Monday, December 12, 2022

Sharon C. Cooper Interview - In It to Win It

Photo Content from Sharon C. Cooper

USA Today bestselling author Sharon C. Cooper loves anything involving romance with a happily-ever-after, whether in books, movies, or real life. She writes contemporary romance, as well as romantic suspense and enjoys rainy days, carpet picnics, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Her stories have won numerous awards over the years, and when Sharon isn’t writing, she’s hanging out with her amazing husband, doing volunteer work, or reading a good book (a romance of course).

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
I think my most rewarding experience since being published was when I attended my first reader/author event. I was new to the industry and didn’t think anyone would know me. Lol. But during the meet and greet, an excited reader came up to me and raved about one of my book series. I couldn’t believe it. My book sales were good, and I was starting to get emails from readers. Yet, having one come up to me and talk about my characters like she knew them personally was mind-blowing! Without realizing it, she gave me ideas for the next book in the series. Lol. I’ll never forget that day or her. The experience was surreal and just the validation I needed to make me keep writing. It felt good to meet people who enjoyed my work. It made me want to write more. NOTE: Years later, and that reader is now one of my beta readers!

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
Hmm…I’m not sure if I ever felt a “calling” per se to become a romance /fiction writer, but I realized I had the skill for it when a creative writing teacher pointed it out (in college). Back then, I hadn’t considered writing as a career. As a matter of fact, I can’t remember why I took the class. Lol. At any rate, I’m glad I did. I don’t think I really felt the pull to write until I started reading (devouring) romance novels, especially African American romance. After years of reading three or four books a week, I started thinking – I should try and write a romance novel. That was a little over ten years ago, and as they say—the rest is history.

Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes?
This is a great question, but my answer probably isn’t life changing in the sense that you’re thinking. Lol. It was life changing in regard to my writing career. When I first decided to write romance, I had planned to write sweet romance, but when I actually began my writing career, I ended up writing contemporary romance. After reading “The Edge of Midnight” by Beverly Jenkins, I wanted to try my hand at writing a romantic suspense. Her story was the first romantic suspense I had ever read, and I loved it! After that book, I devoured as many romantic suspense stories I could get my hands on, and it’s now my favorite genre to read and write. Now that I think about it, I haven’t read that story in years. It definitely deserves a reread!

Can you tell us when you started IN IT TO WIN IT, how that came about? 
Actually, IN IT TO WIN IT came about after I finished writing BUSINESS NOT AS USUAL (BNAU). I knew I was going to write another romantic comedy, and I wanted it to be about one of the characters from BNAU. I had one character from the story in mind, but the editor requested a different one - Morgan Redford. She’s the youngest sister of the hero (Karter Redford) in BNAU. I liked her in that story, and after figuring out who her love interest would be, I knew it would be a fun story to write, and it was! Morgan comes from “old money” and she’s had it fairly easy all of her life, but she’s always wanted to make something of herself—on her own terms. Some members of her family think she’s too…flaky, spoiled, and lack direction. She’s determined to prove them wrong (even though those are accurate descriptions). She and her best friend start a nonprofit organization that she’s excited about and proud of. I knew I had to pair Morgan with someone who was her opposite. That would be Drake Faulkner. He’s been raising his siblings (twins) since they were two, and now they are fourteen years old. So he’s very responsible, goal-oriented, and he’s a self-made millionaire. He and Morgan were college sweethearts until she ghosted him. That was ten years ago, and needless to say, when they run into each other, tensions are high. Readers are going to enjoy this story!

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your characters?
I think with creating any of my characters, I’m most surprised with how multidimensional and unique they turn out to be. I usually start with character sketches. The sketches cover everything from a character’s hair and eye color to whether or not the person is an introvert, extrovert, what their hobbies are, and it even includes their dating history. The document is several pages long, and though I use it to create a character, it doesn’t guarantee that the character will come out on paper the way I envision them in my mind. But I’m happy to say that they usually turn out even better than I plan.

Meet the Characters
I have a great cast of characters in IN IT TO WIN IT. Let me tell you about a few.

MORGAN REDFORD (Heroine) — When I started planning Morgan’s character, I envisioned the actress, Yara Shahidi (as far as looks). Morgan is cute, feisty, spoiled, and she’s had practically everything handed to her since she’s the youngest child of an “A” list actor. Because of that, she’s anxious to prove herself to her family and herself. She’s determined to become a success despite some failed business ventures in the past. Now that she has cofounded a nonprofit that helps teens who are aging out of foster care—some of her family is taking her more seriously. Her confidence is at an all-time high until she’s puts in a bid on a commercial property. She thinks it’s hers, but she soon learns that her college sweetheart is going after the same building. The college sweetheart that she ghosted over ten years ago even though she was madly in love with him. Needless to say, the first time they see each other is awkward at best, and readers are going to be in for a fun ride with this character.

