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IRDA Winning Author Sharon CassanoLochman: “Validation was the hardest part of being an indie author.”

Indie Reader Discovery Award

Stranded on Thin Ice was the winner in the Action/Adventure category of the 2019 IndieReader Discovery Awards, where undiscovered talent meets people with the power to make a difference.

Following find an interview with author Sharon CassanoLochman.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

Stranded on Thin Ice by Sharon CassanoLochman was published October 31, 2017.

What’s the book’s first line?

“I ran my clammy palms down the front of my jacket.”

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.

Twelve-year-old Tanner Phillips fishes the Oneida Lake Ice Fishing Derby every year with his dad. Last year, he ruined everything—losing the competition and losing some of his grandfather’s gear. This year, Tanner is determined to not only prove his skills on the ice but also show his dad, once and for all, that he’s no longer a little kid.

But as soon as they get out on the ice, the competition turns disastrous.

When one of the competitors goes missing, and another gets injured, Tanner’s father must leave Tanner and his new friend, Richie, alone on the ice. After their ice hut comes unhitched, Tanner and Richie find themselves blown across the frozen lake in a blinding snowstorm.

Alone. Without their cell phones. Trapped, on thin ice. Suddenly, it isn’t just about the winning the derby—it’s about life and death. In one perilous night, Tanner will have to prove not to his father, but to himself, that he has the courage and determination to survive.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?

I’ve always been an avid angler having spent many years on the ice and open water trying to hook the big one. One day I was heading out for an afternoon of ice fishing when I passed a dad with two young children in tow. I could feel the children’s excitement of having shared a morning on the ice with their dad. Their noses were running, and their cheeks were beet red as they eagerly scuffled next to dad swooshing their bulky snow boots across the ice. That afternoon I sat in my ice-fishing hut and started recording the condition of the ice and all the sensations that I had taken for granted for so many years. The story unfolded as easily as the canvas on my hut.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character? Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of?

I think the most distinctive thing about the main character Tanner Phillips is the courage he displayed facing his reckoning with nature and his desire to prove himself a worthy adversary to the other anglers. Tanner reminds me of my children when they were teetering at manhood.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?

Stranded on Thin Ice is more than a page-turning, heart-pounding action/adventure. It is a story built around compassion, friendship, and facing the unknown with courage.

When did you first decide to become an author?

I decided in 2013 that I would start writing full-time. I was almost sixty and found myself, not unlike my character Tanner Phillips, teetering on a life-altering decision of which I have never regretted.

Is this the first you’ve written?

Stranded on Thin Ice was my first novel, followed immediately with Man with the Sand Dollar Face and Volume 1-3 of Spiritual Verse Today, which is now also a podcast.

What do you do for work when you’re not writing?

I am a full-time writer, a consultant for those stepping off the writing edge, and a book reviewer.

How much time do you generally spend on your writing?

I write daily.

What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?

Validation was the hardest part of being an indie author.

What’s a great piece of advice that you can share with fellow indie authors?

Take the required time to produce quality writing. Join writing groups and learn your craft. When you’ve taken your work as far as you can on your own, seek quality editors and then follow up with the recommended revisions. Finally, when it comes to formatting, be sure to produce a quality novel that can stand toe-to-toe with a traditionally published work. Take out blank pages, extra spaces between paragraphs, and be sure to indent paragraphs.

Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling?  If so, why?

I would consider a traditional publisher for the right reasons. I would like to see my book taken to international markets and made as a movie.

Is there something in particular that motivates you?

I am spiritually motivated and look at writing as divinely inspired.

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?

I most admire Maya Angelou and John Steinbeck.

Which book do you wish you could have written?

I wish I could have written The Grapes of Wrath.