In celebration of the publication of The Absinthe Earl, today we’re joined by Sharon Lynn Fisher, author of this charming historical fiction romance deeply steeped in Irish lore and mythology. She gives us a bit of insight into The Faery Rehistory series, tells us about her writing process, gives us a tour of her beautiful farm, and offers some great advice for aspiring authors.
In addition to this fantastic interview, we’ve got a great giveaway going on where two lucky winners will snag a copy of this incredible story. So, give the interview a read, check out the details for The Absinthe Earl, and enter to win!
Be sure to check out my review for The Absinthe Earl, one of my favorite reads of the summer!
About the Author
RWA RITA-nominated author Sharon Lynn Fisher writes smart, twisty, passionate tales–mash-ups of science fiction, fantasy, and slow-burn romance set in lush and atmospheric worlds. She lives where it rains nine months of the year and is mom to two lovely tweens, two huge dogs, two ridiculous goats, an orange cat and orange mare, and a fluctuating number of poultry.
Sharon has published sci-fi romance with Tor Books and adult fairy tales with Penguin Random House. She currently has a fantasy historical romance trilogy, The Faery Rehistory, in the works with Blackstone Publishing.
Find newsletter and book information here: www.sharonlynnfisher.com
“…Fisher’s writing shines.” –Kirkus
Thanks so much for joining us, Sharon. Since we already have your official bio, care to tell us about yourself in ten words or less?
I am an INFJ/P Ravenpuff who is also an HSP. 10, ha! ☺️
What’s a day of writing like in the shoes of Sharon? Do you have any quirks, routines, or rituals?
This depends on where I am in the story. In the beginning, I tend to write in short bursts. I spend time massaging stuff I’ve already written, which most writer advice says is bad. (I’m such a rebel!) But in the beginning I’m finding the voices of my characters, and the feel of my world. In rereading and polishing things, I’m also slowly figuring out where I’m going. And as I get further along, things move faster. But overall I am a fairly slow and deliberate writer. I never do NaNoWriMo. I could not deal with the feeling of a giant train wreck piling up behind me. As for writing rituals, my favorite is sitting in the kitchen next to our woodstove with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and a nice smelling candle. I am ALL about the hygge.
I just have to reiterate once again how much I adore The Absinthe Earl. It was easily one of my favorite reads of the summer. Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?
Thank you so much! Two real historical figures make appearances in the book: Grace (or Grainne) O’Malley, a 16th century pirate, and author and poet W.B. Yeats. Another important historical figure is referenced (and the heroine is named after her), Countess Ada Lovelace, who wrote what is considered to be the first computer program and was also the daughter of Lord Byron.
Give us an idea of how The Absinthe Earl came to fruition.
A couple of things came into play here. One, I have always loved fairies (I have quite a library of reference books on them), and I always believed someday I’d write a story about them. The difficulty was in coming up with an original approach. Then, a couple years ago, I wrote a story for my erotica anthology (Before She Wakes) called “The Kelpie’s Prize.” That story featured an American folklore scholar and a brooding Welsh mad scientist, and I enjoyed writing it so much that I knew I had to write a full-length work with a similar feel.
Working titles for the remaining two books in The Faery Rehistory series are The Raven Lady and The Warrior Poet – Will we see more of Ada and Edward in the future? Or should we expect to meet some new leading lads and lasses?
We’ll hear more about Ada and Edward, but the other two books will focus on different couples. The hero of The Raven Lady is Duncan O’Malley/King Finvara, from The Absinthe Earl. Book two is an enemies-to-lovers story, and the heroine is Icelandic (there will be Hidden Folk!). The hero of book three is another of the already established characters, but I’ll save that reveal for later!
What comes first, the plot or the characters?
Characters, absolutely. I’m a pantser, meaning I don’t do much plotting ahead of time. The plot evolves as I establish the characters’ fears and desires. I have to figure out what makes them tick before I can know where the story is heading, beyond a very basic outline.
What about the speculative romance genre appeals to you most?
