Ask the Author: Sharina Harris
What would you like readers to know about you?
Becoming an author is one of the greatest joys in my life! Looking back, I realize I’ve always gravitated toward writing but I was too afraid to pursue it. I didn’t want to be a “starving artist.” But after diving into various writing communities, I realize we all come from interesting backgrounds and different walks of life. Now I realize that it is entirely possible to write either part-time or full-time.
What is your book about for those who haven’t read it?
(Im)perfectly Happy tells the story of four friends who formed an accountability group to follow their dreams in college. However, ten years later, they can’t help wondering what happened to the hopeful, confident, driven women they used to be. Now, they are determined to get them back. Kara, Nikki, Raina, and Sienna: a wine expert, musician, radiotherapist, and an attorney have distinctly different dreams and issues to resolve. One is a mother, two are married and one…well, she’s avoiding the whole love and marriage thing. If you’re a fan of romance, friendship, and happy endings, check out my book.
What has been your inspiration for writing it?
Oprah! Seriously there was an episode on Oprah’s Next Chapter about black actresses in Hollywood. Oprah asked Alfre Woodard a question about what can be done to combat the lack of opportunities for black actresses and she said “we need more writers to write our stories,” and honestly it stuck with me. Then about a year later, I joined a Mastermind/accountability group, which ultimately inspired my book.
What was your favorite scene or part of your book to write?
I really enjoyed writing a scene about Raina, a radiotherapist. She receives a call from a listener who asks her something quite horrendous. This is triggering for her because she and her mother went through a similar issue. So, she kind of loses her cool on the listener (he totally deserves it). It’s both heavy and humorous and I laughed a lot writing the scene.
What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
Gah. So many great authors! To list a few: Brenda Jackson, Francis Ray, L.A. Banks, Donna Hill, Octavia E. Butler Kristin Higgins, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, and Nora Roberts.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book?
- Start writing. I won’t tell you to form a routine. Sometimes you can’t because of your day job and family obligations but just write when you can. If you can get in one hundred words a day or a week it adds up.
- Invest in your craft – There are so many online classes and amazing craft books. I highly recommend Margie Lawson – she has so many classes but I love the immersion classes and I often refer to her writing packets.
- Don’t be so critical on your writing – We all have to start somewhere. Seriously, read your favorite author’s first book to get perspective. I read my first book and I found myself cringing. But then I took a step back and realized that I should be proud of myself!
- Embrace rejection and learn to pivot (if you go the traditional route) – Even when you publish and have written several books, you may still get rejections on proposals or manuscripts from publishers. But think of those rejections as battle scars and opportunities to make your writing stronger. For instance, I have a paranormal MS that I just sent to my agent. It’s the book of my heart that I’ve been writing off and on for eight years. If it doesn’t sell, I’ll get feedback and make it better. If it still doesn’t sell and I feel like it’s ready, I’ll pivot and self-publish because I love this damn book and I’m betting on myself. Also semi-related: don’t tie your worth to a publisher. 🙂
How to find me:
Although this is my debut Women’s fiction with romantic elements, I have also written under the name Rina Gray and have penned three contemporary romance.
My website is www.sharinaharris.com. You can also find me on Twitter and Instagram: @SharinaWrites