Meet Shari L. Tapscott

For this interview I’d like to introduce a personal favorite of mine, Shari L. Tapscott. She is the author of the Eldentimber series, the Glitter and Sparkle series, and her newest additions, Moss Forest Orchid and its sequel Greybrow Serpent which is available for pre-order.


1. Tell us a little about you and what you’re working on.

Hello! First, thank you for the interview, ML! As you’ve probably gathered, my name is Shari. A lot of people think it’s pronounced like “Sherry” but it actually rhymes with “starry” and “sorry.” I am the mother of two amazing kids, the wife to a hardworking man, and I have two incredibly spoiled pups. We live in western Colorado, in the mountain bike mecca of Fruita. 

Right now, I’m writing Sugar and Spice, the third book in the Glitter and Sparkle series, and outlining both the third Silver and Orchids book and the fifth Eldentimber book. I’m also working on edits for Greybrow Serpent.

A fifth Eldentimber book?! Eeee!

You As A Reader:

2. When did you first fall in love with books?

When I was six, my parents bought property up by a local lake and began building a cabin. It turned into a massive weekend project that spanned more than ten years, and a lot of that time I was bored to death. Mom and Dad were always working on something, and though I love to be outside, there were only so many times I could prowl the property. Thankfully, when I turned nine, I received Little Women and two Babysitter’s Club books, and I ended up devouring them. My parents encouraged both my reading and writing hobbies, and I remember being gifted with a never-ending supply of books.

3. What’s your favorite book from your childhood?

This is such a hard question! I got Battle for the Castle by Elizabeth Winthrop from a Scholastic school catalog in fifth grade, and that’s standing out right now as one of my most favorites. I remember reading that book over and over. I just loved it. 

4. Of the books you’ve read, which one changed you the most?

This is another throwback to my childhood. The Saddleclub Books by Bonnie Bryant changed me the most. I started reading them when I was in fourth grade. They are what inspired me to write. I filled notebook after notebook with stories similar to the ones I read in that series.

5. Last book you read and current favorite?

How I Met your Brother by Janette Rallison (very cute) and…another hard choice. Since I’m in a contemporary mood, let’s go with A Different Blue by Amy Harmon. It’s another book I’ve read multiple times. I love Wilson, the main guy character. He’s funny and sweet and charming. Blue is flawed and real, and her growth is amazing. Awesome book. 

6. If you could meet any author, alive or dead, who would it be?

I would love to meet Marissa Meyer. I am a huge fan of her Lunar Chronicles, and I adore her writing style.  

I couldn’t agree more. I could go on for hours about her books.

You As A Writer:

7. When did you first know you were a writer?

I wanted to write since elementary school, but I didn’t know I had a knack for it until seventh grade. Mrs. Maguire, my language arts teacher, held up one of my essays, complimenting it in front of the class. It made me feel amazing, and I started to think that I might actually be able to pursue this “writing thing.”

8. Do you remember the first story you ever wrote? If so, what was it about?

Oh, goodness. No, I’m afraid I don’t. (That’s horrible, isn’t it?) I do remember the first book I completed, though. It was a retelling of the Jorinda and Joringel fairy tale, which I titled Smoke and Mirrors Songstress. It needs all kinds of work, but I’d really like to get it out there someday, even if I have to rewrite the entire thing. 

That’s awesome that you haven’t given up on it. It’s excellent encouragement for writers still working on their first novels (in other words, me).

9. What has been the most difficult part of your writing journey? The best part?

I took a correspondence writing course when I was newly married. The information was amazing, but I got an advisor who I did not click with. At all. She writes sports non-fiction, and I…do not. After struggling through it, I stopped writing for awhile. My husband and I wanted to start a family, and I began to doubt myself and my writing ability.

About three months after my son was born, I started writing again, just for me. Then I couldn’t stop. The best part of my writing journey was when, years later, I published Pippa of Lauramore, and the paperback finally showed up on the Barnes and Noble website. It’s crazy how something like that can make you feel “real.” (Kind of like the Velveteen Rabbit!)

10. Of all the writing advice you’ve received, what helped you the most?

Write for you. When I stop loving my story, loving my characters, and loving what I’m doing, then my manuscript suffers. I cannot write for my readers–I’ve tried that, and the pressure is unreal. I’ve stopped reading most reviews, and I just do what I love. I absolutely adore my readers, but I cannot please everyone. Once I accepted that, writing became easy again. 

11. Tell us about your current project and any others you’re working on.

Sugar and Spice is Harper’s story. I love the Glitter and Sparkle books because they give me a much-needed break from the intricate world of fantasy. Sometimes a girl just needs a little modern-day fluff. This one, like the first two in the series, is a fun romantic comedy.

Greybrow Serpent picks up where Moss Forest Orchid ended, and it is a continuation of Lucia’s story. I don’t want to give too much away, but there’s more magic and romance and Flink. The third book is taking a little longer to flesh out than the first, but I know the story–I just have to work it all out.

