Sharon Belcastro was born and raised in Northeastern Ohio. It only took her 37 years to get sick of the snow, cracked fingers and chapped lips before she picked up and moved to the much warmer and sunnier Tampa Bay area. Her love of books goes back to early childhood where some of her fondest memories were spent with Gulliver in Lilliput and Ishmael and his voyage on the whaleship Pequod. She has had a book in her hand and her nose in a book ever since. Forced to grow up and face the real world, Sharon earned her Engineering degree from Youngstown State University and her masters in business from Case Western Reserve University. She spent several years in product development, sales and the development and streamlining of key business processes before she returned to her passion for books and applied her experience to the founding of Belcastro Agency.
Besides reading, she also has a passion for her family, animals and running.
We’ve interviewed Sharon with different questions before on the Rock. Readers are welcome to take a gander at it. http://chiseledinrock.blogspot.com/2012/02/interview-with-agent-sharon-belcastro.html
CIR: Thanks for becoming a regular on the Rock, Sharon! As part of the celebration of your joining us, I’d like to focus on your style and the unique subject matter you’ll be bringing to our granite table top. Engineering attracted you as a career first. I’m always fascinated with Science types who cross over to this artistic industry (for instance, Peter Senftleben, editor with Kensington, has a degree in Chemical Engineering, but to my understanding, didn’t spend a day designing after college). Are you meticulous?
SB: Ha ha! Not so much meticulous as logical and data driven. I’m a strong Type A. At least that’s what the personality tests tell me. In God we trust all others show me your data. My partner, Ella Marie, is the meticulous one.
CIR: Besides being my and Julie Kazimer’s agent, you represent a hearty share of authors and I’m sure they’d all agree that you’re SUPER encouraging of their careers. Any secrets to your optimism?
SB: No secret, their talent makes me extremely optimistic. I would put their work up against anything out there.
CIR: Do you like to travel? What are some fondly remembered excursions? And isn’t it great that travel comes with the territory as an agent?
SB: I love, love to travel and have been blessed to have traveled throughout the US and Europe. New York, of course, is always a favorite but my fondest memories are of my trips to London and the London Book Fair. Not only because London is noted as the publishing capital of the world, but to be in the city that has had the biggest global influence on world literature was exhilarating; Charles Dickens, Sherlock Holmes, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. I was in literary heaven.
CIR: As many gifts as you’ll be bringing to the Rock, some of them are set to be examples from your clients with explanations as to why you chose to represent them. I think these postings will be must reads for pre-published writers. Of course, this doesn’t mean automatic representation by the Belcastro Agency if authors follow the examples to a T in their queries. Rather, the postings are to serve as guidance to help writers in their correspondence with all agents and editors. This is, after all, a subjective business. How many authors do you have contracts with?
SB: Currently, 17. We keep it relatively small so that we give each work the time and dedication it deserves. Quality over quantity.
CIR: Now a bizarre question. What are wontons made of?
SB: Thousands of pounds of wons. Sorry, that was the engineer in me coming out.
CIR: Sharp as a tack! Thanks for indulging my/our Chiseled in Rock individualism by enduring that inquiry. Are there any other artistic business ventures in which you’d be interested, for instance, comedy talent agent?
SB: Only if you’re available, Dave.
CIR: Thanks again for bringing your lens of the industry to us monthly, Sharon.
SB: Thanks for having me. It’s always a pleasure!
Sharon and Ella Marie Shupe (also with the Belcastro Literary Agency and to be featured next week) will be alternating postings the first week of each month on Wednesdays.