Our Interview with Sarah Fredricks!
Bio Sarah Fredricks lives in Central Scotland with her family. As a child, Sarah loved writing stories and still remembers the two stories she wrote under exam conditions for her ‘O’ level english! On leaving school, her career took over and for a long time her creative outlet was through singing and performing in amateur operatic productions. She left a successful corporate career after 20 years and became a self-employed management development trainer. This second career is filled with peaks and troughs and during a particularly long trough she started writing her first novel. The peaks took over again and the novel was only finished in February 2012.
Sarah still delivers some training however, now the first novel is available she’s going to go straight into writing her next one.
Sarah has been reading romance novels since the age of 15 and would happily never read anything else, but she belongs to a local book club which encourages her to broaden her reading! And Sarah would be the first to admit, she’s read some great novels without the romance genre!
When she’s not busy writing, training or creating digital art, Sarah plays an active role in her community, enjoys time with her family and still sings (but not as much as she would like to).
Bio provided by author’s site
It was our pleasure to get a chance to know Sarah and find out a bit more about how she became an author! Sarah’s first love is, may always be, romance novels. Sarah has been learning of other genre’s and finding them to be great reads as well! So get comfortable and please give a warm welcome to Sarah!
1. What makes for a good hook in your stories? Where does your inspiration come from?
Some kind of shock or surprise. For example on the first page of my first novel, the male character is shocked into negatively reacting to a situation because it vividly brought back a nightmare experience from his childhood.
I get my inspiration from around about me and from key events I hear about/see on TV. For example, I have a story based on swimming and the Olympics waiting in the wings to be written. My current writing is the first of a series of 4 dealing with 2 sets of twins in the same family (I have a fascination for twins). I swim 1500 metres once a week and I use that time to think about story lines (I need something to get me through the boredom of swimming up and down!)
2. Are you an organized writer? Do you do things like take notes and make lists of characters? Or do you free write and work it out as you go?
I use yWriter software to write my novels. The software enables you to capture all the character details as well as locations and items. It helps me to organise my stories into chapters and scenes so I can easily track what I’ve written and where I’ve got to. I write notes for each scene when relevant, attach characters, locations, items to each scene and create a timeline so I can keep track of time. I have to think about the story and ‘live’ with it in my head for a while before I start writing it. This helps me firm up the key events in the story and also understand my characters. Once I start writing I find it flows better but it can also end up taking me down paths I hadn’t initially thought of! So I guess the answer is that I am reasonably organised as a writer but still let my fingers fly on the keyboard wherever they wish to go!
3. What is your normal writing day like? Do you write when you are inspired or do you have a schedule?
It generally takes me a few hours to wind myself up to concentrating on writing so I use that time to clear my emails, catch up on the news and do some online marketing/social media for my published book. From early afternoon I then knuckle down to writing and very often will continue into the evening if I still have words in my head that need to get out. I aim to write an average of 2000 words a day.
4. Who is your favorite author and how did they inspire you to write?
I used to love writing stories as a child and I’m not conscious of any author inspiring me to write. I did read a lot of Enid Blyton so maybe on a subconscious level her stories inspired me. As an adult, I don’t really have a favourite author. I’m a romance junkie and over the years have read a LOT of Mills & Boon/Harlequin. I’ve read a lot of well constructed stories and a lot of rubbish as a result! The stories that really pull me in are those with well developed characters and a strong story line where the relationship is well developed.
5. It’s easy to see that you have a passion for writing but is there any part of it you don’t like?
I find it hard when I’ve got to the final proofread. I have to work really hard to stay focussed and get the whole book read and amended. I’m not a natural completer finisher, it’s sheer grit and determination that gets me through that part.
6. Do you make time to read and if you do what are you reading right now?
I read pretty much every day. I still read the Harlequin romances that I get from my local library every week. I’m also in a book club where I live and we read a book a month. Currently we’re reading The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay. I’ve previously seen the film of this book and really enjoyed it and I’m finding the book equally enjoyable.
7. How did you get started in wriing in the romance genre? Is there personal life experience in the writing?
It’s just a genre that I’ve read since I was about 15 years old. Maybe it’s the chance to escape to a better world that first drew me to the genre – what girl doesn’t dream of a ‘happy ever after’!
I think it’s inevitable that personal life experience comes into my writing, although, so far there hasn’t been anything major. One of my popular mental pastimes is imaging being a victim of a horrible/upsetting experience and I think this informs my stories!
8. Your books have been published with Amazon.com, Does this mean you see the publishing industry headed this way?
I’m really grateful for the opportunity that Amazon has afforded me to make my novel available on a major platform. At the moment this is a huge player in the marketplace with a brilliant model. Whilst I would hate to see publishing houses go to the wall, I can’t see the model Amazon has going away. It’s important though that the market has a healthy dose of competition and perhaps some kind of self-regulation over the quality of novels published.
9. Do you have any online sites where others can read more of your writings?
I’m on Goodreads and also have my own blog site at http://www.sarahfredricks.com. This site is new and I’m a new author, so there isn’t any more of my writings on there other than my first novel. Hopefully in a few years it will be an excellent place for people to catch up with my writing.
10. Do you have any more stories in the works? What kinds of stories do you plan to write next?
As I alluded to earlier, I have just started book 1 of a four part series. It covers the lives of four siblings: two sets of identical twins. This is going to be a huge challenge, to keep track of each of the characters across the four books. Whilst each one deals with a specific sibling, there will be mention of the other three. Again, these will be romances. I also have a storyline for the swimming world and a boss/admin one. As my confidence and experience grows I think I will get bolder and grittier with my storylines but I think at the heart, they will always be a happy ever after romance.
11. Who would be your first choice to play Carrie from your book “The Millionaire Falls Hard”?
It’s so funny you’ve asked this question! I was thinking about it last week! She’d be too old now (sorry!), but I think I’d be on the hunt for a younger Jane Seymour.
12. If you could meet anyone from any time who would it be and what would be your first question?
Ooh, fascinating question. I would love to be able to travel back in time and observe what life was like, particularly in the Victorian era. However, the one person I would want to meet from any time is still alive but I would want to meet him in the 1960’s. His name is Val Doonican (wonderful irish performer who was very big in the UK in the ‘60’s and 70’s). He always sat in a rocking chair for his last song and wore the most wonderful looking cuddly jumpers. The one thing I always wanted to do was sing a duet with him, so my question would be ‘Will you sing a duet with me please’! A bit of self indulgence there. I love singing and having grown up watching Val on TV, I have an emotional attachment to wanting to sing with him.