Q&A INTERVIEW WITH SHARON MAAS
I am delighted that Sharon Maas author of The Lost Daughter Of India has joined me on publication day to take part in my Q&A interview. So without further ado I would like to welcome the lovely Sharon Maas
Can you tell us a little about yourself and background?
I’m from Guyana, South America and had a wonderful childhood there. Two qualities have defined me all my life: on the one had I was excruciatingly shy, didn’t like talking to people, loved to escape company and just curl up with a good book. On the other hand I was curious, loved exploring unknown areas and even as a child I was fearless about going off on my own to discover new places and people. When I was 19 I left home to spend a year traipsing around South America, and soon after my return I ran off again to take the overland trail through Europe and Asia to India, where I lived for a year. So I’m not anti social: I do love people and am very trusting; I’m just awkward in company, and not a good conversationalist. But I’ve always loved writing, and that’s me preferred means of expression and communication. So those two activities, writing and travelling, have led me through life.
When did you know that you wanted to become a writer? and how did you go about it?
When you love writing you don’t have much choice as to a career. English was my best subject at school and so it was natural for me later to find a job where I could use that skill. I started off as a
Junior reporter at a local newspaper in Guyana, and later, when I went off travelling, wrote freelance for them.
But my great love has always been fiction. However, I never thought I’d have the skills to write a full length novel, and never even attempted it when I was younger. So no-one could have been more surprised than me when Of Marriageable Age demanded to be written. It found immediate success, and the rest is history. I was 49 when it was first published by HarperCollins.
Can you tell us what genre your books are and the audience you write for? Mostly I write historical family sagas, some of them quite epic. I like a strong hook, maybe a twist near the end, building drama, strong characters who grow over time. I write for everyone, but women more than men are drawn to my books.
What is your writing process? and how long does it take?
Very often I start a book with a blank page, not having any idea who or what it’s going to be about, and only a vague notion that it’s going to be set in Guyana, or India, and a woman is going to be in the lead. I just start writing and see what happens. But not always.
Are your characters based on anyone you know or are they just fictional?
Sometimes I do have an idea; for instance, the Quint Chronicles was based on the life of my grandmother, and even though the story is fictional, there are set stages in her life which formed a kind of outline. But that outline was only in my head.
Sometimes people I have known have inspired characters. This happened in Of Marriageable Age. Sometimes everyone is completely fictional, such as in The Small Fortune of Dorothea Quint.
Have you wrote about a personal experience in your novels?
Yes – in that everything I’ve ever written is somehow a reflection of experiences I’ve gone through in my life, people I have known, and insights I’ve gained. However, this is just in a general sense. I’ve never really used specific aspects or events of my life as a plot. The stories themselves are made up.
What research do you do?
Whatever is needful for the book. If it’s historical, I need to go to libraries and archives and talk to people. Sometimes I contact experts and ask them questions. In the case of The Lost Daughter if India, I went to Mumbai and walked the streets of Kamathirpura and met and talked to a doctor who works there.
Who would you like to co-write with and why?
I would never, ever want to co-write a novel; fiction for me is intensely personal and it comes from my own experiences.
If I ever go on to non-fiction, it would be with someone who knows stuff that I don’t know
What's your favorite book?
What's your favorite food?
Everything Asian, as long as it’s vegetarian.
What's your favorite film?
I have three: Casablanca, Amadeus and Lagaan
What's your favorite song?
You Raise me Up
How can readers find out more information about yourself and your books?
From my website, www.sharonmaas.com, or my Facbook Author page, https://www.facebook.com/sharonmaasauthor/?fref=ts. I also have a Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/456016.Sharon_Maas
Thank you so much for joining me today Sharon have a brilliant day and good luck with your new book.
The Lost Daughter of India by Sharon Maas
One woman. One impossible choice. Her daughter or her happiness …
When Caroline meets Kamal the attraction is instant. He’s enchanting, charismatic and she can’t wait to set up a new life with him in India. Both their families are against the union but Caroline is convinced they’ll come round, especially when she gives birth to a beautiful daughter, Asha.
Asha is an adorable child but Caroline, homesick and beginning to hate the remote Indian village they live in, struggles with motherhood. Kamal is hardly ever there and she feels more and more isolated. In the grips of severe depression Caroline flees back to America, leaving Asha behind.
Ten years later …
Caroline recovered from her illness, is consumed by thoughts of the daughter she abandoned. Desperate to find Asha, she reunites with Kamal, intent on tracking her down. Will they ever be able to find their lost daughter? If they have any chance, they must confront the painful truths of the past and a terrible secret that has been kept for many years, until now.
A heart-breaking and beautifully written story of loss, secrets and the strength of a mother’s love against all odds. If you enjoyed Diane Chamberlain and Lucinda Riley then this book will find its way into your heart and stay there.
What everyone is saying about The Lost Daughter of India:
'Evocative and atmospheric ... Heartbreaking on so many levels - a rich tapestry of a novel and a worthy read on any shelf' The Book Trail
'I have read and loved all of Sharon Maas's books but this one! Wow! I think this is her most emotional and beautiful book yet! Such a powerful story, so brilliantly narrated, in such a way that you feel part of it all and are left bereft when it is finished. Five Stars!' Renita D'Silva
'This book has everything. Great characters, interesting perspective and strong settings. Put all these together with a fantastic writing style and this easily makes my top 10 books of 2016 list' Lexi Reads
'My heart was in my mouth reading this story but it is a terrific read nevertheless.' 27 Book Street