Hello all! So my friend and critique partner, Linda, did me the favor of doing an interview with me about "Lies in Chance." Her very fresh, quite fun blog is here, but I wanted to share the interview with you all because 1) It's all about me and 2) Linda delves into places in my brain I haven't even visited in a while...like how many degrees of separation I have between myself and Kevin Bacon!
An Interview with Author, Sarah Bradley
I'm happy to share with you an interview I did with an amazing author, who also happens to be my dear friend and critique partner. She's also the famed author of "Dream in Color" (available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and The Wild Rose Press) and is currently debuting her second book, "Lies in Chance", a romantic suspense novel (available at Smashwords, Barnes and Nobles and very soon, Amazon). Sarah is a gifted writer, a funny, funny person (and I mean that in a good way), and someone I'm proud to call my friend. Enjoy the interview, get to know Sarah and buy her books! And stay tuned to my blog for a review of both "Lies and Chance" and "Dream in Color".
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, Sarah!
I'm a mom of two teens, a wife to my college sweetheart husband, and and "mom" of three rescued cats. I love watching movies, reading books, and finding humor in every day stuff. (Hey, if you can't find the humor in our world today, you're just not trying hard enough!) I recently started working third shift, mostly because I was bored with sleeping the required 8 hours a night. I find sleep deprivation is a great attitude adjuster. Plus, I'm home during the summer to annoy my kids!
2. Your latest novel, "Lies in Chance" has just been released at Smashwords, Amazon and Barnes and Nobles. Can you tell us a little about a bit it and which readers it will appeal to?
I think, I HOPE, "Lies in Chance" will appeal to a lot of different readers! I set out to write a book that had strong, interesting characters and a storyline that was interesting for a broad range of people. While I would not recommend it for children under the age of 16, I think there are a lot of elements that will appeal to men and women alike. If you like action, adventure, mystery, romance, and a bit with some horses, this is going to be the book for you!
3. What inspired this story?
When I was a kid, my favorite TV show of all time was "Emergency." There was something about the friendship between John Gage and Roy DeSoto, and then the strong female character of Dixie McCall, that sort of stuck in my brain. By the time I was 13, I was going through a VERY awkward, and rather lonely span in my life. I wanted to create a world where people like those three characters not only existed, but were actually my friends. (And yes, I started writing this book when I was 13) Obviously, the main character grew and changed as I did (though I'm 43 now and Shara is forever 24) but the character and relationship of Bryan, Drew, and Molly is exactly as I thought of it 30 years ago.
As for the name "Shara" it's not an accident that it sort of looks like my name. I really didn't have a name for my main character when I started writing. I used my name because, well, this was the world I was creating for myself. But one day, during a Summer Marching Band tour, one of the chaperones asked me for my name. I said, "Sarah...with an H" because people constantly misspelled my name. She wrote down, "Shara." And a character name was born!
4. When did you begin writing and what inspired you to become a writer?
I have wanted to be a writer my entire life. When I was seven, I was reading the "Little House" series and I thought, "If Laura can do it, why can't I?" My first stab at writing was "The complete illustrated history of the Civil War." I was not quite 8. The book was four pages long...8 sentences. I illustrated it myself. I do not draw well. My first real stab at writing came when I was 13 and I began work on what now is "Lies in Chance."
The biggest force in my life as a writer was Ermba Bombeck. I read that lady's column every single day growing up. (And then I read Ann Landers'. That might explain my twisted sense of humor in the face of the world's general dramas.) The other half of my writer's brain belongs to Erma. I love writing about just finding the humor in the mundane.
5. I know you have a busy life outside of your writing career. When do you find the time to write and when do you feel the most inspired?
At the moment, since I began working nights, I haven't written much that is new, sad to say. I think all writers have this harsh balancing act we have to do between real life work, family, commitments and our wonderful world of writing. And it gets more challenging when you do publish something because then there's the marketing, blogging, and whatnot that you do during that writing time. So I write when I can, which is rarely a set time of day. I keep a notebook close to me, because I never know when an inspiration is going to hit me. I get inspired in different ways, but I think I work tough plot issues out through music. The two books I've published both have very strong soundtracks, all made up of songs I played over and over and over again while trying to sort out this plot point or that. The family knows not to bother me if I've got a song on repeat.
6. Any particular rituals you must perform before writing (i.e. getting a muffin and coffee from the kitchen, having your favorite cat in the room with you, etc.)
If I'm writing "for real" (not blogging or marketing or other fun type stuff) then I'm at my desk, door closed, candles lit, iPod locked onto the soundtrack of whatever I'm writing. Jasper (our oldest cat, who just turned one) is allowed in the office, but TacOcaT (my son named this one in a palindrome) is not because Taco climbs to the top of my desk and knocks things off the top shelf on to my head.
