SARAH DALE Author of We Could Be Heroes and Something Wicked.
The Burning Willow Press authors wish to help you celebrate the best month of the year, October. How you may ask? By giving you a different author from the ranks each day with in depth answers to questions that our staff have decided to ask them. Many will be generic, others not so much. Let’s get to know the authors of BWP! Oh, and did we forget to mention… the staff there are all authors too so they have decided to chime in with some answers of their own.
So first, when did you realize that the voices in your head were telling you to write stories or go mad with all that stuck in your head?
I write. It’s part of my thinking process. If I don’t have a pen in hand, I’m not firing on all cylinders. The stories came later – grew as my experiences as a human grew. I remember starting one as a serial bedtime story and thinking, this would be so much better if I could be writing it down! I think that’s what got me started thinking about story structure, mentally preparing myself for the next installment of the story.
Currently, there are over a million books that I want to read… and some I have in the past I wish I had written myself, do you have any that you read that you thought about and said, I wish I had written that book?
Anne Bishop’s Written in Red was an eye opener for me. Her world building was so creative and different, it really made me think that the wacky world in my head might work on paper. Also, Dr. Sleep by King. That book made me realize that my experience as a sober alcoholic might work for a main character. It made me realize that somebody like me could be a hero too.
What is your favorite book not written by you? See that question is not the same as the other one above… to follow up, what was your favorite book that you wrote?
Rhapsody: Child of Blood by Elizabeth Heydon is one I return to time after time. There’s so much in it that I aspire to, the world, the characters, the feeling of immersion. I love that book.
Such a hard question. I think, so far, Something Wicked is my favorite.
What is the one thing that you must do to get into a writing mood. For me, it is listening to 80’s hair metal.
I need the house, or the place I’m working to have a peaceful, quiet vibe. Or alternatively, for the attention of the room to be focused (airplanes are great places to write.) I need to be able to listen to the voices inside my head without interruption, if at all possible.
Is editing your story just part of the job or does it literally kill a part of you to “kill your children” as it has been said? What about making revisions?
I actually enjoy editing. I feel like writing is akin to sculpture, in that you’re cutting away the extraneous material and bringing forth the beauty underneath. I don’t think of it as anti-writing. I think editing/revising is part and parcel of writing. It’s part of the fun.
When you read a book by another author do you ever look at it and criticize it or edit it in your head as the way you would have done it yourself?
I feel like I can tell a story that’s been well written and edited when I STOP editing in my head. If a story can force me out of my ‘writer/editor’ brain and into my ‘reader/fan’ brain, then the author and the editor(s) have done a kickass job.
What would you like to be chiseled into your headstone?
It’s been an adventure
What was your favorite candy to get at Halloween as a kid?
Chocolate. All of the chocolate.
What is your favorite Halloween ritual? And if you do not do that… what is your favorite Halloween movie?
Although I’m a big fan of The Great Pumpkin, I’m actually going to include here the list of movies that Angie, David and Jenny watched for their Halloween Movie Night in my novella, Something Wicked: Poltergeist, American Werewolf in London, Creepshow and Something Wicked This Way Comes.
I know my “To Be Read” list is never ending and grows daily… how is yours? And do you prefer paperbacks or e-books? Notice I did not ask about audio?
I’m actually hiding from my list. I’m feeling like, I just don’t have time to address any but the most critical reads right now. I’m really looking forward to my kids all being grown up and frankly, to retirement. Right now, my head is firmly in the sand.
If you could not be an author, then what would you be? What was your childhood ideal job to be as an adult?
Artistically, I think I’d want to be a photographer. Also, I want to learn how to design houses.
Cats, dogs, both, other?
Both. Lots of both. #packislife
Most newbie authors are told to write emotional state in what they already know… so how did you break away from that newbie status of writing what you know in the beginning?
I think it’s more a matter of combining what you know with the creativity of your storytelling. That balance is something that continues to improve with experience. So, I guess the “break away” is just more writing and expanding the skills you’ve learned with each story.
