Wednesday, September 27, 2017

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Sarah E Boucher

Tell me about yourself. What got you started in writing?

I've been a bookaholic since childhood. Reading book after book after book filled my mind with so many big words and big stories that my own stories began to emerge. I wrote my first fully-formed fairy tale when I was in high school. I know what you're thinking, what high schooler writes fairy tales? Well, that was me! It may never see the light of day, but the Ice Princess was the beginning of the fairy tale bug. And I haven't run out of fairy tales projects yet!

How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?

I'm a full-time kindergarten teacher, so August to May I'm either teaching five-year-olds or recuperating from teaching five-year-olds. That means I write primarily in my pajamas during summer and long school breaks. I work writing in between travel and family get-togethers and anything else that happens. Being both a teacher and a writer means I'm less likely to burn out with either career. It works for me!

How and where do you write? Do you prefer a laptop or some other method of getting your words down?

I love the romantic idea of writing longhand, but my inborn editor instantly wants to tweak what I've written down, so working on my laptop is the best option for me. It gives me the freedom to manipulate words and chapters as quickly as I change my mind. Additionally, I have never been able to work at a table or desk that faces a wall. I generally take over any sunny corner, be it comfy sofa or cozy armchair, and get to work.

What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?

My favorite aspect of writing is finding a phrase or a scene that is so good that I make myself laugh or cry when I read it back. Conversely, I hate finding errors in my published books. Those stories have gone through an army of beta readers, several grammar Nazis, and professional editors. Twice! That's a lot of people who missed an error, but I'm mostly angry because I missed it myself. And then I feel like a big idiot. That's the writer life. Top of the world one day; bottom of the dog pile the next.

How did you come up with your book idea? How long did it take you to write your book?

My books are a direct result of a lifetime obsession with fairy tales. Fairytale collections dot my shelves and anytime I need a little inspiration, I turn back to them. Usually, a question spurs my plots. The burning question behind Becoming Beauty was: what if Beauty was selfish and beastly instead of sweet and giving? After that, the story just tumbled out. I’m a slow writer and a perfectionist editor, so Becoming Beauty took me a couple of years. I’m going on book three and that time frame seems to be the norm.

What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?

The main driving force behind my marketing plan is connection. Writers are far too apt to hide in their homes and write rather than get out in public or get online and connect genuinely and respectfully with readers, book bloggers and reviewers, other writers, and public figures who will help them promote or sell their books. For instance, when Midnight Sisters was released in January 2017, I ran a two-week blog tour as well as a book launch party in a local shop. Exhausting, but fun. Since then, I've guest posted on many different sites and made author appearances at different venues every month. Traditional face-to-face marketing is as crucial as online marketing.

What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?

Midnight Sisters, a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princess, was released in January 2017 and I’ve been promoting it all year. Also, I'm nearly done drafting a twist on Rumplestiltskin where Rumple is actually the hero. Isn't it about time he's portrayed as an attractive Spaniard who woos the heroine? Whether you think so or not, it’s happening! And I’m thrilled to grant Rumple some time in the limelight!

Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.

There are several projects that live on the back burner, but most of them are fairy tales I simply haven’t gotten around to writing. Like a role reversal of Red Riding Hood with a hero named Red and a wild woman wolf, or a Rapunzel retelling revolving around a mother/daughter relationship. All of these story snippets live in tiny files on my hard drive and on little scraps of paper on my bedside table.

What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?

I'd tell young writers the same thing I've told my nieces. Keep learning, keep trying, and don't give up. Join a writing group or create your own so you can see other young writers' work, inspire one another, and learn and grow together. No matter how much your mother, bestie, or boyfriend loves your writing, polish your work as much as possible before submitting it anywhere. Take your time and be just as professional as possible. And never forget that though writing is work, it should also be fun. Do it because you love it or don’t do it at all.

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