Creative From Birth
Updated: May 6
This week I am welcoming debut author Sharon Wagner to the blog. Her first book, The Levitation Game, will be available this coming summer.
Sharon Wagner is a warm-weather nomad, beach bum, and travel junkie. Roaming to exotic beaches and jungle ruins is grueling work, but the perfect winter temperature needs investigating, and she’s willing to make the sacrifice. Costa Rica has the best January temperatures this side of the equator and beaches ideally suited for wandering feet—or tails; she’s a Pisces.
What else? She’s an inexhaustible travel blogger, spirit investigator (liquid, not ethereal), cat wrangler, amateur photographer, baker of sweets, and freelance illustrator of children’s books, including Maya Monkey.
A creative from birth, she never stops dreaming of supernatural worlds to unravel with words.
Sharon has loved a good ghost story since her high school English teacher, Mrs. Laverty, praised her book report on Charles Dicken’s classic, A Christmas Carol. But real-life tales of her aunt’s psychic dreams and child-like curiosity about extraterrestrial abductions ignited a spooky flame. Television shows like The Planet of the Apes and all the hoopla surrounding the Bermuda Triangle fueled the fire.
Her mother’s antique typewriter was the catalyst that triggered her shift from illustrating children’s books to painting with words. The old typewriter was the sole survivor of the auction that preceded the sale of her family farm. After the auctioneer rattled his final call, the typewriter remained, and she took it as a sign. Three manuscripts and much literary drama ensued until Sharon’s debut novel, The Levitation Game, was given the green light by Ten16 Press.
Sharon lives in Minneapolis with her nice husband and two naughty cats.
An Interview with Sharon Wagner
Your bio on your website mentions that you’ve been “a creative from birth” and made a transition from illustrating children’s books to writing. Was the transition an easy or hard one to make? Why? Are there any creative similarities between illustrating a story and writing one?
Being an artist helped with one of the building blocks of writing: showing instead of telling. Visuals are easier. I see details that others miss in daily life. I can spot a bird in the brush faster than my husband. Sometimes it’s a curse to be so keen and sensitive, but it helps with writing. Creating a novel from the ether brings joy.
Crafting a beautiful sentence is as vital to me as painting a beautiful scene. But achieving success with writing is even more difficult than illustrating children’s books. There is a steep learning curve with writing that never straightens out. Plus, I may have to open a vein for every potential book sale.
For fun: You’ve mentioned you love to travel and have a travel blog. So, here’s a fun question: If you could spend the next year living anywhere in the world while writing a book that set in the same place—where would that be and why?
Most people that know me would assume I would pick Costa Rica. It’s my favorite place in the world—so far. But it is sweltering and potentially rainy outside of January. So, I’d pick Savannah, Georgia, since that’s where my next novel takes place. I love Savannah. It’s near Tybee Island and my favorite US beach, Botany Bay, South Carolina. I’d spend many pleasant hours sipping a martini near Forsythe Park, contemplating my new novel.
Please tell us a little about your upcoming release, The Levitation Game.
Esme Wright can levitate objects as effortlessly as humming a tune, except when she lands
her first big break as an aspiring magician. Then, defying gravity goes horribly and embarrassingly awry.
After Esme’s failure on live television, a mysterious reunion with her childhood friend, Joseph Estrada, instigates a vortex of levitation, both frightening and bizarre. Since Joseph already fears Diablo possesses him, this new disturbance seals his sinister fate. Soon, strange signs appear, drawing them deeper into a supernatural puzzle.
Esme and Joseph must uncover the truth before a deadly levitation mishap ensues. They embark on an odyssey to unearth the secrets of their past, and what they find may change their future forever.
Ultimately, the levitation game might be impossible to win—or survive—without answers from the stars.
What inspired you to write The Levitation Game?
