The Writing Life of: Sarah Bennett
The Writing Life of: Sarah Bennett
This week on ‘The Writing Life of:‘ I am thrilled to be interviewing author Sarah Bennett. Sarah will be sharing with us detail of her writing life, telling us all about her latest book ‘Wedding Bells at Butterfly Cove’, which was released on 26th June 2017, and answering a few fun questions too.
So without further ado I’ll hand you over to Sarah
Sarah Bennett has been reading for as long as she can remember. Raised in a family of bookworms, her love affair with books of all genres has culminated in the ultimate Happy Ever After – getting to write her own stories to share with others.
Born and raised in a military family, she is happily married to her own Officer (who is sometimes even A Gentleman). Home is wherever he lays his hat, and life has taught them both that the best family is the one you create from friends as well as relatives.
When not reading or writing, Sarah is a devotee of afternoon naps and sailing the high seas, but only on vessels large enough to accommodate a casino and a choice of restaurants.
1) As a child what did you want to do when you grew up?
When I was at school, I wanted to be a barrister. I’m not sure where I got the idea from but I’m still interested in the law and the legal system today.
2) Who were your favourite childhood authors?
So many! CS Lewis, Enid Blyton, Susan Cooper, Carolyn Keene. We had a lovely library in my secondary school and I worked my way through the shelves.
3) At what point in your life did you realise you wanted to be a writer?
I started writing Fan Fiction based on the fantasy series The Wheel of Time way back in the late 1990’s. I’ve always loved reading, but never really got into writing my own stories until my husband was deployed to Afghanistan and I started writing a book mostly to keep my occupied whilst he was away.
4) How did you go about following that dream?
I was friends with some authors who knew I was writing and they suggested I put a story together for their shared world series. I spent the next 18 months writing Paranormal and Contemporary Romance novellas and had then published with a small press.
I still had the story I’d written when my husband was deployed and I submitted it, with an outline for two more books to HQ Digital UK. They loved it and that is how Butterfly Cove was born.
5) What is your writing day like? Do you aim for a certain amount of pages or words before you stop for the day?
Do you aim for a certain amount of pages or words before you stop writing? I try to be disciplined, but it doesn’t always work out. I use a word count tracker called Pacemaker which keeps me in line. If I have a day when the words don’t flow, I’ve learned to let it go rather than torture myself trying to force it.
6) Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I do write under a pseudonym. I have two – one for my PNR stuff and Sarah Bennett.
7) Do you have any strange habits before starting, or whilst in the midst of writing?
I have to have music on whilst I’m writing. It probably sounds mad but there are some pieces on YouTube where themes are looped and I usually write to those. They work a bit like white noise and help me focus, and the ones I use also match the speed I type at so they really help me find a rhythm.
My favourite is the theme from Last of the Mohicans. I love the music and also the passion from the film.
8) Do you write longhand, typewriter, or on a computer?
I use a computer. I have a planner which I will use for writing bullet points or key story plot markers.
9) How many books have you written? Do you have any unpublished work?
I have written the three Butterfly Cove novels and a total of thirteen novellas. All have been published and I am contracted for a new series for HQ Digital UK which will be released during 2018.
10) Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Definitely a pantser. I have a basic story outline – maybe a page of A4 but what happens between the first and last words on the page is a mystery until I get in front of the keyboard.
11) Do you read all the reviews left for your book(s)?
I do read reviews. I look for helpful information to understand what people liked or didn’t like. Reviews are entirely subjective and they honestly do not bother me.
There are lots of reasons why people won’t enjoy a book, I have disliked books other people have raved about (although I don’t write reviews about them!) If you aren’t prepared to be judged then it’s probably best not to put your work into the public domain.
Concerning your latest book:
Butterfly Cove Book Two
Publisher – HQ Digital
Pages – 261
Release Date – 26th June 2017
Format – ebook
A second chance by the sea?
When Kiki Jackson’s marriage falls to pieces, there’s only one place that she knows she can escape to – her sister’s little guesthouse in Butterfly Cove.
But she’s worried that turning up on bride-to-be Mia’s doorstep, especially with her two adorable children in tow, will spoil her sister’s imminent wedding plans!
Luckily, handsome neighbour Aaron Spenser offers to share his new cottage with Kiki until she’s back on her feet. And as the wedding draws closer, Kiki realises that Butterfly Cove may be offering her little family more than just a new home…
Maybe this is where her new life begins…?
An uplifting and heartwarming read, perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley, Rachael Lucas and Hilary Boyd
12) How long did it take you to get from the idea’s stage to your date of publication?
Book one was written in 2014/15. I submitted it, together with an outline for the other two stories in the series in August 2016 and the first book was published in Feb 2017.
13) How did you come up with the names for your characters?
The three sisters are named after minor Greek goddesses – their father is a professor studying ancient Greece and it came from that.
The boys were different, both Daniel, the hero of book one, and Luke from book three had different names. As usual, I’ve ended up with too many characters with M names – Mia, Madeline, Maggie, Matty?
14) Can you give us an insight into your main character(s) life?, What makes them tick?
Kiki is all heart, she’s the appeaser of her family and that’s how she’s ended up in a bit of a mess. Wedding Bells is definitely a journey of discovery for her as she tries to take control of her life.
Aaron is 100% a big brother. He’s sensible, solid, practical and thoroughly bored with his life. He starts making impulsive choices for the first time and it brings a lot of surprises as a consequence.
15) Which was your hardest scene to write?
The scene in the garages. I thought it would go differently when I started writing it, but Aaron surprised me – he was the most uncooperative character I’ve ever written!
16) How did you come up with the title of your book?
With the help of my lovely editors at HQ Digital. We had a really good discussion about it. They captured the essence of my stories with an eye for what works in the market.
17) Did you get a family member/friend to read your work before sending to the publishers?
Yes. I let one friend read it.
18) What process did you go through to get your book published?
I submitted on spec as per the publisher’s guidelines which were first three chapters, full story synopsis and outlines for the rest of the series.
19) What did you do once you had written the final word in your book?
Cried, then had a glass of wine.
20) What’s next for you, writing-wise?
I have just submitted the full manuscript for Christmas at Butterfly Cove which will be published in October. I’m currently having a week off to relax, clean the house and read. I will be making a start on the first book of my 2018 series in the next few days.
1) What’s your favourite food?
I love shellfish, so scallops or mussels.
2) If you had a box of crayons and you could only choose one, which colour would you choose?
3) What movie could you watch over and over again?
Super-weirdly, my go-to rewatch movie is Black Hawk Down.
4) What would be the top song on your playlist?
Flaws by Bastille.
5) If you won millions, what would be your first purchase?
A world cruise.
6) A talking duck walks into your room wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses, whats the first thing he says to you?
“What’s with the Christmas lights?”
You can find out more about Sarah by visiting the website/social media sites below.
I would like to say a big thank you to Sarah for sharing with us details of her writing life, and for a wonderful interview.