HAPPY RELEASE DAY, Sharon Turner and Sable! *throws confetti*
Sable is the TENTH book in her epic fantasy series Kingdom of Durundal.
Please note: Sable released on Tuesday, May 25th. Since this podcast launched a few days later on the 28th, I couldn’t get the episode out on the day.
Listen to the Episode
Read the Transcript
[The Reading Sparrows theme]
Sarina: Good morning, bookworms and sparrows. It’s the 28th of May, 2021. This is Episode 3. We’re celebrating Sharon E. Turner’s release day today. [clapping] Hello, and congratulations, Sharon.
Sharon: Hello. Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Sarina: My pleasure. Goodness me, the 10th book.
Sharon: I know.
Sarina: Congratulations to you and Sable, that’s the name of the book?
Sharon: It is. Yes. It’s a good one. Yes, this is a good one.
Sarina: How does it feel?
Sharon: It feels like I am climbing [00:01:00] this huge mountain really, because the books just keep escalating. Now, I’m on number 10, or number 10 is just being released, it’s like goodness, I just didn’t imagine I would ever write this many. I think it’s because my writing is better. I find it a bit of a more adaptable process. I have more ideas that come– the ideas are more readily available, and then the writing flows a bit better. I think that comes with lots and lots of writing. That’s why I’m feeling quite pleased about this one. [crosstalk]
Sarina: And the funny thing is, that we have done an interview about how you have approached writing your 10-book series on my other podcast for writers, The Writing Sparrow. Funnily enough, that has also been out this week on Monday, and we didn’t plan it to coincide at all with your release day. It’s weirdly designed that way.
Sharon: [crosstalk] -looking down on me, yay. [00:02:00]
Sarina: Yes. Clearly.
Sarina: Tell us about your book, or the whole series, really, for readers who haven’t started it yet. There’s a lot for you to read, because this is at least going to be 10 books long.
Sharon: Yes, there is a lot, but they’re not really long books. Some books, I see are 500 pages, 600 pages. I was looking at one today, that was 1000 pages. But mine are on average about 360 pages, an average length of book. It starts with A Hare in the Wilderness. That’s the start and the setting and the characters and the type of book it’s going to be. Gosh, I’m going right back to 2017 that’s when I wrote it, it seems like ages ago. [00:03:00] I take a character out of all my books, and then I just expand on it. They have their own little challenges and their own– Sometimes, it’s usually the same antagonist in the first few books. Then, it just progresses. Then, I did the Sorceress of the Sapphire— there’s five books in the first set. Then I did Sorceress of the Sapphire three books, which are spinoffs, really. They are like the next generation from the children that are within the first five books.
Then, I’ve got these three– I’ve got three books lined out. Severn is already published. Sable is published, nearly published. Then, I’m writing another one called Sugita. These are almost prequels to the Kingdom of Durundal series.
Sarina: Right. Few things I want to come back to there. [00:04:00] You’re writing an eleventh book in the series.
Sharon: Yes, I’ve already started it.
Sarina: Oh, wow. Did you just say that you wrote the first book in 2017?
Sharon: Yes. It might have been before that, actually, because it took me probably about two years to think it’s worthy of being published.
Sarina: Let me just get that right. You’ve published 10 books in four years?
Sharon: Hmm, yes.
Sarina: Bloody hell, Sharon. How did you do that?
Sharon: I know. It is quite a lot, yes, but I am slowing down now.
Sharon: Sable, I actually started to write probably in October of last year, so it’s just being published now. Then, the book I’m writing now, which is Sugita, I’m planning to release in February. So, I am giving myself a bit more time each time.
Sarina: Yeah, I think that is wise [00:05:00] and I really hope that you spend your release day just relaxing and just treating yourself to everything because, goodness me, what a busy four years you’ve had. I can’t wrap my head around that. [laughs]
Sharon: Oh, no, yes.
Sarina: Well, how are you celebrating or how did you celebrate it? Just to avoid confusion here for the listeners. Today, is the launch date of this podcast, but Sharon’s book has actually been out since Tuesday. We’re catching up a little bit, but how did you spend your release day to celebrate an incredibly busy four years? I’m still wrapping my head around how busy you’ve been.
Sharon: Well, I had a blitz that went out. I was busy working with that as well on my Instagram, [00:06:00] and just getting as many readers as possible really. Yeah, I had quite a lot of preorders anyway. I nearly got a bestseller, but you never know. It still might happen. I got to about position three in one of the categories, but I was up against somebody who had also had a release date on exactly the same day, and they were probably a bit more proactive than me on the day, so yeah.
Sarina: Oh, but–
Sharon: It wasn’t– [crosstalk]
Sarina: Look, being number three is so incredible anyway. Congratulations to that as well, so much to celebrate.