I’m going to quote myself here because I’ve never answered that question better than I did on the USA Today Happy Ever After blog (now defunct, sob!). “What I love best, as both a reader and writer, is to follow a heroine and hero to a place where the rules are different, stakes are high, and every plot twist triggers a fresh sense of wonder.” Basically I like to watch what happens to couples when they are confronted with the unknown.
I’ve read that you have a love for The Emerald Isle. What about Ireland makes it special to you?
I honestly have no idea. Even when I was a kid I loved the IDEA of Ireland. Now that I’ve been there a couple times, I feel an even stronger connection. Maybe my writer’s soul has bonded with the moody weather and romantic scenery. Maybe it’s my overdeveloped sense of cozy—there’s not much more cozy than a peat fire in a pub after a couple hours of hill walking. Two years ago I gave in to temptation and did a DNA test—so it also could be the fact my ancestry is 30% Irish and Scottish. Though that’s likely true for many Americans. Probably it’s the fairies!
Do you have a favorite character you’ve written? If so, who? What about them sets them apart from all the others?
Go ahead and ask me which CHILD is my favorite, why don’t you! I mean really I connect with something in all of them, and I suppose if I didn’t, they wouldn’t be very interesting. Elizabeth (heroine of Ghost Planet) will always be close to my heart, because originally I wrote her as fairly fragile. Always needing others to take care of her. Revising her made ME stronger. I wrote her the way I wanted to be. The characters I’ve had the most fun writing have been secondary characters—Jake in Echo 8 and Queen Isolde in The Faery Rehistory trilogy.
What do you think makes a good story?
Tension. Emotion. High stakes. Characters the reader REALLY wants to win the day. I think those are the basic elements of a good story, but I also love a richly imagined world.
You label yourself #AuthorFarmer, can you take us on a little tour of your farm?
My family and I have a hobby farm—about 5 acres just outside Seattle. We have various fowl, goats, dogs, cats, and even a horse, though she doesn’t yet live on our property. We also have two gardens, one for fruit and one for veggies and flowers. I am proud to say that from June through September, we didn’t have to eat any store-bought veggies! I’m currently reading a fantasy romance called Swordheart, and I love this quote from it: “Halla had helped run a farm once. […] It had been haphazard and everything had always seemed to be on the edge of collapsing and there was always some chore that needed doing.” Yup.
Is there one particular book you hold dearest to your heart?
I think choosing one is too hard for me. Some books that have meant the most to me over the years: A Wrinkle in Time, Watership Down, Lord of the Rings, Jane Eyre, Pride & Prejudice, Harry Potter, and Outlander. Also Faeries, by Brian Froud, which my mother gave me when I was in grade school. She could not have known how much it would influence me!
Writing can be a stressful pursuit. Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
I think the most important advice of all is this: be kind to yourself. For some of us that means spending more time writing. For some it means writing less. For some it means giving ourselves a break. For some it means cracking the whip a little harder. It may mean tuning out current events for long stretches. It may mean taking long walks. It may mean shutting yourself in a quiet room and coloring. It definitely means filling your brain with things that feed your creativity, whether it’s research, Pinterest images, or other people’s books. You’re a writer, and that’s a wonderful thing. The world needs writers. Nurture that part of yourself, and when you fail—when you spend two hours instead of 15 minutes on Twitter—remind yourself, “Well that’s not what I wanted out of today, but it’s okay, and I know I can do better tomorrow.” Also, not all writer advice will work for you and your process. That doesn’t mean you are doing it wrong. If you are DOING IT, that is all that matters.
Ok, let’s see what kind of person you truly are.
Did you notice above where I am between two Myers Briggs types and between two Hogwarts houses? Yeah, choices are tough for me. But I’ll do my best…
Coffee or Tea?
YES. (Well, I didn’t even try there did I?)
Winter or Summer?
Physical books or Ebooks?
Physical books hands down, but I do read a lot of eBooks just for practical reasons. Or mainly for one practical reason: 99-cent sales.
Mountains or Oceans?
