Author Interview with Sarah Solmonson

Screen shot 2013-05-07 at 8.58.31 PM

I am thrilled to have the talented author of Taking Flight, Sarah Solmonson, as my guest author for today. I’ve been following Sarah’s blog for a while now, and I’ve been a fan of her writing. I recently picked up her memoir, Taking Flight, and I must say—it has made me into an even bigger fan.

I hope you enjoy this interview, and don’t forget to pick up Sarah’s book, Taking Flight.

What was the first thing you ever wrote, and how old were you when you wrote it?

SS: A group of high school kids came to my elementary school to help us write and illustrate books made of construction paper. I wrote quite a few hits, including “My Dog Maggie” and “I Like Ice Cream”. Ironically, I also wrote one called “My Daddies Airplane”. I fondly refer to this as my first draft of Taking Flight.

When did you know you wanted to write Taking Flight?

SS: I have always known I wanted to be a writer. I knew, probably a year after my dad passed away, that I wanted to write a book that was truthful to what grief is really like. It isn’t packaged neatly in a two week funeral and burial, write thank-you notes and move on way as society wants us to believe. I also knew that I wanted to write down the memories I had of my dad and the plane before they were lost to time. Those combined efforts and desires turned into Taking Flight.

Screen shot 2013-05-07 at 8.59.19 PM

If you had to describe your book in one sentence, what would it be?

SS: Taking Flight is about the unbreakable bonds between a father and daughter who believe dreams are worth chasing, no matter what the cost.

What made you decide to self-publish?

SS: As I dipped my toe into the blogosphere I was incredibly impressed with the community of self-publishers. I loved that, for the most part, writers wanted to succeed and help their fellow authors succeed. Like many self-publishers, I liked the freedom that comes with owning all the rights to your work.

Who helped you edit your book? Did you hire an editor and/or a proofreader?

SS: I’m lucky – I have a good friend who is also an editor. But if I hadn’t had this perk available to me, I would have certainly hired an editor. Any reader can tell the difference between an unedited book and one that has been put through the ringer.

Do you think beta readers are helpful?

SS: Absolutely! But, they need to be the right beta readers. I believe there should be three: one who will love anything and everything you write, one that is the most avid reader of your genre that you know, and the third a complete stranger who has no ties or obligations to you. Get more opinions than that and you’ll likely have more opinions than you can reasonably handle.

What have you learned from writing your first book?

SS: This is still what I want to do with my life. Writing takes longer than you think. Do not write with the television on (no matter how uninterested you are in what your husband is watching, it will end up being more interesting than you writing). Take time out to read. Don’t read your Amazon reviews. Don’t spam people – build authentic relationships in your journey.

Describe your writing style.

SS: I write better when I have a 2-4 block of time available. This is why it is important to know yourself and what works for you. A lot of very good craft books say you have to write every day to get a book written, but because I write more and better in longer blocks of time, I don’t feel bad if I don’t touch my manuscript for a couple of days. If I can’t commit the time, I’d rather skip it than write half-heartedly.

Aside from memoirs, are you also interested in writing fiction?

SS: Yes! I have notebooks full of ideas, or potential ideas. I’m just waiting for one to hit me over the head and demand my attention.

Who is your favorite author, and why?

SS: There’s so many, so for now, I will answer with Ann M. Martin. “The Babysitter’s Little Sister’s Karen’s Little Witch” was the first book I bought with my own money, and I still have it sitting on my bookshelf.

What is your favorite book, and why?

SS: Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Café. My cousin and I watched the movie at my grandma’s house the summer I was 9 and I loved the character of Idgie Threadgoode. For my 10th birthday my grandma gave me a copy of the book, which I have read at least 3 times per year for the last 19 years. It is my comfort food.

Define a good book.

SS: See above! When a book is your comfort food, or keeps you up at night, or is the thing you have to tell every single person you know to go read…those are qualities of a good book!

Are you currently working on your second book?

SS: I am – and I’m so very close to finishing it! “There Is No Why Here” is a travel journal/memoir based on the study abroad trip I took to Germany and Poland studying WWII History and Literature. To say that trip and the things I learned saved my life is an understatement. I hope to publish June/July 2013 – stay tuned!

Where can readers purchase Taking Flight?

SS: Paperback and eBook are available on Amazon.

 

An Interview with Author, Sara Flower

I am excited to have the wonderful Sara Flower as my guest for this interview. Sara is the author of the books, By the Sword and Followed.

