Sara is one of my writing buddies (you may have heard me mention #WriteNight once or twice . . .) We ‘met’ online a few years back and were insta-friends, nerding out over coffee, YA-fiction, and bringing a new definition to “Christian fiction”. Look for her debut novel with Thomas Nelson out next year!
How did you get started as an author? What or whom inspired you?
I always loved writing. My mom encouraged creativity, and I was blessed to have great English teachers. But it wasn’t until I changed my college major 3 times that I decided to finally take a whack at the novel floating around my brain. Thanks to awesome critique partners (aka YOU), a fabulous freelance editor, an honest mentor, and a stellar support system, that novel will be published by Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins in October 2016.
What project are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on the sequel to my first novel, the second in a trilogy. I can tell you that the trilogy is a YA romance with contemporary and fantasy elements. I can also say it explores the themes of true beauty and worth. I’m hoping to wrap up this draft of book 2 by the end of the year so I can get started on the first draft of book 3 in January.
What inspired your debut novel?
My favorite fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast, and since my story explores the theme of true beauty, there was definitely some inspiration there. I was also inspired a lot by my own experiences as a teenager. I never felt beautiful. I was too short, had too much acne, wore glasses. I wanted to write about a character who felt ugly and worthless at the beginning, and learned to see herself as the opposite in the end.
What does your writing process look like?
Messy, haha. I am a little unconventional because I edit as I go. I start with the basic concept and theme, the characters, and the setting. I know where I’m going and sort of how I want to get there, but other than that I just write. Sometimes villains become heroes and vice versa. I like to be surprised along the way. When I’m done, I go back and outline using the Snowflake Method and fill in any plot holes. It’s what works for me and I’m sticking to it.
Where is your favorite place to write?
Um, anywhere I can get a minute? Sometimes I sit on the couch, sometimes I’m in the kitchen. Usually I have to stay in earshot of my kids in case they need anything. If I had it my way, though, I’d sit in my bedroom with the door closed. I have a reading nook with my grandma’s old desk chair in there. The nook is really cozy and being surrounded by books I love inspires me. I rarely get the chance to write in there, though. When I do it’s a special treat.
If you could choose someone famous to star in one of your books made to a movie, who would you choose and for which character?
Do I have to pick just one? If I had my way the three main characters would be played by Alex Pettyfer (Ky Ryan), Mae Whitman (Eliyana Ember), and Joshua Jackson (Joshua David).
What other hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
I love to try different hairstyles and of course I love to read. Does BookTube count as a hobby? That’s probably my favorite thing to do aside from writing and reading.
If you could invite any authors to Thanksgiving dinner, what six authors would you invite and why?
Kiera Cass (because she’s hilarious and I think we’d be good friends), Shannon Dittemore (because she inspired me early in the writing process), Lorie Langdon & Carey Corp (because of Doon), Mary Weber (because I adore her), Jay Asher (because he seems like a guy who would make you laugh), and Marissa Meyer (for all the fangirling).
What books are currently on your night stand?
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson (oh, can I invite her to dinner too?), Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas, and Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. I also have Siren’s Song by Mary Weber on my Kindle.
Who is your favorite author of all time?
That’s a tough one. Does Walt Disney count? Disney movies had a huge impact on me growing up. I also adore Francine Rivers and C.S. Lewis.
What genres do you especially enjoy reading?
Romance and Urban Fantasy. When they’re combined, even better.
What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?
I usually get rid of books I don’t especially love or plan to read again. I still own the Twilight Saga. I don’t know that I will read it again, but I just can’t bring myself to get rid of it. It’s very nostalgic for me.
Who’s your favorite fictional hero or heroine?
Right now, my favorite heroine and hero are Regina and Killian Jones from Once Upon a Time. I love Regina’s growth throughout the seasons. And Killian, well, he taught us that “even a pirate can be a hero.”
What kind of reader were you as a child? Your favorite books and authors?
I loved Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne and the American Girl books. My mom was always reading to us and to herself, so it was sort of natural for me to grow up with books in my hands.
What books are you embarrassed not to have read yet?
I’m a little embarrassed I haven’t finished Queen of Shadows since it released almost two months ago. Everyone is talking about that one. I’m also embarrassed I’ve never read a Jane Austen book. It will happen. Just not today.
What do you plan to read next?
Winter by Marissa Meyer. It releases November 3rd and I’ll be dropping everything to pick that one up.