I’m pretty outdoorsy and love them both. If you offered me a cabin in the mountains or cottage by the sea, I would never be able to make up my mind. Since I’m currently living in the foothills of the Cascades, I MIGHT choose the cottage by the sea. Especially if it was in Ireland. And had fairies.
Beer or Wine?
Wine, though I LOVE sour beers.
Books or Movies?
ARGH! Books have the slight advantage of being my first love.
Cowboys or Aliens?
Aliens. Look, I can do this!
Pie or Cake?
Cake by a HAIR. (But no hairs IN the cake please.)
Rural or Urban?
DOUBLE ARGH. I was a city girl for 40 years and now live on a farm. These days when I daydream about getaways they are places like London and Paris and New Orleans. And Portland.
Work hard or Play hard?
Work hard so you can feel good about playing hard!
Thank you again for taking the time to chat with us, Sharon. Do you have anything coming up in the future that you’d like the world to know about?
Thank you so much, Justine! I’d say just keep an eye out for the next two books! Folks can sign up for my newsletter to keep up-to-date on release dates and new covers and such. After The Absinthe Earl, I cannot WAIT to see what Blackstone comes up with for The Raven Lady! If you sign up for my newsletter through Book Funnel, you can get a free short story: “A Heart for Copper,” a clockwork fairy tale https://dl.bookfunnel.com/3nszlumfa5
About the Book
They crossed centuries to find each other. Their love will shatter worlds.
Miss Ada Quicksilver, a student of London’s Lovelace Academy for Promising Young Women, is spending her holiday in Ireland to pursue her anthropological study of fairies. She visits Dublin’s absinthe bars to investigate a supposed association between the bittersweet spirit and fairy sightings.
One night a handsome Irishman approaches her, introducing himself as Edward Donoghue. Edward takes absinthe to relieve his sleepwalking, and she is eager to hear whether he has experience with fairies. Instead, she discovers that he’s the earl of Meath, and that he will soon visit a mysterious ruin at Newgrange on the orders of his cousin, the beautiful, half-mad Queen Isolde. On learning about Ada’s area of study, he invites her to accompany him.
Ada is torn between a sensible fear of becoming entangled with the clearly troubled gentleman and her compelling desire to ease his suffering. Finally she accepts his invitation, and they arrive in time for the winter solstice. That night, the secret of Edward’s affliction is revealed: he is, in fact, a lord in two worlds and can no longer suppress his shadow self.
Little does either of them realize that their blossoming friendship and slowly kindling passion will lead to discoveries that wrench open a door sealed for centuries, throwing them into a war that will change Ireland forever.
Be afraid. Be fairy afraid.
I’m teaming up with Sharon and Blackstone Publishing to give away a paperback copy of The Absinthe Earl to two (2) lucky winners! To enter, check out the sweepstakes below or visit it here. There are a bunch of ways to enter, including telling us about a spooky local legend in the comments below! Let’s get crazy with it!
Note: Comments are moderated and may be delayed showing below.
- Entries begin October 15th, 2019 at 8:00am EST and will close October 22nd, 2019 at 11:59pm EST
- Open to legal residents of the US and Canada only.
- Entrants must be 18 years of age or older.
- Winners will be chosen randomly using Rafflecopter and notified within 24 hours of the sweepstakes end.
- Prizes will be distributed by Blackstone Publishing.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thank you so much for the gorgeous post, Justine!
Thank you for a lovely interview, Sharon! This was the most fun I’ve had with a post in a long while!
Happy Book Day! I can’t wait for book two!
I cannot drink beer of any sort whatsoever BUT I love the taste of beer on husband’s lips. The book sounds fantastic, Sharon! Another winner, I’m sure.
Aww, thank you Barbara! 🙂
“Leave a comment briefly telling us about a spooky local legend!” We have a graveyard with an eerie statuary monument, and when you’re in the graveyard and you pass by it, you have to run backwards around it several times or terrible things will happen!
I love this! And also I love eerie statuary monuments.