1. What was the inspiration for your novel?
When I was in college, I had a few friends who kept jumping into terrible relationships. They would break plans with me at the last minute, rarely return calls and just were not around when they were needed. Yet then they would get dumped and suddenly they could not be alone. They called all the time, needed a shoulder to cry on, would beg me to go out
with them... Then ditch me when they found a new guy. It was very upsetting and downright annoying. I wondered why these girls were like that. I think we all act a bit boy crazy in high school, but relationship hopping is not healthy for adults. I wondered what would happen if these girls just quit dating cold turkey, if they were single and shifted their focus to their education and their friendships. This idea slowly turned into “Between Boyfriends.” Jan does exactly what we all want our crazy girlfriends to do: she decided to be single and figure her life out.
2. When did you take up writing?
As soon as I could. I always loved to write in school. I would write really long “short stories” and started my first novel in junior high.
3. How important is setting/place in your writing?
In a sense very and in another not at all. I love writing about places I have spent a lot of time in so that the descriptions of the people and places feels real. I also like to bring in international locations to show cultural differences. I went to Thailand twice for a month each time when researching the “Between Boyfriends” sequel. I also spent a week in Paris
working on another chick lit novel I am writing. Interesting locations add to the story, yet I think that a good story that is character-focused can be told anywhere. I do not think I make the location a character in my books as much as
some people do, but I do like to use the culture and the people as important aspects of the story.
4. Do you have a favourite character (s) in your current novel?
I love most of my characters. I did have to write a couple of villians and I despise them to be honest, but they play a necessary role. I would say that Jan, the main character, is my favorite. I really love Raven and Shauna too and wish I could have used them more in the story, but it just didn't work out that way.
5. What’s the best piece of writing advice you were ever given?
A friend who used to be in the publishing game told me that the most important skill a writer can have that most writers lack is a keen eye for proofreading. He told me that most writers need heavy proofing and editing, which is fine for big names but can be huge obstacle to a new writer looking for a publisher. Publishing houses just do not have the time and resources to do extensive editing on new books, even if the stories are promising. I had already taken editing courses for journalism in college but I signed up for a proofreading course after I received this advice, just to brush up my skills. It helped a lot. I think all authors still benefit from working with skilled editors, but we writers can catch a lot of the small errors ourselves.
6. Do you have a schedule for writing?
I cannot write on a schedule. I wish I could. I became self-employed in my 20s because I just can't stand being on a schedule for anything. The only thing I do at all on a regular schedule is kung fu classes three days a week. Even that
feels confining sometimes.
7. Are you a plotter or someone who tends to wing it?
There was a lot of winging going on for “Between Boyfriends” but I have since become a plotter.
8. Can you name three of four of your current favourite books?
My absolute favorite books are really series. Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic series are just hilarious and Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books are just incredible. My other favorite series are actually fantasy. The Shannara series by Terry Brooks, the Strand series by Gael Baudino, the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, and the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman are all amazing.
9. Can you tell me a little bit about what you are working on now?
Why I'd love to :) I currently am writing the Between Boyfriends sequel. Jan has a lot of growing up to do still and many funny adventures to come. I am also writing a book about a girl from San Francisco who loses her heart in Paris. It's more of a love story than Between Boyfriends yet still has the coming of age aspect that I adore writing about.
10. What advice would you give to a fledgling writer to assist them on their journey?
This is probably the most unorthodox answer but my advice is get as much money together as you can. Of course fledgling writers should seek to perfect their craft, but assuming you can already write well what you really need is money. Money can get you into writer's conferences so you can get invaluable advice directly from experts. Money can get you a review from Publisher Weekly and Kirkus Reviews that as a new author, you won't get any other way. Money can help you advertise your book, pay for professionally editing, get a quality formatter and cover designer... there is
so much a writer with some spare cash can accomplish that would take a starving artist forever to do regardless of talent.
You can find out more about Sarka and Between Boyfriends below:
Between Boyfriends Blog
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