Local registered nurse Shari Green has always written things – just not necessarily things for others to read.
“I’ve written most of my life,” she says over the rim of her peppermint tea at a downtown Campbell River coffee shop the day before Finding Chelsea is to arrive in stores, “but not really fiction. I’ve always journaled and dabbled in non-fiction, but then about nine years ago I decided to try fiction, and I was hooked.”
Without giving too much away, Finding Chelsea, Green says, is a teen fiction work she wrote about six years ago about a young girl named Anna whose social life is in disarray, and whose mother decides they need a fresh start in a new place.
Upon moving to this new town, despite wanting to “fly under the radar,” as Green says, “it turns out that she’s under the spotlight instead, because there was a girl who had died recently and (Anna) just reminds everyone so much of her. So she finds herself stepping into this void that was left behind by this girl and all the expectations upon her because of that.
“I guess, at it’s heart, it’s really about Anna trying to figure out how to be okay with being herself, when this opportunity to be someone else is, in a lot of ways, so much more enticing than her own life.”
So why did it take six years to get it published?
Green says that with teen fiction, because there are some books that are wildly popular, ones that everyone seem to be reading, authors are always, she feels, looking for “the next big thing,” which is a challenge. “I don’t really do ‘big,’” she says, “I’m more, I guess, a ‘quieter story’ kind of person,” and those types of books tend to take longer to find the right home for, in terms of publishing. She says there is also a steep learning curve to publishing your first book, above and beyond the learning involved in writing something worth reading.
Revising manuscripts, researching publishers that might be interested in printing it, finding representation and marketing yourself enough to get people to bother considering your work for publication are all integral to the process, and Green says those are aspects she struggled with, having not done any of it before.
“Eventually I found a publisher who was looking for something that sounded something like what I’d written,” she says, “and voila, it was actually what they were looking for,” so all those years of research paid off in the end.
When thinking about what’s next, she says she’s focusing on more writing rather than the marketing and promotion of her current work. She’s hoping to avoid the spotlight of book signings and appearances, but will be doing some online marketing, including one interesting “tour” or sorts.
“My publisher has set up an online book tour,” she says, “so this week I’m at different blogs all over the Internet,” she says, where she will be “talking” about Following Chelsea.
“Since there’s really a big focus on E-books these days, your online marketing is hugely important,” she says. “I might set something up in town as well, but that’s not really me.”
I suppose in that way, you could say Green is kind of like Anna, in that she just wants to fly under the radar. Look for Finding Chelsea on the shelves at Coho Books on Shopper’s Row, or go online to sharigreen.com to find out more information, to order a copy straight to your door, or see if she gets over her own reticence of the spotlight.