October 24, 2014

Meet Some #UtopYA2014 Lovelies (Unofficial): Elizabeth Sharp

Sitting in an early gathering at UtopYA2014, I was still in my do-I-belong-here phase. Then, Donna (Elizabeth Sharp is her pen name) stood up and spoke of her first UtopYA conference experience the year before—how she started off shy but then became wrapped in the beauty of this community. It gave me the courage to not be afraid and put myself out there.

Please welcome the vivacious Elizabeth Sharp. Thanks for spreading such love.

ES: The world would be a better place with a little more love.  :)

Okay, I have to ask. Why did you choose a pen name?

ES: When I decided to publish, I didn't think I could sell a book that said Dull on the cover. While I was in beauty school there were a lot of "Opposite of Dull" jokes, so I decided to turn that into my pen name. I didn't like sound of "Donna Sharp" so I used my grandmother Elizabeth's name instead.

I loved Supernova (see my review here). You do an amazing job writing strong women. Where do you draw your inspiration?

ES: I am the youngest of nine kids, six of which are girls. Add to that my mother and some other role models and I have plenty of strong women to draw inspiration from.

You also do book covers through Sharp Cover Design. I love that your logo is: Sharp Designs, Dull Name. So clever! Do you have a favorite cover you’ve designed, and what do you think makes an amazing cover? 

ES: My favorite right now hasn't been revealed yet. lol. Of the ones that have, I have to say either Jordan Deen's Full Moon or Magan Vernon's My Paper Heart.

As for what makes an interesting cover, I think the biggest thing for me is good use of color and interesting artwork. A big pitfall I see a lot of authors falling into is putting too much on the cover, so it's too busy. The point of the cover is to grab I trest, not tell the story. The stuff inside does that.

I do love a simple, but eye-catching cover. Now, please tell us about your Dark Reflections series. Hidden Depths (book 2) was just released in May.

ES: I did something unique with this series. The story follows a love triangle, two girls after the same guy. Book One, Skin Deep is Bethany's story. She's a full figured girl who is bullied. Though she has strong feelings for her best friend, she's afraid to say anything because she feels unlovable. When she finds out demons are real and after her classmates' souls, she has to rise above her own issues to save everyone's souls.

In book two you meet Chelsie, the beauty queen who wishes someone would look past her pretty face to who she really is. When she meets Anderson, it's the first time she finds that, which captures her intrest. But before she can do anything about this new attraction when she finds out a demon is after her soul.

The final book (which came out September 30th) is Anderson's story, how he became The Guardian, how he deals with his mother's growing depression not tp mention having to save everyone's souls.

The most interesting thing about these books is the stories happen simultaneously,  the storylines completely interwoven. Book two starts a few days before book o e and ends maybe an hour after it.

Sounds amazing! You so inspired me at UtopYA. Would you please share your first UtopYA experience here, and explain why you keep going back?

Erin Danzer, Jennifer Laslie, Elizabeth,
Andrea Heltsley, Jordan Deen, Kristina Circelli
ES: I wanted to go to the first UtopYA,  but my son was born premature so was still on a heart monitor. So when I realized I could go to the second one, I was over the moon. When I got their, my crippling social anxiety was at an all time high. I couldn't eat all day because I felt sick, and I cried each morning on my way from feeling sp overwhelmed and helpless. Inside the event, I was incredibly quiet, withdrawn and lonely. I spoke with a few friends I knew very well, but felt like I was in their way so would quickly walk away. I sat through keynotes alone, and all the panels. As I was walking to lunch one day, telling myself the tears in my eyes were just the wind, I couldn't help but think. I didn't want to be the girl sitting by herself, and I definitely didn’t want to be going to lunch alone. Then this little voice soke up inside me, saying, “Then don’t.”

When I cam back from lunch, I made myself sit with people I didn’t know, starting conversations. And much to my surprise, they responded really well. So I talked to more people. And more. By the end of the weekend a change had started in my, one on such a large scale that I still haven’t taken it all in.

The greatest compliment I’ve been given is that I’m not the same girl who was at UtopYA before, because I really am not. And everything I have was built on what started those three hot summer days.

Just a few things that we’ve noticed since the event this year. I haven’t had a panic attack from people surrounding me since before my first trip, even though I’ve been to Sea World, Six Flags and a standing room only concert since. Just a month or two before the first event, I had a total breakdown trying to leave a musical…

I keep going back for two reasons. One is for the “booster shot” that helps maintain my forward momentum. The other is simply to give back and help others on that journey.

You certainly inspired me, and I'm grateful. Okay, I have to say... your son is beyond adorable, and I love how honest you are about your motherhood journey. How has becoming a mom inspired your writing journey?

ES: Honestly I don’t know if it’s been a help, other than making me appreciate the time I get to write. He definitely helps me see the world with new eyes though, and has brought some new experiences into my life that have enriched my writing.

Quick Questions…

Favorite Punctuation Mark: !!!!
Ocean or Mountains? Oceans
Favorite Alcoholic Beverage: Rum!
Favorite Dessert: Cheesecake
Shower or bath? Shower, unless it’s a large Jacuzzi style tub
Sweet or Sour?  Sweet

Thanks so much for hanging out on my blog. I can’t wait to see you at next year’s UtopYA!

ES:  Thanks so much for having me! I’m so ready for next year. Is it June yet?

More about the Author

Elizabeth has a near crippling Facebook addiction, dwarfed only by her need for Dr. Pepper. A self-proclaimed techno geek, she loves cell phones, computers, tablets and all things technological. The internet has to be the greatest invention since the wheel, in her opinion. She lives in a quiet subdivision with her husband, young son, three cats, and far too many electronics. It’s quite possible she has some raccoon in her DNA, because she loves glitter and anything that sparkles. She enjoys making jewelry and costumes. Halloween is her favorite holiday since it’s the one day of the year that you can be whatever you want. But her first love will always be writing. Otherwise, hearing voices in her head would make her feel schizophrenic.

Please come back for more #UtopYA2014 Lovelies (Unofficial), and check out the announcement post to see the schedule.

1 comment:

Jo Michaels said...

She's such a sweetheart :) I'm thinking these posts are fueling your want for a reunion :) hehe WRITE ON!