Friday, May 10, 2013

Interview: Shirley Skufca Hickman

Today I'm talking with Shirley Skufca Hickman about her new book, Sarah Darlin'

1. What was your inspiration for this book? 

I love to read romance novels and thought it would be fun to write one that took place during the Gold Rush in San Francisco.

2. Would you classify your writing as plot driven or character driven? 
Character driven, but they have to be doing something so plot is very important too.  I start with two main characters, give them a history and create conflicts for them to overcome on their way to a happy ending. They take over from there.

3. Can you tell us a little about your main character?

Sarah O’Malley sings at the Jenny Lind Theater in San Francisco.  Because there are so few women there, she is besieged by men, none of whom interest her until she meets dashing Richard Moresby. Patrick and Katie, the Irish couple who raised her, insist she have nothing to do with this English aristocrat. Torn between her loyalty to Patrick and Katie and her growing attraction to Richard, she must make a choice.  Before Sarah and Richard can be together, they must face prejudice, a murder trial, a lynching party, a fire, and a terrible secret from Sarah’s past.

4. Which of your supporting characters was the most challenging to write?
I wanted to show how sailors were often robbed by their landladies, so I invented Sean. He appears in the street covered by only a blanket and asks the O’Malleys for help. Since he is a fellow Irishman, they bring him home and give him clothes. I had no intention of keeping him in the story, but he wouldn’t go away. He falls in love with Sarah and causes all sorts of trouble. 

5. Without giving away too much, tell us a little about the main conflict in this book. 

The major conflict is between Sarah’s loyalty to the O’Malleys and her love for Richard.

6. Why did you choose this genre? 

I love to read romance novels because they have a happy ending.

7. What do you hope readers take away from this book? 

That family loyalty and love bring happiness.

8. Who are your favorite authors?
Shakespeare,  Dickens,  Jane Austen

9. Do you have any interesting rituals or habits when you write?

On the wall in my writing room is a framed cartoon of a skeleton sitting in front of a computer with this caption: This is absolutely, positively the last rewrite.  I glance at it often to remind me not to be discouraged by the many rewrites I have to do.

10. Can you tell us about any future projects? 

I’ve had several requests from readers to continue the story of Sarah and Richard. I hadn’t planned to write a sequel, but I am seriously considering it now.

Sarah Darlin' is available now from Amazon

Connect with Shirley online on Amazon and Facebook