Author Interview- Sarah Pennington

Hello again my lovelies! It’s time for yet another author interview! This author penned one of my (most recent) favorite books! I used the image of it because I loved the book so much. I’ve written a review on her book, and I realized I just had to interview her. I hope you enjoy this little one on one!

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I don’t think there was a particular moment. I usually say that I started writing seriously — by which I mean that I started treating writing as something I was going to do regularly and try to get better at — in summer of 2011, when I wrote my first novelette. But I’ve always loved writing, I’ve always wanted to share my writing with other people, and I can’t remember a time when that wasn’t the case.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I have a day job doing print and media design, so these days, I do most of my writing in the evenings and on weekends. For Through a Shattered Glass, which was actually a pretty straightforward story to write, I’d get home, eat dinner with my family, relax for a little while, and then jump into writing. Typically I’d write half a chapter a day, sometimes a full chapter, which meant an hour and a half or two hours of writing, and I’d always make sure that, if I finished a chapter, I started the next one before I stopped for the day. For my current WIP, which is the fourth book in my 20s-inspired fairy tale mystery series, the story is more complicated, so I typically only get a chapter or two done per week, and I can write for about an hour a day before my brain gets tired or I have to step back and think more about what’s going to happen next.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I used to say that my writing quirk was that I wrote all my first drafts by hand, but that’s not the case anymore. These days, I think my writing quirk would probably be that all my books have at least one significant scene involving some kind of delicious food or drink, and about half the time, the food is a plot point. (I think it’s the influence from LOTR, Narnia, and Redwall . . . that and the fact that I really appreciate good food.)

Where do you get your inspiration for your books?

It varies from book to book. Most of the books I’ve published were originally inspired because I wanted to write a retelling of a particular fairytale. For other stories, I’ve drawn inspiration from music or from random thoughts along the lines of “Wouldn’t it be cool if . . .” or “Hey, why do the books I’ve read never seem to use this possibility . . .?” In the case of Through a Shattered Glass, I had the thought of an Alice retelling in my head because of a song, Rachel Rose Mitchell’s “Hey Alice,” specifically the line “Did you do as the queen asked? Did you see through the looking glass?” That song and that line made me start wondering why the queen might have asked Alice to see through the looking glass — and the Snow Queen fairy tale provided the answer.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

As I already mentioned, in my day job I’m a print and media designer, so I genuinely do enjoy working on graphic design projects. That takes up most of my non-writing time. In my actual free time, I read a lot (usually upwards of 90 books a year), play D&D (I’m a paladin in one group and the game master in another), and do various crafts, mostly knitting and crochet. I did take up embroidery this past summer for a cosplay, though, and I want to do more of that. Oh, and I bake! Mostly I make bread, rolls, and similar — I have my favorite sourdough bread and rolls recipes more or less memorized — but occasionally I make desserts, especially around this time of year.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

Oooh, creating? Not just writing? Given that, I would say that one of the biggest things that caught me off-guard was how many details and techniques go into turning a book from a written story into a proper manuscript formatted so it’ll look nice in print or on e-readers — everything from choosing typefaces and setting styles to making sure all the page breaks and pretty chapter headings end up in the right place. I do all my own book formatting, and with each one, I’ve learned something new.

How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?

I’ve written two dozen complete drafts; of those, I’ve published six finished works. My favorite? It’s hard to pick — looking back, I like most of what I’ve written. But if I have to pick, I would say that my favorite of what I’ve published is either The Midnight Show, the first book in my Jazz Age-inspired fairytale mystery series, or Through a Shattered Glass. My favorite unpublished work? Between Two Worlds, a book about what happens after the portal fantasy adventure, when you come home and have to figure out how to fit back into a space you’ve grown out of — and what happens when the worst parts of adventure you thought was over come back to haunt you.

What is the first book that made you cry?

I pretty much never cry over books — or anything, really, except occasionally from laughing too hard. I remember getting together with friends to watch the third Hobbit movie in theaters, and at the end, half of the group was bawling and hugging each other, and I was more or less just awkwardly standing there, not because I wasn’t sad, but because it wasn’t a sadness I was going to process with tears. But the first book that made me sad enough that I had to set it down and walk away because it was such an emotional wringer was Words of Radiance, the second of Brandson Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive series. I still didn’t cry, but it was rough.

What do you think makes a good story?

Protagonists I want to root for, an antagonist or opposing force I’m excited to see overcome, an interesting world to explore, a healthy dose of friendship, and a Truth at the tale’s heart that helps readers remember who they are and who God meant them to be.

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

I know it’s cliche, but read! Read, read, read! Read in your genre, and read out of your genre; read fiction and nonfiction alike. Notice the things your favorite authors do that you really like and figure out how to do the same thing yourself. Notice the things that bad books do poorly and consider how you could avoid or fix that mistake if you were writing a similar story. Then sit down, write a thing, and when you’re done writing it, put it aside for a few days and then rewrite it. Draft with the expectation that you’re going to rewrite — it relieves a lot of pressure to be perfect. Also, critique groups and beta readers are your friends. That pretty much sums up how I learned how to write well.

Thank you so much for joining us Sarah! I have thoroughly enjoyed hearing your answers. As for my readers, I hope you enjoyed them as well! Are you an author who is willing to be interviewed? Do you have questions that you want to have answered? Let me know in the comments or message me directly. I hope to hear from you soon!

1 thought on “Author Interview- Sarah Pennington

  1. Thanks for sharing this interview! I enjoyed answering your questions!


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