Saturday, 28 January 2017

Back Catalogue - Q&A with Sharon Maas

Back Catalogue Books is my new regular Saturday feature, focusing on books that are not the latest releases. There is going to be a mix of Q&As and also reviews, depending on what I have the space for. 

If you are an author wanting to take part in Back Catalogue Books then please do email on gilbster at gmail dot com and I'll whizz the questions over to you. 

I hope everyone enjoys this weekly look back at some of the slightly older books that are about but still great, and that I eventually make a dent in my TBRs as a result of it!

Hello Readers! My name is Sharon Maas and I’ve been writing, it seems, all my life. But things got really serious after my first publishing deal with HarperCollins in 1999. Since then I haven’t stopped writing, and you can find my books at any good retailer. I was born in British Guiana, now Guyana, but didn’t stay there for long. I went to school in England for several years, and have travelled extensively in South America and Asia, and lived in India. As a result, my novels tend to be multicultural, with a variety of international settings – but with a focus on India and Guyana, two countries I’m close to culturally. However, I live in Germany, and, if all goes well, will be moving to Sri Lanka later this year. If you like discovering new land, you might like to come along for the journey… 

1) Please tell me about your first book, and what started you writing in the first place

Amazon UK
My very first book actually never got published, though it had an agent. It was after giving up on that first attempt, and simply plunging into a completely new story with no idea where it would take me, that led me eventually to becoming a published author. That book was Of Marriageable Age. 

It was a story that seemed to be pre-formed inside me; I simply had to write it down. With that book I discovered the joy and magic of writing. It’s a story set in three very disparate countries and cultures, with three main characters whose story-threads interlock. And only near the end does the reader discover what it is that binds them.

2) Which book are you most proud of writing?

Of Marriageable Age, my first book, is that book that taught me the magic of writing, the book that opened the door for me. It will always be a miracle book for me.

3) Which book was your favourite to write?

Every time I start a new book, it becomes temporarily my favourite! But I think all in all it is again Of Marriageable Age, with another book, written in 2004 and as yet unpublished, a close second.

4) Who are your favourite characters from your books and why?

Again, so hard to say. I love the main characters of all my books. But Savitri of Of Marriageable Age, Winnie of the Quint Chronicles series, and Janiki of The Lost Daughter of India all vie for first position.

5) If you could go back and change anything from any of your books, what would it be, and why?

Amazon UK
I’ve already done it! My second HarperCollins book was called Peacocks Dancing, and it was rather rushed as I had a tight deadline. And I was never happy with the result. It involved two separate storylines, one in Guyana and one in India, which are hooked together in the middle. I felt that the stories didn’t really connect – the link between them being far two tenuous. So I was happy when my publisher, Bookouture, gave me the chance to rewrite Peacocks Dancing. I had to completely get rid of the two original main characters, kill off  a couple others, resurrect one who had died in Peacocks Dancing, and give her a major role, and create an entirely new character, Janiki, who became a lead and in fact my favourite. The final result is The Lost Daughter of India, to be released on January 20th. It was far more work than I thought at the start, but I really enjoyed doing it, and I’m so glad to have rescued that book. I felt that the true story has come out at last. 

As for the huge chunk I cut from Peacocks Dancing: that too is a story in itself, and one day I shall be revising it for publication as a novella.

6) Which of your covers if your favourite and why?

Amazon UK
I like the most recent cover, The Lost Daughter of India, as well as The Sugar Planter’s Daughter cover the best.

7) Have you ever thought about changing genres, if so what else would you like to write?

I don’t think I’ll ever change genres in adult fiction. But I might one day write for children and/or young adults (I’m a grandma now!) and I’m pretty certain I’ll be writing non-fiction before long – books on spirituality, meditation and the like.

8) Looking forward can you let us know what you are working on next?

I’ll be writing the third book in the Quint Chronicles trilogy, and then looking into some of my trunked books – there are several!

9) I dare not ask for a favourite author, but is there any author’s back catalogue you admire and why?

Right now I’m in the middle of Lucinda Riley’s Seven Sisters series and I’ve loved the first three books – I can’t wait for the next. In a completely other genre – and certainly not typical for my normal taste in books – I adore John LeCarre’s back catalogue, especially his early books.

10) Finally, is there anything else you would like to say about your back catalogue of books?

There was a space of ten years between my last HarperCollins novel and my first Bookouture one, in which I wrote one book after the other – novels, memoirs, non-fiction, only a few of which have been published. They all need revising and polishing,  but they’re pretty OK, and one day they will all be out there. So, watch this space!

My Facbook page is
My website is

Sharon Maas on Amazon 

What a fascinating publication story for The Lost Daughter of India, which is out now. Thank you so much for sharing with us Sharon, and I'm envious of the rich range of countries that you have lived in.

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