Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, The Last Timekeepers, available through Musa Publishing. Her debut novel, The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, is the first in the series. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, yoga, kayaking, time with family and friends, and single malt scotch. Sharon lives in the wilds of Muskoka in Central Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, a water-logged yellow Labrador and moody calico cat.
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Honestly, I have to admit I was a late bloomer when I decided to jump ship from my life as a graphic trade business owner into the murky waters of the writing world. I didn’t start writing seriously until 1995. That’s when I took two college courses that changed my life. The first one was called Planning your Novel, which was an introductory workshop for, Writing your Novel. I met a couple of wonderful would-be writer gals, and we formed a writing circle after the classes were done. Years of practice, patience, and perseverance has beamed me up to where I am now, and trust me, it’s a pretty awesome place to be!
What does your life as a writer look like? What is your schedule and do you work at writing full time?
First thing you need to learn as a writer is to have structure and discipline. Without those two things, there’s chaos. I’m an early starter (around 5:30 a.m.) during the weekdays. After I grab a needed cup of coffee, I do my devotionals and dream journaling first (you wouldn’t believe the ideas a writer can get just by paying attention to your dreams), then get on to business. I jot down my priorities for each day in my day organizer, which helps me manage my time. Mornings are mostly filled with some writing, checking emails, social media stuff, promoting, and marketing. I blog every Monday and Wednesday, and I usually prepare my posts and schedule over the weekend. Exercise is important for a balanced life, so I either jump on the treadmill or do some yoga or weights the latter part of the morning. I try to get the bulk of my writing done in the afternoon, unless there’s edits to do. My life as a writer has been a bit of a juggle, but it’s been a blessing too. And yes, I’m a full time writer – a dream come true!
What books/authors have most influenced your life most?
For non-fiction, Caroline Myss who wrote Anatomy of the Spirit is my favorite. As for fiction, I’d have to say Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist), Diana Gabaldon (The Outlander series), JK Rowling (Harry Potter series), and Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson & the Olympians series).
What are you working on now? Any new projects or books you can share with us?
I’ve just finished the first round of edits for the prequel to The Last Timekeepers series entitled, Legend of the Timekeepers which will be out sometime in 2013 (hopefully late spring), but I don’t have a release date yet. I also have a completed manuscript of the second book in the series entitled, The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, but there’s the fun job of revising it into Jordan Jensen’s point of view. I’ve also just signed with a literary agency to take on another young adult series I’ve created about teens with psychic abilities, so I’ll be one busy gal!
As an author, how important do you feel social media is to your career? Is marketing a love/hate relationship with you (as many authors admit) or do you enjoy it? How much time daily/weekly do you spend promoting?
Social media is extremely important for authors to forge new relationships and connect with their readers. The problem is my target audience is middle-grade/young adult (ages 9-14), and most of my readers have to rely on their parents (also readers) to buy my ebook(s) for them. Marketing and promoting are both key to getting noticed by perusing parental eyes. Although I do enjoy some of the aspects of marketing, it does take a good chunk away from my writing time, and most of my promoting (about 6-8 hours weekly) is done on-line. My strategy is to build my author platform on-line. I must get my name out there and develop a “Sharon Ledwith” brand. This is done by creating a website for readers to visit, joining social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, scheduling shares and tweets weekly on Hootsuite, hosting contests on my blog, doing giveaways on Goodreads, joining YA blog hops, participating in interviews and guest blogging, and physically going on library and school visits. Whew! I think I popped a vein in my head.
Is there anything else you'd like to add? Perhaps some advice to any aspiring authors out there?
Never stop investing in yourself. Invest in the best. That’s in yourself, and in your readers. Your readers deserve the best of what you have to offer them. Surround yourself with the best possible team. Never stop learning. As you grow, so will your readers, so be prepared for this. Oh yeah, and never give up. That’s a given and should be part of any author’s credo.