Congratulations on your second novel. What inspired you to write, Followed?
SF: Thank you, Corey. Followed was inspired by a lot of different things. I had always wanted to write a dark story set in the Regency era. I listened to a lot of metal at that point in time, so I think that’s responsible in part to the mind-bending plot twist.

If you could describe Followed in one sentence, what would it be?
SF: Four young people from 19th century England discover that being lost in an eerie forest is the least of their worries when they wake up in a research lab.

    

When did you know you wanted to become a writer?
SF: I started writing stories in kindergarten, so it’s something that I’ve always enjoyed.

What made you decide to self-publish?
SF: I had queried literary agents for two years, until one kind lady responded and said that Christian fantasy is a tough market to break into, so she was hesitant to request a full manuscript (despite how much she liked the premise). After publishing my first book, By the Sword, on my own, I enjoyed the full control and confidence that comes from being an indie author.

What do you think is the easiest part about self-publishing?
SF: It’s so fun to lay out the ideas of my vision for the cover with my designer.

What do you think is the hardest part about self-publishing?
SF: There is honestly nothing very difficult about self-publishing, but the most challenging thing would be organizing the print book files on CreateSpace. That is a bit of a hassle I have to admit.

How do you market your books?
SF: I promote them on my blog, on Twitter, Facebook, and Good Reads. I also contact book bloggers that enjoy the genre that my book is in. I think the best way to market your books is to keep publishing news ones. Your name becomes better known with the more you do.

Do you do blog tours? Would you recommend them?
SF: I did a blog tour earlier this year. It did not turn out so well, because most of the bloggers did not really enjoy YA fantasy. I think it would be a helpful thing is you are selective of which blogs you appear on.

What do you think about book launches? Do you think they’re necessary?
SF: I just think they’re fun! 🙂

How many books do you think you read a year?
SF: I read anywhere from 12 to 20 books, depending on how busy I am.

What is your favorite book?
SF: The Book Thief

What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
SF: Gosh, being a writer defines me. As I wake up and go about doing all these things during the day, I am constantly inspired and thinking of what could make a great story. So, I suppose my ability to daydream and escape reality is what I like most.

Thank you, Sara.

Check out Sara’s blog and her book, By the Sword.  Followed is set to launch in October 2012.

An Interview with Author, Sara Flower

I am excited to have the wonderful Sara Flower as my guest for this interview. Sara is the author of the books, By the Sword and Followed.

Congratulations on your second novel. What inspired you to write, Followed?
SF: Thank you, Corey. Followed was inspired by a lot of different things. I had always wanted to write a dark story set in the Regency era. I listened to a lot of metal at that point in time, so I think that’s responsible in part to the mind-bending plot twist.

If you could describe Followed in one sentence, what would it be?
SF: Four young people from 19th century England discover that being lost in an eerie forest is the least of their worries when they wake up in a research lab.

    

When did you know you wanted to become a writer?
SF: I started writing stories in kindergarten, so it’s something that I’ve always enjoyed.

What made you decide to self-publish?
SF: I had queried literary agents for two years, until one kind lady responded and said that Christian fantasy is a tough market to break into, so she was hesitant to request a full manuscript (despite how much she liked the premise). After publishing my first book, By the Sword, on my own, I enjoyed the full control and confidence that comes from being an indie author.

What do you think is the easiest part about self-publishing?
SF: It’s so fun to lay out the ideas of my vision for the cover with my designer.

What do you think is the hardest part about self-publishing?
SF: There is honestly nothing very difficult about self-publishing, but the most challenging thing would be organizing the print book files on CreateSpace. That is a bit of a hassle I have to admit.

How do you market your books?
SF: I promote them on my blog, on Twitter, Facebook, and Good Reads. I also contact book bloggers that enjoy the genre that my book is in. I think the best way to market your books is to keep publishing news ones. Your name becomes better known with the more you do.

Do you do blog tours? Would you recommend them?
SF: I did a blog tour earlier this year. It did not turn out so well, because most of the bloggers did not really enjoy YA fantasy. I think it would be a helpful thing is you are selective of which blogs you appear on.

What do you think about book launches? Do you think they’re necessary?
SF: I just think they’re fun! 🙂

How many books do you think you read a year?
SF: I read anywhere from 12 to 20 books, depending on how busy I am.

What is your favorite book?
SF: The Book Thief

What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
SF: Gosh, being a writer defines me. As I wake up and go about doing all these things during the day, I am constantly inspired and thinking of what could make a great story. So, I suppose my ability to daydream and escape reality is what I like most.

Thank you, Sara.

Check out Sara’s blog and her book, By the Sword.  Followed is set to launch in October 2012.