I’m delighted to be hosting the next stop of the blog tour for The Story of Our Life by Shari Low. I was lucky enough to get to have a cosy chat with Shari about her new novel (which you get can get hold of here), pseudonyms and getting to read books for a living…!
Hi Shari, welcome to Bookaholic Confessions! I’m so excited to have you on my blog today… Would you like to start by introducing yourself…?
Lovely to be here and thank you for inviting me! I feel we should be sitting on a sofa, legs curled beneath us, drinking tea from huge mugs.
So, where to start… I’m a mum, wife, serial dieter and a writer who is often confused because I write lots of different things – newspaper columns, book reviews, features, and novels under my own name Shari Low, and pseudonyms Ronni Cooper (racy bonkbusters) and Shari King (raunchy thrillers). The latter is a partnership with my lovely pal Ross King, the LA entertainment correspondent on GMB and Lorraine.
Can you tell us a bit about your latest novel, The Story of Our Life? (Released July 1st with Aria)
It’s a bittersweet story of imperfect people and imperfect love. It follows the lives of Shauna and Colm, who fall in love at first sight, and are still happy together fifteen years later. They just fit. However, life throws them a couple of shocking curve balls that threaten their ‘happy ever after’. When the book opens, Shauna tells us that Colm has slept with another woman. The narritive then backtracks, as we learn what brought them to this point, and carries us forward to discover how they deal with it.
I am really excited about reading The Story of Our Life. It sounds like such a wonderful read. What was your inspiration behind the novel?
Real life! I think everyone in life is capable of making mistakes, no matter how much they love another person. I wanted to write about a flawed world, with flawed friends, and flawed relationships – whether friends, families or lovers – and then explore how much the characters could, or should, accept or forgive. Without giving any spoilers, I also wanted to write about what happens when life delivers an almighty blow that changes everything and takes the future out of your control.
How long did The Story of Our Life take you to write?
I write in very condensed periods of time, so the first draft took a few weeks, then the editing process extended over many months.
As well as writing under the name Shari Low, you also write under the pseudonym Ronni Cooper and you’re one half of writing due Shari King. Can you tell us a little more about what it’s like writing under a pseudonym?
Writing as Ronni Cooper was riotous fun, as she is almost a character in my mind and has no boundaries. I imagine her as a husky-voiced, former party animal, in thigh-high leather boots, with long blonde hair, a cigarette in one hand, a bourbon in the other. And unlike me, she doesn’t break off half way through the day to run a Dyson round the house.
Penning the Hollywood books (Taking Hollywood and Breaking Hollywood) as Shari King was a very different, but equally enjoyable experience. Ross and I have been friends since we were teenagers, so it was easy to slip into a great working relationship. We had three rules: total honesty, no egos, and if we didn’t both love it, then it didn’t go in.
Do you have a personal favourite novel that you have written so far?
Ooh, that’s a toughie, but I’d have to say this one. I wrote this story from the heart, and it means so much to me in so many different ways. Many tears were shed as I typed the words that shaped Shauna’s life.
As well as being an author you are also a book reviewer yourself! What do you love most about being a reviewer?
Undoubtedly the fact that I can read books all day and call it work!
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Absolutely. Even as a child, growing up in the West of Scotland, I dreamt that I’d one day emulate my heroine, Jackie Collins, and live in LA, where I’d write scandalous tales at the edge of my kidney-shaped swimming pool. I never did get the swimming pool, but I’ve been incredibly lucky to do what I love for the last fifteen years.
Who are your favourite authors and which books have you recently read and enjoyed?
Ah, excuse the cliché, but there really are too many to mention them all. I enjoy every genre – especially crime, history, thrillers, bonkbusters and great romcoms. My favourite books of all time, though, are Tai Pan and Noble House by James Clavell. They’re masterpieces.
And finally – can you tell us a bit about what you’re up to at the moment?
I’m working on my next book for Aria, due out spring, 2017. It’s another relationship drama and I’m loving every minute of writing it.
A huge thank you to Shari and to Blake and Yasemin at Aria.