Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Author Interview ~ Shari Green

Today we welcome Shari to the blog. Let’s get this interview goin’ :-)


Where are you from and how old are you?

I was born in Vancouver, BC, Canada, in 1963. I’ve lived my life so far in various places around BC, Alberta, and the Yukon.

When did you begin writing and can you remember how it felt inside, back then?

I’ve always been a journaller, and I dabbled in non-fiction for several years before falling madly in love with YA fiction about five years ago.

Was there any certain date or time you remember when you began to either think of yourself as or call yourself a “writer”?

Yes! The first writers’ conference I attended was the Surrey International Writers’ Conference in 2006, and it was there that I “came out of the closet” as a writer. Being surrounded by hundreds of like-minded people and frequently answering the question “so, what do you write?” helped me feel like a “real” writer for the first time.

What are your hopes, or dreams, or goals for your writing?

My dreams include book contracts!;-) I’d love to see my novels–both current and future–find homes. However, my hope is to always find joy in writing and story-telling, whether or not I see my publishing dream come true.

Have you had any “formal” training in the art of writing?

No. For me, learning to write has been, and continues to be, a cross between an apprenticeship and self-teaching. Reading lots, writing lots, studying the craft, taking workshops, critiquing and being critiqued… all of that is helping me learn, bit by bit. And no matter how much I learn, I find there’s always so much more to know!

What do you feel has taught you the most about “how to write”?

I think all those things I mentioned have been crucial, and omitting any one of them would leave a gaping hole in my “education”. If I really have to pick just one, I’d say READING, especially books in the genre I write, and especially good books, ones that inspire me, that amaze me, that make me think “Wow, how did the author do that?”.

Who are your favorite writers and why are they favorites?

There are so many writers whose work I love, so it’s hard to pick favorites! But there are several YA authors whose books I will always pick up as soon as they’re available, because I KNOW I’ll love them — Sara Zarr, Laurie Halse Anderson, Natale Ghent, John Green, Sarah Dessen, Melina Marchetta. I know I’ll get a story with a great voice and with characters, themes, and writing style that I love.

Where and/or how do you get your ideas for your writing?

From the idea fairy. Why–where do you get yours? ;-)

Mine come from my Muse who used to be an idea fairy but got real old and retired… :-)

What’s your normal revision or editing routine?

When I finish a first draft, I put it away for a while and work on something else. Once I start revising, I try to do big-picture stuff first, but it takes every ounce of self-discipline I have not to get sucked into tweaking sentences — there’s time for that later! Big picture stuff, smaller stuff, then off to my critique partners for some feedback. Then I’ll have to fix problems they discover, and then, finally, I get to mess with word choice and word order and nuance and rhythm… I love that part. And then I type “the end” and move on to something else, because I believe perpetual tweaking drains the life out of stories.

I can absolutely relate to that, Shari :-)

Are you published?

I’ve had a few short stories published:
* In Lieu of a Wardrobe won the “Writing For Young People” category of the 2010 Surrey International Writers’ Conference writing contest & appeared in the contest anthology, A World Of Words, October 2010
* Cartwheels was published online as an editor’s choice at Page Forty-Seven, February 2010
* Here’s to You, Matthew Robinson was published in the YA fiction chapbook, TBR Tallboy, December 2009

My novels are not yet published:
* Following Chelsea (contemporary YA) – complete
* The Holy Wild (contemporary YA with supernatural elements) – work in progress

No idea when one will be, but trust me, when it happens you’ll hear my whoops of joy from there.


Tell us about your blog: its purpose, how you go about deciding what to post, and what you want to do with it in the future?

You can find me online at I blog about writing and books, and occasionally about sea creatures or hockey (as the spirit moves me, lol).

I love your blog and highly recommend it. Very perceptive writing!

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by answer our questions :-)

Thanks so much, Alexander!


OK. Now you get to ask Shari questions in the comments :-)

Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
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14 responses to “Author Interview ~ Shari Green

  1. Karla Telega February 21, 2011 at 3:11 am

    Love your editing procedure – starting with the big picture. I’m just finishing the last chapter on a “final” re-write, and don’t feel satisfied. I went chapter one through thirty-four on a linear edit. Think I’ll try your method before I start looking for beta readers.

    Great interview!


    • Shari February 21, 2011 at 8:11 am

      Thanks so much for commenting, Karla!

      I find linear editing really challenging — so many threads to hold onto at once (or so many balls to juggle… pick your metaphor, lol!). I know revising got easier for me when I adopted a big picture > small picture > polish approach, so I hope it works for you, too! Good luck! :)


  2. Simone Benedict February 21, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    I also can relate to your editing procedure. Are you actively seeking publishers for your novels?


    • Shari Green February 21, 2011 at 11:55 pm

      Hi Simone! No, I’m not looking for publishers at the moment, but once my “work in progress” is ready to go, I’ll definitely start sending out queries. :)


  3. Carol J. Garvin February 21, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Nice to find you here, Shari, and great interview! I even learned a couple things I didn’t know. As for a question… you mentioned the SiWC. I know you’ve attended more than once. What benefits do you think conferences offer?


    • Shari Green February 22, 2011 at 12:12 am

      I’ve been three times and LOVED it each time. I’d definitely say that if a writer has the opportunity to go to a conference, they should go! So many benefits — education, of course, but also encouragement, motivation, huge doses of inspiration, camaraderie (so great to spend time with people who really “get it”!), and networking (I met my first critique partner there, and we still beta-read for one another). I’m very thankful for the times I’ve been able to attend SiWC! :)


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  5. Haley Whitehall February 21, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    Great interview. It is nice to meet you Shari! I wish you success with you novels. I like your idea fairy. Maybe I should trade in my muse for a fairy. Are they easier to work with? :-)


    • Shari Green February 22, 2011 at 12:14 am

      Thanks so much, Haley! As for the fairies, they are a bit temperamental, just like muses, but I find that if I take my idea fairy on long walks and nourish her with books and music and, of course, chocolate, then she’s usually willing to cooperate. ;)


  6. Laura Best February 24, 2011 at 1:57 am

    Great interview, Shari! Since your mom is also a writer I’m wondering do you discuss your WIP with one another and ask for each other’s opinions? When you said that you thought “perpetual tweaking drains the life out of stories” that really struck a cord with me. I think many people are under the impression that you can never tweak too much, but you are so right. You can drain the life out of a story.


    • Shari Green February 24, 2011 at 4:35 pm

      Thanks, Laura. :) Mom and I sometimes read/critique for each other. (I imagine we’d discuss our WIPs more often if we lived in the same town and could get together in person.) Mom’s always been a huge cheerleader/encourager for me, so I imagine it’s tough for her to be honest when something I send her sucks, lol. But I really love sharing a passion for writing with her! I’m lucky.

      About the tweaking–yes, I think over-tweaking can rob the story of any original voice it once had. It’s hard to let go and call it done, but we must! :)


  7. stacy - February 25, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    We *heart* Shari!!! Cant wait until the day we get to read her work!


    • Shari Green February 25, 2011 at 8:10 pm

      Aw, Stacy, you made my eyes tear up. Thank you so much for your support! <3


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