Sharon: Yes, I was just so pleased to be that high up. I mean, sometimes when I’ve done like a free book, [00:07:00] any of them, I’ve got like bestseller in a free book. But when it’s paid, you get the banner and everything, that’s just a little bit more special that is.
Sarina: Hmm, I wonder what that feels like. [laughs] Never been there myself.
Sharon: Oh, I know. [crosstalk] –be on Instagram or Facebook like a footballer holding my banner.
Sharon: I got the goal. I won it.
Sarina: So, hopefully, some more new readers are going to discover your book from this podcast, that will be incredible.
Sharon: Yes, it would be. It really–
Sarina: I will have done my job if that’s the case.
Sharon: Oh, yes. [laughs]
Sarina: Maybe we can help you get to that number one and to get that banner, that would be incredible.
Sharon: Oh, my goodness. Wouldn’t it? Yes. Then, I shall send you a picture with me holding my yellow, whatever I’m going to have, I’ll make something.
Sarina: Oh, please do.
Sarina: Well, for everyone, really, would you mind reading the first line or the first paragraph of Sable?
Sharon: Yes, I will. I have it here.
Sarina: Of course, if there are any spoilers in that for the previous books for reader who are new, maybe go with the first book instead?
Sharon: I don’t think there’s– I’m doing from Chapter 1.
Sarina: I will leave that up to you which one you do.
Sharon: Chapter 1 is actually– It’s actually just a few pages from the last book, which is Severn, but I’ll go with it anyway. I’ll just read it anyway. I can’t Chapter in 2 here. I think I will read that bit because I think it introduces it. I’ll go with the first chapter then.
Sarina: Hook us in.
Sharon: Are you ready? [laughs]
Sarina: Yes, go on.
Sharon: [00:09:00] “From her hiding place, under the blanket in the wagon, eyes rimmed with tears, Sable waited. The clouds of smoke wafting around her swirled the flakes of gray and red ash. Tears stained her cheeks. Sable’s ears had been ringing since the wagon had entered the forest, and she heard the first screams of the villages. The whole place was on fire. And as the soldiers swarmed, their helms glinted in the firelight, their swords glistened wet with blood. Didn’t even hear her sister’s screams as she died. Yeah, it was too chaotic to single out just one, and everywhere she looked she saw innocent people being hacked down mercilessly.”
Sarina: Wow, what a start.
Sharon: [laughs] That’s it.
Sarina: That’s an amazing start.
Sarina: Well done you. I know how to just to write fast lines. And this just is so atmospheric.
Sharon: Yes. [00:10:00] Yeah, I like that because I was looking for the second chapter, but I thought because this is the first and it’s obviously the opening of it. If I started off with Chapter 2, it wouldn’t have been the same, you would think well, “Who’s that and who’s that?” [crosstalk] -to go with that.
Sarina: Well, of course, the first lines are the first thing that your readers will read off the actual book. Beyond the cover and the blurb, and so they’re very important. I think you’ve done very well there, they’re very atmospheric, and they definitely sound like something that I would absolutely love.
Sharon: Yes. This is a good one. My family, ARC readers, beta readers, they’ve all said, “This is the best one.” I think it’s just that with readers generally, their writing does get better. It just does. You just have to go with it. I [00:11:00] read somewhere that Ernest Hemingway said that writers are the only profession where we remain as just apprentices, we never become masters, where we just improve all the time. We just can never get to that point where we’re a master, we improve. I’m happy with it, Sable, it’s good. I like it.
Sarina: I really enjoyed that. Thank you so much for reading that for us. You can bet I will be starting your long series before they double again.
Sarina: In another four years, you’ll be on 20, just imagine. God.
Sharon: I think I do have to stop there actually, because people will just look at like a 20-book series, is like, “Oh my God, I can’t read all that.” It has to be– yeah.
Sarina: Okay. [00:12:00] Just imagine that you’ve been at that point before where you’ve said, “Right, this is going to have to be the last one.” Then, a bit later, you probably went, “No, just one more.”
Sharon: I know, because I quite like the way the series– The first five are all belong to the clans, and they’ve all got sort of a totem, that’s why they’re called like, A Hare in the Wilderness. It’s a totem animal, and then the Wolf, Leopard in the Mist, Stag, and then A Moth. They’re all totems [crosstalk] actors. Then I have the Sorcerer series. Now I have Severn, Sable, and Sugita. These are the prequels. It’s kind of nicely rounded. I quite like the little stacks that they’re in.
Sarina: Yeah. makes it easy for box sets as well.
Sharon: Well, yes. That’s what I will probably do next is do something like that. Yeah, in those little sets. [00:13:00]
Sarina: That’s very exciting.
Sharon: Yes. If I wanted to do audios, I might start off with possibly these three, so we’ll see how that goes as well.
