Sharon’s short story Moth Woman was placed first in our competition in July last year. It appeared in our first print anthology. You can also read it on our website here.
Sharon has short stories and flash pieces published online and in magazines, including Writers’ Forum, The Moth and Sentinel Literary. As well as with us at Cranked Anvil, she has also won first prizes in the HISSAC short story award and Exeters’ Writers comps.
Sharon has a basic blog at boyleblethers.wordpress.com and tweets as @SharonBoyle50
Firstly, tell us a little bit about yourself, and the kind of stuff you like to write.
I live in East Lothian with my son, daughter and husband. I’m imaginative and a rampant procrastinator – not a good combination. I write short stories, flash pieces and YA novels.
How long have you been writing, and what was it that first got you started?
I started serious spare-time writing when I turned forty – a watershed age when I said to myself, Get those ideas that have been churning round your head down on paper. And get them down now.
What does your writing day/schedule look like?
I work two days a week in an old-fashioned hardware store, so not too taxing and I get to meet lots of quirky characters. I know nothing about DIY but can wax lyrical about LED lightbulbs. My daughter is at uni, my son stays mostly in his room and my husband works in the home office so I am lucky to have time to write. I don’t have a typical day but will write at some point for three to four hours. I also like to mooch about and meet pals for coffee. I do not exercise and am suspicious of people who do.
How have you found writing during lockdown times? Has your writing day changed much from how it was pre-lockdown?
I’ve been furloughed twice and so have no excuse not to commit to extra writing. Also, all the coffee shops are closed.
Tell us about the last thing you were working on. And also, a little about your very next project.
As well as flash and shorts I’ve been writing a YA thriller/sci-fi. It was LL in the Bath Kids’ Novel Award in December but I’m completely reworking it to concentrate fully on the thriller part. My dream is to have a YA novel published.
What successes have you had in the past? How do you feel when you see your work in print?
I’ve had quite a few short stories, flashes and even the odd poem published online and in printed magazines such as Writers’ Forum, Ink Tears, Moth Magazine, Sentinel Literary and the Brighton Prize. I’ve won the HISSAC, Exeter Short and Writers’ Forum short stories comps; a Retreat West themed flash, and a Cranked Anvil short story comp last year. As you’d expect, I’m elated, especially as it means I get to mark up my colour-coded jotter. Green means a win.
Do you have a particular place where you go to write?
Up until recently I wrote at a very messy dining table but now my daughter is at uni I have her room – a desk to myself, glorious! It has a simple view of trees – no people or anything to distract me. I need silence and so don’t listen to music unless typing up notes. The cat sometimes sleeps on the bed but I can suffer his snoring.
Do you have any tips or advice for other writers?
I always find having more then one project on the go helps a tired mind. Getting bogged down or bored on a piece can be alleviated by switching to something fresh/new/different.
Finally, some quickfire answers:
Planner or pantser? Panster who works to a short, rough outline. I think I’d be bored if I knew exactly how my novel was going to turn out.
Computer, pen & paper, or typewriter? I like to write with pen and paper then type up later, revising as I go. I think the slower action of writing allows for ideas to emerge and develop.
Do you write every day? Mmm, usually.
Do you have a daily/weekly word count target? No. As long as I write I’m happy. I’ve disappointed myself too many times by failing word counts.