Sara Owens writes sexy romantic, suspense about powerful, tormented characters with deeply sordid pasts and unrelenting demons and strong, rogue males magnetically drawn to equally as driven yet fiery female leads. She weaves stories together about relationships ripe with push-and-pull tensions that are propelled by intense life-and-death struggles. Here stories are derived from strength, need and relentless perseverance. Sara is most accessible through her Twitter page @saraowensauthor but can also be found on Facebook and through her email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
1) First, I want to thank you Sara for taking the time to do this interview with me! When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most?
Thanks for having me, Jimmetta! I think I was about twelve or fourteen when I started putting together the pieces of what would become my first full-length novel on my giant, old blue typewriter. It was super clunky, and I was always keeping my sibling up late at night with it. I had this little safe in my bedroom, and I remember hiding my writing under lock and key, never wanting anyone to see it.
By sixteen or so, I pretty well knew that writing was something that would always be a part of my life, and it continued to be throughout young adulthood. It was a sort of natural progression. As I began to share my work, it became well-supported. There were professors and teachers who really pushed me to continue writing. A writer friend of mine told me he’d always regretted stopping, and he advised me to never do the same.
The thing I have always loved about writing is that there really are no rules. There is a sort of freedom of expression where a story can go in a million different directions and that always felt like something beautiful to me.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?
My writing mostly centers around characters who have some degree of personal turmoil who are put into situations that stretch them to the edges of what they can handle. There is typically an aspect of healing or forgiveness involved in the stories. All of them romantic, suspense and quite adult. They are fairly heated.All seven of my books are available on Amazon. More info about me and my books can be found either through Amazon or through my author website: https://saraowens.wixsite.com/saraowensauthor.
3) Where do you get your inspiration from for your stories and to create the characters that you create?
Inspiration for me comes from my different life experiences. When I feel something deeply, it inspires me to share that, to put it down on paper. I love baby name books. The best inspiration ever comes from an amazing name. Sometimes I will hunt for hero names or strong male names, and it always pushes me to meet what I feel like that name means to me.
4) What does your writing routine look like? Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels and put together character sketches? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel?
Hmmm…,I guess my writing routine is whenever, wherever. I like to have paper or some kind of electronic device with me wherever I go so that I can write down scenes or ideas as they come to me.
I do outline my novels, but it is usually as the ideas come to me. So, if I’m in my car and I come up with what I want in the next five scenes, I will scribble that down and go off of that. The busier my life gets, the more important I feel this becomes to my success. It also greatly helps in the editing process. Little things like figuring out what day of the week it is and if that chronologically makes sense in the story (sort of like a calendar).
Character sketches are so fun to create, and I have found they assist me in remembering details about each character more clearly. This is definitely something I think will stick with me as my writing grows.
It usually takes me about 3 weeks to write a novel but anywhere between 1 month to 3 months to edit the book to completion…as long as I am focused on said book.
5) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years? What projects are you currently working on?
A crowning achievement for me came from an out-of-state English professor who took the time to hand write me a letter that he loved the depth and strength of the relationships between my characters and the situations they were involved in. He wasn’t personally connected to me, and he was extremely busy, and yet, he still took the time to write me detailed notes. It meant a lot.
In the next five years, I hope to have built up more of an audience and to positively impact the people who read my work. I want to keep publishing and writing books.
My current work-in-progress is called Possession. The male and female lead of this story both have similarly sordid pasts. Both have a lot to work through in order to be able to build a solid relationship. He wants things she doesn’t yet know how to give, and she’s not yet in a safe enough environment to let herself be completely vulnerable. They grow together in a really beautiful and intense way that has been fun to write. It’s dark and sexy and I think a little surprising.
6) What’s the first book you ever read that really touched you emotionally and moved you? What was your favorite book as a child? Who is your favorite author? What book are you currently reading?
Oh gosh, the first book that touched me emotionally was Joshua by Joseph F. Girzone. The book was part of a series, and they were so deep and passionate and warm. It made me realize how important actions and positive impact are.
As a child, my favorite books were written by Joan Lowery Nixon. The Dark and Deadly Pool was probably my favorite of hers.
I have several favorite authors, but one my all-time favorites is Jeffrey Deaver. His books have so many characters and plot twists, I have to be totally available in order to become fully immersed in them.
Currently reading: What the Heart Knows by Kathleen Eagle. I love Native American stories with a lot of romance, such a good story. (as you can see, I seem to have varied tastes here!)
7) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work. Do you ever like to sit and read your own books back to yourself after they’ve been published and released?
Hate reading my work would be a strong way to put it. I think I am the sort of a person who likes things to be a certain way, and so sometimes rereading something I have already reread several times during the editing process feels a bit like torture…should I have changed this or that…could this character have done this or that…unnecessary thoughts I think to moving forward. Unless there is a really fresh perspective or something changes, there is no sense in lingering over and over again. Time for a new story instead, that creativity can be put to better use elsewhere.
8) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career? What are your thoughts about how the publishing industry has changed over the last several years in terms of traditional publishing versus self-publishing?
Sending in books to agents or other prospects and the kind of radio silence that tends to follow is a little disappointing, but I don’t think it ever made me feel like quitting. It just made me work harder to refine my craft and edit better. There is always more to learn.
The traditional publishing industry is so different than it was several years ago. There are so many e-books out there with the rise of e-readers. So many bookstores have closed. I can remember the days of sending paper copies of manuscripts and queries by mail compared to now everything being electronic. It is a different, more technological world.
Self-publishing is blooming insanely with thousands of authors with books from tons of different genres and sub-genres. It is a fun and exciting place to be for sure.
9) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?
No, I think age can sometimes be a self-limiting factor. Ideas and inspiration don’t just die off with age. There is a wisdom and excitement that comes from age and experience. Decisions and ideas can come to fruition in maybe a more developed way with age.
10) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?
I am a very deep thinker, and I process things in a deep emotional way. I write what I feel and experience. As I feel things and explore different pieces of myself, I try to explore the “hows” and “whys” of that. Themes from my writing are pain and growth. I do want to have impact in my writing, for people to maybe see hope amongst darkness.
Writing for me exemplifies some of my deeper views of complex and often painful topics. I think it allows me to push forward in my own life and conquer things I maybe wouldn’t be able to otherwise.
Twitter: @saraowensauthorFacebook: saraowensauthor