Sarina: That’s a great idea. For readers who haven’t tried your books yet, where should we start? Should we start with the first prequel with Sable, or should we start with A Hare in the Wilderness?
Sharon: Yes, I think that will probably be the best start really, because although these are prequels, but there’s a very sort of– I can’t think of the word now, he is not a very nice kind of antagonist. He is my main [00:14:00] antagonist in the series, in the first few books. I quite liked his character, and you never really knew much about him. It was always like, “Where did he come from?” “Why was he like that?” “Why was he so evil?” Then, so you need to find out how evil he is, horrible, and he’s just unrelenting and just such a really bad character as a bad man, villain. But in Severn, you get to find out a few things.
Sarina: Woo-woo. Well, I think we all like a mysterious villain, don’t we?
Sharon: Yes. He’s a good one. In fact, on Instagram, there was a– I think there was a question or something, like who’s your favorite villain? One of my followers put the General from A Hare [00:15:00] in the Wilderness.
Sarina: Oh, that must have been so satisfying to see. [laughs]
Sharon: Yes, because I was like, “Oh my goodness, it’s amazing of all the books that she’s read.” I think that Lord of the Rings is one of her favorite books, so to actually put that, I was like, “Wow, that’s amazing.
Sarina: Lot of compliments.
Sharon: Yes, so it did work. I did make him really horrible.
Sarina: Well, it’s working for me. I think I’ve actually already added your first book to my Kindle anyway, but I’ll double check, I’ll make sure that I have it.
Sharon: That’s good.
Sarina: I’ll review it once I’ve read it as well.
Sharon: Oh, good, yes. I know, yes. I saw a funny post, I think that was on Instagram as well, where somebody had put something about not having time to write reviews, and yet they read the whole book. So, surely, giving a review [00:16:00] just doesn’t take long at all if you’ve read a whole book.
Sarina: No, it doesn’t have to be long either, does it? Really, just a quick, “I like this,” is enough. It doesn’t have to go into detail.
Sharon: Exactly. Yeah. It really is, just what you liked, and what worked and the strengths. Yes. [crosstalk]
Sarina: Yeah, exactly. If you’re listening, and you have already read Sharon’s books, or you want to start her very amazing, impressively long series, please also leave a quick review. It really doesn’t have to be long at all. In fact, you could even just write it if that’s all you have time for. It really helps an indie author massively. I’m sure she would really appreciate it. I would also be very grateful.
Sharon: Yes, indebted. I’ll look for the reviews. I’m a bit like that. I look up and see how many I’ve gotten, and what was the most recent one and things like that, because it’s very satisfying.
Sarina: [chuckles] [00:17:00] Yeah, it is. I have a message for you from my Patreon. Becky says, “Yay, huge, happy release day to the lovely Sharon Turner.”
Sharon: [laughs] Thank you.
Sarina: “I am wishing her all the success. She deserves it, she works so hard on these fabulous books.”
Sharon: Oh, Becky, yes. Which is on my website as well, I still periodically put it up, but they publish– Platform House did my really good book series video, and it is so epic.
Sarina: Oh, yeah, the trailer.
Sharon: So epic. I still look at it. They did that a few years ago. I know I’m biased, and they do amazing work with all the authors, they really do, and all of them are just so good, well, I still think mine’s the best. [00:18:00] I still get this, “Oh, God, that’s so epic.” It’s fantastic.
Sarina: They do very good work.
Sharon: It’s good. They’re amazing. Yeah.
Sarina: We can link to all of that, and I’ll, of course, link to your website and to your Amazon offer page as well to the first book and your series, of course, so that new readers can start there and to the 10th one, to Sable for anyone who wants to continue and hasn’t preordered it.
Sharon: Yes, preordering, because it’s going to be at a low price, you see, because it’s on preorder, so it’s like about 99 cents or something and pound in the UK. It will go up. So, it’s best to get it now.
Sarina: Right now, it’s cheap and on preorder, but by the time this episode airs in a week on the 28th, the preorder will be done.
Sharon: Oh, right. Yes.
Sarina: Sorry everyone. Should have got in there out early, that’s what you get for not preordering. [00:19:00]
Sharon: I might wait another week or something. Yeah, we’ll see.
Sarina: Okay. Who would you say your books are for? They sound like very epic, dark fantasy reads to me. So, I’m sold. But who would you say your books are for?
Sharon: I was thinking about this. It is for everybody. I would say I think my books sit somewhere between the Chronicles of Narnia and the Game of Thrones. I only say in between because obviously the Game of Thrones is really epic, it’s got a huge cast, it can be quite dark and disturbing. There’s kind of quite a lot of sort of sexual activity as well in Game of Thrones. Then, you got the Chronicles of Narnia where [00:20:00] the animals, sort of the superior beings. The protagonists are the females, Susan and Lucy, we’ve got the witch who is cunning and clever. The whole setting of it, it’s always snowing there, but like in Game of Thrones as well. Mine sits in the middle, but only because of the qualities that are within the Narnia books. I know they’re children’s books, but there’s so many more elements that can be relayed into sort of the older readers.
