What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about your subject/genre that isn’t so?
If I tell people I write fantasy, they think my story is about dragons, unicorns, mages or barbarians. If I’m more specific and say I write Urban Fantasy, they assume it’s about vampires… or at least werewolves. And if I tell them my work has a female protagonist, or LBGTQ+ characters, they assume I’m writing about LBGTQ+ issues, women’s issue, or sex. Those have been very popular parts of the genre, but none of those things is what my writing is about.
Are you a full-time or part-time writer and how does that affect your writing?
I am full-time. I think it has forced me to put more firm deadlines in place. I just recently went to full-time, and I’ve already decided that I should be trying to put out three books a year, as well as shorts in anthologies and all of the marketing that goes with being an author.
What are some day jobs you have held?
I’ve done the fast-food thing, the gas station thing, and the waitress thing. I’ve been a marketing assistant and an office assistant. I was a business editor, writing corporate profiles. I’ve done billing and insurance for a medical office, and I’ve done documentation for a manufacturing company. I was also a chemical/biological lab technician for a couple years, which was fun.
Do you work to an outline or plot sketch, or do you prefer to let a general idea guide your writing?
I’m a planner. I have to plan out my books plots before I can write them. I tried it the other way, but the complete lack of direction was a real problem for me.
My system is to lay out a 9-point plot that pretty much covers the standard story arc. If I can’t get that, I don’t have a complete story. Then I add in details until I’m satisfied I have a good skeleton. Then I write.
Sometimes, even with the planning, my stories take an unusual turn, and I have to go back and modify my outline. This happened in Too Wyrd, and I had to create a whole new antagonist when the first antagonist turned out to be not so bad. And it was an amazing process to do that instead of floundering around like I would have done without my outline.
Some people can roll with that stuff. I’m a flounderer.
Can you share with readers a little bit about your latest book?
Too Wyrd is my first full-length fiction book. It’s kind of about me in that the main character is maybe what I could have become if circumstances had been a little different. Nicola is funny, sarcastic, and a little too practical to believe in magic, but she does. She tries to stay calm and cool, but she has a temper. And, even when she’s faced with demons and gods, she’s always trying to push away her fears and take the logical approach.
Nicola finds out that her step-sister is in trouble, and so she goes to find her. She learns that Muriel has fallen in with a group lead by Nicola’s ex, the father of her child, and they are preparing for the end of the world. Nicola rolls her eyes about that, but things keep getting weird. There are demons, Valkyrie, gunfire, catacombs, and seedy hotels, all set against the backdrop of Indianapolis.
What is your next project?
I am currently editing Fluffy Bunny, the sequel to Too Wyrd. I’m hoping to have that done by the end of spring.
I’m also working on the first book of a new series, Threadreader of the M.A.G.U.S. series. That’s about people who have fae lineage and fight over Fountains, sources of power for their unusual abilities. Heidi, the Threadreader, can see portions of the Tapestry and read the threads. Her autistic brother is a Golemer, who can animate objects. They fall in with the M.A.G.U.S. (Magecrafter Alliance Guild of the United States), a seelie group that is trying to protect a Fountain from a group of unseelie, who want the power for selfish reasons.
What role does research play in your writing?
A lot, actually. I’ve based Too Wyrd and the rest of the Runespells series on writings from Norse mythology. I’ve had to learn quite a bit about the Havamal and the prophecies surrounding Ragnarok. And, since I chose a real city for my setting, I used a lot of Google maps to make sure people were traveling in the right direction or heading towards an industrial neighborhood. Things like that. The Rainbow Bridge and the catacombs are both features that really exist in Indianapolis, so I was thrilled to be able to include those details. My husband is from there, so he pointed me in the right direction several times.
How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?
Not too bad. I’ve gotten 10 reviews each on Amazon and Goodreads. Some of those are on both sites, so I have about 15 total. I’m always on the lookout for more reviewers, though. The response to the book has been great, too. I’m still waiting for that first devastating review, but I’m in no rush…
What is one thing you hate about being a writer?
In most jobs, you get hired, you get trained, and you know when you’re doing your job right. In writing, even if you do it right, if the market doesn’t snap up your book, if you don’t manage to get it in front of the right eyes… you can still fail. It can be a freeing experience, but it can really bring out the self-doubt. You have to be self-motivated. You have to learn a bunch of marketing techniques, on your own. Sometimes it just feels very untethered and unstable.
How can you find out more about Sarah?