Nothing excites me more than the smell of an idea for a new book. If I’m not writing, I’m thinking about story. Researching, taking notes, talking to friends, muttering to myself.
I was born in Philadelphia when my father was in medical school. I’ve lived in Pennsylvania, Hawaii (twice), Alabama, New Jersey, Michigan, Colorado, and now California.
I began my writing career the way so many others have done: by first doing everything else. Winning awards in grade school art, story, and essay contests convinced me to become a writer, but the real world intruded in adulthood and demanded I pay bills, raise kids, (loved raising kids), be a contributing member of the community.
Along that rutted path I worked in the commercial art field designing patterns for surfer shorts, bikinis, and Hawaiian style shirts and taught after-school art through a city recreation program. I developed an art curriculum for three private schools, teaching kids from kindergarten through high school, loving every minute of being in the presence of such extraordinary human beings. I’ve also taught religion courses, including Hebrew as preparation for Bar and Bat Mitzvah.
Sixteen years ago the writing muse, struggling to breathe in art articles, letters to friends, and skits for kids, found its way to the surface. In a two-week period I wrote sixty pages of my first historical novel, and didn’t stop writing for three years. By then a second book demanded paper – OK, computer space – then the third showed up, and now a fourth is in final revision stage. Of course, final revision is two words with a long shadow and a little footprint.
At the same time, I query agents, hoping for the singularly elusive entree to be read, eventually to be represented.
My fiction explores history, human relationships, revenge, identity crises, rage, family dynamics, self-doubt, forgiveness, redemption, and all the labyrinthine quandaries that mess up otherwise perfect lives. I hone the writing craft in anticipation of one day being published. I’m eager to accept writing advice and happy to share what I’ve learned.
Some folks claim they will write when the floors get vacuumed, family dinner is prepped, the new garden planted. I reside in a eucalyptus forest in Southern California with my patient husband who’s learned to vacuum but not to cook. And the garden needs help. I am proof that all those tasks can be successfully ignored but not the urge to write.
More ink, please.
Sharon Lynne Pratt, writing as Sharon Bonin-Pratt
Photo, family files, Shari, age 4.