Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Cozy Up with Canadian Author, Sharon McGregor!

Open the barn door and mosey on in! Here we are on another exciting Wednesday at the Diamond Mine welcoming in another great writer. We’ve got another country girl this week, a sweet Canadian one, and you’ll be charmed by all her adventures. So, plop on down and join us. Welcome in Christian author, Sharon McGregor!

Howdy, there Sharon. How ‘bout you tell us where were you born , and where do you live now?  Be sure to fill in any states or countries in between that you’ve lived in, visited, or made a deep impression on you.

I'm a prairie girl, or as we used to call it, a stubble-jumper. I was raised on a quarter section mixed farm and spent my teen years in a small Manitoba town. While there's no better place in the world to live in the summer and autumn, the winters in Manitoba leave a little to be desired. I finally got tired of -30 temperatures, ten foot snow-banks and ice sheets that could down an elephant. I moved as far west as I could and still keep my feet dry. I now live on Vancouver Island and love it.  I haven't done nearly all the travelling I'd like to, but I've seen most of Canada and the United States except for the easternmost parts, and visited Bermuda, Cuba and Mexico. While I loved my travels, nothing I've seen so far could shift me from my Island home. It will take the earthquake of the century to do that.

Ah! A girl from up north! Brrr. Makes me cold thinking about it. Let’s get to books. What genre do you write in?

I write in two main genres, romance and cozy mystery. My romances are novella length and I have four now published with Prism Books. I also write cozy mysteries and have one out with Whimsical Publications and two more in the works. My first published writing was short humour in small magazines. These articles began as a defense mechanism to overcome my conflict with adolescence angst as it fell on my two children. They gave me plenty of material to work with and they can still get a laugh out of some of the stories. I like to include humour in my books as well and I'm happiest when I can use all three- romance, mystery and humour- in the same work.

Children are definitely an inspiration! In more ways than one. Share some of your experiences of growing up on a farm and how that might have impacted your writing.

Growing up on a farm as an only child, especially in the days before internet, cable television and all the other social contacts we have now, was the perfect recipe to fuel imagination in a youngster. I was also shy and introverted by nature so I lived a lot of my childhood in my own mind, creating stories with imaginary casts and giving my favourite dogs and other farm animals leading roles. I still like to have cats and dogs in nearly all my stories.

You pique my interest. So, I’m interested in some non-writing quirks about you. Tell us 5 quick things about Sharon McGregor that have nothing to do with writing.

1-I'm terrified of heights. Getting me on an airplane today requires a double shot of rum and someone to hold my hand. When I was younger I tried desensitization to get rid of my acrophobia.  I use to hang around with a group of sport parachuters and I actually jumped out of an airplane-twice.  Then when I was first married, my husband had a single engine Alon Air Coupe- a lovely little plane with canopy top and low wings. I got my license on it but that was pretty much the end of my flying career. Strangely enough, in spite of my fear I am fascinated by airplanes and love going to flight museums such as the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum. Also, one of my favourite poems is High Flight. But then, I never claimed to be a rational person.

2.I have never been more than a few weeks without a cat for a room-mate. My first cat on the farm was Gus and I used to wheel him around in a stroller and put my doll's clothing on him.  The dolls I threw in a corner and ignored. There we had barn cats as well as house cats and the barn cats learned how to drink from a stream of milk aimed at them from a milking stool.  All through my single years and my married years I had at least one cat. My present companion is Zoey, now nearly fifteen years old. She keeps my computer keyboard polished and makes sure I never sleep in in the morning.

3.I'm an armchair traveller. I've never had the opportunity to travel much away from the North American continent. There-that's a lie. We always have the opportunity if we just take the time and energy to follow through. I do spend a lot of time reading history of other nations and watching documentaries about places I'd like to see some day. I'm finally, I hope, going to make the one trip that heads my list. Three friends and I are beginning to plan a trip to the UK. We hope to be going next May and I've got page after page of things I want to see.

