Please join me in welcoming author Sarah Ross to the blog today. Here's a little about Sarah:
I started my obsession with reading at an early age, getting in trouble for sneaking BabySitter Club and Nancy Drew books into math class in elementary school. I would read any fiction book I could get my hands on. I knew it was an addiction when instead of grounding me from TV or music, my mom would take away my books as punishment (The Horror!). My love of all things paranormal was inspired by my good friend Laurie, who convinced me that books with vampires, witches, and all things shifter were amazing. After a little reluctance, I gave it a shot with the Sookie Stackhouse books, realized she was right, and the rest was history.
I grew up in Pittsburgh, graduated from The University of Pittsburgh with my degree in English, and taught 8th graders to love reading as much as I do for several years. I will always be a proud member of the Steelers Nation, but I couldn’t take the cold and moved my frozen tush to Florida where I now live with my family and two cats. You will find me now with my trusty Kindle in hand and toes in the sand!
When I'm not writing or reading, I am probably partaking in my favorite vice: sunbathing. I know it's wrong, but I love the feeling on the hot sun on my skin and could lay in it for hours. I do live in Florida for a reason!
I also enjoy traveling, baking, movies, and playing with my adorable fur babies
Sara is author of the following books:
And here's some questions Sarah was generous enough to answer for me:
1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always been a writer, writing little plays or skits for my younger sister and I to perform. In college, I began writing seriously, but I was trying to write mysteries and I never fell into a groove with the stories. It wasn’t until I started reading, then writing paranormal that my muse clicked on and said, “now you’re talking!”
2. How long does it take you to write a book?
For me, it takes about 6 months to write and edit a book. Now that I’m a full time author, I’m hoping to cut the time a little more.
3. What do you think makes a great story?
This story was playing around in my head for a while—since I started writing Awaken. I just love the way that a tragedy can turn out to be an amazing gift. And I loved playing with the idea of Angels having free will and not always working for good. Plus, who wouldn’t fall for the hunky angel that saved your life?
4. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I’m a full time writer, so I can write whenever the mood strikes. I do, however, tend to be most productive in the early morning (before noon) or late at night (after 10). The house—and my mind—are quieter then and I can focus. Though I do get very easily distracted by Facebook way too much!
5. How do you balance family and writing?
I’m very lucky that I’m writing at a time that I don’t have children, so balancing is pretty easy. My hubby and I don’t have family that’s close by, so all I have to worry about is him.
6. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I have no idea where these crazy ideas come from, they just seem to be rattling around in my head. I do a lot of research for my books if I’m throwing in anything historical, so I’ll spend a few hours on the web gathering info on what I might need to use when the situation calls for it. It’s nice, kinda like being in college again—minus the all-nighters!
7. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
It surprised me how long it takes to publish after the book is written! I finished Awaken in late October, but it wasn’t published until mid-January. And that’s with a small publisher—the big ones will hold a story a lot longer than that! I’m a control freak, so putting it in someone else’s hands (even very capable hands), makes me squirm a bit.
8. How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?
Echo of an Earth Angel is my second full/published novel. It is the first in the Earth Angel Trilogy. My first novel, Awaken, was published in January and is the first in the Patronus series. Both are my babies, I can’t choose which one I love more, but Echo does hold a special place in my heart. I
9. Are your characters based on anyone you know?
There are a few characters I threw in that are based on real people. The biggest one is my baby sister, Jessica in Awaken.
10. Do you have a favorite place you love to write?
I actually switch all around the house: office, living room, in bed. It depends on how long I’ve been sitting in a chair! LOL. I’d love to write on the beach (It’s across the street), but my hubby is afraid it’ll ruin the laptop.
11. How hard is is to get published?
I got very lucky. I knew some of the people at the publishing house, so when I asked if they were taking submissions, they accepted mine right away. I know this is not the normal process and it’s usually much more difficult, with rejections and queries, but I am happy I didn’t have to go through all that.
12. What do your family and friends think about your books?
Everyone has been super supportive. Not a lot of people in my family read YA or Paranormal, but they all bought my books and have become my street team, selling it and passing out my cards to everyone they meet!
13. What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I am a beach girl! I love the Florida sunshine and digging my toes in the sand. I recently started taking surfing lessons too, and that is a lot a fun. I am also an avid reader and will suck myself into a book and not look up. That happens a lot!
14. Do you have any suggestions to help aspiring writers better themselves and their craft? If so, what are they?
Read On Writing by Stephen King. Amazing advice in that book. Get a good writing thesaurus. Also, surround yourself with others who understand and are also following their dreams. Join a writing group, or a critique group—anyone who will help encourage you in your journey. There are so many people out there who are going to tell you “you can’t do it”, it’s important to have people in the background saying, “yes, you can!”
15. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I had my heart sent on becoming a pediatric oncologist when I was a kid. I even went into college pre-med. It was funny, I was struggling to get C’s in my advanced chemistry classes, and taking Shakespeare as an elective and acing it. Everyone kept telling me to switch majors, but I was a bit stubborn back then…
16. What are your favorite books and which authors inspire you?
I read so much, I don’t know if I could pick just a few authors or books. Amanda Hawking is a big inspiration and I hope I can be half—a quarter—as successful as her one day. I also have a big girl-crush on Charlaine Harris. The Sookie books were the first paranormal books I ever read, and when I met her last month at her book signing she was the sweetest woman in the world.
I also read a lot of fabulous YA indie authors who continue to amaze me with their brilliance. People like Nichole Chase, Liz Reinhardt, Tiffany King, CA Kunz, M. Leighton, Elizabeth Sharp, Tawdra Kandle, and Lacey Weatherford.
17. For an aspiring writer what do you feel are certain do's and don’ts for getting their material published?
Do: Hire a professional cover artist and editor. If you want your work to be taken seriously, you need to hire professionals.
Don’t: Send unedited drafts to publishers. They’ll never accept it that way.
Do: Have a thick skin. It’s hard, cause it’s your baby and you love it. But not every book will please every person. Bad reviews and harsh criticism is a part of the industry. You just gotta suck it up.
Don’t: GIVE UP! Even if you’ve been rejected over 100 times, keep trying! JK Rowling and Charlaine Harris were both rejected multiple times before getting picked up.
18. What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on book 2 of each series. Simultaneously. Yes, it’s nuts. Avenge will be out next (book 2 of the Patronus series.) I’m hoping to have it out by September.
I’ll have book 2 of the Earth Angel Trilogy out this winter.
Thanks so much, Sarah!
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