Sharon grew up on the Northern Rivers of New South Wales, running wild on a beef cattle property outside of Casino. Sharon packed her bags and headed for the big smoke of Sydney straight out of school, working in a variety of jobs until she studied to be a Sports Therapist and Remedial Massage Therapist.
In her early 20s, Sharon discovered solo travel was excellent for understanding her place in the world. She’s never forgotten the open spaces of the farm or life on the banks of the Richmond River and still heads into the bush to touch the trees, listen to the birds and watch the lizards and occasional snake to be inspired.
Before she could write, Sharon narrated and cassette recorded an adventurous tale of some tongs, a dishmop and a pair of scissors. Her Mum loved it. Storytelling has been a part of her life ever since.
Sharon’s first book, Red Inks, an eclectic collection of flash fiction, was published in 2015.
What inspired you to start writing?
When I was a kid, I created stories in my head as a form of amusement. Few were written down. I loved giving my characters a wonderful life. I gave them toys and gadgets I wished I could have. Some may say I lived in a fantasy world most of the time but I was happy there.
Years later, I was walking home from work when a story popped into my head. It took me a few weeks of figuring out the storyline before I sat at my old clunky computer to write it down. I’ve been writing ever since.
Tell us whose writing you love?
Enid Blyton – Hers were the first books I read for pleasure. Her imagination was unlimited.
J. M. Coetzee – His prose is unromantic but beautiful nonetheless.
Jasper Fforde – Purely because his writing is offbeat. And funny.
Charles Dickens – His power of description and love of happy outcomes (except for Little Nell).
Marian Keyes and Tim Winton – Both have made it OK to write colloquially.
What made you decide to write flash fiction?
It was quite by accident. I was sitting in a workshop run by Walter Mason. He had us compose a story in a short space of time. When I read my story to the class, the reaction was overwhelming. That was when I realised that I had a talent for super short stories.
Which is your favourite story from the Red Inks collection?
I can’t decide between Pursued and War From Home. Am I allowed to have joint favourites?
Writing the stories for Red Inks was a lot of fun. Some stories are quite intense while others are a bit silly. It’s a truly eclectic collection. Of course, the collection would never have been completed without 63 Red Inks.
What is “red inks”?
Nothing to do with printing or tattoos. It’s a cricket term for when a batter is not out at the end of an innings. Their score is recorded in the scorebook in red ink and a cricketer will say they want “red ink” or “red inks”. For anyone unfamiliar with cricket, that probably still makes no sense. I wrote the story Red Inks straight after the death of cricketer Phillip Hughes, who was killed while batting at the Sydney Cricket Ground in November 2014. A decision was made by authorities not to record him in the official scorebook as “retired hurt”, which is the usual protocol when a batter can’t complete their innings. Instead, they decided that his score (63) would be written as “not out” or, colloquially, “red inks”.
What’s important to you?
Apart from books and reading? Sport is a big part of my life. I speak most sportsball languages fluently. Cricket, Rugby Union, Netball and the French Open Tennis are my most watched.
You can tell from reading Red Inks that travel is another love. I once compiled a 3 page list of travel tips and gave it to first time travellers. Travelling and getting a broader view of the world and my place in it really saved my life.
Life wouldn’t be the same without the bush. Luckily, living in Sydney means that I have access to bushland right on my doorstep. The Blue Mountains are just up the road when I need to immerse myself in the bush. It’s quite inspiring.
Where do you do most of your reading?
I’m not a very fast reader. I like to savour every word. I read before bedtime and if I really love the book I’m reading, I keep it near and read whenever I can, even during the ad breaks on the telly.
Where can you be found on a
Sunday Monday morning?
Sunday is the first day of my weekend, so I spend it slaving over a washing machine and pegging laundry. Boring! Monday morning I get out on the bush tracks of Sydney and swim at the beach without the crowds. Amongst stands of gnarled Sydney Red Gums, architectural grass trees and big sandstone rocks, with whipbirds and Eastern Water Dragons, I find my personal peace and sitting on the beach with a coffee after a swim, well, how much better could a Monday be?