I would first like to thank all of my readers for making last weeks interview with Richard Godwin such a good one and I know how much he appreciates the support of his fans.
This week I’ll introduce Sarah Baethge, a woman who turned tragedy into creativity. Please read on to get to know Sarah, author of THE SPEED OF DARKNESS, RIGHT NOW, and BREAKING AWAY.
IDI – Sarah, when people ask, ‘Why do you write’, I usually reply with, ‘I’m either very creative or a pathological liar’, just to see their reaction. Actually, I think (in part) that writing is almost like having multiple personalities, without them coming out verbally. Seriously, we ‘become’ or ‘step-into’ the people we write, at least for a short time. In a sense, we have to feel what they feel, think what they think and know what they know… so how can we not feel like an extension of them to a degree. Agree? Disagree? What are your thoughts?
IDI – Who is your target audience? What aspect of your writing do you feel targets that particular audience?
SB – My target audience is myself. To answer ‘why I write’ it’s to amuse myself. I started writing down different story ideas as a way to pass time when I was stuck home sick. The idea of trying to sell it came from a Twitter ad for a self-published bookstore: http://www.iwritereadrate.com/ It still has the first 5 parts of a story that I will finish when I can decide where it’s going: http://www.iwritereadrate.com/books/search-results/?author=baethge
IDI – How were you sick?
SB – On my drive back to college after Thanksgiving in 2000, I was in a bad car wreck. It left me in a coma for 6 months. I don’t really remember being asleep, so to me it seemed as if one day I were going to UT Dallas on a full scholarship with a sweet summer internship with Lockheed-Martin taking care of computer labs at NASA in Houston, and the next I could hardly walk, stuck inside a nursing home where I had been placed because no one had the time to take care of me, and they didn’t trust I could care for myself.
I guess I didn’t really start to write until I had moved out of the care facility and into my father’s home, but was still bored out of my mind because no one believed I could work.
IDI – Oh my, what an ordeal. I’m glad you’ve gotten better.
What are you working on now? Can we get a peek?
SB – Right now I’m toying with a piece to work as a flash-fiction prequel to my book ‘The Speed of Darkness’. Of course, I’ve many times considered what happened in my story universe before my writing picks up, but about a week ago an entirely new character came to mind; I was able to look at what supposedly happened from an angle I never had before. Here’s part of what I wrote this morning:
‘And well, the conviction with which Amber mistrusted Nigel did have me nearly curious enough to flat-out ask him if he were a spy. It’s just that when later that night(morning?) (when I hadn’t really met him for more than a few hours) when he was attempting to splint my broken … with whatever crude, haphazard items simply happened to be available (…); I didn’t exactly want to upset him and risk his tinkerings feeling even worse, for his concern with my injuries seemed to be merely a structural concern, like I couldn’t feel what he did.’
IDI – Do you have a title or any idea of when we can expect this?
SB – Currently, I’m calling it ‘Escaping the Eclipse.’ I will try to publish it when I have finished writing and editing as much as I can stand. There’s no real predicted finish-date, and I may feel like writing on some other project before I finish with it, but I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t eventually finish and publish it.
IDI – Every writer has a dream. What’s yours?
SB – I’d be happy if something I’ve written was adapted into a movie. I can’t really picture writing a screenplay myself, so I’m not gonna shoot for an Oscar. I’d just love it to be known about like ‘Twilight’ or even ‘The Lightning Thief.’
IDI – I’ve heard argument for each side, but when writing, do you outline or sketch the entire book before you feel comfortable enough to begin your draft or do you prefer to fly by the seat of your pants?
SB – I haven’t really decided here. I have a hard-drive full of half-finished outlines that I’ve abandoned when I can’t fit everything together right. My big book ‘The Speed of Darkness’ (http://www.amazon.com/The-Speed-of-Darkness-ebook/dp/B005LA82R2) came from only a fraction of an outline that I mostly grew sick of and deleted yet now I want to use the pieces I can still find and remember to create a series…
And then out of nowhere, with no preparation, I spit out my new short story ‘Right Now’ (http://www.amazon.com/Right-Now-ebook/dp/B007GOYX56) in like a week. And I was just happy with it.
So really, outlines feel safe, but writing where my feelings take me is kind of fun.
IDI – What advice would you give to new/unpublished authors?
SB – Just go for it. Your own worst critic is probably yourself. You might never reach your wildest dreams, but you’ll never accomplish anything if you never even try.
IDI – But might you not run into a harsh critic or two?
SB – If someone thinks your writing is important enough that their opinion must stand alongside it forever, for everyone to see, can’t that fact in itself be seen as a compliment? True, no matter how great your work is, there will be someone ready to hate it; just realize that means that no matter how horrible it is, someone out there will be ready to love it.
I have something of a game in my mind about bad reviews. By expanding The Speed of Darkness into a full series, I intend to address each complaint I agree with until there are no problems left (yeah, I know that ever reaching this goal is unlikely, but the idea makes harsh critics kind of fun.
IDI – I know I have ideas that cross over the lines of my usual genre. Do you have any such ideas wandering around and if so, what’s your outlook on genre-crossing?
SB – I have to admit, whatever story idea I start with, it tends to pick up some kind of sci-fi/fantasy element, so I may bend a few rules of other genres. I just think that if an enjoyable new story is truly new, the storyteller shouldn’t re-mold it to fit it into someone else’s pre-drawn rigid outline of a genre.
IDI – When reading another author, do you find yourself taking in what you read or are you more likely to critique as you go?
SB – When I read, even if it’s to write a review for my blog, ( http://sarahsreadings.wordpress.com/) I read for entertainment; try to enjoy it. When I’ve paused or finished with reading I decide how good it was and if I want to read more by that author. I suppose I like it when I can understand and possibly relate to why an individual character reacts just how they do. I love it when one of them has missed something, and when they discover their mistake, I realize that I was wrong the same way.
I see the most how everything fits together; how the parts of a story build upon each other to create the full experience.
IDI – Who is the most supportive of you and your dream to be a writer?
SB – My entire family’s been great, but I think the most, I have to thank my dad for his encouragement, understanding, and total support ; without which there is no way I’d have ever been able to devote the time I have to my imaginary worlds.
IDI – Sarah, thank you so much for appearing here with me today. I’d like to let your readers know where they can find your work:
If you are a published author and could use a little exposure, contact me at ladybuggerly (at) hotmail and I will get things moving in your direction.
Now, for this week’s recommended reading:
I haven’t read it, but I’d love to know which is better… the book or the movie.
Coming next month…
Of interest to many:
Have you read any of my recommendations? I’d love to hear your thoughts…
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