Welcome, Sarah:-) So glad you could drop by!
Sarah: Thanks so much for having me here today. I came without my kids, so I’m content to crash on your sofa (otherwise known as hiding from the kids) until you kick me out. Readers, I’d offer you a drink, but I’m not sure where Ms. Grey keeps the coasters and I don’t want to get stuck with the cleaning bill. (Ya’ll know you’ve got some “rowdy” in ya!) Oops – my host is giving me The Look. Let’s pay attention, shall we?
Ursula: Ahem…I thought it seemed a little quieter than usual;-). Tell you what, Rachel ~ I won’t tell the little ones you’re here if you promise to let us in on your writing secrets and tell us a little about yourself. While I’m searching for those coasters, please make yourself comfortable…Okay, back with the drink of Sarah’s dreams…And now for what we’ve all been waiting for! Let’s chat, shall we;-)?
Do you consider yourself a plotter or pantser?
Sarah: I start my stories with an outline – usually as simple as a list of 5-10 plot points. I start there, and I change it as the story demands it. I guess you can say I try to plot but my characters wear the pants in our relationship.
Ursula: What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Sarah: Find a GOOD crit partner. Your story will never be perfect, so anyone who can’t find a flaw in it is not doing you any favors. On the flipside, a good CP will find something nice to say right along with the constructive criticism. It’s just as important to know what you’re doing right as it is to know where the weaknesses are, and when your CP is a good fit he or she can help you see those points without trying to change your voice.
Ursula: What is your writing day like? Do you have a specific daily word or page goal?
Sarah: I have six kids and they’re homeschooled. The most consistent bit of structure to my day is opening my netbook, typing in my password, and closing the computer right back up before my file even opens. I would LOVE to write 1,000 words a day, but as long as I have children under the age of three I know better than to expect it. That’s as it should be, though. They’re awesome kids.
Ursula: Have you ever experienced writer’s block? If so, how do you find your way back?
Sarah: Sort of. I tend to be a perfectionist on the first draft. I need to reach a certain level of “BAM” with my manuscript before I can move on. Ignoring that pesky criteria of mine does no good, so I live with it. Best thing I can do when the words won’t come is walk away. The alternative is to write a scene later in the book. I don’t feel like *it* has to be perfect because I haven’t gotten there yet, so to speak, and when I do get there it’s a relatively easy edit.
Ursula: Tell us about your first acceptance!
Sarah: The whole experience was insane. I subbed less than a week before we found out we were pregnant with #6. Months later, I got the request for a full. Then the contract offer came, and through all of this I was sick as a dog. (I don’t get that. I don’t even know any sick dogs, LOL, but anyway….) I couldn’t jump around or cheer because it would have done nothing for my all day “morning” sickness, but fortunately for me I didn’t believe it. I don’t think I believed it even after my book released, which – incidentally – was just a couple of weeks after my baby was born. The baby was a shocker because I had my tubes tied after our fifth child was born, so that whole nine month period was just an insane mix of birthing both book and baby. Unforgettable, to say the least.
Ursula: What are your writing goals?
Sarah: Ultimately, I’d love to write for Harlequin Intrigue. For now – and to that end – I’d like to finish 2-3 novel-length romantic suspenses a year.
Ursula: What books are currently on your nightstand?
Sarah: Rosalie Stanton’s RIPPLES THROUGH TIME, Renee Vincent’s RÆLIKSEN, and a couple of nonfiction books by Dave Ramsey and Joel Osteen. Over the nightstand is a shelf one of my kids made me and it’s packed full of Harlequin Intrigues. My boy actually built it to spec, measuring the books so the shelves were just the right size for my “purple book collection” LOL.
Ursula: What is the last book you read?
Sarah: Renee Vincent’s RÆLIKSEN. I bawled. Phenomenal book – a must read!
Ursula: If you could go back in time, where or in what period would you find yourself?
Sarah: Well, at this point you’d find me hanging out with Dægan Ræliksen, LOL. But seriously, I’m not much of a history buff – and I’ll take all of my childbirthing with an epidural, thank you – but I do love colonial America (and have a WIP closely tied to that time period) and also have a thing for the wild west thanks to HBO’s Deadwood series. But actually being there without my hot showers and my computer? Eh.
Ursula: What part of your writing do you enjoy least?
Sarah: After a book is published, I almost refuse to look at it. Every time I do, I find something I wish I could change. Talk about maddening!
