Today, we have a special guest on FP, TD! Sarah is doing a special on her blog this year for new authors and graciously hosted me back in January, you can read it here. Of course, I was happy to return the favor!! I will admit, I’m not a good interviewer, so Sarah helped me out by answering her own questions. (I’m not worthy!) Take it away Sarah!
Interview with Sarah PJ White
Sarah PJ White is a fantasy and non-fiction author, as well as a qualified life coach and alternative therapist. She is also the founder of Self Confidence Workshops, a website that helps adults build their self confidence and self esteem. Her latest novel, entitled ‘The Last Angel’, has just been released. You can find out more about Sarah and her books at http://www.sarahpjwhite.com
What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book was a non-fiction book (The Self Confidence & Self Esteem Bible) on building confidence for women. This came about after I’d finished training as a life coach and started to write blog articles on building confidence and esteem. Following on from my research, I realised that a lot of women have issues with the self esteem and confidence.
My first fiction book ‘The Last Angel’ started from an initial dream I had – and it just kept evolving and bugging me, until I started writing and outline for it!
Do you have a specific writing style?
For my non-fiction I write as if I’m chatting to a friend. I guess for my fiction work I write as I would say it.
Describe a typical writing session or your typical writing area.
I don’t really have a typical writing session, as routines tend to make me rebel. I share my writing time between my upstairs office and the kitchen table downstairs – it really depends on whether Bear, my german shepherd who’s always downstairs, or the two cats upstairs, want the company more!
What are your current projects?
I’m currently planning out the follow-up to ‘The Last Angel’, so the second book in The Account Trilogy; it’s called ‘Angel Uprising’. On the non-fiction side, I’m currently planning a couple of articles and converting a six week confidence building course into book format.
What books have most influenced your life most?
I don’t think there’s any specific books that have influenced my life – they all have. Right from when I was young, I’ve always read lots, even reading my way through all the books on my dad’s bookcase. He collected the Readers Digest Condensed Books, Dick Francis, Clive Cussler and various nonfiction books, including Gerald Durrell and Pam Eyres.
They all influenced my life as I loved the fact that I could be transported to whatever storyline or life I was reading about. Whether they made my heart race, my eyes water or left me scared out of my wits – storytelling was an art form that I fell in love with.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I’d love to have James Patterson as a mentor – partly as I think he’s a brilliant writer, but also because he’s had no qualms about turning writing into a full-time, successful business venture.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
James Patterson is definitely my favourite. He’s great at collaborating with other authors, as well as writing stand alone and ongoing serial novels. I love the pacing of his books and the way he keeps his chapters short. He strips away everything but the bare essentials and uses the short chapters to keep you reading on. I also think putting the first few chapters of his next book at the end of the current one is a great marketing tool.
What book are you reading now?
I’m not reading fiction at the moment, so my current reading books are inspirational and motivating – another of my book category loves. I’m currently reading ‘Uncertainty: turning fear and doubt into fuel for brilliance’ by Jonathan Fields.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I haven’t really picked up any new authors books at the moment, but new to me is Harlan Coben, so I’m looking forward to reading ‘Long Lost’, which I’ve recently bought.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
The biggest change I’d make, if I was doing it all over again, would be to get on with it! When I counted up the total hours it took to plan, write and edit The Last Angel, compared to how many months it actually took me to complete the project, I was horrified! I could have easily written two books in the same timescale, if I’d stopped procrastinating.
I guess there would be several things I’d change about the actual book itself, but I’m not one to look back and pick things to pieces. I’m a firm believer in moving forward, keeping your eyes focused on where you’re heading – not where you’ve been.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
This is the second chapter of book two – Angel Uprising:
“It had been a week since the incident at the derelict paper mill. Crystal had been staying at Kitty’s, sharing her best friend Emily’s bed. Both Emily and her mother, Mel, had moved in two months before, after Mel had separated from her husband.
‘Are you ready?’ Emily stood behind the tripod; hand on the camcorder record button.
‘Do you really want to do this?’ She bit her bottom lip nervously. ‘Would it not be safer to continue with the audios?’
Crystal shook her head. ‘They’re telling everyone we’re false prophets, hiding behind anonymity. After their attack on us at the outhouses, we’re not really safe anywhere.’ She flicked a red and black strand of hair behind her shoulders. ‘Let’s do this.’
Emily hit the record button and focused the lens on Crystal, a full length shot of her sat on a plain white painted chair.
‘I am angel and this is an important announcement for the world at large. Those of you who have been listening to our messages know what lies ahead for you. I’m not saying the road ahead will be easy, but you will be free to be whoever you truly are, at the core of you.
I also have a message for those in government, politics and religion – especially people like Father Thomas and his disciples.’ She leant forward and rested her elbows on her legs, her chin on the knuckles of her cupped hands.
‘You attacked us the other day. You threw the first stone and then ran away. You say we hide behind anonymity; well I’m not going to hide anymore. And I’m not afraid, for I am ready. Are You?’ Crystal stood up and walked slowly and purposefully, closer to the camcorder, until her face filled the screen.
Staring directly into the camera lens, she slowly and menacingly uttered the next eight words. ‘I – am – that – angel – and – I – am – here.’”
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Probably getting what I see in my head down on paper, in a way that enables the reader to be immersed, rather than on the sidelines being told about it.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Getting started, without a doubt. If I could’ve just kept writing without any breaks, it would have been ideal! When you’re just about to start a writing session, it’s easy to get sidetracked by planning something to death. I guess it’s that element of control – you want to know exactly what’s happening before it happens – when in reality, once you’ve started writing, the characters will speak for themselves.
Do you have any general advice for other writers?
If you want to write, allow yourself the time to write. Don’t put it off or delay until you’ve a) more time, b) retired, c) got the approval of whomever and d) you’ve got a certificate that gives you permission. If you want to write; write. Study a writing course, read writing books by all means, but remember: ultimately it’s about the story. If you try to take every bit of advice you’re given, you’ll never start. Just get the story out of you and into written form.
Before you all start throwing things at me – I’m talking from experience. I was like a sponge – soaking up every book on writing I could get my hands on. If I listened to them all, I’d have incredibly long short chapters, would have had to put the odd visual reminder for the reader to either wake up or remind them to breathe, and wouldn’t have published a thing yet –as I’d be too worried about whether I’d edited too much or too little.
I studied several writing courses and went to Swanwick Writers Summer School – if you can do either, great. What I’m saying is don’t do them instead of writing.
Do you write an outline before every book you write?
I always write an outline, then a more in-depth chapter breakdown. When I start writing though, the characters tend to take over and the chapter breakdown goes out of the window. I’m happy tough, as long as I know where I’m starting and what the end result is going to be.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Just ‘Thank you’; for purchasing my book and giving me a chance to entertain you. I hope it’s the start of a beautiful friendship.
Where can readers purchase ‘The Last Angel’?
It is available as both a kindle and paperback edition, on Amazon and Smashwords.
Please check out Sarah’s book and her blog. Thanks for visiting Sarah!