I want to welcome Sharon S. Hartley. First I’d love you to introduce yourself.
Hi! Thanks for having me. I live in Miami, Florida with my husband and a Jack Russell Terrorist named Rocket. I love telling romantic tales, and have way too many hobbies, including orchids, leading bird walks, and volunteering at a local museum.
Tell us about your latest release.
“Her Cop Protector” is available June 1st from Harlequin Superromance. This is my third Super. The story involves a subject I’m passionate about, the protection of wild birds. My heroine, June Latham, is a bird activist, which occasionally gets her into trouble. It’s how she meets, the hero, Detective Dean Hammer. June has a troubled background, and Dean unravels an old family mystery for her.
Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.
1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?
Right now my favorite villain is Black Jack Randall from the Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon and television series on Starz. I absolutely despise/loathe/hate Jack Randall, but am in awe of the acting skills of Tobias Menzies, the actor who plays the part on the T.V. series. Black Jack is a sadist who enjoys the pain of others. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t read Gabaldon’s brilliant books, you’ll enjoy the way the story is portrayed on Starz.
2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?
Gosh, this is hard, because I love all my characters. But I’m going to have to say Whacky Taki from “The South Beach Search.” Taki is a yoga teacher who attempts to live a truly yogic way of life, which is nearly impossible in our modern world. She really does try, but keeps running off course, especially once she meets Reese, the hero, who is a federal prosecutor. Taki changes her name and turns her back on her family’s money because she thinks it’s tainted and bad karma. (I’m pretty sure I couldn’t do that!)
3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one?
I write romantic suspense because I’m fascinated by mysteries and the mystery of love. I enjoy telling stories about cops and the dangerous bad guys that inhabit their world. (Research can be such fun) Police officers have a high suicide and divorce rate because of the stress in their lives. I treat them sympathetically, but definitely show their flaws. I’ve taken every citizens’ police academy I can get into, including the FBI’s. But I could never be a cop. I’m probably duck for cover the first time I heard a gun.
4.) What are you working on now?
The working title is “The Journal”, but in my mind I call it “Claudia’s Story.” Claudia is a minor character from “The South Beach Search,” an important witness in a trial against a domestic terrorist that the hero is prosecuting. Claudia doesn’t trust the government to protect her and goes into hiding. So now the feds and the bad guys are looking for her – although for different reasons. I’m having a lot of fun telling this story. It’s another Harlequin Super and will be released some time in 2016.
5.) What got you to start writing?
Maybe because I’m an avid reader. Or maybe because I have an active fantasy life J I’ve kept a journal since I was 13 years old and had attempted fiction over the years, but what I wrote was always, well, dreadful. My sister decided to write a romance novel, challenged me to do the same, and that’s what started me on a path of studying the craft of writing. I got hooked and ended up with an MFA in Creative Writing from Florida International University.
6.) Where do you get your ideas from?
I worked as a court reporter for thirty years, and a lot of my ideas come from that career. Federal grand jury sessions, where I was sworn not to reveal the secret testimony I heard, provided a lot of inspiration. I play “what if”, and the plots come from that. So do some of the characters – although changed a bit so no one can recognize the victims or criminals. Merlene, the heroine in “To Trust a Cop,” was based in part on a private investigator I deposed in a divorce case.
7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?
Because I write about crime and criminals, I think people would be surprised to learn I’m a yoga teacher. Perhaps yoga calms me from my writing sessions. I get a lot of satisfaction from sharing my knowledge and love of this ancient practice with students. I urge everyone to try at least one beginner’s class from reputable yoga studio. You’ll love savasana, the deep relaxation at the end, and come back again and again.
8.) Do you have any special talents?
I grow orchids. I’m not sure if that’s a talent or an obsession since I now have close to a thousand plants. I enjoy buying seedlings and nurturing them until they bloom. I also conduct tours for visitors in a historic house museum in Miami.
9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?
To write every single day for at least an hour. Writers write.
10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?
Buddha. I’m certain he could teach me about patience and how to live in the present moment. I’d love to hear what he says about enlightenment. I have a lot of lessons to learn!
11.) What song would you say describes your life?
The Long and Winding Road. It’s also my ring tone.
12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?
A parrot. Parrots are very, very smart (being called a bird brain, believe it or not, is quite the compliment), long lived, and wouldn’t you just love to fly?
One Hot Miami Mystery
Homicide Detective Dean Hammer has two dead bodies on his hands and just one connection: a pretty activist named June Latham. She swears her only concern is rescuing the tropical birds she loves, but something isn’t adding up. As Dean begins to unravel the mystery of June’s troubled family, he realizes she’s in danger.
"I looked you up last night. Guess what I discovered?"
"That I've never been married?"
"No, that you --" June paused as his words sunk in. "You've never been married?"
"Wouldn’t want to make any woman a widow. So, what startling thing did you learn about me?"
She shook her head. Once again the man had thrown her off balance. How could he possibly know she'd tried to determine his marital status? "Forget it."
"Maybe I don't want to forget it. Whatever it was sure ruffled your feathers." He grinned, obviously amused by his bird reference.
"Ha-ha," she said, not finding him funny.
"Hey. I seem to remember you inviting me on this little jaunt. Did I misunderstand?"
She sighed. "No. I thought you would enjoy yourself. That was before I knew you preferred to hunt birds with that high-powered rifle you're so damned good with."
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