The fifth Eldentimber book is a little ways out (still untitled), but I’m hoping to release it soon after the third Silver and Orchids book. It’s going to be set a few years after Audette of Brookraven. In the story, Bran and Dristan’s father has stepped down, and Bran is now the king of Triblue. I’m toying with dual viewpoints on this novel like I did in Puss without Boots, but I’ve never done it on an Eldentimber book, and I’m not sure I want to change things up. 

Pardon me while I scream in fangirl excitement! Just when I thought I had to say goodbye to the Eldentimber universe, and it turns out I get to go back one more time! Yay!

Fun Stuff About You:

12. Besides writing and reading, what are some of your other interests?

I love to be outside! Our family has a camping/hiking blog (bunnytrailbooks.com), and eventually, we want to explore all of Colorado and write campground guides. Right now my favorite activity is biking because the whole family loves it, and the kids will bound out of the house with smiles on their faces if we suggest it. I also love gardening, making candles and soap, and remodeling our ’84 pickup camper. (I have no idea what we were thinking!)

13. If you could become an instant expert at any one thing, what would it be and why?

You know those people who have traveled everywhere and seen everything? They can spout off facts about everything from cool places to native animals to cultures of different regions. I want to be that kind of expert, focusing first on the United States. I want to go everywhere, soak it all up, and then I want to write about it and let it fuel my fiction. 

14. You’ve just won an all expenses paid trip to anywhere in the world. Where would you go?

I want to go to Italy and tour all the little coastal villages, especially those of Cinque Terre! I want to eat the food, swim in the ocean, try gelato, and pretend I’m very cultured!  

Final Thoughts:

15. How can people connect with you?

You can visit me on Twitter, Instagram, or on my website, shariltapscott.com. I am not on Facebook anymore, so please don’t reach out to me there!

16. Anything else you’d like to tell us?

If you join my newsletter, you will get all kinds of goodies, including Fire and Feathers: Prequel Novelette to Moss Forest Orchid.

Thank you so much for sharing a little about you. I can’t wait to dive into the new series and especially to read Bran’s story in the fifth Eldentimber book.

If you’d like to dive into Shari’s books as much as I do, you can find them on Amazon here:

Pippa of Lauramore

Glitter and Sparkle

Moss Forest Orchid

What Does Mom Really Want For Mother’s Day?

Moms can be really hard to shop for. What we want this week isn’t necessarily what we’ll want next week. And neither are what we wanted the week before. So to help you out, here’s a foolproof guide for what moms want on Mother’s Day.

1. She wants breakfast in bed, but she also wants to join in the fun she can hear coming from the kitchen.

2. She wants red roses and fancy chocolate, but she also wants handpicked dandelions and cards with wet handprints.

3. She wants a luxurious bath with candles and relaxing music, but she also wants epic pirate battles that get water all over the floor.

4. She wants to watch that sappy, adult movie without interruptions, but she also wants to watch that Disney movie you’ve all seen five million times and quote it all the way through.

5. She wants a quiet dinner at that distinctly NOT kid friendly restaurant, but she also wants a family barbecue in the backyard.

6. She wants a shopping spree with her girlfriends, but she’ll wind up buying more for her kids than for herself.

7. She wants to relax while Daddy handles bedtime, but she also wants to read that story that her kids say she does perfect voices for.

8. She wants to read that book collecting dust on her nightstand, but she also wants Mommy and Daddy movie night.

9. She wants Daddy to take care of the baby in the middle of the night, but she also doesn’t want to miss out on the cuddles which just aren’t the same at naptime.

10. She wants a whole day to herself, but she also wants a whole day to spend with her family.

Okay, so it’s not all that foolproof. We’ll always be hard to shop for, but the truth is, if you put your heart into it, we’ll love it no matter what it is.

What did you get your mom for Mother’s Day? Did she love it? Feel free to share in the comments.

Meet J.M. Sullivan

For my first author interview, I’d like to introduce debut author J.M. Sullivan.

J.M. Sullivan is a Science Teacher by day, and an author by night. Although known to dabble in adulting, J.M. is a big kid at heart who still believes in true love, magic, and most of all, the power of coffee. If you would like to connect for a healthy dose of sparkle and positivity, you can find her on Twitter or Instagram @_JM_Sullivan.

1. Tell us a little about you and what you’re working on.

Hi everyone! My name is J.M. Sullivan and I am an author, teacher, and mommy. I’ve got a few projects going on right now, but what I’m MOST excited about is my author’s debut with my book ALICE: THE WANDERLAND CHRONICLES, releasing this May 16!

Alice is a YA Dark Fantasy retelling of Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland with an undead twist, and it follows the story of sixteen-year-old Alice Carroll as she leaves the safety of the Sector to find an antidote to save her sister from becoming one of the momerath. Along the way, she enlists the help of the charming but flighty Chess, his friend Bug, and even the Red Queen. If you’re a fan of fairy tales, Wonderland, or zombies, it might be the book for you!