DRAKE FAULKNER (Hero) — In my mind, Drake looks like the handsome actor, Lance Gross (I love him!). Drake is my kind of hero— an alpha male with heart. His life started out a bit rocky. When he was eighteen, instead of starting college on the full academic scholarship that he was awarded, he ended up with guardianship of two-year-old twins (his younger siblings). While raising them, he attended college and worked part-time. He’s always been focused on his end goal—being a successful property developer. Now that he’s a multi-millionaire, his life is coasting along until Morgan, his ex-girlfriend, falls back into his life, literally. Drake has never forgiven her for ghosting him and as a result, breaking his heart. Yet, he soon learns that forgiving Morgan can give him a second chance at a happily-ever-after.

AIDEN FAULKNER — The cutie-pie actor Miles Brown was my inspiration for Aiden. I had a blast writing fourteen-year-old Aiden. He provides a lot of the comedic moments in the story, and I have no doubt that readers are going to fall in love with him.

ADDISON FAULKNER (Addy) — My inspiration for Addison is the adorable actress, Priah Nicole Ferguson. Addison and Aiden are twins, and though they disagree occasionally, they always have each other’s back. They might’ve been raised by their older brother, Drake, but they look out of him just like he has always looked out for them.

What is the first job you have had? 
My first job (outside of babysitting for a family friend) was when I was a Circulation Aide for Milwaukee Public Library. I loved that job, and I found so many cool and interesting books while shelving them. Lol.

Best date you've ever had? 
When my husband and I were dating, he was wonderful at creating memories (still is). One of my most memorable dates was when he took me to Chicago for a weekend. We stayed in a luxury hotel on the Magnificent Mile, did a little shopping and ate at some cool restaurants. One place being—Garretts Popcorn. I’m not a big popcorn eater, but we were curious about why people would stand in a line, that was wrapped around several blocks, for popcorn. We found out and OMG, I have never had popcorn that tasted that good! I highly recommend Garretts’ Chicago Mix. It was life changing! Lol. Oh, and to top off the weekend, my husband surprised me with tickets to see the Broadway show - The Lion King. Best date ever!

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning? 
The first thing I think of (and say) when I wake up each morning is Thank you God for letting me see another day.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before? 
I would definitely choose true love even if there was a guarantee of heart break. I’m in love with love and everything that goes with it (good or bad). I know that when some people think of love, they think of it in a clinical sense where adrenaline, dopamine, and phenylethylamine are produced, giving us the racing heart, sweaty palms, and plenty of other stimulations when our lover is near. But for me, being in love is all about the experiences and sharing my life with someone who I adore. Yes, some form of heartbreak is guaranteed in a relationship (death, divorce, etc), but that heartbreak can’t take away the memories of good times, warm hugs, sweet kisses, and the list can go on and on.

Two entrepreneurs compete for a property, but secure the biggest win of all—each other—in this second chance romantic comedy by USA Today bestselling author Sharon C. Cooper.

Spoiled, fickle, and flighty are only a few adjectives that have been used to describe Morgan Redford. She’s never had to worry about money, but she’s determined to build a career on her own and do something meaningful with her life—by helping children who are aging out of the foster care system. She has her eyes on a property that a family friend is selling, which is perfect for these young adults to live in, but her competition is someone she never expected…

When Los Angeles real estate developer Drake Faulkner learns that his eccentric mentor is selling property that is perfect for his portfolio, he jumps at the chance to buy it. But he soon learns the billionaire has other ideas: buyers must compete in an Iron Man competition of sorts for the property. Drake refuses to play along with this ridiculous demand…until he finds out Morgan, his ex who left him years ago without a word, is one of the potential buyers. No way is he letting her—Little Miss Self-Absorbed—win the property he wants. Bitter? Yes. Petty? Probably. But as the gauntlet of games heats up and forces them to face the past, they are met with a pull that feels all too familiar.

Now, if they could only keep their eyes on the prize and off each other—but who’s to say they can’t do both?

You can purchase In It to Win It at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you SHARON C. COOPER for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of In It to Win It by Sharon C. Cooper.

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