What Inspires Us?

My guest today is author Sharon Black. I’d like to tell you a little bit about her.

Sharon grew up in Dublin. She studied history and politics at University College Dublin and then did post-graduate in journalism at Dublin City University.
She has worked for national newspapers, including The Evening Herald and The Irish Examiner.
Sharon had short stories published in U Magazine and won the 2010 Dromineer Literary Festival short story competition.
When she is not writing, she reads, walks, and sees friends. She co-founded a local book club 14 years ago. She loves theatre, old Hollywood films, science fiction, and good stand-up comedy.
She lives in a Dublin coastal village, with her husband and their three children.


Sharon 254 ac

Going Against Type is a romantic comedy, set against the backdrop of Dublin newspapers.
It’s the story is of two rival newspaper columnists, who write under pen names. Unknowingly, they fall in love with their bitter enemy: each other. They have good reason to keep their alter egos safe, so as their relationship blossoms, each is blissfully unaware of whom the other is. Until they are forced to reveal themselves….
My inspiration for Going Against Type, was the 1940s Hollywood film, Woman of the Year, starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracey. Hepburn played a high brow pundit, who rubbishes sport in one of her columns. Tracey is a sports columnist, defending his beloved sport. In the film, however, they meet quite quickly and despite knowing who the other person is, they fall in love.
In Going Against Type, I turned the stereotypes upside down. So Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Regan is the sports buff. At the beginning of the story, she is given a chance to write the new, anonymous sports column, Side Swipe.
My hero, Derry Cullinane is a fashion writer and also writes the back page gossip column The Squire for the rival paper. They fall in love, but they don’t discover that they’ve fallen for their bitter rival.
That build up was fun to write, but very challenging. Charlotte and Derry’s columns had to be sharp. That way, you could see a huge contrast between their weekly banter in their columns – and how they were with each other. It also meant there was more at stake.


Going Against Type by Sharon Black - 500



‘I hope you like Mexican food,’ said Derry as they drove from Charlotte’s house into the city centre on Thursday evening.
‘Well, I’d love to try it,’ Charlotte said, uncertainly.
‘Maybe another time, so. We’re actually going Greek tonight,’ Derry deadpanned.
Charlotte smiled and snuck a glance over at him from the passenger seat of his twelve year old, very beautiful Ferrari. She placed her hands tentatively over her stomach, trying to calm her nerves.
She’d spend an hour readying herself, much to Helen’s amusement.
‘Why are you so nervous, Charlotte? It’s just a date!’
‘Oh come on, Helen. The last guy I dated was Mr Uptight Conor, and before that I dated sports jocks. Derry is different. He’s Premier League status!’
‘And you’re Scumthorpe United? Take a look at yourself, woman!’
‘I’m not sure what he expects, but I’m not his type, Helen. I’m floundering.’
Helen caught Charlotte’s hands and forced her to meet her gaze.
‘Don’t you dare run yourself down, Charlotte Regan. You’re intelligent and totally gorgeous! But you need to do one thing!’
‘Allow yourself to be a woman! How do I put this without you taking it the wrong way? Don’t talk sport all night. You are incredibly bossy when you start. Let Derry take charge a bit. Allow him to be a man!’





13 thoughts on “What Inspires Us?

  1. Hi Anneli,
    It’s great to be here this evening. It’s night time now in Dublin, and it’s lovely to wind down by chatting with you like this. For years when I worked as a journalist, I was always fascinated by authors I interviewed, and I loved to hear what inspired them.
    Writing Going Against Type was great fun, but not without its challenges. The hardest thing to get right were the columns. They got the most rewriting, because they’re short, but they had to be sharp and witty, and capture the characters of my two columnists!
    x Sharon.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds like a wonderful book. Sharon, the cover is very attractive . The title is fun and you have a great premise. I’ve just downloaded it on my Kindle.
    Thanks, Anneli for this post! 🙂


  3. Thank you Carol! That’s really kind of you! My contribution to the cover was really just my desire to have Charlotte and Derry on it. I could see them so clearly in my head. But the wonderful design was of course, the publishers, Tirgearr Publishing, who handed the challenge to a fantastic designer, Elle Rossi.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, Anneli, you’re spot on. I think a lot of people thought the columns would have been the easiest for me to write, because I’d written a column myself for a short while, as a journalist.
    But I wasn’t writing as me. I was writing as Charlotte, a feisty, adventurous sports journalist. And then I was writing as Derry, a fashion-conscious, droll man-about-town. So I had to stay very firmly with them when I was writing. Because the thing about newspaper columns is that they are very personal, and a lot of the columnist’s character shines through. That’s what people relate to. And so I had to make sure that people could also relate to Charlotte and Derry through their columns.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly! You had to stay in their voice as well as make the content be something that they would say. I don’t think readers always realize what underlying challenges the author faces. So glad we can discuss it here.


  5. This book seems to have all the necessary features to attract a broad market .. a book front like that seen in a book shop, would certainly attract my eye even though romance is not really my cup of tea…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Morning all, just waking up here in Dublin. It’s interesting to hear the comments about the columns. That is the crux of the story, of course. And the fact that they’re penned anonymously. I had to be especially careful writing Charlotte’s. We see her in a couple of ‘Irish’ situations: a hurling match for example. But I had to make the columns more international.
    Speaking of hurling, it’s one of my favourite games to watch. Probably because it’s very fast and requires a lot of accuracy and balance. A lot of Irish children learn hurling and GAA football (quite different to soccer or rugby) at an early age, because there are GAA clubs in every parish right around the country. They’re great team sports.
    Not quite sure how I veered the conversation towards sport, but feel free to veer it back to something else!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s a bit hard to explain all right, especially if you’re trying to visualise it. The sticks are called hurleys and the balls are called sliotars (Irish word) and are really hard. The players now all wear special helmets with grids that go across their faces. And it’s a fast, fierce game. Up until about 20 years ago, no helmets were worn. Players often lost all their teeth! The great thing is, there are no professional GAA players. It’s an amateur sport, right up to senior levels.

    Liked by 1 person

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