What a way to start a new month with an interview!
So as some may know if you follow my Twitter (rebeccamsauve) or Ashs Twitter (awriter12) we have had the great pleasure of e-mail Sarah Fall asking if she would like to do an interview with us and she agreed! So below this post you will find a review for her book "The Greatest of These" and now here is the interview. I hope you enjoy reading it, I know I did.
I would just like to thank Sarah soo much for the chance to let us interview her,and review her book, taking time out of her day to e-mail us back!
When and why did you begin writing?
I started to seriously think about writing a book after finishing a mediocre novel in 1998. It was a real disappointment, and I wondered if I could do better. One of the great thrills about writing your own novels, is having the freedom to write them exactly the way you want. It's hugely satisfying.
Do you ever get writer’s block? What advise to you give writer’s to get over the dreaded curse?
If I have a case of writer's block, it almost always is due to a lack of preparation on my part. If I don't prepare, I set myself up for rapid failure because I haven't a clue what to write. Do I know what will happen in the scene I'm working on, or am I sitting here staring at the blinking cursor, hoping it will just come to me?
My advice to not get hopelessly stuck when you write, is to know your plot, who your characters are, the key scenes you keep going back to in your head that help set the tone for the story. You know, that scene that made you fall in love with the idea for your book in the first place? Have you worked out how to get your characters to that point, so they can say and do the things in that scene? If not, write out a rough outline and keep working out a plausible way to get your characters to that point. Then work out the rest of the story, until you have a satisfying ending. Research any subjects you're not already familiar with, such as the occupation of your characters, the setting where your story takes place, the weather of the area for that time of year, etc. Do your research, plan your novel, know your characters, and when you sit down to write, it will come. In my opinion, preparation is the best way to overcome writer's block.
What kind of books do you read in your spare time?
I'm a fairly eclectic reader and like romance, suspense, mysteries, adventures, and biographies. A few of the books I've enjoyed are "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte (the first time I read this, it took my breath away, it's so romantic), absolutely everything by Jane Austen, "A Story Like the Wind" and "A Far Off Place" by Laurens van der Post (an epic two-book, grand adventure set in an exotic location), and "The Long Walk Home" by Nicholas Sparks (a tearjerker and such a sweet romance).
Do you plan out your book or do you write whatever comes to you?
I'd have to say I'm between a plotter and a seat-of-the-pants writer. Because I post each chapter on my website after I write it, it means I don't have the luxury of being able to go back and change major plot points. My readers have already gone through those chapters and are waiting for what happens next. So I definitely plan ahead, though I don't outline too extensively. I like to keep things a bit spontaneous, especially with dialogue, and that means not outlining every little detail. It's a balancing act.
Who is your inspiration when writing books?
My literary heros are Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, while my spiritual hero is Jesus Christ. But really, my inspiration comes from a lot of places. Good books inspire me to become a better writer, while poor ones inspire me to work harder so I won't be that terrible. Also, my monthly chapter deadline inspires me to keep working at my craft because I know a lot of readers are waiting for that next chapter.
When you sit down to write a book how do you get the words from your hands to your fingers and then to the page?
I get questions similar to this all the time. From the outside, it may look like magic, but it really isn't. To write, and get the words flowing, I need to know where the story is going, and have at least a general idea of how to get there. The words don't come from thin air. If I don't know where I'm going, how can I know what to type? Sure, I can start without knowing, but then I'm setting myself up for extensive rewrites. Some people are pure seat-of-the-pants writers, but I'm not one of them. If that works for you, however, then go for it. Creatively speaking, the only wrong way to write, is to not write at all.
Do you have a specific writing style?
When a wedding takes place in my books, it may be at the middle, or even at the beginning, but rarely at the end. The relationship of the two main characters is the primary focus throughout, and we get to follow them and see how their romance works even after they marry. They usually become very close friends at some point in the story, and must work to find agreement in their relationship. And then there's the dialogue. That's where I have the most fun. I always have lots of dialogue between the two main characters.
How much of your real life makes it into the book? Do you base charters off people? What about things that you and friends have done, do you use any of that in your writing?
Very little of my real life ever makes it into a book, though I do sometimes resort to giving my characters some of the same experiences, likes and dislikes as myself. It helps me relate to them better. For instance, I was something of a tomboy when I was younger, and it helped me write Abby's character in "Abigail's Journey" (though I've only fished a handful of times, and never fly fished). I also had piano lessons as a girl, and never got very far, just like Charlotte in "Greatest of These." Maddie from "Terry's Journey" has a thing for "Pride and Prejudice," and I do, too. That said, these characters aren't me, and they aren't anyone else, either. They really are fictional.
What was the hardest part of writing your book? What is the easiest?
For me, the hardest part of writing a book, is starting one. Get that wrong, and it throws off everything else. I go over the beginning carefully, obsess over it to make sure things are set up exactly the way I want, and with the overall tone that I'm looking for. It means getting things right that I can't go back and later change, for my readers are following the story live-- as live as it gets without them looking over my shoulder as I type. So beginnings are tough. The easy parts for me are the middles. That's where I get to have the most fun with the characters, put them through their paces and struggle to make their relationship work while they're busily falling in love.
What book are you reading now? Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Right now, I'm reading "Gods and Generals" by Jeff Shaara. It's American Civil War research for the sequel I'm planning for "Mountain Wild." Jeff has a definite talent for making history come alive-- something I hope I can do in my own novel. No new authors come to mind, though I'm always on the lookout for a good read.
How did you come up with the title?
I try to match the theme and tone of the book, with its title. For instance, "Mountain Wild" is the story of a wild mountain man who falls in love, "Greatest of These" is about the struggles of an age gap romance, and "Homegrown Dandelions" is about love thriving in the most ordinary places. When coming up with titles, I use the "Synonym Finder" by J.I. Rodale. I look up words I like best, then see if there are any better choices that fit my book.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your current readers or a reader who may go and check out the site after reading the review and now interview?
To current readers-- thanks a bunch for the endless encouragement and overall enthusiasm for my stories. I couldn't ask for a better audience. To everyone else-- I've been writing and posting new chapters on a monthly basis for almost ten years without missing any deadlines. The books are free, and if you do try my stories, I'd suggest starting with a longer one, as the shorter ones were written back when I was more of a beginner. http://www.JudithBronte.com/
Bec and Ash, thanks for inviting me to your website, and for the book review!