It is always an absolute joy when one of my fellow book bloggers becomes a PUBLISHED AUTHOR, and such a monumental event has happened this week to the owner of Chapter In My Life blog. She has very kindly agreed to join me for a celebratory Friday Night Drink, so welcome and congratulations to my fellow blogger and PUBLISHED AUTHOR…. Sharon Bairden.
Sharon, firstly, huge congratulations on publication of your debut novel this week. I am so delighted for you, I must get you a drink. What would you like?
Hi Julie, thanks for inviting me along! It’s been so long since I’ve had Friday night drink with anyone, so it’s lovely to be here! My tipple tonight is a Rhubarb and Ginger Gin with dry ginger and lots of ice!
Cheers! If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?
Oh so many places to choose from but I’m going to go for a book themed one. We would be at Bloody Scotland, Crime Writing Festival in Stirling for the opening night ceremony. We would be taking part in the torchlight procession from Stirling Castle, carrying our flaming torches down the cobbled streets to the Albert Halls. Then we would be heading to the Golden Lion for drinks and catching up with all the bookish people!
What a great idea, going to a literature festival is top of my list of things to do once we can get out in the world again. If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?
This is so difficult to answer! But I’m going to go with William McIlvanney, who sadly passed away in 2015. William is fondly remembered as the Godfather of Scottish crime fiction and secondly I’ll go with my #Twinnie, who you all know as author and blogger, Noelle Holten. We have missed all of our bookish weekends this year, so it would be rude not to invite her! (plus I know she would sneak in all my other dinner dates, allowing me to cheat on your question!)
Fantastic, two amazing blogger/authors for the price of one! So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?
Well, as I am writing this, I am nervously awaiting publication date for my debut novel, Sins of the Father. I’ve also submitted my second novel and keeping everything crossed for this. I’m around 10k into book three. I guess along with working full time and writing/blogging I’ve kept myself busy!
I suppose, like lots of other people, I’ve always wanted to write but firmly believed writing was for “other people.” Then I met the book community! Five years ago I set up a blog after meeting other book bloggers online. This led to me meeting up with them at book festivals up and down the country and getting a real sense of community and support from those in the business, from bloggers, writers and publishers. So I decided to step out of my comfort zone and give it a go myself!
I took part in a number of workshops and courses and started writing seriously for the first time. Then two years ago, I went along to Crime and Publishment, a weekend writing course run by authors, Graham Smith and Michael J Malone. This gave me the boost and confidence I needed to get my butt in the writing seat and finish what I had started! That same year, I won a typewriter signed by Linwood Barclay in the First Line competition at Theakston’s Crime Festival in Harrogate. Linwood also signed a book with the words, “now go and write the book” and the rest is history!
That’s so inspiring to me, as a fellow blogger who is trying to be brave enough to put a book out into the world! What has been your proudest moment since you started writing/blogging and what has been your biggest challenge?
I think my proudest moment has to be receiving the email from Red Dog Press telling me they wanted my book! I squealed so loudly, I’m sure the whole country heard it! The biggest challenge is facing the daily “imposter syndrome”. I’m still pinching myself to check it is all real!
What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!
Ha, ok, definitely going to cheat here! To walk into Waterstones and see my books on the shelf and to appear on a panel at Bloody Scotland.
I can relate to the first of those ambitions, and I’m sure both are within your reach. What are have planned that you are really excited about?
Well obviously with the pandemic, my live book launches have been cancelled but I have been doing lots of online events which have been great fun! I have everything crossed that next year we will be able to return to some form of normality and I hopefully have a couple of events lined up!
Fingers crossed. I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?
You ask such difficult questions! Abroad, I think I’ll go with Krakow. I visited a couple of years ago and I fell in love with the city, the architecture, the history and the culture and I’d definitely go back there! Top of my list, too many to mention but I’m sticking with home this time and going with a tour of the North of Scotland, to all the beautiful places and islands my country has to offer that I’ve never been to yet!
I loved Krakow too, such a beautiful city. Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself.
Ha, if I tell you it wouldn’t be a secret would it! And I always worry I’m not really that interesting enough. However, I have walked over broken glass and burning coals and I’d recommend that everyone tries it at least once in their lives!
That’s a great fact! Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?
One book! How on earth can I recommend just one book! Sorry to everyone I’m not mentioning here! But ok, a slight cheat but I’ll go with Douglas Skelton’s Davie McCall series. Douglas is a fantastic Scottish author and everyone really needs to read his books! All of them!
Glasgow’s mean streets just got meaner. Can Davie McCall survive?
Meet Davie McCall. Beaten, bloody… brutal. Irrevocably damaged by the barbaric regime of an abusive father, and haunted by memories of his mother’s murder, there is a darkness inside him.
Enter Joe the Tailor. A sophisticated crimelord with morals, he might be the only man in the city Davie can trust. But then the bodies begin to mount…
In 1980s Glasgow, the criminal underworld is about to splinter. Battle lines are drawn, and the gap between friend and enemy blurs as criminals and police alike are caught in a net of lies, murder and revenge that will change the city forever.
So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?
If you know a failsafe plan to avoid a hangover can you please tell me! The older I get the worse my hangovers get! My go to cure is a full Scottish breakfast (no beans though!) and sugary tea!
After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?
After drinking that much I’d probably be in my bed all weekend! But I reckon a little log cottage up in the Highlands with a real fire, lots of books and good TV.
Sounds perfect. Sharon, thank you for a fab evening, I wish you massive success with the book, which I can’t wait to read, and I hope we can meet up in person when the world gets back to some kind of normality!
Sharon’s debut crime novel, Sins of the Father, is out now from Red Dog Press and you can buy a copy here.
Lucas Findlay thinks he has struck gold when he marries Rebecca, but she married him for one reason only – to destroy him.
Trauma runs deep
When her past comes back to haunt her, Rebecca begins to disconnect from herself and the world around her. As secrets are unearthed, she begins to fear for her sanity … and her life.
Truth will out
With her world unravelling around her, Rebecca clings to her determination to make Lucas pay, whatever the cost.
Forgive his sins
But someone must pay for the sins of the father…
By day Sharon Bairden is the Services Manager in a small local independent advocacy service and has a passion for human rights; by night she has a passion for all things criminal. She blogs over at Chapterinmylife and is delighted to be crossing over to the other side of the fence to become a writer.
Sharon’s debut novel, Sins of the Father, is out November 2020 and is published by Red Dog Press
Sharon lives on the outskirts of Glasgow, has two grown up children, a grandson, a Golden Labrador and a cat. She spends most of her spare time doing all things bookish, from reading to attending as many book festivals and launches as she can. She has been known to step out of her comfort zone on the odd occasion and has walked over burning coals and broken glass – but not at the same time!