author of The Charge
What is your favorite food? Color? Place?
Beef fajitas and white chocolate (not together). Red. My favorite place is my bed in the morning when both my sons climb in with me and my husband, and all the people I love are concentrated in one place.
Tell us about your garden.
Right now I have asparagus, sugar snap peas, carrots, spinach, lettuce, blackberries, peaches, and plums (although not all are in harvest mode). I don't coddle my plants. If a plant can't live in my garden with minimal water and compost, then it's not meant for this climate and I let it die. Survival of the fittest.
If you could change one thing about the world what would it be?
Wow. That's a thinker. In a general sense, I believe the world is imperfect for a reason. It's all part of a balance of good and evil, and I wouldn't attempt to disturb that balance. But with that said, I wish people would be more grateful for their blessings and appreciate what they have. It may not be logical, but I feel like if we appreciate our gifts, we're less likely to lose them.
What’s the name and genre of your book?
The Charge - Alternate History Fantasy
Briefly describe your journey in writing your book. (Why did you decide to write, why this genre, how you came up with the story-line and characters, etc)
When I was a child I would have trouble sleeping. My mom told me just to lie in bed and make up stories in my head until I fell asleep. I took her advice to heart, and have been entertaining myself with complicated story lines of my own design ever since. I wanted to share my creations with others.
Do people in your life inspire characters in your books?
Yes, although only in a vague sense. There isn't anyone specific that I'm trying to imitiate with my characters.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
I had a good childhood and loving parents, but my family was a little strange. Instead of living in the suburban house with the driveway and lawn like all my friends, we lived in a trailer on a 6 1/2 acre patch of land away from the main road. Being a little different can lead to creativity. :)
Does where you live influence your story?
Since The Charge is an alternate history about Texas, I would definitely have to say yes. I've lived in Austin, Texas for my entire life, and have had an active imagination that whole time. So, when I created a fantastical version of Texas in my novel, I brought my own imaginary world to life.
Does being a mother of two sons challenge being a writer?
Very much so. I take care of my sons during the day and then my husband comes from home from work and I go to work as a tobacco cessation counselor. Except for the weekends, I have no time that I'm not either watching my boys or working my "day" job. Honestly, I'm not even sure how I'm doing this! I just hope I can keep it up.
Do you have a special routine you go through before you begin writing?
Not necessarily, but some things help my creativity, like listening to music while running. And coffee. :)
If you could play a character you created, which one would you be?
I honestly would not like to be any of my characters. I put them through Hell. It's much nicer being me.
Do you research for your books, and if so what or how?
I'm not a big fan of research, but there is no way around it when you write an alternate history. I read books about the Texas Revolution and read the book How The States Got Their Shapes. The Charge is intended to be more about the characters and the story than the alternate timeline, but I still needed it to be accurate.
What kind of books did you read that influenced your own writing?
I enjoy speculative fiction of all kinds, especially dystopias. But I'm not devoted to any particular genre and read everything from romance to mysteries to classics, which may be why The Charge blends a variety of genres and has trouble fitting into a box.
Who is the audience for this book?
The Charge fits into the New Adult category, which targets college-aged readers. However, I hope it will appeal to a broad range of readers. I believe that both male and female readers from their late teens through adult would enjoy it, especially those that enjoy speculative fiction, dystopias, and the quirky and offbeat.
Warren returns from college because the King of Texas has kidnapped Isaac, his quirky genius brother. Now Warren takes on the still Wild West to save Isaac. On his journey, he makes a discovery that changes his life forever—he and his brother are long-lost members of the Texas royal family and the King wants them both dead.
Then along comes Lena, a Texan activist itching to take on the King and a beautiful firecracker Warren can't stay away from. Convincing her he's not one of the bad guys becomes harder when a mysterious energy stirs in his body, turning his brain into a hive of emotions and memories—not all his own.
A legacy of violence is not all he inherited from the brutal Kings of Texas. The myth that the royal family possesses supernatural powers may not be myth at all.
Gone are the days when choosing a major was a big deal. Now Warren must save his brother and choose whether or not to be King, follow a King, or die before he can retire his fake ID.
FaceBook, The Charge
An avid daydreamer, Sharon Bayliss has lived in magical version of Austin, Texas for her entire life. So, using a fantastical, alternate history Texas as a setting for her debut novel The Charge, was just “writing what she knows”. To her, nothing goes better with barbecue and live music than robots and superhuman royalty.
As a child, Sharon lived on a 6 ½ acre patch of land with cows for neighbors. She enjoyed playing in mud, collecting frogs, and was so certain that there was a ghost in her closet that her mother admits that she half-expected to really find one there. She began writing her first novel at the age of fifteen (handwritten in a spiral marked ‘private’).
A proud Austinite, Sharon never saw much sense in moving anywhere else and got her degree in social work from the University of Texas at Austin. As an author and social worker, she has devoted her life to making the lives of real people better and the lives of fictional people much, much worse. In addition to her official credentials, she is also an expert in fictional Texas history and make-believe neuroscience.
When she’s not writing, she enjoys living in her “happily-ever-after” with her husband and two young sons. She can be found eating Tex-Mex on patios, wearing flip-flops, and still playing in the mud (which she now calls gardening).