Eleven Questions with Sharolyn Brown
1). How did your writing journey begin?
My love of reading and of stories started when I was a child. And even though I would make up stories and tell them to myself when I was bored, I never saw being an author as the answer to the question so many adults ask you when you’re little: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
It wasn’t until I read Adulthood Rites, Book 2 of Octavia Butler’s Lilith’s Brood that I knew I wanted to write. I had devoured Book 1, Dawn, staying up so late to read it most nights that I was forced to take the bus to work because I was too sleepy to drive. And then, as I turned the page to read Book 2, I saw the dedication page. It read “To Lynn — write!”
Lynn is my nickname. And even though my name Sharolyn only has one ‘n’, I’ve always written Lynn with two. And seeing that dedication, in that moment, it felt as if Octavia Butler was talking to me. And I knew I wanted to be a writer.
So I joined a writer’s circle to learn how to write a novel and never looked back.
2). Who are your writing inspirations?
Octavia Butler, of course. She writes stories that seem both timeless and timely, especially given the state of our current world. She also crafts characters that are unforgettableand writes stories that keep me on the edge of my seat.
My other writing inspirations are Stephen King, J. K. Rowling, and N. K. Jemisin.
3). Are you an outliner or a panster?
I’m an outliner, sometimes to a fault. In that if I can’t see how a plot of a story from beginning to end, it’s hard for me to start writing. However, after getting one trilogy completed I now see that if I know where I’m starting and where I’m ending, it’s ok if some of the middle is fuzzy because by the time I get to the fuzzy sections, I’ll think of something.
4). What are your favorite books?
Anything written by Octavia Butler, The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin, Binti by Nnedi Okorafor, Charlie Huston’s Joe Pit Casebooks series, and several Steven King books that include, but aren’t limited to,The Stand, Needful Things, It, Misery, and Gerald’s Game.
5). Describe your writing process.
Usually my stories start with either a ‘what if’ premise, or a character that intrigues me. In either case, I start by telling myself the story, and if it interests me, I then start to outline it. Once my outline is done, I begin writing. I’m trying to use dictation more for my first draft, but it’s been slow going.
Once my first draft is finished, I clean up the obvious errors, and then send it to a developmental editor who helps me flesh out the story. I look at her notes, and make edits based on them. I usually add additional depth to my story during this second draft also.
After my second draft is finished, I send it back to the editor for line editing. After I make updates based on this round of editing, I usually get my Kindle or my computer to read the story to me as I follow along on the screen to catch typos and wrong word choices.
Once this is finished, I then get the story ready for publishing.
6). What inspired you to write The Heaviness of Knowing?
A conversation with a friend about my latest dream. I’ve always had vivid dreams, and I can often remember them after I’ve woken up. This friend was saying she never dreamed. I was talking to her about how this was impossible, that she had to dream, but that she just never remembered them. That started me to thinking ‘what if there’s a reason that some people remember their dreams and others don’t?’ And from that questions The Heaviness of Knowing was born.
7). Tell us a bit about your story.
My story revolves around two women, a woman named Roxal who lives on the planet Trebor, and a Black woman named Lauren who lives on Earth. Some people on Roxal’s planet have the ability to travel into the dreams of people on Earth to guide their actions. Roxal’s gods, The Keepers, determine what each dream traveler should guide their Earth Connections to do. The Keepers say its for the good of the people on Earth, but Roxal knows this is a lie.
However, Roxal’s content to go along with the lie because defying her gods means death. So she controls Lauren as she’s told. However, when her gods begin hunting down non-believers she has to decide if she should continue going along with the lie, or if she should join the fight against them.
8). What do you hope to accomplish with this story/your writing?
I write because I have all of these stories and characters inside of my brain and I want to let them roam free in the world. I also want to write stories about people who look like me having fantastical adventures. Because I’m the star of my fantasies, so why shouldn’t I also have books that show people who look like me as the star.
9). Will there be more stories about this character/world?
For now, this series is complete with three novels and two novellas. However, I do have ideas for a trilogy that involves two of the secondary characters from this series that I hope to write someday.
10). How do we keep up with all things Sharolyn G. Brown?
My website is SharolynGBrown.com. There you can sign up for my newsletter and get a free novella as a gift. My facebook is https://www.facebook.com/SharolynGBrownAuthor/ and my Instagram is https://www.instagram.com/sgbrownauthor/.
11). What advice would you give to new writers?
My advice to new writers would be to keep writing. If your first book isn’t a best seller, then that means you’re normal. Consider all publishing options for the stories you write, and make the choice that’s best for you.