Sarah England is not only a great writer, she is a close personal friend and colleague in Crooked Cats so I’m really delighted to welcome her to the Bingergread Cottage today. Sarah, Grab a glass and get comfy.
Oh thanks – have you got any cake left, Ailsa? Do you mind me asking? Only I was really looking forward to it and I heard you made good ones. Lovely cottage – nice place! Thanks ever so much for asking me. Yes I know I’m cheeky…sorry.
For sure – dig in. I made fruit cake, Victoria sponge and some peanut butter fuge! I’m absolutely fascinated by your progress as an author. Tell me how you got started and how you managed to get so many stories published in magazines. I’m green with envy!
Oh well it was bout 8 years ago – I’d given up my stressful life as a medical rep when my husband was relocated to the South Coast. So we found a house and I started writing fiction with gusto. Two enormous tomes of utter tripe quickly followed, and I had the brass neck to send them out to agents and publishers. How I cried and stamped my feet and threw the rejections at the wall.. Anyway, I then had the bright idea of having a go at a short story instead. It took at least a year. But I had my first one accepted by My Weekly, and then things escalated and I’ve now had over 140 published. I then tried the novel thingy again… made a better job of it this time.
You certainly did! I’ve read ‘3am and Wide Awake’ and just loved it. Does all your work dip into your personal life? How much of “Expected” is semi-autobiographical?
Well in ‘3am and Wide Awake’ (the thriller collection), you may have noticed at least half of the stories are medically influenced – especially mental health – and the other half is supernatural. Ha! A heady mixture of experience and passion, seasoned with plenty of wild imagination. Is ’Expected’ semi-autobiographical? Hmm….pass me that bottle of wine would you, my lovely?
I do tend to veer in a bipolar kind of manner between horror/thrillers on the one end of the literary genre (my morbid fascination and a youth mis-spent), and then comedy on the other. If ‘Expected’ was semi-autobiographical (and I’m admitting nothing) then I’d have to say that Sam Sweet, the main character, would kind of be quite similar to myself in that she uses self-deprecation as a natural tool to explain her disastrous decisions and the nightmare situations in which she finds herself. If she didn’t laugh at herself she’d have to string herself up because she’s that stupid… Sam not me…
Sam is obviously another of my twins, separated at birth! So, like me, you are a bit of a “genre-hopper”?
Oh I get into people’s heads and become them – I’m very odd like that. Comedy. Horrors, thrillers, crime, classic literary… I wrote a 3 part detective serial for Woman’s Weekly, um…spoof fairytales on Alfie Dog Fiction….probably everything
except children’s, YA and Sci-fi. I’m now at a crossroads – do I write a sequel, possibly even a series for Sam Sweet; or tackle the supernatural thriller I’ve been toying with for a while? I really don’t want to stick to one genre.
I know you have said that some of your characters are based on real life people. Do you ever take revenge in your writing (snigger)?
Yes. It’s smashing.
(Laughs out loud and pours more wine.) I knSow that you have picked up very quickly on some of the marketing techniques like reading extracts. What have you found most difficult making the transition from very successful magazine-writer to published novelist?
Self-promotion I find toe-curling. I’d love someone else to do that so I can just get on with writing. Oh and not earning any money – at all! However, a massive plus has been to find some fantastic new friends online – particularly those with witchy cottages and nice cakes…
Aww – thank you! I do so agree about self-promotion, I find that the worst bit too! So let’s chat a bit more about Sarah, the person. What are your absolute loves and hates in life? What makes you boil with rage or weep with joy?
Weep with joy? Um…. Music – certain songs make me cry with the pleasure of their beauty – Rachmaninov’s 2nd movement, 2nd symphony. Or Santana’s ‘Europa’….music has a massive place in my heart – my younger days were lived through music. I have only to hear certain songs and the memory hits me like a sledgehammer – So much wonderful beauty created by the musicians and singers of the world. And films, those old fashioned romances…
Boil with rage – ooh the list is pretty long but hurting an innocent – a small child or a trusting animal.. that would top the list!
What is your greatest fear or biggest dream? Go on, think big!
Greatest fear is to see the devil in the dark!
My biggest dream – well now I know I’m not going to be a film star (!) I would be ecstatic if Sam Sweet were to be one! The next Bridget Jones – albeit a working class one. And a massive, huge, colossal dream would be have a series of supernatural thrillers in the Stephen King league….oh yes! Wouldn’t mind having a snog with Rob Lowe either while I‘m at this dreaming thing….
That all sounds pretty achievable, actually (well not sure about the snogging!) Where do you see yourself in ten years? (I can ask that because you are younger and prettier than me!)
In ten years time I will probably be in a special care home for impoverished authors – swigging from a bottle of gin and chain smoking. Cackling insanely in a corner one minute. Sobbing hysterically and having to be sedated the next.
Well we will probably be in there together, which sounds like a fun idea. What is your favourite indulgence? How do you spoil yourself? What would be your ideal “day off” when you weren’t writing?
A whole day reading outside in the sunshine would be nice, dog at my feet, glass of something nice and cool…perhaps a bit of online shopping later…
Fab! Can I come too? Now – the most important bit – anything else you want to tell us about Expected and where can we get it… and you … all the links and stuff. Website: http://www.sarahengland.yolasite.com
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sarah-England/e/B005P0GDYW/
Smashwords: free download of short comedy: coupon = SP93M https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/328849
Links to books: ‘3am and Wide Awake’ – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00CLFRFHS
‘Expected’ – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00DHKI2GY
U-tube video: http://youtu.be/rsvi9yI5S-g
Book Blurb for ‘Expected’ by Sarah England
Sam Sweet is a failed psychiatric nurse from a sink estate in Weston Super mare. Her mother, whose husband ran off with another woman 20 years ago – although you’d think it happened only yesterday – has only one ambition and that is to be a grandmother.
But Sam is terrified of giving birth. She is easily traumatised and has no ambition to return to the sink estate and have dozens of children. She just wants a chance to do something with her life first, to fall in love, to see a bit of the world. Alas, in a drunken stupor she meets Simon – the psychopathic surgeon, who promises her a wonderful life and she believes him – because she is a dingbat and has a lot to learn.
Her latest job is injecting facial fillers and clients are suing because it’s going lumpy. And her best friend, also her boss, is sexually jealous to the point of blind rage because her boyfriend fancies Sam and does little to hide it.
Sam is coping – by shopping and over eating chocolate. But soon piles on weight and sinks deeply into debt, at which point Simon the surgeon starts playing serious mind games; and by the time it dawns on Sam just what a horrific mess she’s in – well might as well pass her the JCB because she keeps on digging.
Then as the company spirals downwards and all knives are out for survival – a new MD is brought in from the states – Joel – WOWEE – Madison! Sam and he instantly fall for each other but…her mother is now going bonkers – has booked the wedding….with the psychopathic surgeon….oh it’s getting worse…….fireworks? You bet….but that would be telling……
Sarah, it’s been a huge pleasure to have you visit, let’s just have another glass and chat a bit more privately before you go. I hope you’ll come back and see us all at the Bingergread Cottage again soon… perhaps for your next launch? Or maybe to talk about ‘3am and Wide Awake’?
That would be brilliant. ‘3am and Wide Awake’ is also newly out and Halloween time would be a great time to talk ‘scary’….. it’s a date then. Oh and thanks ever so much for inviting me – it’s been brilliant and it’s true what they say about your cakes……to die for….
It’s a date! I’ll cook dinner next time!