Sarah: My family has lived in the arid deserts of Arizona since before the invention of air conditioning. So insanity runs in my family. Not something most people would include on a resume, but it's great for an author. Writing requires a certain degree of mental instability. And a tendency toward insomnia.
I write a lot at night and while my kids are at school and any time I am supposed to be cleaning my house. I am sometimes overly enthusiastic when protecting my claim on a table at the back of my local library where I do most of my non-nocturnal writing. Insanity, like I said.
My 6-year-old describes my books this way: “Kissy, romantic books where the people lived a long time ago and talked funny.” Yep, pretty much. I write clean romances that take place in Regency England (think the first two decades of the 1800s: Napoleon, Jane Austen, Mad King George). The endings are always happy, the characters are usually funny and my mom thinks they are amazing.
CRW: How many books have you written?
Sarah: I have 9 books currently available, which I regularly talk unsuspecting relatives, friends and vague acquaintances into buying. A 10th title will, if I can pull of the pseudo-miracle I am currently attempting, be available before the end of this year. An 11th was recently accepted by Covenant Communications, Inc. and will be released toward the end of 2010 to, I am certain, wide-spread acclaim and fanfare. I have completed a 12th manuscript in an entirely different genre that will, depending on the miracle-making power I referenced earlier, be published sometime by someone somewhere. I am about to start writing lucky number 13.
Now if you will excuse me, I need a nap.
CRW: Me too, but sorry, you aren't done yet. What inspires you to write?
Sarah: Perhaps the single greatest source of inspiration for me lies in the fact that writing gives me an excuse to avoid responsible things. “Wow, I have very large piles of dishes on the counters (yes, plural) of my kitchen. Sorry. I need to write.” “The PTA is hoping I will bake 6 dozen cupcakes for the bake sale in a half-hour. Sorry. I need to write.” “What is that, children? You want dinner? There are frozen waffles in the freezer. Mom needs to write.”
CRW: You sound like a dedicated writer to me. What gets in your way of writing?
Sarah: I have a deep and unshakable need to consume large quantities of unnecessary and useless calories. This need creates another need—to exercise my backside, hips and gut off. These very real needs often get in the way of my writing.
Cindy: (Can you say Cheetos?) How do you get past it?
Sarah: To my joy, I have managed to jury-rig an ingenious contraption made up of cardboard boxes, a roll of paper towels and my kitchen counter which allows me to spend some quality time with my elliptical machine while burning calories that I'd rather not become too permanently attached to and typing at the same time. I would take a picture, but it's pretty embarrassing. Embarrassingly awesome!
I am also developing a system by which I can type and eat at the same time. I call it “Click, click, click, chew.” Fascinating. I'm thinking of writing a book about it.
CRW: Please write that book. I'll be first in line before all this sitting and writing turns me into a mound of chocolate. Do you try to write daily, and if so, do you set a goal of a certain number of words?
Sarah: I write 6 days a week—Sunday is my day off. My goal for the day is to write something. Anything. I don't even have coherency requirements. On some days I can eke out only fifteen minutes in which I write the literary equivalent of crème brulee. On other days, I spend hours writing nothing even remotely usable. Either way, I consider myself a success. Good writers are the ones who “do the time.”
CRW: What makes you CRAZY about writing?
Sarah: The voices. C'mon, back me up on this one fellow-authors. I am constantly bombarded by ideas and thoughts. I'll find myself having drawn-out and engaging conversations with characters. Characters! As in, people who don't actually exist. I even argue with them. I say things like, “I made you, you have to do what I say.” And, in the end, they always win those arguments.
If that isn't crazy, I don't know what is.
CRW: I agree with you on the voices in the mind. Just as long as they are characters, I think you're are okay. How long does it take you to complete a book?
Sarah: That depends on the book. I write historicals, and some of the storylines require a lot of research, which adds to the time requirements. I once decided to see if I could pump out a good, solid pretty-much final draft of a full-length novel in only 6 weeks.
It can be done. If you don't sleep.
I don't recommend it.
