Sharon Tyers – Q&A

Sharon Tyers
Sharon Tyers

Sharon Tyers has had many careers since growing up in Leicester in the 60s : RAF medic, saleswoman, marketing manager and English Teacher. None of them were planned and they remain a very spontaneous person. They never ever planned to be a writer either. They have two wonderful children, Rachel and Max who both live and work in London and they enjoy long walks with my partner, Lewis and their spaniel, Lola in the stunning Vale of Clwyd.

Sharon can be found at:
Instagram: @sharontyerswrites
Substack: Sharon’s Substack

What inspired you to write your debut novel

I moved to a medieval town called Denbigh in North Wales and bought a Georgian cottage. The deeds are a work of art and signed by a woman called Patty who owned the house in 1838. I re imagined her life in those times, called her Martha and fabricated a tragic tale. The times must have been grim and cholera arrived as well as the building of the North Wales Lunatic Asylum for Paupers so all had to be included in my tale.

What came first, characters or the world?

Other than Patty(Martha) definitely the world. Denbigh is a most historic place so the castle, workhouses, hospitals, cock pit, bleach works ( hence Linen in the title) inspired me and all are included. The characters took a long time to come and I began to panic but a dear neighbour arrived one day with a suitcase full of old photographs from a car boot sale and I picked my characters from nameless real people. I pinned them up in front of me and invented their stories.

Linen and Rooks
Linen and Rooks

How long did it take to write?

I began in 2019 after retiring at the end of 2018. The arrival of Covid kept me indoors and able to write more than if we were busy outside and as that came to an end I was diagnosed with breast cancer so that continued to keep me in. Had neither of those things happened I don’t think I would have a novel which was self published with a delightful local printer in 2022.

What kind of reaction have you had to your book?
I have struggled to get independent reviews which are so needed. I do not sell online so I guess that doesn’t help. Friends and family say wonderful things about it but they would, wouldn’t they? I know some find it a difficult read as the structure is erratic and not chronological but some love it for its richness of poetic language which was so
Important to me.

Would you consider writing outside of your current genre?
Yes, I’d love to write a comic piece. I love listening to conversations and a kind of ‘ Under Milk Wood’ is a real ambition..

Currently I am working on a kind of memoir, inspired by my mums life as a sock linker in Leicester. She has been battling with dementia these last six years and is bed ridden and unrecognisable from the woman she was when I was growing up. I am trying to give her a voice now she no longer has one.

It’s called ‘The Wrong Socks’ as she always bought home the cast offs which my sister and I had to wear much to our horror.

It even features Cardinal Wolsey (Wolsey Socks was in Leicester too) and of course Richard III because I am still incredulous he was under the car park I walked past in the early 70s to get my bus home.

My current read

The House of Broken Bricks by Fiona Williams, who won the Bridport Prize. I am very moved by her choice of language which is just my cup of tea and is so very beautiful . I’m enjoying the short chapters which I also used in my writing; it feels like poetry and someone said that about my writing which was my best compliment ever.

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