Interview with an Author: Sharon St. George on Plotting

Sharon St. George

Sharon St. George

It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Sharon St. George,  author of the hospital-based Aimee Machado Mystery series. Sharon draws on her past experience as a hospital librarian and medical staff coordinator when writing her hospital-based mystery series. She holds dual degrees in English and Theatre Arts and is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. She currently serves as program director for a 90-member nonprofit writers’ organization in northern California. For leisure, she enjoys wilderness llama packing.

Breach CoverJudy: Tell me a bit about your BREACH OF ETHICS, your latest novel.

Sharon: BREACH OF ETHICS (May, 2016 Camel Press) is the latest novel in my hospital-based Aimee Machado Mystery series. The first title was DUE FOR DISCARD (March, 2015 Camel Press) followed by CHECKED OUT (October, 2015 Camel Press).

Judy: You’re visiting today to talk about plotting. Every writer has their own method of getting the story down. What system works for you, and why?

due_for_discard_300Sharon: The crime or murder always involves or impacts the hospital where Aimee Machado works as a librarian specializing in forensics. I usually create five potential suspects, all of whom have some connection to the victim that offers a potential motive. Most of the suspects have connections to each other as well. Once I get that far, I hold off deciding who is guilty until after my protagonist and her team begin sleuthing. I’ve given Aimee friends, family and co-workers who have special skills, so that she has a pool of crime-solving talent to draw from. In real life, I have access to people with similar skills who are available to keep me from writing myself into a corner. By the time Aimee and her gang have gathered clues about each suspect, I have usually decided who did it and why. That’s when the real plotting work begins, which involves some revising from the beginning to weave in the necessary foreshadowing. Then I call on the special skills of my protagonist and her team of crimesolvers to crack the case.

Judy: Describe your writing process and/or a typical day in your life. 

Sharon: I write at home in the morning using a desktop computer and sipping coffee. My home office window looks out on our backyard garden, many oak trees, our llama pasture, and a distant vista of mountains to the west. To set the mood when I start to write each day, I’ve given each book in my series its own music, which I refer to throughout the story. Book one is country, book two is blues, and book three is classical piano. I create Pandora radio stations for each of my novels, and listen to the related music as I write. The book I’m working on now, SPINE DAMAGE, is fourth in the series. It involves a trip to the Azores, so I’ve just created a Pandora station of Portuguese fado music.

checked_out_300 (1)Judy: What’s the best writing advice you have ever read or been given?

Sharon: Write every day if at all possible. Find a like-minded critique group with writing skills equal to, or above, your own level.

Judy: What are you currently reading?

Sharon: I just finished Off the Grid by C. J. Box. I’m now reading Alexander McCall Smith’s The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine.

Judy: Do you read your genre when writing? If so, why? If not, why not?

Sharon: I do read my genre while writing, mostly for enjoyment, but always looking to improve my own craft by reading something done brilliantly by another author, such as McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series.

Thank you Sharon!

Find out more about Sharon and her books at

3 responses to “Interview with an Author: Sharon St. George on Plotting

  1. Sheri, Thanks for your comments. It’s fun to hear how others create. Best of luck with your writing.

  2. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks for stopping by Sheri! I listen to talk radio while I write 🙂

  3. Thanks, Judy. It’s always nice to hear how others write their stories and plan their plots. I love the music idea. I listen to singer song writers before I start creating new words, but I need quiet when I’m actually writing. Another author to check out! Great post, Sharon St. George.

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