Hi everyone, please allow me to quickly introduce myself.
My name is Sarah Northwood, I write fiction for both Adults and Children. I guess you would say these are at opposites in terms of styles and genres and that’s one of the things I love about being an Indie Author. The ability to write where your heart takes you. That describes me as a person too, I’m led by my heart!
I dabble in Poetry, write piano music and songs for fun. I enjoy; wine, films, food, animals and generally love life completely! I’m married with two children who I adore and have inspired me so much. To say I’m proud doesn’t do them justice.
A: I’m an open book, no pun intended, so friends and fans generally know everything there is. Perhaps those who have got to know me more recently may not know how I started writing. In my past life I worked in scientific research and as with a lot of people, the catalyst to writing was a life event change, when after almost twenty years I was made redundant. I found Poetry, or rather it found me and it filled a huge hole in my heart. Writing became my new passion and I’ve never looked back. I both adore and loathe writing novels because it’s a bittersweet kind of torture but I can’t imagine doing anything else. Secretly I live in dread of the day this wonderful thing decides to leave my life.
Q: What are you currently working on?
A: I’m currently writing a short story/novelette, which I’m describing as Herbie crossed with Stephen King. I’m excited about it because the writing is just flowing so well. Hope I haven’t jinxed it!! Having finished my recent release, The Unravelling (also connected to The Volunteer), which had some dark and strong themes, I decided I needed a little light refreshment before going on to write the next in that saga. This kind of procrastination is healthy, I think?
Q: Do you write alone or in public?
A: I can’t understand how people can write in noisy places or with people around them! I’m one of those who needs the silence. Occasionally though if I’ve got stuck with a block, I’ve taken my writing outdoors and found this can be a great way to kick start the writing juices. Something I’ve recently taken to doing, when the family is around and I want to push on, is to write with headphones on. I need to shut myself off and be transported to that mysterious zone where writing happens.
Q: Do your characters seem to hijack the story or are you in control of events?
A: Without a doubt my characters are in control. This is partly because a lot of my writing is done on the fly. I set off with an idea and some of the journey is mapped but inevitably they take over. I’m working hard on this aspect though because I think plot development is important and sometimes my characters take me to difficult places. I never imagined I’d be writing a series with such dark characters and unbelievable themes. Trust me, it’s all their idea. I’m nice. Really!
Q: What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
A: I don’t really believe anything is critical when it comes to books or reading. Everyone has their opinions and that’s a part of life. I’ve been very lucky though and received very little. Some readers have not liked certain aspects of the characters or agreed with all my choices in the book but as I say that’s their prerogative.
I feel like you need to take on board feedback as a writer and improve and I’m always working hard towards this but ultimately write for yourself and your own story. If people don’t like your choices, they can always write a book themselves.
Q: What is the best compliment you’ve received?
A: Where to start, I’ve been so lucky and received some wonderful compliments. These really do stick with you. For me, it would be at my very first book signing (a Christmas fair), with my very first book. This was my children’s poem book, Unicorns are real and other cool poems.
A child who didn’t like to read, came to my table, spoke to me for a bit and looked at my book. They then begged for said book to be bought. The parents came to me, to thank me for inspiring their child to read. They’d been having a hard time finding material that would catch their child’s interest. That was like pure gold platinum. It melted into my heart and has solidified to be immortalised forever. Nothing will ever take that moment away.
Q: If you could spend one day with a character from your book, who would it be? And what would you do?
A: Great question and a hard choice. I’m going to choose one of the non-violent characters, I’d be slightly concerned what with all the murders and torture otherwise! So without a doubt I’d choose Sam. She’s intelligent, feisty, fun and has just discovered she now has gifts.
Sam, unlike us mere mortals, uses more of her brain’s capacity. I’m certain she could think of something amazing to do. Perhaps we could fly together? Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
Q: Who is your favourite author and why?
A: You meanies, choose just one? That’s impossible!! Before I became a writer myself, I loved to read books by Stephen king and Dean Koontz. Since becoming a writer, I like to support my fellow indie Authors and mostly read works by new Authors (to me.) I cannot believe how many amazing books and writers are out there. How did I not know they existed before?!
Q: What gives you inspiration for your book(s)?
A: I think this is a mixture of imagination, dreaming (great sources), and experiences that I draw on. Ideas seem to pop up out of nowhere sometimes. Who knows where from? Stephen King described writing as a kind of telepathy. He’s not wrong!
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
A: I’m still an aspiring writer myself, so here’s advice that I give to myself.
Believe in yourself.
Ignore the doubts.
Write. Write. Write.
Work hard, be determined and passionate.
Build yourself a base of like-minded people, support each other. You’re stronger together.
Believe in yourself (again, this is important.)
Write, write, write. (There’s no other way to get words down on paper!)