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Friday, December 23, 2011

Author Interview: Sarah M. Eden of "The Kiss of a Stranger"

After shamelessly stalking Sarah's blog, I knew getting to interview her was going to be a hoot. And of course she didn't disappoint!

Me: First, and I hope this isn't awkward, but I've felt for a very long time that we were meant to be best friends. Are you interested? (Do I sound like a stalker?)

Sarah: I prefer to be alone and friendless. You see that will one day make for a great "about the author" interview with Barbara Walters or Oprah or someone like that. {I'm holding out for "Live with Kelly"} "I have languished for many years alone with my art…." Are you seeing the possibilities here?!?

Since we are destined to be best friends, I think it would be best if you told me some really personal information, like a secret we could share. If that makes you uncomfortable, I'll settle for something shallower like: How do you feel about Cold Stone Ice Cream and what is your favorite flavor?

Ice cream and I have a love-hate relationship. I love it. It hates me. But when I am in a place "emotionally" where it is totally worth enduring the hatred all dairy products have for me, I inevitably choose either Butter Pecan or Pecan Praline. Oooh, or peppermint. OH! Or my Grandma's homemade Lemon Ice Cream. OR pineapple sherbet. Wait--also toffee. A good rocky road can also be therapeutic. Sometimes, vanilla.
Did I mention I kinda love ice cream? {You're in good company.}

And now something concerning writing: You did NaNo WriMo this year, right? What are your thoughts on it? Will you tell us what you wrote about?

I think NaNo can be fantastic depending on how it is approached. 50,000 words in a month is doable if a person plans ahead and absolutely refuses to fix anything they write in that month. But, people need to realize that something written that way won't be publishable without edits and rewrites--sometimes really extensive ones. And, authors need to approach it recognizing that the end-all accomplishment is not necessarily 50,000 words. A person may reach 20,000 and recognize the story took a detour they weren't expecting but that it is tons better than what they'd originally planned. They now have some real potential with their manuscript and stepping back to outline or do more character sketches, etc. may be the best thing they could possibly do. If they get too focused on that 50,000 word goal, they'd miss a fantastic opportunity.
A wonderful thing about NaNo is that it shows writers just how much they can accomplish when they make the time and do the work. It is a great way to jump-start a project, or get out of a writing slump. It's fun and exciting and a fabulous challenge.
My approach to NaNo this year was a little unconventional (and, honestly, a violation of the "official" rules). I didn't start a project from scratch, but took something I'd been working on that needed serious help and forced myself to work on it for hours and hours on end over the month, writing new scenes, evaluating old ones and searching for the reason(s) the manuscript was falling to pieces before my very eyes.
I wrote over 50,000 words in November, but didn't officially WIN NaNo, because my project didn't technically qualify. Still, it was a great undertaking. I found the problems in my story and have begun a huge rewrite that is far better than what I had before NaNo.

So as I was doing my due diligence, I came across the fact that back in July you were working on a story set in Wyoming in the 1870s. I live in Wyoming and adore the late Victorian Age, which makes me sure I'll love it right off. Can you tell me the town it's set in? What made you decide to write about Wyoming?

My NaNo project was that 1870s Wyoming story. Poor thing needed help. Lots of help. (It's much better now.)
The story takes place in a fictional town. I was purposely vague about the exact location, but it is within a couple days wagon ride from the then newly completed Transcontinental Railroad.
Why Wyoming? Why 1870s? So much was happening in the American west in this time period. The Transcontinental Railroad had just been completed, bringing more and more people to this area of the country. People struggled against nature, social conflicts, the lingering scars of the Civil War, and on and on and on. Endless opportunities for pain, suffering, conflict and literary excitement! As my husband often says, "Authors are sick people."
It's a romance, since that's what I do. And it's a love triangle, because I am a sick, sick person who enjoys putting my characters through emotionally brutal experiences.

If any of your books were made into a movie (which would be awesome) or a mini-series (exponentially better), which of your heroines (or heroes, I suppose; to each his own ...) would you want to play?

Am I allowed to answer with a heroine in a book that isn't out yet? I hope so, because that's how I'm going to answer. I'd choose Marion from "Drops of Gold" (which is currently scheduled for release in early 2013). Not only is she a redhead, so I wouldn't require a wig, she is a hoot! The woman tells the funniest stories, has the wittiest comebacks and is the kind of person I would LOVE to be bestest friends with. She's a wonderfully dynamic character and would probably be really fun to portray.
However, if the book were ever made into a film, I'd far, far, far, far, far prefer the filmmakers hire an actress who wouldn't totally blow it, the way I inevitably would.

What do you listen to when you write? (I'll shamelessly admit to using the Demi Lovato pandora station, but I write YA so I think that means it's okay).

I pick the music I listen to based on what I'm writing. I choose songs with the right feel for the book and the scene I am working on in that moment. Also, the music has to have no lyrics, because I get really easily distracted.
For example, "These Brave Irishmen" from the soundtrack to Gods and Generals has played a few times while I've written more emotional scenes in my current project. A wonderful fiddle rendition of "Beggarman's Jig" was on the playlist while writing a scene where the Irish families in the town get together for a big bonfire and party.

What witty bit of wisdom do you have for aspiring authors?

Stop now. Run. Run faster than you've ever run before. Do not allow yourself to descend into the madness that is "writing." Save yourself!
No, seriously….
Two things:
1- "Great writing is never an accident." That's a quote from me. Wise, eh? So, do the work. Write often. Read often. Learn all you can about what makes good writing even better. Do the hard work, like editing and rewriting and more editing. If you want your writing to be great, you have to do the work.
2- Remember to have fun. Writing is work, but it should also be really enjoyable. Celebrate your accomplishments. Get together with other authors to laugh at our quirks, enjoy our successes, support each other through the difficulties. Enjoy what you do and you'll do it that much better.

Again, THANK you, thank you, Sarah for the interview! And if any of you are wondering, we are going to be best friends. :)

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoy your books, Sarah. I am looking forward to meeting more of your characters and their stories. :)


About Me!

I've been writing since I was old enough to grasp a crayon--my grandma even has an early copy of a "book" I made her. I have a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Wyoming and will (hopefully) soon be starting a graduate program in English. When I'm not breaking up impromptu UFC fights in the living room or losing miserably to my boys at Uno, I'm ... well, writing or editing, of course! I'm married to my best friend, and we have three rambunctious but simply amazing little boys.


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