Friday, March 9, 2012

Special Saturdays Author Interview (L. Hughes - The Sara Chronicles)

VR: I have here a self-published author who is making a name for herself, L. Hughes with The Sara Chronicles. You published the first book in this series in 2008, was this your first published work?

A: Yes, it was originally just a short story- which led to several other books with many different characters added as I went along,

VR: I see that this series is fantasy genre. Have you or do you think you may try other genres?

A: I am pretty caught up in developing this particular story line- but once I’ve done all I can with it. I would love to try mysteries or suspense novels. I personally love that genre and think it would be fun to play with plots and possible “how in the world did she think of that” endings.

VR: I see that Book 5 of the series was released in the middle of February. What else have you had published to-date?

A:  I started formally writing with this series so, just the five Sara Chronicles books so far... I am working on Book #6. I am actually a registered nurse, so this is my second job; I write just about every night after I get home from the first job.

VR: A lot of your reviews compare to Harry Potter, did you expect this was where you were headed when you wrote your book?

A: No, actually I have never read the Harry Potter books I am ashamed to say. I have seen a few of the movies and spoken with people who are absolutely in love with them. I have a tendency to stay away from books with the same subject matter, for now, because I am really caught up in what I am doing and don’t want to pull ideas from other things if I can help it. She is definitely on my list of things I want to read when I have time. The books were actually written from stories I would tell my daughter Sara. I decided to write them down and all these ideas just began to grow bigger and bigger.

VR: There are some comments about your book being fast pace. Was this intended or just the way the story wanted to be written? Or a little of both?

A: A little of both I think. At first, the storyline just called for things to move along pretty quickly because there is a constant struggle between two very strong forces. These last couple of books, especially book three and four, focus a lot more on building and understanding the many different characters that form the three circles of power involved in the struggle. There’s a bit more back-story involved too.

VR: Do you have a favourite character or book from your writing?

A: Sara, of course; but I also love Finola, both are very strong characters and are beginning to share more and more equal time in the book.

VR: What are you working on at the moment?

A: Book number six of The Sara Chronicles; I’ve made it to Chapter 8.  

VR: What was your influence or inspiration?

A: I have always had a very vivid imagination- If I watched a movie or read a story, things would always go on in my head. I would think about how I would have done this; would I have ended it the same way or maybe I would do it this way. Then I would take a scenario and break it down into a whole plot and its conclusion.

VR: Did you have a muse?

A: Sara, she always does the “what if they were able to do this or that” remark and it sets me off on a whole new direction with the characters or it helps me to improve the story by giving me a different perspective on it.

VR: Was there a purpose or meaning to your story that you were trying to share?

A: I am trying to show a group of amazing people who make a difference in the world despite difficulties that might make others give up. Everybody wants to hear stories about heroes, they never grow old. The reader wants to put themselves in the characters places; to be the ones in control and come out the winner in the end.

VR: How long did it take you on your books?

A: I say on average it takes about 6 months or so to actually finish a book if I write every night; which I usually do. And then it takes another month or so after that before I am satisfied with the way I got from point A to point B (much re-reading and fine tuning is done then).

VR: Do you write every day?

A: Yes

VR: Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?

A: All the time, I get past it by writing something anyway, even if I feel it is not so great. Because sometimes when I go back and look at it the next day, even if I delete and rewrite a lot of it; I still manage to come up with a way to use it, or sometimes it shows me I need to go in another direction entirely. So no effort is wasted, some good always comes from pushing myself just a little more.

VR: I see that you were in the airforce and a nurse, do those occupations influence parts of your books?

A: Yes, I feel that in both career fields I had to push myself to work harder; to look at things a little bit more beyond what was just okay and strive for better results from whatever task I was doing.

VR: How did you come up with your idea?

A: I just had a picture of a girl in my head; one who was determined, smart, and much more capable then her circumstances would have prepared her to be. It always intrigues me how some people can be in the worst of places in their lives and still come out strong and triumphant simply because of what’s inside them. The person that perseveres because they are strong in spirit and can work there way through any difficult situation. 

VR: Do you plot, outline or free write your stories?

A: I have lots of notebooks and am constantly making notes when I have an idea. Funny thing is though, I don’t closely follow my notes; some things just come to me after I start typing. But notes do help me to remember key points and the names I make up for creatures that don’t really exist.

VR: Do you create your characters or are they based on someone?

A: No all of my characters come from the little television set in my head, some just pop in there after I start writing because they will fit in perfectly with the story.

VR: Do you relate to any of your characters?

A: I relate a lot to the female characters because they are what I would like to be seen as, strong independent and loyal. I want them to be a little but flawed too because that’s how everyone is and it makes for a more interesting person when you have to deal with the less than perfect parts of yourself and still be really great.

VR: Do you have to do a lot research for your stories?

A: If I state a fact about a type of climate or an animal or the effect of a certain element on its surroundings I like to be sure that I look it up to get it correct. It’s not going to be believable if I just try to convince the reader that it is this way just because I said so, it has to really be so.

VR: Have you had to overcome anything difficult in your journey?

A:  Yes, it takes a lot of courage for any writer to say to themselves, I have this great story and I want to tell it. It took me awhile before I could convince myself to push myself out in public as a writer because I am in awe of the profession in the first place and didn’t want to be unfavourably compared to the great stuff that’s already out there. So much talent out there in that big pond and I just want to be one of the fishes swimming in it and not sinking to the bottom.

VR: What’s your favourite aspect of your writing life?

A: Plotting! I love to start something and think my way through it. I actually try to dredge up every possibility for a storyline and trouble shoot how it might end if I do it this way or that way.

VR: Do you have any certain music you listen to when you write?

A: I listen to everything! Seriously, I have my MP3 player on with all this music I bought. I have country, rock, pop, even classical. I truly love classical at times when I am trying to write a dramatic scene. I also am a multi-tasker, so I think better when things are going on around me. I have been known to watch NCIS or other crime solving programs while I’m busy typing in the background.

VR: I saw that you are a self published author. Did you have any problems with publishing?

A: It was difficult to start at first, though it did teach me what I needed to do; through much trial and error to get things done. It was because of this that I managed to get the attention of a larger publishing firm and they offered me a contract for book two of the series. I have I hopes for this because it will be nice to deal with people who are way better at this than I am.

VR: Do you have any important lessons you learned that you want to share with new writers?

A:  Yes, there is no completely perfect tired and true method to creating a good book. There are many talented writers who have become successful in many different ways, pay attention; learn a little bit from each. Try things, fail, try things again anyway and eventually you will find what works for you. Focus on your story and work each and every day on perfecting it, if you truly love what you are doing, it will be a joyful experience for you. Don’t be afraid of criticism, it helps you grow and improve, if you take it as an opportunity to make things better rather than an insult.

VR: I see you like to exercise, travel and spend time outdoors. What else do you do when you’re not writing?

A: I love to read and do crossword puzzles; I love being the person who can give you the answer to 9 across when no one else can tell you what the word should be.

VR: Where can we find out about you and your work?

A: books The Sara Chronicles L. Hughes and I have a blog

VR: Do you have anything you would like to add?

A: I appreciate being given the opportunity to do this interview with you and look forward to talking with you in the future.

Thank you again for taking part in this blog interview. I’m very grateful for taking time out from your writing to answer these questions and wish you all the best with your future projects.
The Sara Chronicles: The Beginning; Book 1

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