But then, obviously, what I just said about the Game of Thrones is massive, and those books are really thick books, and just so much going on. Mine’s kind of in the middle. They’re clean, there is romance, but they are clean. There’s a lot of action, lots of battles, people do die. I like having a female protagonist, so obviously, there’s A Hare in the Wilderness, but then I don’t leave the guys out. I also have the males as well. My books are probably for anybody who grew up with the Narnia books, and want something a little bit more adult like, but not probably quite so oppressive as Game of Thrones. Most people will have heard of those two series as well. That’s why I quite like to use those.
Somebody once said to me that my book was quite like Lord of the Rings, but I couldn’t see that particularly. I couldn’t really see that, but maybe A Hare in the Wilderness is a bit like that. Maybe, maybe people– that sort of thing. It’s that sort of epic scale, yeah.
Sarina: Well, I mean, if you readers have made that connection, then they’ve clearly seen it somewhere in there. So, that’s a perfectly valid comparison. [00:22:00]
Sharon: Yes. Maybe I should go with that really, because people have said. I actually started to write the books before I even saw an episode of Game of Thrones, because when I was writing them and publishing them, people were saying, “Oh, it’s just like Game of Thrones.” I say, “Well, I haven’t even seen it. I don’t [crosstalk]–”
Sharon: –people saying it. Then, when I started to watch it, I thought, “Oh, yeah, I can actually see the connection.” Although it’s a bit tamed down, but I can see the connection. That’s what it’s like. I think that’s why I can keep going with the series, because there’s just so many that I can sort of spin off from the characters and the storyline– [crosstalk]
Sarina: Well, it sounds absolutely fascinating. I’m very much looking forward to explore your world and meet your characters. I hope that our listeners will also very much enjoy them. I don’t mean to go [00:23:00] harping on about this, but please leave a review if you do read them because it would help sharing out massively. It can make such a big difference for an indie author.
Sharon: Yes, it does, because I think the more reviews you have– I don’t know if this is correct or not, maybe you know more about this. The more reviews you have, does Amazon promote you more? Do they help you more?
Sarina: Well, I have heard conflicting opinions on this actually. I have heard that they start doing more once you hit 50 reviews and start to promote it a bit more from there. It could also just be that, obviously, the more reviews you have, that readers are just more likely to buy it because they see that there’s more social proof that people are enjoying them. I have also heard that Amazon doesn’t really change anything when you hit 50. I think they do because when my first book had 50 reviews, I did see a spike in downloads. It could be that they [00:24:00] do something, but I mean, either way, the more reviews you have, the more social proof you have, there’s nothing that helps you sell books more than seeing that lots and lots and lots of other readers have loved it. So, please leave a review, you would help Sharon massively.
Sharon: A Hare in the Wilderness, I’ve probably got probably about 80 on the UK side, and what, 76– so it’s about the same sort of but I’m averaging at 4.6, an average. Or maybe 4.7, so I’m quite pleased with that-
Sarina: Which is very good.
Sharon: -because you can’t please everybody.
Sarina: No, you never can.
Sharon: It also shows that they’re sort of quite honest reviews. I haven’t paid people for [laughs] them.
Sarina: No, you should never do that.
Sharon: No. They’re honest reviews, and I quite like the ones that, “Okay,” give me a three star, but like I say, [00:25:00] you can’t please everybody.
Sarina: Any way, three stars is still very good. I mean one reader’s criteria for giving a book three stars might be the same as another reader’s criteria for giving a five. You just don’t know what they’re looking for. Everyone is different.
Sharon: Absolutely, yes.
Sarina: Well, listen, thank you so much for coming on. I wish you the best release day. I hope it goes or I hope it went fantastically.
Sarina: May Sable lead a fantastic life and may the 11th book to follow it [chuckles] be just as well received as A Hare in the Wilderness.
Sharon: Yes, that would be good. That’d be fantastic.
Sarina: Thank you so much for coming on to my podcast to have a chat about it for your release day. Congratulations again.
Sharon: My pleasure. Thank you very much. Thanks.
Sarina: Yeah, I hope you had a fantastic release day. Have a great [00:26:00] weekend now. Yeah, thank you so much. Have a fantastic day everyone. Bye-bye.
Sarina: If you’ve enjoyed this episode, let’s connect on social media. You can find me on Instagram and Facebook @sarinalangerwriter, on Twitter @sarina_langer, or on the website at sarinalanger.com. If you really enjoyed this episode, you can also support my podcast at patreon.com/sarinalanger and get lots of awesome exclusive content while you’re there. Until next time, bye.
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