7. Writer's block? Do you get it and if so, how do you resolve it?
My Critique partner (Tee hee) will tell you I get writer's block endlessly. I write in spurts. If I'm blocked, I simply shut down. I've tried writing through it, but what happens, for me, is I wind up with pages and pages of deletes. So I try to keep my eyes and ears open to what around me might solve my problem. I will think the issue through, and I will play music with lyrics I think will point me in the right direction. (Music is such a big part of my writing.) I've been known to abandon my cart in the grocery store the minute my block breaks so I can get to a desk and start writing.
8. What do you love about the writing process and what do you dislike?
In my own personal experience, I love that I can work out my own issues through writing. If you've read "Dream in Color" you'll see a lot that is simply me. I have issues with my mother's terrible cooking. I have issues with finding the place where I shine, where I belong. These are constant themes in everything I write, I'm finding. "Lies in Chance" started as a way to sort of get back at the world for the loneliness and alienation I experienced as a kid, but beyond that one story, I find that my writing helps me work through a lot of my issues. So that part I love.
If I had to find something I didn't like about writing, it's the blank page. I never ever thought I had more than one story in me. Turns out, I have a lot of stories in me, but getting them started is the worst part. I have a general picture in my head of what I want, but the physical act of putting the first words on a page is so hard!
9. Any favorite characters from your novels?
Well, who doesn't love those hot, tortured men? I fall in love with my leading men every time I write them. I've been in love with Bryan Jacobs since I was 13. I have been in love with Jesse Alexander (the main male character in "Dream in Color") for nearly a decade. Up next, I'm falling in love with a formal NHL player named Quinn Murray.
Beyond that, I've put so much of myself into my leading ladies, that I love and hate them the same way I love and hate myself some days. I did give both Shara and Ramona ((Dream in Color)) some talents I wish I had. Both can play the piano brilliantly, and both have great hair.
10. What books inspired you as a child? What do you read now?
As a kid I lived in a very small town with a very small public library. I read every kids' book in that library in two summers. (Remember, this was before YA was such a big deal) I loved "Little House" "Encyclopedia Brown" and anything by Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary. Joan Aiken's books rocked my world because they were so dark and awesome. I didn't know kids' books could be so very, very dark. (Go to your library NOW and read "Wolves of Willoughby Chase." GO RIGHT NOW!)
Nowadays I don't read nearly as much as I want to, but if Phillipa Gregory, Billie Letts, or Adriana Trigiani writes it, I will make the time to read it. Also, I've just finished a BRILLIANT new novel by a new author...maybe you've heard of it? "A Lonely Sky" I know so many super talented writers that I will always read new material. A new author is very, very exciting.
11. What is the best advice you have received or read regarding the writing process? What is the worst?
There was a TV show once, it might have been one of those after school specials or it might have been the TV show "Head of the Class." (I somehow can hear Howard Hessman saying this) The line was "A writer writes...always." As much as I hate to write what I know I'm going to delete later, the shear act of writing is so vital to a writer's life.
I think the worst advice I got was "write what you know." Okay, it is important for writers to write what is real to them, what they've researched, and what makes sense. That might be why Drew and Bryan and Molly teach at small school that is quietly, and unofficially controlled by a church. I grew up in a parochial system. My husband has worked for years in the car dealership business. But had I kept "Lies in Chance" in the realm of my experience, it would be a very boring book!
"Write what you know" is not terrible advice, it's just that writers tend to take it literally, and that keeps a lot of good story ideas locked away. Sure, my comfort zone is about being a suburban mom. But that's not a setting that's going to transport a reader away from real life. Not unless you toss in a little thing I like to call FICTION. Both my novels are grounded in who I am but then vector off into a world where I'll never live. And that's okay.
12. What are you currently working on?
I've got a novel "Clean Ice" in the works (very early works). That's a romance between a former figure skater and a former NHL player. I'm also going to listen to my mother's advice and publish some of my own musings on real life. "Scenes from an Awkward Childhood" will probably be the first edition I put out there, and I'll share stories about how I wrecked my bike while watching a one armed man build a house; how my mother's terrible cooking affected me; and why I hate ponies but love horses.
13. How has the e-publishing experience worked for you?
If I would read the directions it would be way smoother! I had it very easy because I tapped the very talented Nicola Martinez, the woman who did my cover for "Dream in Color" to do the cover art for "Lies in Chance." Nicola is brilliant and I love her. Then I got the aid of the wonderful folks over at 52 Novels (electronic formaters) Amy and Christina were the pictures of patience!
