Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Interview With An Author - Sarah England

Today I welcome fellow Crooked Cat Publishing author Sarah England to my blog... 
Tell us a bit about your writing – How long have you been writing? How many books have you written and in what genres?
Well I trained as a nurse and then worked as a medical rep for 20 years – it wasn’t until I hit 40 that I had the chance to really work on my writing – a lifelong dream! Since then I’ve had around 150 short stories published in national magazines & anthologies.  Then this year I had my first ever collection of short stories published –  ‘3am and Wide Awake’ with Alfie Dog Fiction. Not for the faint hearted!  And also this year I was lucky enough to have my first novel – ‘Expected’ - published too, with Crooked Cat.  ‘Expected ‘ is in women’s fiction/comedy – so you can see I veer wildly from humour to thrillers with lots of women’s magazine stories in between!  The supernatural is my fascination and I do read tarot cards. However, comedy is a massive part of my clumsy, accident prone personality so that features pretty often too.  Both are in ebook and paperback formats.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
As  a little girl. I’d sit on the back seat of my dad’s Cortina reading my mother’s cast off Victoria Holts on rainy summer holidays. The books transported me – I loved fiction from that point onwards – although I did think at that point that I would be the heroine – you know –a movie star! Ha ha…..

Where is your favourite spot in which to write? Garden? Study? Kitchen table? In bed?
In the study in total quiet! If my husband is rattling around in there I can’t work.

How long does it take you to write the first rough draft of one of your books?
Well my one and only novel (so far) – is Expected – and that took around 2 months for the initial draft but I have to tell you I did  a hell of a lot of edits! It no longer  resembles what it once did at all!

Do you prefer to write with pen and paper or straight to the computer?
I use notebooks and jot stuff down all the time. All stories are drafted out roughly on paper. Maybe it’s my age? Ha! After that I type it up and print it out – I just have to see it in black and white for some reason.

Do you plan a plot out in great detail before writing or start with the basics and let the book evolve that way?

No I am a pretty loose plotter! Try saying that after a few gin and tonics! Really – I get an idea, roughly jot down a sequence of events and pick some names. Then I let it evolve.

Do you ever get part way through writing a book and find the characters are leading the story off in a different direction to how you had envisaged?
Yes definitely – in fact I can change entire plots if my characters develop new facets to their personalities. It’s a very odd thing…

Who is your favourite character from all the books you have written and why?
Sam Sweet in Expected. Because you know, I read highly successful books like Bridget Jones or Shopaholic and it strikes me these girls are with good families and have good jobs and rich boyfriends. Well many ordinary girls don’t have that kind of safety net – they get locked in, scared, stuck….without their independence their options are limited. So, if like Sam, they make momentous mistakes – well – who is going to rescue them? Poor Sam – of course she swears - she’s from a sink estate and everything in her life is going wrong. And pretty girls don’t necessarily have doors opened for them -  in fact they can get picked on even more! No – Sam gets hassle from every angle and she just has to find the self-confidence to stand up to everyone. Instead she overeats and she over-shops! I’ve given her the lovely Joel though – luck old Sam eh? Or maybe not…
Is there such a thing as an average writing day for you and if so what is it?
No  I am erratic! If I’m onto something then the household turns to dust and the husband starves. If  not then I’m wafting around like Scarlet O’Hara.
What is your favourite book of all time?
‘Far From The Madding Crowd’ by Thomas Hardy. The perfect dilemma – perfect observation, beautifully written, fabulously tragic. Wonderful. I love the film with Julie Christie and Alan Bates too…

What is your favourite film of all time? Ha ha – as above! I also love almost anything with Jim Carrey in it – so funny!  Oh and ‘Trains, Planes and Automobiles’ – I can really relate to that kind of nightmare journey scenario having been a traveller/rep for so long!
What was your journey to being a published author?

A long one. Well It took a year to have my first short story accepted by a magazine – that was with My Weekly! After that I wrote short stories for about 8 years. All my novel attempts were rubbish although that didn’t stop me sending them out.,…. Oh the shame! So from starting Expected to having it published – a difficult and turbulent journey with a catalogue of bad luck in the middle – it was about 18 months.
Biggest myth about being a novelist?
That it’s easy.

Advice to aspiring novelists?

Read and read and read – the best in your genre!

‘Expected’ by Sarah England

Sam Sweet is a failed psychiatric nurse from a sink estate in Weston Super mare. Her mother, whose husband ran off with another woman 20 years ago - although you'd think it happened only yesterday - has only one ambition and that is to be a grandmother.
But Sam is terrified of giving birth. She is easily traumatised and has no ambition to return to the sink estate and have dozens of children. She just wants a chance to do something with her life first, to fall in love, to see a bit of the world. Alas, in a drunken stupor she meets Simon - the psychopathic surgeon, who promises her a wonderful life and she believes him - because she is a dingbat and has a lot to learn.
Her latest job is injecting facial fillers and clients are suing because it’s going lumpy. And her best friend, also her boss, is sexually jealous to the point of blind rage because her boyfriend fancies Sam and does little to hide it.
Sam is coping - by shopping and over eating chocolate. But soon piles on weight and sinks deeply  into debt, at which point Simon the surgeon starts playing serious mind games; and by the time it dawns on Sam just what a horrific mess she's in - well might as well pass her the JCB because she keeps on digging.
Then as the company spirals downwards and all knives are out for survival - a new MD is brought in from the states – Joel – WOWEE - Madison! Sam and he instantly fall for each other but...her mother is now going bonkers - has booked the wedding....with the psychopathic surgeon....oh it's getting worse.......fireworks? You bet....but that would be telling......

Find out more about Sarah at:

Twitter: @sarahengland16

 Links to: ‘3am and Wide Awake’ – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00CLFRFHS

 U-tube video: http://youtu.be/rsvi9yI5S-g

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