I love my origin story. I was touring Sedona, Arizona, researching my first unpublished manuscript. One night, I dreamt of levitating over my bed with increasing fear and dread. As my fear intensified, I levitated higher until an enormous pop erupted around me. Sedona’s power grid failed in my dream, sending the town into near blackness. At the same time, I fell into my sheets. Bad dream, right?
I traveled home. But I kept dreaming about levitation until I listened to the universe and started writing, The Levitation Game.
How much research did you conduct for The Levitation Game and what was the most interesting thing you did while conducting your research?
I researched archaeology. Other book details came to me through daily life, reading books and newspaper articles, and even watching Ancient Aliens on television. I saved science-section-related content and made impulse notes on my iPhone. I woke up in the night and scribbled notes, too. Oddly enough, I gathered quite a bit of intel from the book, The Genius of Birds. The most exciting thing I did for research was visiting Guatemala!
What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your work?
The essential theme in my novel is the power of sound. Since I suffer from misophonia, sound affects my daily life in beautiful, bitter, and malevolent ways. Sound can be as pleasurable as a trilling mockingbird or as undesirable as someone chewing a wad of gum—my kryptonite. Why do people eat with their mouths closed around the dining table, then chew with an open mouth when they chomp gum? Ugh!
Plus, kindness and saving our beautiful planet are also inserted invisibly between the lines of prose.
What are some of your biggest writing influences and what have you learned from them?
Even though my novels don’t fit the romance genre, there is still a thread of love. Romantic entanglements are a big chunk of life, after all. Growing up, I perused my mom’s bookshelves, and romance reigned supreme.
Religion is also a recurring backdrop because it is essential to many people. I read as a part-time job and learn from every single book. But my favorite author is Silvia Moreno Garcia. I aspire to be like her, switching between paranormal, horror, supernatural, sci-fi, etc. After reading The House of the Spirits recently, my new favorite author is Isabel Allende!
Can you give us a sneak peak into what you’re working on next, and what readers can expect from your future books?
While researching modern-day witchcraft for my upcoming supernatural novel, I found a Wiccan rede (a moral code) that stuck with me, “Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill: An ye harm none, do what you will.”
I wish the world could coexist like this.
My novel follows a coven of earth-focused green witches. Green witches are nature lovers that are in tune with the universe. They heal with herbs and embrace the energy of nature and animals. I tried to create real-life witches, not movie cliches. Even so, I swept up plenty of magic!
In The Savannah Book of Spells, readers meet Owletta, the coven’s serious-minded supreme. She has large owl-like eyes that see paranormal visions. Her power of clairvoyance influences the coven in peculiar and impractical ways.
Nettle, the coven’s dark and prickly member, has the power of clairgustance. The ability of supernatural taste ensures that Nettle is a talented herbalist, concocting spells that may or may not align with the covens’ moral code.
Wren, the coven’s youngest member, and merry sweet waif, has clairaudience. She hears a relentless supernatural soundtrack that might guide the coven into the light or lead them into danger.
Sensual and seductive, Willow has the power of clear touching or clairtangency, a power that can be an inspiration or a mighty curse.
The book begins with a terrifying incident that will forever change the coven’s future. After an untimely death, the coven relocates to Savannah, Georgia, settling into Owletta’s ancestral home. Soon, they expand their online store Global Witchery, opening a brick-and-mortar location on Bullstreet. Things simmer like sweet herbal tea until an uninvited guest stirs up a cauldron of irregularities, forcing the coven to fight for more than their lives, possibly their mortal souls.
Where can readers and fans find out more about you and your books?
You can visit my website at https://sharonwagnerbooks.com/
Plus, preorders are open at Ten16 Press!
Thanks for joining us, Sharon!
Until next time, check out The Levitation Game!
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About the Author
Thanks to a family with a grand imagination and a love for books of all kinds, Joie learned to value a heartfelt story. Early on she realized writing and storytelling were as essential to her as oxygen. She recorded her first story at six and finished her first novel at twelve. The Passenger is Joie’s first published novel.