Sharon Siamon was the editor who “discovered” me, the first friendly voice at the other end of the phone who told me she loved my work. This would have been Blueberries and Whipped Cream. She couldn’t use it but suggested I send it to her husband Jeff Siamon at Canada Publishing.
Jeff published it in 1988. How lucky I was! The book sold to Australia, and a movie producer bought options. Years later my agent resold rights to it in Norway, Sweden and Germany. (This is the same agent to whom Shari introduced me.)
More importantly, how lucky I was to know Shari. Her voice always sounded like she was smiling. I liked hearing it so much, I wrote three books for Nelson Educational where she worked. We enjoyed lots of editing discussions. And then trips to the Writers’ Union of Canada AGM. She asked me for a funny short story for Owl Magazine and I gave her “Another Family Project” ,a story about fostering a guide dog that grew into one of my greatest successes Bringing Up Beauty.
That’s when our fun really began. Shari asked me to team up with her to become Geena Dare, the author of The Stage School Series. She wrote six stories, I wrote five. When her dancer character complained about being too tall for classical ballet, I decided to give her anorexia. Shari was aghast. “You can’t do that to Jenna.”
“But it’s only logical. It’s a huge problem for ballet dancers.’ In the end,of course, she agreed.
We did signings and talks together. So much laughter.
Then she rode off to write horses. My biggest regret is that I didn’t ride off with her.
We lost contact but we never lost our friendship.
On May 18, 2015 she died. But I refuse to lose her. I will always hear her voice and laughter when I think about her and I will think about her often.