J. Scott Sharp just released his first work – a Middle Grade novella called The Li5t of Five (currently it’s FREE, so grab your copy now!) I’m happy to welcome him to my blog today to talk a little about the inspiration behind the story and the themes he explores.
I was so excited when Rebecca asked me to write a guest post for her blog, first because she is so great…but also because I am a huge fan. A loved “Foreign Identity.” L-O-V-E-D- I-T! In addition, she is just about the kindest person I have met on social media. I just want to thank her from the bottom of my heart for letting me hijack her blog to talk about the question that I answer more than any other.
Since I published “The List of Five” on September 29th, I get the same question. How did I come up with the idea for this book and why did I write it?
I am a firm believer that books don’t come from the thin air. There is always a piece of the writer in every book. There are so many pieces of me in The List of Five.
I wanted a opportunity to talk about some things that matter to me and still write a captivating story that would engage readers.
For instance, I wanted to go back to a day when I played Dungeons and Dragons. I loved that game. I am a true introvert. This is also something that only a few people know about me. I prefer to be alone, until I don’t. My mind does not recharge by being around people. It recharges by being alone. I love people and I do love being around them, but I recharge by being alone. Dungeons and Dragons was the first time that I had true friends that had a common interest in something that I liked. Does it make me a geek? Maybe. I wear that mantle with pride.
I also wanted to explore loss again. I write about it in my short story “Not Even There” and it is a theme I will keep exploring. The loss of youth. The loss of family. The loss of naivete. I am sometimes surprised at how much loss young people experience in their lives, and how resilient they can be when faced with it. I’ve looked back in my own life and realized that I have lost many times. I know that this is a fictional book and much of what happens in it will never happen to anyone, but fantasy and horror is the medium I paint in, so I will continue to explore the human fabric with a broad brush packed with the tint of fantasy and horror.
Betrayal is another theme that I keep going back to again and again. I wanted to explore what it is like to be the betrayer and the betrayed. This novella begins a look at this theme, but the theme will carry on for a couple of more books.
Much of this I already wrote about on my blog, but there was something else too. I wanted to write about different types of love. I wrote about a boy’s love for his mom. I wrote about a boy’s first love and the uncertainty of that. I wrote about a boy’s love for his friends and how quickly that can all change at times.
Last, music has played a big part in the creation of “The List of Five.” I cannot write to music without words. Lyrics do not distract me. They fill me with wonder while I write. They feed my mind and keep it pumping out the paragraphs. When I wrote “Not Even There,” I was filled with the words to the song “In the Air Tonight” BY Phil Collins. When I wrote “The List of Five” my head…and my ears were filled with the Eminem “Lose Yourself.”
I won’t tell you why…somethings must remain a mystery.
Come see me!
The Li5t of Five
Young teen Richie Lyons is having an uneventful summer, playing games with his friends. He even has a birthday on the way. However, his uneventful life is shattered when he wakes up, on the morning of his thirteenth birthday, with a list of names pounding through his brain. A list that contains the names of those he cares about most. As if that wasn’t enough, he keeps having a recurring waking dream of a fire that is threatening to take the life of his mom and sister.
Richie must fight to understand this recurring list and the visions he is having. Are they prophetic, foretelling an actual occurrence, or a waking nightmare threatening his sanity? In addition, what does the list have to do with the newest local ministry and the strange pastor who came to Richie’s door?
The more Richie discovers, the less he understands.
When Richie finally begins to understand, it may be too late for himself and everyone else that he cares about.
There is one thing Richie knows for certain.
He may have to grow up much faster than he ever wanted to grow, because there is something very wrong with his visions, and there is something frightening about the list of five.
About J. Scott Sharp
J. Scott Sharp has been writing for much of his considerable life, but only just now decided to take it seriously at 47. This makes him a little crazy. At least his wife Marti and his two dogs, Sumo and Tnur think so.
He has his Associates degree in psychology, which qualifies him for nothing except understanding what you’re thinking. At least he likes to think so. He also thinks he understands what you’re feeling, but that’s a whole other problem.
He lives in Arizona where he splits his time between watching TV on DVD, working, and writing. His hobbies include stage and close-up magic and reading until his eyes won’t stay open. Closed eyes make it harder to do stage magic, but he tries.
He is the author of short stories Not Even There, Three Blackbirds, and Cold-blooded.
The List of Five is his first novella.
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