As you know, this month we’re featuring the middle grade/young adult time travel series, The Last Timekeepers by the talented Sharon Ledwith. Let’s meet this remarkable woman, shall we?
M|W: So Sharon, tell us, why do you write in the genre that you do?
Ledwith: I have a confession. I didn’t start out writing middle grade or young adult. Nope. I lurked in the deep pool of the paranormal romance genre before I ever considered dipping my toes into the welcoming waters of middle-grade/young adult fiction. The idea to write in this genre actually came to me through a dream. In this dream, I saw seven arches, and there were seven people (five kids, two adults) with crystals in their hands, walking up to these arches. It definitely had an Indiana Jones feel to it. I really thought about that dream a lot to the point where an idea for a book started to grow, and take root. So, I thought I’d challenge myself and write a novel—a series—that would appeal to my son, who at the time was the target age of my audience. I’ve always loved the time travel genre, so I imagined the arches I saw vividly in my dream as time portals. Then, boom! The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis was born.
M|W: What lessons would you say writing taught you about life in general?
Ledwith: Patience, perseverance, and practice. You need all three of these life skills if you are ever going to become first, a published author, and second, a successful author.
M|W: What’s your favorite quote?
Ledwith: “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve.” —Napoleon Hill
M|W: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Ledwith: I was once asked by another interviewer to share what inspires me to write, and why am I doing what I do. I guess the truth is that I wanted to be the change I would like to see in this world. Yes, I stole that from Ghandi, but those words have been my mantra, and have guided me to write stories I would have loved to read as an adolescent (or even an adult). My hope is to give my target audience (ages 9 and up) the kinds of stories the world needs now—force readers to ask why they are here on earth at this time, and what is their major purpose. I guess I’m looking for ways to make the world a better place. I also want to make people laugh out-loud while they’re reading my books, and leave them wanting more when they turn to the last page.
M|W: Do you have any advice for writers?
Ledwith: Never stop investing in yourself. Invest in the best. That’s in yourself, and in your readers. Your readers deserve the best of what you have to offer them. Surround yourself with the best possible team. Never stop learning. As you grow, so will your readers, so be prepared for this. Oh yeah, and never give up. That’s a given and should be part of any author’s credo.
M|W: Do you have a specific writing style?
Ledwith: Sometimes I’m a pantser (writing by the seat of my pants), sometimes a plotter (outline entire storyline)—it all depends on the tone of the book and where my imagination directs me. I have many notebooks and pads and sticky notes at my disposal. I also have a file full of ideas. I guess I start with the characters and build the story around them. The characters, my characters, must carry the story to completion, give readers closure. It’s a must. In order to do this, I begin writing out character tracking sheets (stats on characters’ appearances, clothing, likes and dislikes, etc.) which have served me well throughout the writing process. Then the fun begins. Research, research, and more research. When you’re writing time travel, you’ve got to know your facts to create the fiction. I love this part of the journey too. Only when I have enough facts, and I feel my characters are fleshed out sufficiently, then I begin to start the novel.
M|W: What are you working on now?
Ledwith: I’ve finished the first draft in my second book in The Last Timekeepers series entitled, The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, which is in Jordan Jensen’s point of view. Now it’s on to revisions and editing! I’ve written a master plan for the series (10 books, plus the prequel) with possible titles and premises, and I’m in the process of putting all this information together in a series guidebook. And I’m also signed on with literary agency, Walden House (Books & Stuff) to take on another young adult series I’ve created about teens with psychic abilities called, Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls. My hope is that with enough time, patience, and perseverance (see question #2), I’ll be able to follow my heart, and bring more happiness and laughter into our world.
M|W: And how do you come up with your character names?
Ledwith: Sometimes I take from my environment, sometimes from my old National Geographic magazines (it’s a great resource for names, trust me!), but most times I go by the character’s personality, their likes and dislikes, and use The Writer’s Digest Character Naming Sourcebook by Sherrilyn Kenyon as my go-to bible for names. I have named certain characters after real people I’ve known. For example, my character Amanda Sault in The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis was named after my Native American elder and teacher Bill Sault.
There you have it! Sharon Ledwith is the author of The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis and its prequel, Legend of the Timekeepers. Both of these books are on sale for the month of March in our bookstore with the code: TIME. We also recommend subscribing to this blog to learn more about this month’s featured books!