I should say I would NEVER have had the guts to e-publish if I hadn't met author J. A. Konrath at a writers' conference last year. I had the privilege to sit next to him at a book signing and he regaled me with the joys of e-publishing while he shared his peanuts with me. I owe that man a lot!
14. What are some of the best/worst movies made from novels?
I think beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and if you think you have the whole story by watching the movie you are wrong. I love Gone with the Wind, and I love the movie. But the two are two completely different experiences.
"Wuthering Heights" is my favorite book of all time. That book has been done as a movie a bundle of times, and I believe the worst...(and I'm going to get smacked for this) is the 1939 Lawrence Olivier version. Everyone is too darn clean and shiny! Meanwhile, (and get ready to smack me again) my favorite movie version is the 1992 film starring Ralph Fiennes.
Much debate goes on about the most recent "Robin Hood" movie, and I'm going to through in and say that I LOVED the Russell Crowe film. (Okay, I love Russell Crowe.)
15. Most romantic scenes in a book or movie:
I tend to find a ton of romance in some of the oddest places. Best kiss in a movie? Well, I hate to give Tom Cruise for any credit, but that kiss in "Top gun" is spectacular. I blame it on the gauzy curtains. Ruined the concept of perfect kisses for me. other than that, I find facial expressions and voice tone to convey romancde far more than some overt setting or nudity. Case in point: the movie "Rough Magic" starring Russell Crowe and Bridget Fonda. Very odd movie. BUT there's a moment in that movie, when they kiss, that is ridiculously erotic, and a big part of that is Russell's very quiet, almost whispered line. I could go on about Russell Crowe...like him or not, the man can convey some pretty deep emotions with very little. Going back to "Robin hood" there is a moment where he and Cate Blanchett say very little to each other, and yet there is something so deep, so completely romantic, just in an exchange of expressions. It's breathtaking. I really hope those two do more work together! As for books, I think I read "Wuthering heights" over and over because I like to impose my own romantic ideal onto Heathcliff.
For more traditional movies, "Pride and Predjudice," (the one with Keira Knightly) has some amazing, romantic scenes. The two best, the first one where she and Mr Darcy are dancing for the first time. Romance defined. The second, when Mr. Darcy is crossing the field to claim her. (Is it getting warm in here?) I think movies are better able to convey the sheer emotion of romance better than books because, well, movies are visual, and there's music, and the people are all super attractive....and now I have to go watch "Pride and Predjudice" again!
16. Book (besides your own) that you'd like see made into a movie:
Well, mine, yes. And "A Lonely Sky." I'd be sobbing through the whole thing! As for other books...how about if we get Snookie's book made into a movie? Why not? She's got a clothing line, she's got a big book deal, she's got a free trip it Italy. What has she done?
Sorry, I'll get off my soapbox.
Interview interrupts: I can't believe you put me and Snookie in the same paragraph together. LOL!
17) Favorite authors:
Phillipa Gregory, the Bronte Sisters, Joan Aiken, Judy Blume, Adriana Trigiani. And the list could go on.
18. Why write? What keeps you motivated?
I have always told stories. I love to tell stories, and I love to make people laugh. So I write my little humor pieces to make people laugh, to lighten their load, and that way I lighten mine. As for the heavier fiction, well, we all have a dark side, right? I think I see a picture, maybe of an actor (which is how the character in my upcoming book came to be) or something and I'll make up a story about that picture. Once I have a character's story, I have to write it. I have to share that story with others.
Well, that and I'm simply worthless when it comes to cooking, cleaning, knitting, sewing, cross stitch. Many have tried to teach me, no one has succeeded. We all have to do something, this is what I do.
19. Favorite bookstore:
Well, I got a Sony e-reader recently, so I'm havning out at the Sony store a lot. And Amazon, of course! for actual print books it's all about Barnes and NOble or half Price Books.
20. Fill in the blank: If I couldn't be a published author, my next dream to come true would be:________________________________________________.
A Rock Star...or a movie critic.
21. Congratulations on your two published novels, "Dream in Color" and "Lies in Chance". What's next for author Sarah Bradley?
Thanks Linda! This has been a blast! Right now I'm trying to get "Scenes from an Awkward Childhood" put together for e-publishing and then I'm going to hit "Clean ice" hard. I've got a lot of ideas for that one...mostly because I've been listening to Night Ranger a lot!
22. And finally, the most important question, how many degrees of sepration are you from Kevin Bacon? I am three degrees...in two different directions.
I met Randy Mantooth in 2000. Randy starred with Sonny King in a terrible movie called "Agent Red." Sonny king was in "Murder in the First" with Kevin Bacon.
I met Rick Springfield in 2001. Rick was in "Hard to Hold" (NOT a great movie.) Rick was in Hard to hold with Tracy Brooks Swope, who was in The Big Picture with Kevin.