Sarah has been writing for more than 20 years. She lives in the middle of nowhere with two monsters (the kids), an ogre (the hubby), and whatever drama-llama is coming to visit this week. Sarah is the author of Too Wyrd, book 1 of the Runespells series, and the Life 101 series. She has short stories and essays in several anthologies, including Visions IV: Between the Stars, and Chasing Fireflies: A Summer Romance Anthology.
This interview was posted in the September 1st edition of Firesmith’s Speculative Fiction Newsletter.
- Don: What is the best thing about being an author? What is the worst thing?
Sarah: The best thing about being an author is when someone tells you they love your book(s). I still cry when that happens. The worst thing is all the silence in between reviews and other types of feedback. I can handle criticism; it’s the lack of anything that drives me batty.
- Don: How can people find out more about you and your books? What is your official author website? What are your social media author webpages?
Sarah: Author Website, Facebook Author Page, Facebook Runespells Fan Page, Facebook Street Team Group, Twitter, Amazon Author Page, Goodreads Author Page
- Don: Are you a full-time author? If you have another job, what is it and would you like to become a full-time author if you could?
Sarah: I am a full-time author. I moved away from having another job back in November. It works well because the flexibility lets me deal with my kids’ schedule.
- Don: How supportive is your family when it comes to the time you spend as an author?
Sarah: My husband and kids are the best and most supportive EVER. Well, as much as they can be without understanding the demands of the job. Really, though, they are great.
- Don: How do reviews of your books influence you?
Sarah: I don’t know. I know they affect me and I take what my readers say seriously. But I don’t know if I change my writing because of them. Well, I found out people really liked a character and I was surprised, because he was a one-book character. I couldn’t figure out how to organically put him into any other books, so I’m doing a spin-off series… after one book.
- Don: How many books have you written?
Sarah: Two novels (the second will be out in November), one novella, 11 short stories for anthologies, 4 booklets, a poetry collection (30 poems), and three or four essays for non-fiction anthologies. I’m writing another 2 short stories over the next month or so.
- Don: What are the genre(s) of the books you write and why?
Sarah: I write some form of paranormal/fantasy, usually urban or dark fantasy. I think reality is pretty boring – whether we want to admit it or not, most of what we do has been done before. I think that sci-fi/fantasy are the modern satire. We explore our world, the morals and ethics, and the possibilities and foibles, all through these fantastical stories. That’s what I want to bring into the world.
- Don: What is the title of your next book and what will it be about?
Sarah: My next novel is Fluffy Bunny, book 2 of the Runespells series. It is a continuation of Nicola’s adventures with the Norse gods and their magic items, but this time, she gets in way over her head. I spent a lot of time torturing her for this story, and it’s going to change her forever, physically and emotionally. The long and the short of it is that she goes undercover at a new-agey cult and gets brainwashed – not faking it, actually brainwashed.
- Don: How long does it usually take you to write a book?
Sarah: I sit with ideas for a while, then I write up an outline. I won’t even start writing until the outline is done. Once I sit down to write, it takes me about 3-6 weeks. It’ll take another couple of months for edits, mostly because I like to let it sit in between takes.
- Don: What do you think your main strengths and weaknesses are as an author?
Sarah: I am apparently awesome at dialog. I try to be funny, and it seems to work. My biggest weakness is that I am still really insecure about my writing. I go full-on drama-llama when I’m writing. It’s a weakness because it makes it really hard for me to write without an external deadline. I’m still working on my productivity around that.
- Don: Do you use one or more professional editors, and if so, what types?
Sarah: I use proofreaders/line editors. They usually leave a bunch of comments about the story, so I get a bit of a bonus there. I would love to splurge on a developmental editor at some point, but that is pretty expensive for where I’m at right now.
- Don: Roughly what percentage of your time is spent editing a book?
Sarah: Maybe about 15-20% of my working time goes to editing. ~30% is writing and 50% is marketing.
- Don: Do you use beta readers and if so roughly how many?
Sarah: I do use beta readers. I generally get feedback from at least 3-5 people for each project, depending on people’s schedules.
- Don: What are your thoughts on self-publishing as an indie author as opposed to going with a traditional publisher?
Sarah: Both are valid. Both have advantages. Both should be considered on a per project basis. I use a small press, traditional publisher for the Runespells books. I use self-publishing for my romance pen name. Most of the anthologies I’ve been in have been small press books, as well. It really depends on the author’s finances, resources, genre, and publishing goals.