Interview with Romantic Comedy Author Sharon Black @Authorsharonb

Going Against Type by Sharon Black

Romantic comedy author Sharon Black is an Irish author, whose debut novel, Going Against Type was e-published by Tirgearr Publishing in September 2014. Formerly a journalist, she has also published short stories. She lives in Dublin with her husband and children. Read my interview with Sharon below.

Do you outline your books or wing it? Describe your process.
I outline my books. I start with one sentence, summing up the whole story. So, for example, the sentence for my debut was:
‘This is the story of two rival newspaper columnists who unknowingly fall for their bitter enemy: each other.’ That tends to focus the mind. Then I do a rough synopsis. And then I start to flesh it out. Scenes first, and later on, chapters. When I start roughing out characters, this might change, but it’s good to have a skeleton with which to start. But it always changes.

Has your muse always known what genre you would write and be published in?
I’ve always read in lots of different genres, but my feel-good reads were the romantic comedies. So when I decided I wanted to write, I knew it had to be contemporary romance, and more specifically, romantic comedy.

Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of editing. How about you?
I tend to just write it all first. That has advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that you have something to edit. Somebody once said it doesn’t matter what sort of rubbish you write, so long as you edit brilliantly! The disadvantage is that you can end up with a lot of stuff you don’t need, and you have to sift through all that, which can be a bit frustrating. But that’s just instinctively how I write.

What is your favorite part of writing?
I love the beginning, when I’ve everything planned out, and I’m starting to write scenes. They’re really rough first drafts, but characters start to come to life on the page, and the possibilities are endless. Of course, I’m still quite new to it all, so I don’t have the experience some writers have. But the first novel I had published, wasn’t the first I attempted. I’ve been writing a long time.

What inspired your latest release?
Going Against Type was inspired by the 1940s Hollywood film, Woman of the Year, starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracey. In the film, Hepburn plays a high brow newspaper pundit, who hates sport. Tracey plays a sports reporter, and when Hepburn dismisses sport in her column, Tracey leaps to its defence. They know each other straight away in the film; there’s no subterfuge. In my book, I made my heroine a sports reporter, who’s given a shot at writing the new sports column, Side Swipe, for her paper. In her first column, she says something that annoys the gossip columnist, known only as The Squire, at a rival newspaper. And so their battle begins. The Squire is my hero, and in real life, they meet and fall for each other, but they guard their alter egos. I loved turning the stereotypes on their head. And having worked for Dublin newspapers, I understood the settings.

What do you read? Do you read different genres when you’re writing versus not writing?
I don’t read everything, because there are certain genres that just don’t interest me. But it’s safe to say that I read a fairly good mix of literary fiction, and commercial women’s fiction. Every so often, I also read a good thriller. It doesn’t matter whether or not I’m writing. I would still read the same sort of thing.

What books are on your nightstand or by your chair?
At the moment, I’m reading The Miniaturist, by Jessie Burton. And I’ve just finished Two Fridays in April, by Roisin Meaney. After The Miniaturist, I’ll be reading Sheila O’Flanagan’s latest novel, If You Were Me. There are a few others. Like most people, I have a TBR pile!!

Do you have a view in your writing space? What does your space look like?
My desk is a fairly big wrap-around affair at the end of my kitchen. It actually tucks in to a corner pretty neatly. Some people think it’s a very odd place to have an office, but you do what works for you.
The desk itself is actually a complete mess. I’m not a tidy person. I’d love to be! The great thing about it, is that it’s beside huge patio doors, that overlook a modest patio and a small but private garden. It’s important for me to be able to see trees and flowers. And a trampoline, and a hurling practice net, and a basketball hoop!!

Tell us about your hero or heroine. Give us one of his/her strengths and one of his/her weaknesses.
My heroine is Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Regan. She is 29, born in Dublin, and shares a house with Helen, who owns a local Italian café. She went to college in Galway, where sport was a huge part of her life. An injury in her final year, prevented her from becoming a professional sportswoman, so her work as a sports journalist was a natural choice, and she loves it.

Her biggest strength would be her pluck. She isn’t afraid to take on new challenges, and doesn’t look for any favours in the male-dominated world of sports journalism. In fact, she has to work harder to prove herself. Her weakness is that she doesn’t give herself enough credit as a woman. When Derry Cullinane (the hero) first asks her out, she can’t understand why he’d be interested in somebody like her. His usual type of woman is very different from Charlotte. When she’s describing him to Helen, she says at one point, ‘He’s Saville Row…I’m Wrangler Jeans.’

E-books, print, or both? Any preferences? Why?
I like both. I’ve had an e-reader for about two or three years. It was a Christmas present. And it’s great to be able to download a book late at night, if I’m stuck for something to read. It’s also invaluable for travelling.
But it’s also wonderful to browse around a bookstore, and treat myself to a few books. I’ll always want to do that. Honestly, I don’t think I have a preference.

For more about Sharon, visit her website at Cold Coffee Press and her blog.

Some would say Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Regan has it all. Beautiful, smart, athletic and a great job working as a journalist – in the almost exclusively male sports department. But Charlotte is not quite as sure as she seems. Recently split from her overbearing boyfriend, she escapes for weekends, surfing in the Atlantic, and spends her free nights watching sports, roaring at the TV. Derry Cullinane is a fashion writer, gossip columnist and sophisticated man-about-town. The go-to guy for any woman seeking expert advice on what fabulous outfit to wear for any given occasion. He’s also tall, dark, good looking – and straight! So what’s the snag? He has a track record of dating glamorous, vain and shallow women.

Charlie gets an opportunity to write a new column under the pen name Side Swipe, but is soon drawn into a war of words and wit with a rival paper’s columnist The Squire – and their verbal fireworks get readers and editors talking. Yet neither Charlie nor Derry knows just whom the opponent is…
When Charlotte and Derry meet at the Races, the attraction is instant. As their relationship develops, so much more proves at stake, than protecting their alter egos. But a blunder puts Charlotte’s job in jeopardy just as Derry’s past makes front page, and Charlotte begins to doubt her feelings.
When Side Swipe and The Squire are finally forced to reveal themselves, will they revert to type – or confound everyone’s expectations?
* * *
Buy it on: Amazon

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  1. Sounds like a fabulous book, Sharon! And I love the Hepburn/Tracey inspiration. They’re a great pair.

  2. Sharon Black says

    Hi Stacy,
    I’m so delighted to be here today. Especially as I know where you are, the sun is probably shining right now! It’s difficult to believe it’s actually the 1st of June here in Ireland. In Dublin, it’s been raining all day and it’s quite cold.
    It’s also a bank holiday here, so people have had a long weekend. We’d normally see the first of the barbeques around now, but there’s very little chance of that.
    Would love to hear from your readers, and I’ll be around for the day to answer any questions, or just have a chat.
    Cheers for now,
    Sharon. xx

  3. Thanks for coming by, Elizabeth! And thanks so much for the wonderful interview, Sharon. It has been raining all day here, too. Love your cover!

  4. Great interview Sharon! Your book sounds great. Your writing space sounds great! Best of luck. Daithi

  5. Leigh Archer says

    I enjoyed the interview, Sharon. Going Against Type sounds like great fun! Leigh

  6. Sharon Black says

    Thanks for all the kind comments, everyone.

    • Sharon Black says

      I love all those old films, Elizabeth. They had strong female characters, and the stars had great charisma.
      Daithi, you’re very kind, but I never get away with trying to get my kids to tidy up, because they just point to my very messy work area!!
      Thanks, Leigh. It was a fun book to write – and I owe the fantastic cover to the great people at Tirgearr Publishing.

Stacy Juba