You As A Reader:

2. When did you first fall in love with books?

I’ve loved books my whole life. I couldn’t even tell you when I first fell in love because they’ve always been such a big part of who I am. So I guess, even though I can’t remember it, I’d have to say when my mom used to read them to me as a baby. She set a great foundation!

3. What’s your favorite book from your childhood?

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. It’s the first book that I chose in a bookstore and I absolutely loved it. I must have read it at least a dozen times growing up and even now if I’m not sure what I want to read, I’ll pick it up and revisit Ella of Frell. Such a wonderful story!

That’s one of my favorites, too!

4. Of the books you’ve read, which one changed you the most?

I’m going to have to say Ella Enchanted again. Not only was it the first book I picked, it was also my first retelling! It introduced me to a whole new world of stories and began my love for the genre, which has gotten me where I am today!

5. What’s the last book you read and your current favorite?

Right now I’m reading two different books: Angelfall by Susan Ee (Kindle) and Plague by Michael Grant (paperback), and I have to say, I’m enjoying both of them. My current FAVORITE? Well, that’s a little harder, but I’d have to go Age of X series by Richelle Mead. Her worldbuilding and storyline is FANTASTIC, I’m just sad I’m stuck waiting for the next installment!

6. If you could meet any author, alive or dead, who would it be?

I would love to meet Richelle Mead. She is so versatile and I love all of her work. I would love to have a chance to talk with her about her process and inspiration, because she is definitely one of mine!

You As A Writer: 

7. When did you first know you were a writer?

I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I never really knew it was something that could be a reality for me until I finished my draft for ALICE. I’ve written several short stories and started a couple of other novels, but they never really panned out (although I still have them shelved for later). It wasn’t until I actually got that first manuscript drafted that I knew this was something I really could do. I’m so incredibly grateful.

8. Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?  If so, what was it about?

Oh gosh no. But I’m sure it was terrible. In fact the earliest thing I can remember writing is a ‘song’ that was totally awful, which is kind of funny because my daughter has recently started singing and making up her own little songs and I just love it. Although hers are actually pretty good. Much better than mine were, I’m sure!

9. What has been the most difficult part of your writing journey?  The best part?

Finding confidence in myself was probably the hardest hurdle to overcome. Once I stopped letting my doubt get in the way and actually pushed to complete my manuscript, it’s been amazing where my journey has gone. Which, I would say is the best part. Seeing all the doors that have been opened and all the opportunities I now have from doing what I love is absolutely incredible.

10. Of all the writing advice you’ve received, what helped you the most?

Have faith in your work! No one is going to be a bigger advocate for your work than you are. Even when it’s hard, push through. Someone out there needs your words, don’t let doubt keep them away.

11. Tell us about your current project and any others you’re working on.

I’m currently working on a new retelling project, a SciFi version of Peter Pan. It’s been drafted and is with beta readers now, I’m hoping to be able to wrap everything so it can be published in 2018. Of course, I’ve also got the sequel to Alice keeping me busy, and if I can pull everything together hopefully that will be finished soon too!

I can’t wait to read them both!

Fun Stuff About You:

12. Besides writing and reading, what are some of your other interests?

When I’m not writing, you’re most likely to find me spending time with my family! I’m so busy most of the time that when I’m not doing one of the bajillion things I have to do every day I really just enjoy sitting back and spending time at home. I love singing and dancing with my kids, attempting to bake, and watching movies with my husband. I also like to run or do yoga if I can ever find the time to sneak away (even though I’m terrible at both!)

13. If you could become an instant expert at any one thing, what would it be and why?

Being a mom! I love my kids and my family but I’m pretty much convinced I’m doing it wrong approximately 99% of the time. Gaining ‘expert status’ in mommyhood would lower that number to at least 90% 😉

I’m pretty sure every mom thinks they’re getting it wrong, so you’re in good company.

14. You’ve just won an all expenses paid trip to anywhere in the world.  Where would you go?

Oh man. Definitely somewhere with a beach and beautiful water. Probably the Maldives. I mean, HAVE YOU SEEN THE PICTURES? That is definitely the kind of vacation I could get behind!

Final Thoughts:

15. How can people connect with you?

Find me on Social Media! I’m most active on Twitter and Instagram @_JM_Sullivan, but I also have a blog (jmsullivanauthor.wordpress.com) where I talk reading, writing, and mommyhood. I even have a side series I’ve started called Days After I Died that I’ve posted there as well. Whichever method you prefer, come say hi! I’d love to connect!

16. Anything else you’d like to tell us?

Well, if you have a Twitter, make sure you check out #AuthorConfession! It’s a monthly game where writers answer questions about their work, their process, or just themselves. It’s a ton of fun and we’d love to have you! Or, if you’d rather, you can find Author Confession on YouTube! Either way you’ll get to connect with great writers and learn all about their work! I hope to see you there!

Thanks for taking the time to share! I look forward to reading Alice and seeing where your writing journey takes you.

If you’d like to purchase J.M. Sullivan’s book, Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles, you can pre-order it here:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Kobo