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.
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.