Behind the Scenes of Jingo Street by Sharon Ervin

I'm pleased to welcome back novelist and former newspaper reporter Sharon Ervin to SlingWords.

Sharon, the mother of four grown children, has a B.A. degree in journalism from Oklahoma University, and she lives in McAlester, Oklahoma, with her husband. Sharon writes novels laced with a little romance.

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by Sharon Ervin

A woman stopped me after I had addressed a readers’ group. “My life will make a terrific book,” she said. “Absolutely fascinating. I’ll dictate, you can write it, and we’ll split the money.”

Immediately behind her an older fellow stepped up to say he had a great story I could write and he wouldn’t even ask for part of the proceeds.

I am always polite to “closet writers.” Audiences are full of them. I suggest they visit a writers’ group and maybe write their proposed books themselves.

The woman I mentioned said she, quite frankly, didn’t have time to do it, but it was a book that, “simply must be written.”

Not by me, honey.

Of course, I didn’t say that.

The man, on the other hand, a soft-spoken country fellow who was a long-haul truck driver, said he “didn’t have the words,” to do it. I asked what he meant. He said he was never good in school, English classes most of all. He was the oldest of twelve children, raised on a farm back in the woods in a house that didn’t even have running water. He wanted to write the stories about his growing up, little vignettes, as a gift for his parents and the rest of his family.

He provided an entertaining sampling. I suggested he buy a recorder and dictate stories while he was driving, then attend one of our writers’ meetings and share. We might be able to find someone willing to help him.

Hearing his stories, his wife dusted off her typing skills and began printing off his verbal renderings. They were marvelous!

Guess What

He came to writers’ meetings, entered one of his stories in the state writing contest and won first place in the short story category his first time out. Then he stopped, dictating, meeting, everything. When I ran into him at the grocery store, I asked what happened? Nothing, he said, he just didn’t want to do it any more.

I try to encourage people who want to write, short of doing it for them. I have ideas of my own igniting constantly, like popcorn. Where do I get my ideas? I am assailed by them. Yesterday was a perfect example.

Writers Are Nosy

Waiting for my son at a medical clinic, I saw a young woman, thirty-ish, sitting alone on a bench outside the facility, mopping her eyes and blowing her nose. She stood, drew a deep breath, squared her shoulders, and went inside. What was up with her? I am insatiably nosy.

Moments later, my son emerged. The woman followed him out. She was no longer alone. She was pushing a baby stroller. The occupant, maybe four or five months old, was slouched. The woman’s posture and the expression on her face were resolute.

What was going on? Who had the baby while the woman was outside pulling herself together? Was there another parent to share her concern? Other family members? That little setup created story ideas galore, and that was not the only one.

But Wait, There's More

At home, I received an e-mail from a classmate. His English professor wife had been walking from her car into a hospital to visit her sister. The next thing she knew she was in the emergency room her jaw broken in two places, a cracked skull and cheekbone, her nose broken and she was blind in one eye. She had no memory of what happened. She thought she might have fainted and fallen.

My sleuth-bent brain would not process that explanation. Injuries that extensive must have been caused by something more intense: a hit-and-run, or a mugger. I sent my thoughts to the classmate. In the rush at the hospital to make decisions regarding his wife’s treatment, he hadn’t thought much about the cause of her injuries, but I was not alone in my suspicions. Hospital security had called the police.

All right!

A writer doesn’t need a lot. Real life presents more ideas than I can handle. Don’t tell a writer you’ve got a great idea for a story. S/he has, too. Also, if you are a writer, don’t whine to me about writer’s block. I simply don’t have time.

Inspiration for Latest Book

Let me tell you about the inspiration for my latest book, Jingo Street.

I live in McAlester, Oklahoma, the home of the state's maximum security prison. This is where Oklahoma carries out the death penalty, which we do several times a year, usually without the problems that occurred last time out, gaining national attention.

Inmates on death row keep themselves in surprisingly good physical condition, working out, eating well, etc. Any health problems are tackled immediately. It seems odd to me that we are concerned that a man sentenced to death should be in top condition before he is executed. Pondering that, I thought about harvesting organs from those healthy donors. Of course, a lethal injection nullifies that, so we "throw out the baby with the bathwater."

Writers' imaginations are liable to carry them anywhere. I'm a writer. Anyway, that was the premise that prompted me to write Jingo Street. I visited the prison, as I did in my earlier life as a newspaper reporter, to ask salient questions and do additional research. The characters are fictional, but several are drawn close to real people.

About Jingo Street

Max Marco murdered his first man when he was eight years old, launching a successful career as a professional hit man. Max is 36 years old and semi-retired when he meets Anne Krease, 24, a naive young lawyer who grew up sheltered like a hothouse flower. When these badly mismatched people meet, the chemistry between them sizzles. Jingo Street is not your run-of-the-mill, happily-ever-after romance, but rather women's fiction.

Buy Jingo Street from Amazon

Currently, Jingo Street is available only in print at Amazon, but the other print book sellers will have it soon. The ebook will be available in January.

To buy from another bookseller, just give them the title, the publisher which is Oak Tree Press, and this ISBN: 978-1-61009-133-6. Any bookseller can order it for you.

Takeaway Truth

Wow! Now that sounds like an interesting premise. Grab a copy before the weekend.


  1. Thank you, Joan, for telling your friends about me and JINGO STREET.

    1. My pleasure, Sharon. I've got to laugh. We sure had a lot of problems bringing this post to readers it seems. Some technical snafu kept it from publishing this morning at 4:30. Guess it's gremlins in the blogosphere.

      I'm looking forward to reading Jingo Street.

  2. JINGO STREET showed up on first. Now it's even available on the publisher's website. Progress! Maybe it will make Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million and others soon. Whew! You, Joan, were one of the first to find it. Good job.