Ursula: How long does it take you to write a complete novel?
Sarah: If I could stick to my goal of 1,000 words a day, it would only take a couple of months to write a 55k-60k word novel. But then life interferes and it ends up taking six months or more. I know I need to work on my own mental game because I’m easily distracted, but I don’t want to blink and miss the kids growing up so I try to keep that in mind when I get frustrated.
Ursula: What are you currently working on?
Sarah: A romantic suspense I’m calling UNFORGIVEN. A year before the story begins, Gage tore Riley’s world apart. She did the unthinkable in forgiving him, but did so under the condition that he stay out of her life for good. He kept that promise until he found his brother dead on his back porch; once Gage realizes who pulled the trigger, all bets are off. The next time Riley lays eyes on him, it’s a gunpoint. From there, things get interesting.
Ursula: Favorite vacation spot or place you’d like to visit but haven’t yet?
Sarah: I’ve been all over the U.S. and to Europe, but my favorite spot is right here – the Outer Banks of NC. I’d love to go to Ireland, Italy, or Greece but the H won’t fly and I’m not going in a boat. I’ll go to the Bahamas in one of our boats, but that’s as much open ocean as I want to see! I can seriously see us anchored offshore of the Florida Keys, though. I don’t have to worry about foreign laws there – I would SO not fare well in prison.
Ursula: Do you have a favorite book and/or author?
Sarah: I love the Harlequin Intrigue series. I grabbed a free read and fell in LOVE with the whole romantic suspense concept, which is where my urge to write suspense originated. I think those books will always hold meaning to me because every time I read one, I experience the thrill and the urge to write.
Ursula: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Sarah: No deeper meanings here. ;c) I want my characters to hit that third dimension and be real. That would be my greatest accomplishment.
Ursula: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Sarah: As a kid I wanted it as early as elementary school, but never took the first step in getting there. In fact, I double majored in biology and biochemistry in college. Then I married the H and went on to *never work a day in my life* so I could be a stay-at-home-mom for our herd of offspring. It wasn’t until after the birth of our 5th child that I gave it a go, and my first novel DOWN IN FLAMES was picked up on my first query by Noble Romance. As soon as I saw that cover, I was HOOKED!
Ursula: What do you like to do for fun? Hobbies?
Sarah: We live on the coast and head out in our boat every chance we get. I also love riding horses (and had one for 17 years until we lost her last spring at the age of 25), cross stitching, cooking/baking, and anything to do with the beach. We also enjoy hiking.
Ursula: What question are you never asked in interviews but wish you were?
Sarah: I don’t know if there is one! I do love any chance to tell folks how awesome my publisher is, though, so … pssst. NOBLE ROCKS!
Ursula: What genre are you most comfortable writing?
Sarah: Romantic suspense. My first was a romance and I tried for my third to be, but the idea kept resituating itself in my mind until it managed to twist into a suspense. (That idea is on the shelf for now – a new idea took over.) Bossy as it is, I think I found my comfort zone.
Ursula: How do you deal with rejection?
Sarah: It doesn’t bother me. I know everything doesn’t appeal to everyone, and even with a great story the timing has to be there for the publisher. It’s a subjective business from one end to the other and I’m just proud to be a part of it. One day down the line I may face a rejection I find devastating, but I’m hoping I can fall back on that inner logic when the time comes, LOL.
On that note, here’s the blurb to one which was not rejected: RUN TO YOU.
Mattie James can’t pinpoint exactly when she lost control of her life, but the moment she decided to take it back made the front page of the local paper. Desperate to dodge the fallout— and the tabloids—she jumps at the chance to spend an off-season week in a tiny resort community by the sea. Making the trip with her ex-lover is a complication she can live with; coming face to face with a dead woman is not.
The last thing Sheriff Wyatt Reed expected to find on the storm-ravaged beach was a beautiful blonde with a jealous sidekick, but one look at Mattie left him wanting more. Their first date takes an ominous turn when he gets the call that a woman was found murdered. With a killer on the loose and a troubling lack of suspects or motive, Wyatt has to put his feelings aside to focus on the case. But his vow not to become personally involved is shattered when he discovers Mattie’s life is on the line, and this time the truth leaves her with a deadly choice . . . and nowhere to run.
BUY LINK: https://www.nobleromance.com/ItemDisplay.aspx?i=214
Ursula: Great interview, Sarah! Please stop in again sometime in the near future ~ and bring the little ones along! I have lots of coasters;-).