Author Interview: Sarah Allen

I am proud to have had the opportunity to interview the talented Sarah Allen. More about Sarah can be found on her fabulous blog From Sarah with Joy.


Sarah is a (23 year old, blond, fanatical, insomniac, not-as-na├»ve-as-you-think uber-dork) aspiring writer who loves all genres, though for some reason she tends to write about middle-aged men. Working on finishing her second novel and putting together a short story collection. When she’s not writing she is probably obsessing over a movie or show with painfully stunning acting. She’s a Slyther-puff, Anglophile, and Jane Austen groupie. Secret lover of jazz and post-grunge rock, not so secret lover of Colin Firth, white chocolate, cavalier king charles spaniels, and Frasier.

1.)   What made you want to be a writer?

I’ve always been the dork who is way more comfortable with a book then at parties. So I’ve been reading voraciously as long as I can remember, which I think is my main motivation. Then in high school I had an incredible English teacher who had us read everything from the typical Huck Finn, Crime and Punishment and Shakespeare to less typical stuff like Ceremony and A River Runs Through it. I adored it all, learned a ton, and only solidified my knowledge that this what I wanted for my life.

2.) How long have you been seriously pursuing a career in writing?

I’ve known I wanted to write for as long as I can remember, made it my career decision when I was about 14, and started seriously writing and marketing etc. once I got to college.

 3.) If you had to choose three words to describe your writing nook/office, what would they be?

Messy. Comfortable. Effervescent.

4.) Where do you draw most of your inspiration from?

There are two main places from which it seems I draw most of my inspiration. The first is real life people. I’m not so good at seeing stories in real life and translating them into book ideas, but I see or know someone I think is interesting, or who has an interesting back story, and a character starts forming in my head. The other is movies. When I’m stuck, nothing helps me more than taking an evening off with kettle corn, Fresca and a really good movie.

5.) Give us a one sentence pitch for your first novel.

George Shepherd is the bear keeper at the local zoo and (much harder) guardian of his sixteen year old niece, who could be in danger from a power he doesn’t comprehend, unless, by some miracle, he can find a solution (and confront his past) in time.

6.) What are some of the projects that you are currently working on completing?

The main thing right now is edits on my first novel. Hopefully I’ll get that out to beta readers and start submissions on that one soon. I’m also working on indie publishing a collection of short stories, and brainstorming ideas for my next novel and a screenplay.

7.) What are some of your recent publications?

I recently had a poem published ……, and I have a few other poems published in online journals that you can check out here.

8.) Are you an outliner or a seat-of-your-pantser?

I’m definitely on the outliner end of the spectrum. I need to have the general idea in my head before I start or I get overwhelmed. However, my outlines are pretty sparse and always change and fill themselves in as I go.

9.) If you could only own one book, what would it be? Why?

 Ah! This is impossible, like asking which sibling I like best. I have my Complete Works of William Shakespeare, which is beautiful and I love it. Then there's Harry Potter, which I can't imagine living without. Then there's my Victorian women literary trifecta, which is Persuasion by Jane Austen, Middlemarch by George Eliot, and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Maybe one of those?

10.) Favorite childhood book/books?

So many! Dr. Seuss and Don and Audrey Wood were my favorite when I was little. Then I got into the Beverly Cleary books, The Shadow Children series by Margaret Peterson Haddix, The Giver, Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck and Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer.

11.) If you could meet any author, living or dead, who would it be? Why?

There are so many writers who I admire and whom I seek to emulate. However, based on what I know about them as a person and the way I feel like they know me better than I do myself when I read their books, I would have to pick C. S. Lewis.

12.) If you could meet one character in a book, who would it be? Why?

This might be slightly odd, but I would love to be able to have a conversation with Severus Snape, and tell him how many fan-girls he has, that we all love him and there’s no need to be down on himself. Tell him to be happy, basically.

13.) Where do you hope to be as a writer in five years?

Published, first of all. Perhaps two or three times over, if I’m lucky. I would love to be able to have a large enough readership to support myself on my books. I’ve also always been fascinated by film, and would love to start the process of submitting screenplays.

14.) Favorite quote/personal motto:

Like I said before, C. S. Lewis just makes sense to the deepest parts of me (though I know he rubs many the wrong way), so my two favorite quotes come from him:

“We read to know we’re not alone.”

And

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

15.) If you could give any advice to other writers, what would it be?

Read. There is no better way, almost no other way, to learn how to write. Read everything, but especially the “classics.” They’re called classics for a reason. If you’re serious about writing, read seriously. No matter what genre you write, YA, SciFi, romance, whatever, having these under your belt will make all the difference.

Also, keep a good dose of humility. I’ve seen many writers fail before they even start because they’re unwilling to learn or listen to what others have to say. You won’t get anywhere by doing that.


6 comments:

L. Shanna said...

This is great. I just received my first real rejection yesterday, complete with some harsh feedback, and it stung. It's a good morning to hear from an optimistic aspiring writer!

Rena J. Traxel said...

Hi Sarah,

It's nice to meet you. I also love C.S. Lewis. I see that you write poetry. I'm hosting a poetry challenge and series of poetry related posts next month in celebration of National Poetry Month. I'm looking for guest bloggers perhaps you would like to help me out and do a guest post?

Sarah Allen said...

@L. Shanna: Dang, I know how hard the rejections can be. But keep going :) We need a little dose of optimism to keep going, right?

@Rene: Lovely to meet you as well! Lewis is one of my all-time favorites, obviously. I do write and love poetry, and would absolutely love to be part of your series. It sounds fabulous! My contact info is on my blog, I'd love for you to get in touch and we can work something out.

Thanks for having me Vanessa!

RD Meyer said...

I see we Harry Potter fans are everywhere!

Vanessa Eccles said...

L. Shanna- I got another rejection today. I keep them in their own special folder. But we never get anywhere if we don't put our stuff out there. Just keep on keeping on, and never give up.

Sarah- Thanks for giving me the privilege of interviewing you. :)

R.D. - Heck yeah they are! lol

Ashley Chappell said...

Hi Sarah! Best of luck to you in your edits - to me that is the hardest part of writing. Nothing a delicious Fresca can't ease, however :-)