Tell us a bit about yourself.
Anyone who knows me knows I love to laugh. And I love to play. Once I was approached by a precocious young boy who said, "You’re not like a regular adult, are you?" He was right. I’m a 12-year-old living in a 62-year-old body. In my office I have a Harry Potter doll, a stuffed horse, several dollhouses, and a fairy cottage. There’s a set of jacks in my office drawer and a bottle of bubbles on my desk. I’ve got coloring books and crayons in here, too. So I’m very much a kid at heart, which is a blessing when you need to get into the mind of your eight-year-old protagonist.
I was born in St. Louis, Missouri but didn’t live there very long because my dad was in the Air Force. During my first seventeen years we moved to Texas, Alaska, Mississippi, Italy, and Germany. It was a great education but I probably didn’t appreciate it at the time. What I did appreciate were movies and musicals.
I began singing lessons at age five, aspiring to become the next Shirley Temple. I wasn’t much of a dancer so I scrapped that ambition and settled on becoming the next Judy Garland. After high school, I sang in two bands, mostly in hotel lounges and at weddings. Then one day I met a gypsy fortune teller. You know, the kind with the big neon "Psychic Readings" sign flashing in the window? Anyway, she told me I was going to leave the band to become a writer, so I knew right off the bat that she was a fake. I was a singer and I would always be one. Or so I thought.
The next few years were like a whirlwind. I stopped singing and went to college, excelled at creative writing and journalism, and was appointed editor-in-chief of our campus newspaper. My English professor suggested I enter a statewide short story contest, which I did and won first place. That was 38 years ago and I guess I have that gypsy to thank for setting me on the path to working for publishing companies, advertising agencies, and syndicated television shows.
Besides being a writer, I am also a certified color therapist, spiritual aromatherapist, crystal worker, and radio show producer. I live with my yacht captain husband and two cats in a two-story house near the beach in Rhode Island.
To date, I’ve published four books and there are many more to come through my own publishing company, Writelighter Books. With the debut of my first novel, Inn Lak’ech: A Journey to the Realm of Oneness, everything I write—whether it’s fiction or nonfiction—is meant to help people, to manifest positive change through the written word. But that doesn’t mean I have to stop playing!
How do you find time to write?
The same way I find time to eat or breathe, I just do it. Sometimes I’ll have a plan, like "I am going to the marina to write my prologue." But most days, I just go with the flow, although I often write very early in the morning and late at night.
I never know when my muse is going to nudge me, so I’m always carrying a notepad. I love paper, and I love pens, too. They’re my magic wands, taking me to places my computer can only dream about, especially when it crashes or the power goes out. And each time I put pen to paper, I get an immediate adrenaline rush. It’s like my Higher Self is telling me I am about to manifest some really big magic!
What’s your publishing tips?
Unlike some authors I’ve known, I haven’t gone the traditional route yet because I wanted to maintain control of my publishing schedule, content, personal appearances, etc. But to writers who prefer to self-publish their books, I would advise investing in a good writing or publishing program like Scrivener and Vellum. They didn’t exist when I published my first two books, but I am grateful for these programs. They’ve saved me a lot of time and I can’t imagine how I ever got along without them.
Any promotional and marketing tips?
Truthfully, I’d rather succumb to a root canal than spend valuable writing time on promotion. But times have changed and writers are expected to "get out there" on social media, even if they are traditionally published.
Have you heard of Author Takeovers? It’s where you "take over" someone’s Facebook page for awhile and post about your book and give away freebies. I’ve done a few of them and they are an excellent way to get the word out about your book and services. I learned about Author Takeovers through a writers’ Facebook group. Networking is important because you never know when someone will be looking for guest authors to interview!
If you happen to host a podcast, be sure to promote your book on the air or in your episode description. Since I use some of my color meditations from my latest book, Mad About Hue: A Memoir in Living Color, I always list it as a reference on my "A Rainbow in the Clouds" podcast website.
I’ve also attended countless teleseminars to learn how to promote my book on social media and build my mailing list. My most successful ventures so far have been with Instafreebie and Book Funnel. You do have to be willing to donate hundreds of free ebooks, but it has been worth it to me. Those two sites alone have helped me increase my subscriptions by about 60 percent!
Another way I’ve generated interest in my books was to create tie-in products like study guides and workshop CDs. The cheapest ones to produce, of course, are the downloadable items. For Inn Lak’ech, I created a special mermaid bookmark with the infinity symbol. (Readers will understand why.) I also produced an Inn Lak’ech meditation mp3 package and this month I’ve been working on the packaging for my "Vitamin Sea by E" line of jewelry and aromatherapy sprays.
Tell us about your recent book.
Knowing that I launched Aura House School of Color and Light, Color Healing Radio, and the annual worldwide Color Therapy Month in March, people kept asking me when I was going to write a color therapy book. At first, I balked because there are so many in print already and I didn’t feel there was much more to say. But when I got the idea to share my color meditations and exercises, along with my most colorful life experiences, I knew there was a book in the making.
Mad About Hue is a book of transparency, truth, and probably the closest I will ever get to writing an autobiography. Surprisingly, it was much more challenging than when I wrote Inn Lak’ech because you’re reflecting on the past. You’re the protagonist in this real life story and you have to stay for the entire ride. You can’t pass go. You can’t change the outcome. Sometimes I felt like a hueman kaleidoscope, a walking collection of shattered glass with bits of crazy color churning inside me.
A reporter once asked me a very interesting question: "If you could recolor one thing in your life, what would it be?”
I told her I would recolor those boring, grayish rolls you have left after you’ve used all the paper towels or toilet paper. I was serious because in its most negative form, the color gray represents dullness, gloom, hopelessness, misery. So the message I get from the empty roll is “That’s it. Your Life is over. There is nothing left. Walk away!"
However, my Inner Pollyanna prefers a sunnier message, something happy and bright and multi-colored: “So what if you’re out of paper? Life is good, so be glad. Just look at all the pretty colors!”
And that’s exactly how I feel about my life and memoir.
Visit Eleyne-Mari Sharp’s websites at www.writelighter.com and www.colortherapyschool.com.