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Tell my fans a little bit about yourself and your book(s).
I love to write fantastical stories with a specific theme or elemental superpowers. Trial by Earth is my most recent novel and return to writing after a 3-year break to attend state university. I had so much fun writing again. Ellis was a character that is very close to my heart—a gentle giant who had to learn a very important lesson. Recently, I’ve been collecting things with owls, in my expanding search for the perfect pair of owl earrings.
How would you introduce your book to someone that has yet to read it?
A clean, uncomplicated fantasy read with elemental powers and a touch of mystery.
How many books have you written? What are their titles?
4 novels that make up the Twilight Trials series and a free prequel to Ellis’ story, called Earthen Shadow. Trial by Fire, Trial by Air, Trial by Water, and of course, Trial by Earth. Book five, Trial by Metal is a WIP and book six, Trial by Storm, will follow it.
What inspired you to start writing? What age did you start?
An English assignment in 3rd grade, where we were given a prompt about divers trapped in an underwater cave, how they would get out and what would happen next. I think I was about eight or nine then. I did not start writing in earnest until my teens though. I was sixteen when I decided that I wanted to be serious about writing and everything that was involved.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
Mystery books! Mystery series! I love reading detective novels, I prefer the older ones and I am an avid Nancy Drew fan. I also love most detective TV shows and I adore cartoons and anime shows with superpowers. I will always watch a superhero movie. I also enjoy baking sweets and tend to always be making some sort of dessert or breakfast food—like cinnamon rolls.
What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Write, write, write—and read, read, read. Do not stop writing and never stop reading. One feeds into the other and writing is something that improves as you grow and with practice. It’s hard work, but if you enjoy it, then it’s not really work, is it?
What’s your favorite scene/line from your works?
From Trial by Earth, I loved the moment where Ellis says “Hurt her and I won’t kill you.” In that moment, with everything that’s led up to that point, we see that Ellis can be far more terrifying than he’s been so far. There’s a definite finality and strength in that line and also—no room for debate that he won’t take his revenge. While he might be alright with whatever comes his way—he’s dead serious about protecting his friends and those close to him.
What’s the hardest thing about writing? The easiest?
Staying motivated is the most difficult part of writing. Once I’m into a project, it’s easy, but if I haven’t made up my mind as yet, then feels as if every single word is painful to write.
The easiest part is the actual writing! I am quite fond of writing fantasy, though I can write stories that are lighter in tone and have no unusual elements. I love how writing allows me to capture what I’m feeling in a moment but share it in such a way that others can understand and experience it. It is very fun to sit down with a blank page and just spark a world to life out of nothing.
What are you currently reading?
Currently reading Shades of Green by Andy Lake.
What are you currently working on?
I am actually working on three different fantasy novels right now. Trial by Metal, which will be Terrance’s story, is novel number one. Bookstore No. 15, is a standalone fantasy novel I’ve been working on for a few years, it will be a friendship/family-oriented fantasy adventure story. The Carnivorous Hedge (working title) is my third project and also my 2014 NaNoWriMo novel for this year, my first attempt at a fantasy-mystery story. I’m currently about one-third of the way through writing it.
What books did you read as a child?
Nancy Drew! Lots of Nancy Drew, until I ran out of those, then I went to the Hardy Boys, the Three Investigators, the Mandie Books, Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie and the Dana Girls. I read the Saddle Club and then started in on the classics, Treasure Island, The Secret Garden, Eight Cousins, etc.
How has your life changed since you began writing?
I have more headspace! I always have a dozen worlds in my head with characters and plots to match. Writing allows me to express myself and share my work at the same time. Books were a huge inspiration for me and a significant portion of my childhood, I was the girl with her head forever in a book. I want to write stories for tomorrow, interesting and different things that will inspire and encourage kids, just like I was. I find my life to be more interesting and vibrant, because now I notice every detail—when I take the time to write things down.
What’s been your favorite moment as an author?
Posting my first cover reveal. Trial by Earth was the first novel I wrote to ever have a cover reveal. I felt so official when I started the promos for this story.
Out of all of your characters, who is your favorite?
Shatila Briston, the fire Twilight, in spite of her fiery temper, is a strong and compassionate young woman. She struggles with inner conflicts between her duties and the situations she finds herself in, but still manages to grow and change for the better. I loved writing her snarky moments and the interactions with her training master. She is an example of strength, tempered for the right reasons.
What do you want readers to take away from your books?
That we all have personal struggles we go through and it’s important to remember to stay true to ourselves and be right with God. Every character in my Twilight Trials series struggles with a personal difficulty. It can be a lack of confidence or self-esteem, anger issues, overextending themselves or dealing with tough subjects like discrimination and bullying—but they overcome it by growing and changing as individuals. I want readers to be inspired to look inside themselves when they hit a stuck point in life or they’re not sure how to handle something. To remember that they have control, strength and the ability to ask for help.
You’re stranded on a desert island. What books do you take with you?
The complete works of Sherlock Holmes. The entire Dee Henderson O’Malley series. The Oxford Dictionary and a book on gardening on islands. (in addition to one on shipbuilding, but I’d rather build my own things and live happily there. Someone will come and find me. Eventually).
What book(s) do you wish you would have written?
The Secret Garden, The Little Princess and A Lady of Quality—my absolute favorite novels of all time, by Frances Hodgeson Burnett. Three old classics that have inspired me to write, I have read them dozens of times and I adore the style and timelessness of each book.
Do you have any interesting dreams or goals?
To participate in National Novel Writing Month every year as long as I possibly can. To write over 100 books and publish them, either as multiple series, story collections, or stand-alone novels. I want to leave behind a legacy of stories. I would also love to run a café. It is a something of a dream to have a nice, cozy spot where folks can drop in for tea or coffee with snacks, but I wouldn’t want it to be a standard nine-to-five place.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Still writing and with more titles behind my name. I would have finished the Twilight Trials by then and moved on to other projects. I would particularly like to see Bookstore No. 15 completed, edited and published as well—in print format, along with collectible trading cards.
If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?
Just One More Cup of Tea
Sara is a Christian author with a penchant for writing across the spectrum of inspirational Christian Fiction and Christian Fantasy. She is a graduate of the Christian Writer’s Guild and currently attending state university for her B.A. She has written over two-hundred short stories and is published in anthologies, inspirational newsletters and e-zines. Her writing goal is to write stories that anyone can enjoy.