Sharon DarrowName: Sharon S Darrow

Book Title: From Hindsight to Insight: A Traditional to Metaphysical Memoir

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What is your book about? My book is based on the premise that there are no accidents in life, and that everything we experience teaches and strengthens us. The true stories, all experiences from my life, include a wide range of subjects, from suicide to Hells Angels, bi-polar disorder, families, Congressmen, Alzheimer’s, kittens, ghosts, animal communication, children, autism, building a business, National Association of Professional Women, reincarnation, cancer, dealing with death, business failure, spirituality, business success, Syda Yoga, knife-wielding hitchhikers, and more.

What inspired you to write your book? I often find myself including stories to illustrate an idea, both in casual conversation and during talks for different groups. The stories entertain while inspiring people to think about the experiences that most influenced them in their own lives.  Sharing the most meaningful of the stories with others in a book was a natural step.

Can you describe your writing process? I’m not one who can sit down and makes myself write for a specific number of words or length of time. Instead, the ideas percolate in my mind, then come pouring out when they are ready. I particularly like writing late at night, just before going to sleep. Of course, then I have to review and edit first thing the following morning! 

How did you come to do what you’re doing today? I started my business because I had to—a family business closed after more than 20 years in 2008, and I had no choice but to create my own company to survive. That meant learning to network and market my business, in spite of the fact that prior to creating the business I’d considered myself a hermit who liked animals much better than people. To my shock, I found networking fun, most people wonderful in their own ways, and a life that just gets better and better. I fully expect to be actively creating new books and projects until I’m at least 100.

Can you describe a typical day in your life? My schedule has to be flexible. Business orders and customer inquiries need to be handled quickly, and they get first priority. Any given day might include meetings or classes for my photo ID company, related to writing, or about animal rescue. The schedule sometimes gets tossed aside for an emergency kitten call, when someone needs to bring some little ones for me to examine. Once the status of the babies is determined, I then give hands-on lessons in kitten care to the foster family before sending them on their way with a care package of kitten supplies. Our personal animals also require attention—all three cats and our Great Dane. And even after 49 years of marriage my husband, Stan, still wants some personal attention each day. Actually, he’s a great guy, my most loving and staunch supporter, and my most important priority of all.

What do you most enjoy about what you do? I love the flexibility, the constant challenges to create new ideas, and most of all, the fun of working with an ever-changing variety of people.

Are there any people and/or books that have inspired you along your journey? Many people have inspired me, one of whom just recently passed away. Mrs. Lesley Saladin, my English and drama teacher from Encina High School here in Sacramento, demanded that we all be the absolute best we could be. When I saw her at a reunion many years ago, she listened to me tell her about my husband and children, then said I’d explained my relationships, but she wanted to know what I’d accomplished in my life. I’ve never forgotten that question.

One of my favorite authors is Richard Bach. His book Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, has been a favorite for decades. I love books that can be read on multiple levels, that keep giving something new each time. I can’t count the number of times I’ve read it, nor can I count the number of copies I’ve given away as gifts.

Another favorite book is The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. Mystical, beautiful, inspirational! It’s my favorite gift for weddings, the perfect guide for creating a fulfilling life. 

Can you share something that people may be surprised to learn about you? People might be surprised to know that I’m an expert on raising bottle-fed orphan kittens. The first kitten arrived in 1988, the first of 511 that I raised over more than 20 years. My first book, Bottlekatz: A Complete Care Guide for Orphan Kittens, is used as a training manual for rescue groups all over the United States and the United Kingdom. And my other animal-rescue-related book, Faces of Rescue: Cats, Kittens and Great Danes, contains stories and color pictures of many of the animals who passed through our home through the years.

What’s next for you? My next writing project will be my first fiction book, based on the life of my maternal grandmother. She was born in Indian Territory in Oklahoma in 1903, died one month before my wedding in 1966, and endured challenges that are almost beyond belief. Other than that, who knows what life will bring. I’ve come to believe that it just gets better as long as each new day is greeted with love, optimism, and enthusiasm.

Is there anything else you would like to add? I grew up the proverbial book worm, trusting and loving the characters in books more than people. Animals were my next love, and the only reason I wrote the first book was to help save kitten lives by sharing knowledge accumulated the hard way over many years. Now, the opportunity to meet more and more people in the writing community is such a thrill. It’s almost like a child getting to work in Santa’s workshop, a dream come true. What a perfect culmination to a life filled with the joy of reading!