On average, I need 6 months to go from story idea through first draft (second draft, third, twentieth) to final, polished draft.
CRW: Where do you get your ideas for your books?
Sarah: My books always begin with a character, oddly enough. The plot and setting develop around him or her. I write romances, so the next step is deciding what kind of person would be the love-interest for that character. Then I flesh out where and exactly when within my time period these people live, their circumstances, etc. Those things which come in the way of their being together are usually obvious at this point—if not, I figure that out.
So, my ideas come from people. This is probably the primary reason I have no friends—everyone is afraid they'll end up in my next book. It probably doesn't help that I tell them about this possibility.
CRW: Actually sounds like power. An authors favorite saying, "Be nice to be or you may end up in my book" comes to mind. Where do you get your character’s names?
Sarah: Generally, I just know what their names are. Perhaps this another argument against my sanity, but there you go.
Regency era names tended to be very traditional. However, at this time, people were sometimes named for things and places, as well. If I'm struggling to name a character, I'll thumb through lists until I find something that fits.
If I don't have a name yet and haven't been able to come up with one, I have a list of stand-in names that I use. For the guys: either Poppadoo or Hippopotamus. For the ladies: either Lipstick or Peroxide. Generally, I'm so annoyed by the time I've written two or three chapters using those names and I force myself to figure it out.
Psst. Don't tell anyone, but, sometimes I just ask the character. Characters are remarkably opinionated.
CRW: Too true, but I won't say a thing, not a thing! What is the topic of your next book that has you excited?
Sarah: I am about to start writing a Regency romance—shocking, I know—about a young lady who, unexpectedly, receives a proposal of marriage from the man of her dreams. What more could a girl ask for? A young gentleman she has loved in silence, loves her in return. Only after the vows are made and the register is signed, does she discover that he was coerced into marrying her. Suddenly, her dream-come-true has become a nightmare of loneliness and regret. Now she is faced with the arduous task of convincing her reluctant husband that she can be his dream come true, as well, before circumstances pull them apart completely.
Ooh. Now, that's gonna be an amazing story!
CRW: Sounds fascinating. I can't wait to see how you do it. What is your favorite writing food? (Like everyone doesn't already know this one.)
Sarah: Cheetos. Period.
CRW: Your love for Cheetos is actually legend in the writing business. Maybe someday you will get your picture on the bag. ;o) Please tell us about your next book.
Sarah: The next book to come out is book five in my “Jonquil Brothers Series.” Captain Stanley Jonquil, decorated veteran of the Napoleonic Wars, barely survived the Battle of Waterloo. He has returned home to England, broken in body and spirit, to a life he no longer knows how to live and the lady he left behind. Crippled by grief and haunted by years of war, Stanley desperately needs the peace and solace that love can offer, but he no longer feels worthy of it.
Marjie Kendrick anxiously awaited Stanley's return, anticipating a reunion filled with joy and declarations of love. She has worried over him for months, and prayed for his safety. Stanley returns changed—he is badly injured and weighed down by his experiences. Can she help him overcome his past and learn to love again?
CRW: Sounds like a great love story full of great emotions and struggles. I'm in line waiting for it.
As a fan of your books---my personal fav is "Seeking Persephone"---My daughter loved it too. Your fun sense of humor steps out of the pages. I look forward to your next books.
Thanks so much Sarah, for taking time out of your worldwide schedule to visit with us. It would be awesome if you had a few minutes to check out Tuesdays Tales on the blog "Write a Story Together at http://www.writeastorytogether.blogspot.com/ Writers can visit the blog and add o the story. This weeks story is "The Princess and the Masquerade Ball". It's right up your alley!
Sarah: Thanks for interviewing me.
CRW: Are you kidding me? I am tickled pink, blue, green, yellow, orange . . . to be able to have you visit us here on Writers Wednesday on the Writers Mirror Blog. Someday soon, I'll have to contact your people to get to you, if that will even be possible!
For more information on Sarah M. Eden please see her website at: http://www.sarahmeden.com/