4. I'm an only child but I always wanted a brother. When I was little I would pester my parents to present me with one. The problem was, I didn't want just any brother, I wanted an older one. I couldn't quite see why that would be an issue. I had to settle for an older male cousin instead who became a close part of my childhood. He taught me all the things big brothers are supposed to, like how to shoot a rifle, make a willow whistle and build a raft.

5.I retire on a regular basis but never seem to be able to stay that way. I retired first from my nine to five job and then discovered I was bored so went back to work part-time in a customer relations position.  Then I moved west and set up two businesses with my daughter. We sold those, moved to the Island and here  I am back in business again. One of these days I'll retire for good, hopefully when I'm about ninety

I just adopted a new kitten, Sharon, so I’m with you. I’m rarely without a cat also! Now, what’s next for you in the writing arena?

My latest romance with Prism is Fiona's Knight of Dreams which was released last month. It's the third in my Timber Dreams series, following Autumn Dreams also set in the 1940s and Acres of Dreams, a homesteading story from 1899. It's a story I loved writing because I could add that element of humour and, I must admit, some of Fiona's klutziness is mine.  I have a Christmas romance novella with Prism scheduled for later this year, All's Fair In Love and Arson.  On the cozy mystery front, I have two books coming out this year with Whimsical-Murder at the Island Spa, which is second in the Island series, and Old Shadows, New Murder, the first in the boarding kennel mysteries.  I'm also trying to get a stand- alone mystery finished called Five Can Keep a Secret. I'm not sure yet what I plan to do with it, but I've never tried to self-pub before so this might be the one I use. I have no idea how to self pub but I'll immerse myself in helpful You Tube videos and give it a crack. If I do horribly at it, at least it will be an experience. I'll try to disprove the maxim about old dogs and new tricks.

That Indie thing sure does call out to an author! Besides, learning new things keeps us all young! We’ll be looking for that Indie, Sharon. In the meanwhile, comment below to be entered to win, Fiona’s Knight of Dreams.

Bio- Sharon McGregor is a west coast transplant from the Canadian prairies, on a mission to escape the cold. Her imagination and story weaving got its start when she was an only child living on a farm. She's moved on from cowgirl dreams to romance and mystery, but hasn't lost her love for horses. She writes humour, romance and cozies, sometimes a combination of all three.
When not writing or reading she is busy working a shave ice concession she owns with her daughter, or walking the dogs along the ocean.
In spite of her attempts to escape winter, she loves watching her grandchildren at figure skating and hockey.
The main item not yet ticked on her bucket list is travel. She wants to set her foot on six continents-she'll give Antarctica a pass, thank you.

You can catch up with Sharon at these links!

Web page-             www.sharonmcgregor.com
Blog-                     www.sharonmcgregor.com/blog
Twitter-                 @sharonmcgr
Facebook-              https://goo.gl/hUSNUp
Amazon author-    http://goo.gl/0toXu0
Google-                 https://goo.gl/AzvJqZ
Goodreads-           https://goo.gl/NxzAx8

Amazon link for Fiona's Knight of Dreams- http://goo.gl/B7NRDW


Sharon McGregor said...

Thanks so much for having us over for a chat, Peggy

Lynn Lovegreen said...

Nice post--love the cat part! :-)

Ellen Gray said...

Sounds good, thanks for sharing.

Robin Bunting said...

Enjoyed getting to know Sharon. Thank you for sharing!

Sharon McGregor said...

Thanks Lynn. I'd feel lost without furry paws patting my head to wake me up at five in the morning for no good reason, or giving me looks of disdain when I try to pass off inferior cat food, or deciding to upgrade the texture of my furniture. :)

Sharon McGregor said...

Thanks for stopping by Ellen.

Sharon McGregor said...

Glad you could pop in and say hello, Robin.

Renee Blare said...

So glad you're here, Sharon! What a great interview. :)

Ann Ellison said...

Really enjoyed the interview. Please do not put me in the drawing - I have already read Fiona's Knight of Dreams and I really did enjoy it.