Advice in one sentence to a new author who is not published yet?
Keep writing. Always write. Publication will catch up with you.
Do your siblings or other family members support your choice to write horror? Fantasy? Erotica… if you do? SCIFI? Other genres?
My family and my friends support and respect what I choose to write about. They certainly have their favorites, and I’m sometimes surprised by their favorites, but there you go.
Beta Readers, Proofers, Editors… all are important to produce a better work of literature. So, who would you say is the most important in your team? Or do you not have those in place and are working on that?
All of those. My mom helps, and I have a group of friends who really help me out. One thing you didn’t mention here, is the important people who you talk through tricky plot points with, and in that case, my team is my husband, my daughter and my pack. It’s a team effort, and so many different kinds of help and inspiration are important.
In your day of writing… do you push through it all day or do you take mental breaks?
Lots of breaks. Mostly to let the dogs out. And back in. And out. And back in…
Do you ever get to travel as an author? Do conventions? What have you learned in those endeavors?
I use the bits of travel I get to do as inspiration for my stories, no doubt. I feel that the more fully and authentically I can have experiences, the richer my stories will be.
What do you have coming out in the next year and who is producing it?
The next two books in my YA series, The Zodiac Cusp Kids are coming out over the next year. “Something Haunted” comes out in November, “Something Lost” in May 2019 from Burning Willow Press.
Ideas come from all over. I get mine everywhere… so my question is what was the inspiration for the last (or upcoming) book you released?
For this series, my inspiration is events and adventures from childhood, in addition to events that occurred here in Lincoln, NE where the series is set. In the case of “Something Haunted,” the kids go up against the ghost of Charlie Starkweather, a spree killer who terrorized Lincoln in the winter of 1957-58.
Who would you compare your work to and would love to have them read and give you a review of or even better, a tweet and post about it?
Compared to? I don’t know, but for sure inspired by, the top two would have to be Neil Gaiman and Anne Bishop
Are there any horror or thriller novelist that you admired when you were younger?
King, of course, Lee Child, Ray Bradbury
Have you ever had any supernatural experiences? If so, have you ever used it as source material?
Yes, I’ve lived in several haunted houses. I don’t think any of those specific situations have made their way into a story yet, but certainly the surety of their existence has impacted my stories.
Have you ever seen a movie that was better than the book? If so, what was it and why?
I hate to say it, but the Lord of the Rings series. I will qualify that by saying that I prefer them because I was drawn to them in a way that the stories themselves couldn’t manage for me, personally. I’ve since gone back and read The Hobbit, and gotten much more out of it by virtue of having the movies serve as a general structure for what is happening in the story. The rest of the books are on my massive TBR pile, which I’ll get to eventually.
When writing a novel, do you have an intended audience (i.e. adult or young adult)?
I’ve definitely made edits and revisions with a YA audience in mind, or more specifically, with the teachers and parents and librarians who recommend books to teens in mind. I think teens are generally more sophisticated in their reading skills than most of us give them credit for.
As a reader, what are some ways that I can discover new independent authors and novels?
I have a lot of fun shopping authors on Twitter
I cannot live without Chapstick. What is one comfort item that you must have?
Tea, music, also lip balm, frequently a sweater. Specific pens and writing journals (leather covers are ideal).
Do you ever feel that your characters have a mind of their own and change the course of the planned storyline?
Sometimes, yes. Or sometimes, the character has grown and changed in the process of the story, and what I had originally thought they might do turns out to just right out. They are quick to point this out to me.
What was your favorite Halloween costume?
Name three things on your bucket list and why.
I want to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge with my husband. He wanted to propose to me there, and I couldn’t wait, so we need a redo.
I’d like to own a brand-new car – or a really nice vintage car. Maybe a Jaguar. Or a Willys.
I want to adopt a puppy and a kitten at exactly the same time so they can grow up together.
Where can we stalk you at? Instagram, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, Twitter, website?