"As an elementary reading specialist for thirty-five years, I never saw myself becoming an author," Sharon reveals.
"That was until I started writing science plays for some of my classes. The young students were having trouble understanding the science textbooks, so I made up funny plays with songs and art activities to help them learn. The plays were a hit and they were published by Pieces of Learning as Primary Science Readers Theatre in 2002.
"That was when I joined SCBWI and became a member of a children’s author critique group. I attended many workshops and seminars and my writing skills have improved considerably in the last twelve years.
"Since I retired and moved to Virginia, I have had four more books published and one coming out in February. I continue to look for topics that interest me, whether it is fiction or nonfiction. Many times I find ideas when we travel or from books I have read."
This is how she came up with the idea for the story.
"I was inspired to write it after reading a 'fun fact' in the lid of my favorite iced tea," Sharon said. "It said, 'The average lead pencil can draw a line 35 miles long'.
"From there, I let my imagination run wild. I created a fictitious small town with eight-year-old twins, Sam and Abby. They are not looking forward to another boring summer, but lo and behold, when Abby reads the fun fact in her lemonade lid, it all changes.
"The twins set out to prove this fact and to earn scout badges if they do. It takes most of the summer for them to accomplish their goal and they not only earn scout badges, but they get their pictures in the newspaper. Sam also gets into better physical shape and Abby improves in math, all skills needed for this project. So it turned out to be an adventurous fun summer for Sam and Abby after all.
"It doesn’t take much to get me inspired for a new project. In this case, I created twins so both boys and girls would want to read How a Lemonade Lid Changed My Summer. The story needed a bit of tension so I threw in a neighborhood bully and had Sam lose "the pencil" near the end. It all gets resolved with the twins gaining scout badges, but more importantly, self-confidence.
"I am always inspired by real or make-believe stories where there is an underdog. Sam was the underdog at the beginning of the project but not at the end. Some of the nonfiction picture book biographies I have written are true stories about underdogs. When they overcome obstacles, it really inspires me."
Sharon's other books are:
Primary Science Readers Theatre (Pieces of Learning)
A Walk with Grandpa (Raven Tree Press)
Cathy Williams Buffalo Soldiers (Pelican Publishing)
Christopher Newport Jamestown Explorer (Pelican Publishing)
Lewis Tewanima Born to Run (Pelican Publishing February 2014)
All books can be ordered from the above publishers, from Amazon, and from Barnes and Noble.
To learn more about Sharon's books, drop by her website:
You'll be surprised just what you can achieve!