Thursday, August 14, 2014
Have you ever had a funny experience connected with being an author? For instance, has someone ever overheard you discussing the merits of one murder weapon over another or caught you shooting at a can of gasoline to see if you could make it explode?
Once while driving my daughter and her best friend to the high school, her friend was moaning about how her father embarrassed her so much by talking to their pet bunny. (Please read this with 15-year-old teen girl angst). My daughter said, “You think that’s bad? My mom talks to the people on her computer screen! And they aren’t even real!” Best friend said, “All right. You win.”
What do you love about being a writer, and what do you like the least?
I love almost all of it—the research, the planning, the rough draft, and even the editing. I’ve come to enjoy a lot of the publicity parts of it—especially speaking events and social media. I’m not so fond of writing nonfiction articles for publicity, but what job doesn’t have parts to it that you don’t like?
Are you a plotter, a pantser, or a combination?
Serious plotter. Verging on obsessive-compulsive. I fill out character charts, plot charts, and scene outlines. Without that road map I won’t start the journey. However, my characters have been known to lead me off my carefully laid trail, and I let them. They know best.
Do you write full time, or do you work it in alongside a full-time job?
I do write full time, but I also work one day a week as a hospital pharmacist—which pays way better than writing! And we have college-age kids.
What do your kids think about your being a writer?
Our daughter (18) thinks it’s kind of weird. She won’t read my books because it’s icky to think of your mom writing kissing scenes. I do understand. I would have thought the same thing when I was her age. However, our sons (16 and 21) think it’s cool and love reading my books. Our youngest son served as my assistant last month when I was researching my next series in Boston. My husband couldn’t take much time off work, but he sweetly offered to let me stay several extra days to research—and Matthew volunteered to stay with me and help. During the trip the truth came out. Matthew said, “I was afraid you’d get caught up in your research and get lost.” So he stayed to protect me! Isn’t that sweet?
What do you do to get past writer’s block?
I usually get a running start. First I review my outline for the chapter. Then I read the chapter or two beforehand to get in the right frame of mind. And then I write. I give myself complete permission to write nonsense, knowing I can always delete or edit it later. When I find myself truly procrastinating, it often stems from a niggling sense that something is wrong with the story. Then I take some time (I’m not writing anyway) to evaluate that section of the novel. Why is it not working? Too much chit-chat and not enough action? Too much research and not enough emotion? Is my heroine acting out of character, and I need to back off from my outline and let her take over? Usually something pops up, I rework my outline, and back to work I go.
Do you have any pets? Do you own them, or they you?
We have a sweet but skittish cat named Janie, and a yellow lab named Daisy. Daisy is six years old but still acts like a puppy, and she still does not understand why on earth I want to type on that box thingie all day when I could be playing with her! So she eats random household objects and steals my slippers. She owns us.
Sarah Sundin is the author of six historical novels, including In Perfect Time (Revell, August 2014). Her novel On Distant Shores was a double finalist for the 2014 Golden Scroll Awards. Sarah lives in northern California with her husband and three children, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and teaches Sunday school and women’s Bible studies.
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