. He was scared, hungry, and now alone. He also had no way of getting back home. Although afraid to close his eyes, his eyelids closed from exhaustion because of the failed attempt at flying.
He didn’t know how long they were closed when the sound of movement stirred him awake. Looking straight ahead, he saw a brown blob coming straight toward him. Well, it was half blob and half leaves. He leaned back against the tree as much as possible. Jasper gulped, trying to be brave.
What exciting story are you working on next?
I just finished volume four to this series. It follows Jasper, his family and friends as they take on the issue of poaching. I have finished the first round of edits. I am about to tackle it for a second time.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
What a great question. When I first started to attend a writing group at my local library so many of us did not consider ourselves writers. The group leader would pound into us the fact that if we wrote than we were writers. We weren’t buying it. LOL She would place it on the board every meeting and point to it when any one of us would say the wrong words: I’m not a writer. Our reason was simple. We weren’t published yet. Something that was hard to unbind from our thought process. Sadly, a lot of friends and family members have that mentality which can rub off onto us.
The minute I signed my first book contract with a publisher was when it finally hit me. I had prior to that been calling myself a writer. The group leader’s word had finally penetrated. But it was not until that occurred, the contract, that I started introducing myself as an author.
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?
Let me give a little backstory. I’m a trained Chemist and did that job happily. Unfortunately, I became disabled and had to retire. It took me a few years after that before I started writing. The times after I became disabled I was a stay at home mom to our son. Plus, at that time I was rescuing and adopting birds at a fast pace. Taking care of them ate up a lot of my time. I mention this to let the viewers know why I don’t work outside of the home.
I do consider myself a full-time author.
I get up early. My whole family does. But I’m a morning person. My husband and I are up and out of the house by 6 am so we can do our morning walk. The reason we start so early was to avoid the humidity of the region we live in. We are so use to it by now that it’s just part of our routine.
When we get back it is time to eat and freshen up. I normally do a few hours of errands, doctor appointments, housework and so on. You know, things that has to get done regardless what our career is.
But by 1 pm I go to my office, close the door and it is all business. It varies what I do daily. It can be writing, editing, revising, marketing, updating my social platforms, putting content on my social platforms to researching the next new animal or issue for the book I might be working on or the next one in the series. There is so much to do once you have books out. Writing it in the first place is seriously the easiest part of the whole process.
I tend to do that all afternoon until dinner time unless I forget about dinner. When that happens I’m engrossed in something so enjoyable work wise that I simply don’t look at the time.
While I may not be at my desk after dinner time I have either a book I am reading to review, a book on some topic of writing and in other cases I have my tablet as I edit the current book while on the couch. I tend to do that until Jeopardy. So a good portion of my day is about some aspect of writing.
How do I make time to do it? Being a person with organizational OCD helps a lot. LOL There will be days that I cut off early from working. That could be due to a number of things that are going around me, if I am not feeling well due to my illnesses or just life in general happening that will interrupt people.
But those days are few. I love what I do. I love creating stories out of thing air. I remind myself of that a lot. How while some parts of being an author are not glamorous, easy or fun, I do remind myself how much joy it is to write in the genres I do write in. It really isn’t a job to me. Yes, the time and effort I put into this would beg to differ. But it is utter joy.
Making the time to do so isn’t an issue with me. I make time. It could be a paragraph while I’m waiting for a show. It could be a page while I am at the waiting room of my doctor. I have even written standing up while waiting at the post office. I am finally comfortable in being happy in writing regardless of the amount. I use to beat myself up when I didn’t produce, according to what I thought I should, enough words per day or week. Once I realize just getting words down was a victory in itself, finding time during the day opened up.
Writing is an addiction I happily admit to.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I prefer to write by hand. This is problematic since I have to retype it all up before I can do anything. Especially if it is a WIP that is lengthy. But I love the feel of it. I love the connection of authors from the past when that is all they had to write with. I honestly feels it gives me a creative spark that I don’t get when I am on my computer. When I write by hand the pages just flow faster for me.
I find it hard to explain this. I to date have only met one author who writes by hand in my area. I found her at a local writing conference. I saw her raise her hand like I had, we locked eyes and we both smiled. For we understood why the other does it even if we can’t explain it to others.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
The first thing I wanted to be was a veterinarian. I love animals and wanted to help them. Learning how much school that involved I moved forward to wanting to be a wildlife conservationist. What I ended up with was a B.S. degree in Chemistry and two A.S. degrees, one in Biology and the other in Math.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
You can find where I am at online through my website: www.newenglandmuse.com. You will see through the menus the various aspect of my brand and myself. It’s a good way to see what I am up to as well as being able to reach me.
The Jasper, Amazon Parrot series is now in English, Spanish and Portuguese as well as paperback, ebook and audiobook.
I been fortunate that my series in this year has placed on the top 100 Amazon Best Selling list for ebooks and audiobooks. I have made it to number one in five countries.
If you are an inspiring writer, check out my blog. I post about the various topics of writing. Check out my newsletters also where I do the same.
Thanks for joining me today, Sharon.