Sharon Kendrick is fast approaching the completion of her 100th book for Mills & Boon. As if that’s not impressive enough, this hot-footed author will soon be jetting off to stand in the dazzling lights of Vegas as a nominee for a Romantic Times award in the Best Presents of 2015 Presents (as Modern Romance is known in North America) of 2015. We grabbed her in one of the rare moments she gets to sit still…
So how did Sharon know she wanted to be a writer?
‘I think my imagination was always fed by CS Lewis, especially the Narnia books,’ she admits, as well as telling us she is and always has been a huge fan of Enid Blyton, especially the Famous Five.
‘I can still remember Timmy having an operation and having to wear a big cone collar and George having to take him to the country because everyone was laughing at him. (For non-Byton aficionados: Timmy is a dog and George is a girl)’
For Sharon, such books were the first real dip into the fantasy world she loves to explore in her own writing. When we asked how on earth she manages to create a brand new story every single time, she leans across the table and throws us the wicked grin that we so often feel emanating from the pages of her books.
‘New books aren’t a problem – each one is different. There’s always a new fantasy. A billionaire for example is a modern day hero, the fantasy man who sweeps you off your feet with his wealth, but he always has a vulnerable side. Each embodies different characteristics, so no one is ever a stereotype. I try to write believably – that’s when you feel the fantasy.’
So does Sharon put herself in the place of her heroines?
That grin again. ‘I become the heroine, every time. I fall in love with the hero.’
Having a vivid imagination helps every writer, but it’s probably fair to say Sharon has one of the sharpest. This shows in the far-flung places she writes about and in the often witty dialogue between her characters. Sharon loves to travel – she’s off to a birthday party in Santa Barbara soon – but she doesn’t have to go far sometimes for a story idea to strike her.
‘I can be sitting here,’ she says, gazing out at the Mills and Boon office view of the London skyline, ‘and I’ll look at all those buildings down there and wonder what everyone’s doing in them. And this one – what would it have been like to be a young Rupert Murdoch?’
In a city like this, there’s enough content in all these buildings for a million books, but for now we’ll have to look forward to Sharon’s 100th, in which she says she’ll be going back to the start.
‘My first book was about a nurse in the outback, and a friend in Australia suggested I should go back to that same setting for this one, back to where it all began. It’ll open on a cattle station, with some contrasting scenes in the snow somewhere else…’
Sharon clearly can’t wait to put fingers to keyboard again (once she’s back from the Romantic Awards and that fabulous sounding stateside birthday party of course), although she won’t be making any suggestions as to the title. ‘Once I suggested we call a book The Italian Billionaire’s Secretary Mistress as a joke, and that’s what they ended up calling the book!’ (Well, we have to be clear what’s inside before we start reading, right?)
Huge thanks to Sharon for stopping by to talk to us. We can’t wait to feel the sun of the outback shining out from your 100th book really soon.