Today at Creekside Café, I’d like you to make welcome the multi-talented author, Sarah Hegger. Welcome to Eastern North Carolina even if it is by way of the virtual café.
Sarah: I have never been to North Carolina. In terms of the east coast, I’ve been to Philly, New York City, Maine and Key West (do you still consider that east coast?) And loved all of them. Especially Key West, although I was there during spring break (some things you can’t unsee).
Sherri: It’s great to have you with us today. You have several fans among my Facebook groups. I was asked to invite you to join The New Romance Café Facebook Group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/292243634861501.
I understand you have a new project underway, in fact, it goes live today (March 6th).
Tell us about it. I have to say, I’m excited.
Sarah: I’ve launched into Indie with a vengeance this year. The book I’m releasing today is called Blatantly Blythe and it’s the third in the Ghost Falls series.
The first book in the series, Positively Pippa, got a lot of critical acclaim. It was a starred Kirkus and Publishers Weekly review, was also one of Publisher’s Weekly top five romances for 2017, nominated for an RT Booklovers Award (alas, I didn’t win). The second book, Becoming Bella, also got a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly. The dedication on Blatantly Blythe is important to me and here it is:
If you were one of those readers who emailed me, texted me, messaged me or left me a comment asking for another Ghost Falls book, then this is one hundred percent for you.
Without you, I would never have sat down to write this book.
Sherri: That’s lovely Sarah, after reading that, I am sure you have gained even more fans. I am just getting started, I hope to publish my third book this spring. It is the third in a series, and it has been through the love and support of family, friends and community that I have taken the leap of faith and started doing more, like these interviews and the international anthology which comes out March 8th, international women’s day.
You said you’ve never been to North Carolina, but you’ve traveled all over the world. Where are you from?
Sarah: Brace yourself! I was born in England and raised in South Africa. In my twenties I went back to England as a young single working in an advertising agency in London. So much fun. I married a Canadian engineer and we’ve lived in South Africa, Mozambique, Russia, Canada and the US. We’ve had about 14 homes in our 20 years or marriage. In terms of no clutter, stand aside Marie Kondor I am the anti-clutter bug.
Sherri: I need lessons in declutter. I keep trying. I get rid of stuff and my husband brings home more. Maybe you need to write a “How to” manual. I’ll buy it for my husband.
I know you have several books published through different publishers. How long have you been writing?
Sarah: I suppose, I could say most of my life in one form or another, but as in seriously pursuing publication for about nine years. On my fortieth birthday actually, I made a pact with a writer friend that it was time to stop talking about writing that book and do it. Now or never stuff. It took me a few years to get my first book published, a medieval romance called The Bride Gift. It was published in 2014 by Soul Mate Publishing
I’ve been writing full time for a few years now. Once my children got old enough to give me that time.
I am now hybrid, and this is my first Indie book. With Lyrical press I’ve published a five book medieval series called Sir Arthur’s Legacy, and with Kensington I have a three book contemporary series called the Willow Park Romances, and the first two books in this series, Ghost Falls.
Sherri: Going Indie after being traditionally published, are you frightened or excited?
Sarah: TERRIFIED and thrilled as well. I am loving the freedom it gives me and the flexibility.
Besides the book I’m releasing today, Blatantly Blythe, I am also working on a new contemporary three book series called the Passing Through series, where I took a bold (or foolish to some) direction on my covers. I love them. Since I first began publishing, I’ve always wanted this type of cover, and now I’ve made that happen.
The Passing Through series hits the virtual bookshelves in June and July.
Sherri: Do you find juggling different genres and types of books, difficult?
Sarah: At the moment I can only claim contemporary and medieval romance. But I am starting projects in Western Historical (The Soiled Dove series), blame the fact that my husband has made me watch too many episodes of Gunsmoke and I’m taking a dip into urban fantasy with a witch series (The Cré-Witch Chronicles). I have a really short attention span and low boredom threshold, so the different genres actually help me. Medieval demands a slightly different voice from contemporary, and I believe it keeps me fresh. It’s a bit like taking a vacation into a different reality.
Sherri: You must really love writing to have all of these different projects going. Tell us, what is your favorite thing about writing?
Sarah: I really had to think about this, because my gut answer is everything. I don’t know how else to say this other than that writing is an intrinsic part of me. I always knew I would write eventually, it was just a matter of when rather than if. I really enjoy the plotting phase of my books (yes, I am a total plotter). That’s when the most creativity comes into play. My first drafts are a bit color by numbers as I follow the plot, so not my favorite part. And I love when I have that first draft down and I start to polish and refine. That’s when I get to play with the words and I really love that.
Sherri: Now the dreaded confession, what do you despise about writing?
Sarah: Copy editing, and this is probably because my grammar is not great. But I find it so tedious, and I tend to draft the same book several times as I refine it, so by the time I get to copy edits, I’ve read that book twenty times and even I’m tired of the story. And writing synopses. There should be a program where you can plug in what your books are about and it generates one.
Sherri: I have to agree, grammar is my weakness too. I’m a pantser who plans some of my story. About halfway through I’ll come up with the rest of the details, then check to make sure everything ahead of it supports it. I do a lot of going back and adding necessary details. Like you, I’ve read the story a dozen and half times before sending it to Beta readers. Then again after they go through it before sending it to my editor. Having a good editor you can trust is important.
I don’t know if you know this about me, my regular job is as the manager of a liquor store. I have also worked as a bartender and beer maid. Can I offer you a drink? We have several micro-breweries in North Carolina. My oldest son loves dark beer and ale. I’m more into mixed drinks or bourbon, myself.
Sarah: I’m having a flirtation with Manhattans at the moment. And beer! Yeah, I know, how do you connect those two – refer back to the short attention span thing if this makes your mind boggle.
Sherri: My son calls some beers, “bread in a bottle.” For me, the only thing beer is good for is washing my hair and making bread.
Sarah: I went through a bread baking phase quite recently, and I can honestly say, there are very few things more delicious than home baked bread. I have to confess though, I got into this by watching the Great British Bake Off on Netflix and fell in lust with Paul Hollywood – and bought his bread recipe book.
Sherri: I love Paul Hollywood and the Great British Bake Off. I started watching it on PBS and on Amazon Prime.
Do you have any other hobbies or interests?
Sarah: I love hiking and am an avid reader (like most writers).
Sherri: Yes, my love of reading is what started my love of writing. I enjoyed creating stories, often inspired by the stories I’d read. I didn’t know, way back then, about fan fiction. Who are some of your favorite writers, or your favorite genres?
Sarah: Like a lot of things, I’m eclectic. The only thing I want is a great character/s I can get behind and stay with them through a thrilling story ride. I don’t like unhappy endings, cliff hangers and love triangles, and won’t read those. Other than that, bring it on.
Sherri: Our time is getting short, There’s more about Blatantly Blythe here: http://sarahhegger.com/blatantly-blythe-blurb-page
Sarah, it has been great to have you with us today. I wish you much success with your new adventures into Indie publishing. You can find Sarah Hegger on social media.