Interview with Shari Low
1) Could you tell a bit about yourself?
I started writing at 30, when I had my first mid-life crisis (I’ve had several since then) and decided to finally pen the novel that had been in my head for ages. By some masterstroke of luck, I got a publishing deal with that first book. Seventeen novels later, I juggle writing with being a mum, a wife, and a friend to a group of chums who are usually to be found in my kitchen, sorting out the world. Oh, and I write under the names Shari Low, Ronni Cooper, and I’m one half of Shari King, with TV presenter Ross King, who has been my mate since we were teenagers and hanging out in Glasgow nightclubs pretending to be grown up and sophisticated.
2) The Story of Our Life is about love at first sight. What are your thoughts on that subject?
The first time I saw my husband he was walking down a corridor towards me in a smart suit and I immediately decided he was arrogant, suave and way too pleased with himself. One of my flaws is my tendency to be a tad judgmental. I’m not proud. Anyway, about thirty seconds later, he reached me, smiled, and I decided he was mine. Another flaw is my rash spontaneity.
Thankfully he felt the same and a week later he asked me to marry him. That was over twenty years ago and I can absolutely confirm that he is in no way arrogant, suave or way too pleased with himself.
3) Which five words would best describe Colm and which five words would best describe Shauna?
Colm: Attractive. Sexy. Funny. Irresponsible. Flawed.
Shauna: Strong. Funny. Loyal. Honest. Flawed.
4) You write about trouble in relationships. What do you find the most interesting about this topic?
I’m fascinated by imperfection, in people, in friendships, in love. I make mistakes regularly (see rash judgement above), as do most people, and I’m intrigued by the concepts of love, acceptance and forgiveness. But I also think there has to be an element of self-preservation and knowing when to walk away from a toxic situation, be it a lover or a friend.
5) Besides relationships friendships are important in your books. What makes a good friend in your opinion?
Honesty. Even when it’s brutal or tough to hear. I think a great friend is one who listens to you, who will do anything they can to support and help you, but who refuses to let you wallow or feel sorry for yourself. And one who makes you laugh, even when life is rubbish and tears are falling down your face. It also helps if they have a never-ending supply of wine, tea and chocolate snacks.
6) What’s your biggest dream when it comes to your writing career?
I just want to be able to keep on doing it and making a living from it. Although a spectacular movie deal that would allow me to move to Malibu and write on golden sands would be lovely.
7) I love that you write about relationships that could be real, why have you chosen that direction?
Because they are the only relationships that make sense to me. When I’m writing I want to feel the people I’m creating are authentic and true to life, so that the readers believe them and become immersed in their story.
8) What does romance mean to you?
It used to be crazy love, and passion, and laughs, and talking long into the night. Now? Twenty something years down the line, it’s probably the fact that no matter what, we still laugh every day, and in any situation I can catch his eye and know he’s on my side.
9) Forgiveness is a topic you write about a lot, what makes it so fascinating to explore?
There are so many variables and I find it endlessly interesting to try to understand what makes one person forgive, and another person walk away.
10) What are your plans for the future?
I’m writing my next novel now and hopefully there will be many more after that. Writing aside, I’d just like my children to get through their teens and still like me, my husband to still think I’m funny twenty years from now, and to keep living my current life, with great friends and loads of good times.
And if I’m allowed to dream really big, I’d like to get back into size twelve jeans and make it to that beach house in Malibu.
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Review by Suze
Colm and Shauna's relationship was easy at first. They mainly had fun together and that's exactly Colm's area of expertise. When after a few years of being married things started to get difficult they faced their first problems. They went through happy and sad times together and fifteen years later they are still married. They're working hard to give their daughter as much love and joy as they possibly can. The news they get changes all the plans they have for their future. Will Colm and Shauna be strong enough together to face what's happening to them?
The Story of Our Life is a beautiful heartbreaking story. I shed plenty of tears while I was reading it. Colm and Shauna are authentic characters, they aren't perfect, they have their flaws and they struggle through life just like everyone else. I loved that about this book. It's real, raw and honest. That's also why it made me sad, because it's so realistic. I was mad at the main characters quite a few times. They sometimes make stupid decisions or don't think at all which leads to complex situations. I often liked them, but disliked them every now and then as well, because they're human and they make mistakes, which is exactly the reason why this book is so special.
Shari Low has a vivid writing style. She's good at expressing emotions and for me it was easy to both understand and feel them. The Story of Our Life is gripping and incredibly moving. There were wonderful moments and grief at the same time. There's a lot of depth and Shari Low thoroughly describes the feelings of her characters. I always understood their way of thinking. Both Shauna and Colm are trying to make sense of the rollercoaster that is life and Shari Low has written about that in a creative and compelling way.
The Story of Our Life is a fantastic book. Sometimes a book doesn't have to bring happiness. I felt the sadness in my heart and there is a lot of beauty in that as well. The Story of Our Life is a novel that has definitely left a lasting impression and I highly recommend it.