Welcome Sharon Ledwith. Thank you for visiting this blog. We're thrilled to have you here. I'm thrilled to be here, Robyn.
1. How long have you been writing, Sharon?
Honestly, I have to admit I was a late bloomer. I didn’t start writing seriously until 1995. That’s when I took two college courses that changed my life. The first one was called Planning your Novel, which was an introductory workshop for, Writing your Novel. I met a couple of wonderful would-be writer gals, and we formed a writing circle after the classes were done.
2. Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis?
Both the idea and inspiration came to me through a dream I had around 1998. 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. At that time, I was writing a paranormal romance (before there was a distinct genre) and had no intention of writing a middle-grade/young adult book like The Last Timekeepers. But this idea kept growing in my mind, and wouldn’t leave, like some mystical force pushing you from behind. 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. It was a no-brainer for me.
3. What sets The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis apart from other books in the same genre?
Keyword: Atlantis. I wanted to create a book series for middle grade/young adults that had a different slant to the time travel genre. I love history. I also love myths and legends. There’s many time travel series out there, but nothing that has roots leading back to Atlantis—at least what I know about and have read. And since there’s no concrete evidence that Atlantis did exist, then that left the door (or arch) wide open to possibilities.
4. As an author, Sharon, what is your writing process?
Cut a vein and write. Kidding. I have many notebooks and pads at my disposal. I also have a file full of ideas. I guess I start with the characters and build the story around them. My characters must carry the story to completion, give my 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 still 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. 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.
5. How long did it take for you to start and finish The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis?
Groan. I started gathering ideas and writing the first draft in 1999. I signed the publishing contract with Musa Publishing in September, 2011. Now, this was a back and forth project. During the last eleven years, I wrote a second book in The Last Timekeeper series, created and penned another young adult series (a teen psychic mystery series), worked on my paranormal romance, took a writing correspondence course, and worked at the local animal shelter. I finally picked The Last Timekeeper series back up in 2010, transcribed and polished it, and kept sending it out until I struck gold with a publishing contract offer. And even then, after all that, there were major revisions on changing my point of view over from five characters to one character. But I was determined, and did it.
6. Do you have any advice for other writers, Sharon?
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.
7. What’s next for Sharon Ledwith, the author?
Currently, I’m working on the prequel to the Last Timekeepers series, entitled The Legend of the Timekeepers. I also have a completed manuscript of the second book in the series entitled, The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, but there’s the fun job of revising it into Jordan Jensen’s point of view. I’ve written a master plan for the series with possible titles and premises, so I’ll be one busy gal!
8. My novel, Maya and the Crystal Skull, features ancient Mayan ruins and the legend of the crystal skulls. The crystal skulls, in particular, allow heroine Maya King to momentarily glimpse the past. As the author of The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, do you believe in past lives and our ability to momentarily glimpse those lives?
Oh, yeah! In fact, I believe we’ve known each other in a past life too, Robyn! Think about it. We were probably scribes who chiseled out glyphs or created wonderful hieroglyphics on the walls of pyramids. Do I think it’s possible for us to receive a glimpse of a past life? Most definitely. But you have to be open-minded about it. Especially if you have a memory flash of another person in another time period, don’t dismiss it. Even your feelings about another place or person are wonderful guides. Just remember to trust your inner voice – that’s where answers are found.
Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, available through Musa Publishing. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, yoga, kayaking, time with family and friends, and single malt scotch. Sharon lives in the wilds of Muskoka in Central Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, a water-logged yellow Labrador and moody calico cat.
The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis:
When 13-year-old Amanda Sault and her annoying classmates are caught in a food fight at school, they're given a choice: suspension or yard duty. The decision is a no-brainer. Their two-week crash course in landscaping leads to the discovery of a weathered stone arch in the overgrown back yard. The arch isn't a forgotten lawn ornament but an ancient time portal from the lost continent of Atlantis.
Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers--legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial--Amanda and her classmates are sent on an adventure of a lifetime. Can they find the young Robin Hood and his merry band of teens? If they don't, then history itself may be turned upside down.
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Thank you for an interesting interview, Sharon, and all the best with your books.
Love and Light,
Robyn Opie Parnell