Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.
Welcome Sarah Price, author of First Impressions, to Author Spotlight! Leave a comment below for the chance to win a signed copy of First Impressions and Sarah Price wristbands!
Define little bit (ha ha). Let’s see . . . I’m an animal-loving, high-energy mother of two that has found the secret to living 25 hours a day! I write as often as I can: if I’m out of the house for more than two hours, my laptop travels with me.
My family heritage is Anabaptist and Native American. My father was raised Mennonite, but when I was younger, we moved to a different state that does not have Mennonite churches. So I attended a Methodist church with my family.
When I was in my twenties, I went through an identity crisis when it came to religion. I spent years visiting different churches, talking to pastors, priests, and preachers. I finally joined a Presbyterian Church where, when my children were younger, I taught Sunday School.
Unfortunately, my heart and method of worshipping is more align with the Mennonites. I’m happiest worshipping with the Mennonites and Amish. Even my husband loves the Mennonite church service! Over the last year, because of cancer, I haven’t been to Lancaster as much and I miss those worship services very much.
How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author? After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?
Ever since I was eight years old, I wrote. At first, I wrote in little bound journals, stories about gnomes and animals. When I was twelve years old, my parents purchased a Selectric typewriter for me to begin typing my stories. I spent all of my allowance on purchasing ribbons and reams of paper. And white out.
Most people thought it was “cute” to see a little girl who wanted to be a writer. Once I gave a manuscript to someone to read and, two months later, I found it under that person’s bed with two inches of dust on it. I took it back and no one ever inquired about the missing manuscript.
After that, I became a closet writer and didn’t share my work with anyone.
I did, however, try to find a publisher. Rejection letters were bad, unsigned photocopies in those days.
My first Amish romance novel, Fields of Corn, was rejected by publishers in 1988. I was told no one would ever want to read a romance about the Amish. In 2009, with the encouragement of my husband, I self-published the manuscript and, frankly, forgot about it. The next thing I knew, people began requesting for a sequel. Hours and hours of hard work made that happen and, slowly, the snowball continued. When I hit Amazon’s Top 100 Authors for the first time, I cried.
Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well? Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing?
I spend anywhere from zero to twelve hours a day writing. It just depends on my mood. I don’t force it.
Favorite place to write? After eighteen years in my home, we finally built the library of my dreams. It’s private with pretty arched windows that spill morning light onto the hardwood floors. The best part is the ceiling-to-floor bookshelves! My husband calls it my “receiving room.” There was an awful lot of hard work and sacrifice that went into building this room.
In the mornings, I read my bible while drinking coffee in this room. It preps me for the day.
What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?
Well, obviously my parents for buying me that Selectric typewriter!!!
Seriously, the biggest help to me is my husband for brainstorming, editing, proofing, and pushing me. He tolerates my moods (sometimes). He was also the first person to really take my writing seriously and encourage me to challenge myself.
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention that no writer can do this alone. I call everyone who helps produce the final product Team Sarah (and no, I don’t mean a “street team” which sounds very sinister to me). Cover designers, pre-readers, proofreaders, publicists, spiritual mentors, fellow authors, confidantes . . . It’s a tight-knit circle of trusted people who I can count on along the way.
Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be?
Yes and no. Let’s start with “no” first. I’ve always been a writer. I used to write until two or three in the morning and then get up for school at six o’clock! So, in that regard, my life hasn’t changed at all.
As for “yes” . . . being a published author with such amazing and caring readers humbles me every day. I feel very blessed by their love and support, especially when I was going through breast cancer surgeries and chemotherapy. I hadn’t wanted to tell my readers. It leaked out. My fans truly cheered me with cards, prayer blankets, devotionals, pink stuffed animals.
What are your biggest distractions?
Social media and time. I have always lived a 25-hour-a-day type of life. Unfortunately, I have an addiction to social media. I want to start a Social Media Anonymous Group. That being said, I have been training myself to back off a bit.
Of course, on a more fun level, my biggest distractions right now are my daughter’s two kittens from Lancaster: Blue and Blossom. They have a habit of sitting on my laptop while I’m writing. They’re so cute that I can’t tell them “No!”
What was one of the best moments in your career and what was one of the worst?
The best moment in my career was when I realized people truly enjoyed my writing. The fact that people invite me into their lives through my books . . . that I can touch them . . . is amazing. It’s a honor that truly humbles me.
The worst . . . I’m a glass is half-full kind of person. I’d rather not think about the worst moments. Focusing on the positive is more my style. 😉
What do you least like about being a writer? Most like?
In the beginning, when I would tell people that I’m a writer, their immediate response was either “I always wanted to write a book” or “I have a great story for you to write.” Writing is not easy. It takes focused discipline, hard work, and constant sacrifice. I truly believe that people think I just sit down and wave a magic wand and POOF! there’s a book.
To do anything really well, a person must sacrifice. I miss out on sitting by the pool, going to the beach, attending social events, you name it.
What advice would you give to new writers?
Read. Anyone with a passion to write needs to read. Period.
Prepare for hard work. It’s not easy. And being a writer is different than being an author, in my opinion. For authors, writing is just part of the picture. If you don’t like the other parts, well . . . you get the picture.
Finally, accept criticism. Use it as a learning moment . . . whether you agree or not. Listen to it and decide later. Don’t argue about it.
Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book.
Sarah Price’s novels blend her Mennonite family heritage with her experiences living among the Amish to provide readers with an authentic literary journey.
Great question. And I have a very full horizon. Most of my readers know that I’m a very prolific writer. Even during my dance with breast cancer (last year to . . . ?), I self-published a lot of books. This year has seemed slower.
Earlier this year, my first book of the Amish Classics Series, First Impressions, was published by Realms, an imprint of Charisma House. The story is an Amish adaptation of Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. The next two books in the series will be published in 2015 with the Matchmaker, an Amish adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma, already available for pre-order.
Additionally, An Amish Buggy Ride is going to be released this November 4th by Waterfall Press. That, too, is available for pre-order.
Finally, and this is my super de duper secret big announcement saved for your readers, I am publishing my first Young Adult (YA) novel in time for Christmas. I am bursting at the seams to say more, but . . . I can’t. (sad face) While the setting is very, very different than Amish, my existing readers will definitely like this series . . . especially if they liked my Plain Fame Trilogy. The reaction from my pre-readers has been tremendous.
Last question, how can readers find you and your books?
Twitter (@SarahPriceAuthr) is my new preferred social media, mostly because it allows me to to interact on a more immediate level with my readers, especially when I’m on the road.
Facebook is another fun way to connect with me as well as on my Amazon Author Page.