We are pleased to share our brief discussion with author Shari Copell as part of her Rock’n Tapestries blog tour.
Though I write contemporary romance under the name Shari Copell, my real name is Sherry Jesberger. I write a historical fantasy/paranormal romance series under the name S.L. Jesberger.
I am an eleventh generation native of Pennsylvania. My husband Gordon and I raised three lovely daughters, one of whom designs my book covers. Another daughter drew the map in the front cover of my historical fantasy series.
I’ve always had stories swirling through my head. Crazy stuff, totally whack situations. I was a voracious reader as a child, choosing to escape into the world of books. I wrote stories when I was a teen, but quit as I grew up. (Keep in mind, there were no computers then. Writing a book or story consisted of a brand-new notebook and a ballpoint pen.) I found some of these early stories as I cleaned out my grandmother’s house after she passed. Unfortunately, I threw them away.
I started writing again in 2012 after my husband lost his job. Aislin of Arianrhod was published in October of that year. I immediately began to work on the second book in the series, Winter’s Child.
Sometime in the middle of writing Winter’s Child, I had the inexplicable urge to swear like sailor, use modern vernacular, and write steamy sex scenes. I was amused and tried to push it aside. The language in a historical fantasy is obviously much different from a contemporary romance, so I had to behave myself.
I finally just thought, fuck it. I’ll do it. It was during that time that I started to write “Micah’s Island.” I simply needed to purge the wild story that had taken over my brain by then. It was so much fun to write. What would happen if you met a man who had never seen a grown woman before?
I chose the pen name Shari Copell because Micah’s Island was so very different from the Àlainnshire series. Copella was my grandmother’s maiden name—I just dropped the A.
For the most part, people seemed to like Micah, though he was a man of few words. I got some nice (and not so nice) emails about it, mostly from people wanting a better ending. I promptly wrote them one.
I wasn’t sure I would ever write another contemporary romance until Rock’n Tapestries dropped into my head, nearly complete from beginning to end (though I did run some things past Tara Chevrestt, who edits for me. Her suggestions were invaluable.) You just have to indulge your muse when that happens, as it doesn’t happen often.
Though the names and situations have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent, some of the things in Rock’n Tapestries were things that actually happened to me. My husband was wearing a bass guitar the first time I ever laid eyes on him. As Chelsea says of Tage, “ I think I might’ve had to scoop my jaw off the floor.” He’s the skinny dude in the gray tank top and orange guitar on the far right in this video.
I hope you’ve enjoyed Rock’n Tapestries. I’m currently having a blast working on a book about Nicks Sorenson, Asher’s daughter. I love this girl! It should be out sometime in 2014.
In the meantime, rock on!
Author Contact Info:
LS: What has your writing journey been like?
I wrote quite a bit when I was younger, but back then it was a notebook and a ball point pen. Hand cramps usually put an end to my earliest stories before I got very far into them. I’ve always lived in my head to a certain extent though. There are still some interesting things swirling around in there. It took a life-altering event for me to finally put my fingers on the keyboard and see if I could breathe life into one of the stories in my head.
LS: Did it begin with a love of reading in childhood?
OMG, yes! I loved to read as a child. Still do.
LS: What was your favorite book as a child?
I remember really loving the Meg Duncan series by Holly Beth Walker. My mother would buy them for me at the local G.C. Murphy store. I reread them so much the covers finally fell off.
LS: What is your writing process like?
I get up fairly early in the morning and write before I go to my real job, though I’ll write at any time if a scene or idea presents itself to me. I seem to fire on all eight cylinders first thing in the morning, which surprises the hell out of me. I’ve been known to drop what I was doing and race upstairs for a couple of hours of writing if the idea is really good. I have the first two or three thousand words of some pretty good material that I hope to flesh out in the future.
LS: What made you decide to delve in the music industry as a back drop for your novel?
My husband played bass guitar in a local rock band during the first years of our marriage. I kept thinking about all the fun things that happened, wondering if there was a book there. Well, I guess knowing there was a book there. I haven’t even scratched the surface of all the whacky stuff I saw and heard during those eight years!
LS: Any advice for aspiring writers?
What helped me find my voice was reading other authors, especially Diana Gabaldon and Karen Marie Moning. Find an author whose writing style you like and pay attention to how they use words and beats. Also, don’t try for a perfect manuscript the first time through. Write the story as it comes to you, then go back and revise. You’ll be amazed at how much stuff you think of after you have the story down on paper. Every single book in the “Write Great Fiction” series is worth buying and reading over and over and over. Oh, and find an editor you can afford that will hold your feet to the fire and push you to be better. Someone who will do that for you is worth their weight in gold.
ROCK’N TAPESTRIES TEASERS/ EXCERPTS
Asher Pratt stood above me, peering down into my face, looking like the child of an angel and a god. His electric sexuality was as strong as it had ever been. He was Brad Pitt, with equal parts of Rob Lowe thrown in for good measure.
I let my gaze drift over him. Asher was tall, but he was rock-star lean. He was the kind of guy that low-cut jeans are made for. His white shirt was unbuttoned halfway down the front. He leaned over, and it was all I could do not to shove my eyes down that tempting view. I knew what was down there.
Flat abs and pecs with just a hint of definition, always smooth and hairless under my tongue, except for that little line of dark hair that started just below his navel and disappeared down behind the zipper of his jeans…
I said goodbye to everyone and slipped out the back door to the parking lot and my gray Nissan Sentra. I was just about to unlock the door when my eyes caught something flapping under the passenger’s side windshield wiper.
I had a bad feeling as I plucked it out from under the blade. I’m not psychic, but there are some things you just know before you know you know them.
I set my purse on the hood, put my car keys down beside it, and opened the note with shaking hands. I could barely see the writing on it in the light thrown by the street lamp at the back of the bar.
Talk to me. Love, A
I crumpled the note in my hand and threw it on the ground. Then I clenched my fists tightly at my side and shouted into the summer air, “No! Never!”
Willow knew my history with Asher. She was the one who had held my hair back when I threw up from bawling my brains out over him. She was the one who’d listened to me when I asked repeatedly, “Why am I not enough for this man?” She was the one who’d hugged me when I realized—after it finally penetrated through my stupid, lovesick brain—that nothing was ever going to change with him.
The big sigh I got from her was a clue that she was tired of hearing about it. “So what? Go out there and ignore the bastard. God, aren’t you tired of feeling like shit over him? Put him in the garbage where he belongs.”
Marybeth watched me from the other end of the bar with a “wise witch” smile on her face. She reached into the cooler, pulled out a Corona, and popped it open. She shoved the lime down into it as she made her way to the end of the bar.
“I don’t condone drinking on the job, but it’s the end of the night, and you look like you could use this right now,” she said in her gravelly smoker’s voice as she set the bottle in front of me. “I don’t give a fuck what Scott Doofus says.”