SARAH’S TOP WRITING TIPS: Stay true to you, don’t compare yourself to other writers, write, edit your work, revise, edit your work again, and work with a really great editor! Most importantly, stay positive and keep writing!
Sarah Elle Emm is the author of the HARMONY RUN SERIES, a young-adult fantasy and dystopian series. Sarah has lived and worked in Mexico, Germany, England, the US, Virgin Islands, and has traveled extensively. Her love of journal writing, travel, and multicultural experience have all influenced her novels. She lives in Naples, Florida with her family. When she’s not walking the plank of her daughters’ imaginary pirate ship or snapping photos of Southwest Florida scenery, she is writing. Stay up-to-date with Sarah at www.SarahElleEmm.com, and go on a photography adventure at SarahsViewfromtheBottom.com Facebook: ‘Sarah Elle Emm.’ Follow her on Twitter: @SarahElleEmm
Why do you write? If I didn’t write, I’d be in some sort of support group for social outcasts. I don’t have anything against support groups, but writing seems to be a good way to express the pent up emotions and feelings that I sometimes need to release. Joking aside, for as long as I can remember, writing has been the most authentic way I can express myself. My first memory of feeling the need to write was around age seven. Since then, it’s never gone away. There have been times when I needed to take a break, but my entire life, it’s something that’s always been with me…the urge to fill up blank paper with words. Sometimes, I wish I could stop because I tend to obsess about writing. When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing. But I can’t stop. Maybe, I need to join a support group for my writing obsession.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I have a plethora of interests, but in the past couple of years, I’ve seriously become interested in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. So, if I weren’t a writer, and I somehow avoided that support group I mentioned earlier, I’d probably be the world’s craziest health nut. My husband says I’m practically there already, but if I didn’t do anything else, I’d turn up the crazy a little more. I’m already vegan, but vegans can eat junk food if they want. Unfortunately, when I’m really knee deep in a project or manuscript, glued to my computer for hours on end, I tend to eat convenience foods and vegan junk food too much. But if I had every minute to devote to it, I’d try to educate people about how to make healthier choices. I’d combine my culinary arts degree with the nutrition knowledge I’ve picked up over the past 10 years, and I’d try to spread awareness about eating organic, healthy, non-processed, simple foods. I’d try to show people how to make traditional foods they cook healthier. I’ve experimented with this when I can, and I’ve managed to turn my great grandmother’s banana bread into a delicious healthy and vegan banana bread now. You can do that with lots of traditional recipes. I’d encourage people to support healthy restaurants and organic farms. I’d grow all of my own organic produce for my family, and I’d make everything from scratch. Right now, I make a lot from scratch and try to avoid processed foods. I juice every day, make lots of raw vegetable and fruit smoothies, don’t drink alcohol, avoid sugar and sweeteners, make homemade bread, and I maintain a vegan diet. But believe it or not, with my schedule and trying to write and raise kids, I don’t have time to be as crazy as I’d like to be in the health department. My poor husband jokingly calls our house ‘rehab’. He’s probably glad I’m only a part-time health nut. I’m sure he suspects and fears where my health nut quest could go. The good news for him is that I am not interested in a career change.
What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? The first few years, I was trying to query agents because I thought that was the only way to get published. As many writers know, agents don’t typically read anything you’ve written except the query letter you send them trying to sell them your book. So, after a while, it was tough getting rejection letters from agents who hadn’t even read anything except my one page query letter. Fortunately, I started a blog, got an audience, and it was a positive experience, which eventually led to my first novel being published by a small press. If I had let those rejection letters get to me, I might never have started a blog or ended up where I am now. I’m glad I didn’t give up or stop believing in myself.
What’s the best aspect of your writing life? Honestly, the best part is when I get emails from happy readers, which isn’t an everyday thing, but it happens!
—the worst? I hate it when I’m intensely inspired, the words are flowing, I’m typing away, and then unexpectedly something comes up that requires me to stop. I have to drag myself away from the computer when that happens.
What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I wouldn’t try so hard to get the approval of my friends and family. I’d just write what I want to write without feeling the need to explain myself. People are reading my books, and there is an audience for every genre.
What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? I wish someone had told me not to listen to every single person who claims expertise in the field. If I listened to every person who has offered me suggestions, solicited and unsolicited, since my first book was published, I wouldn’t be able to put two words together anymore I’d be so paranoid about following all of the rules and guidelines. It really doesn’t matter what works for one “successful” author, you’ve got to do what feels best for you. Tune out the “world” and listen to your heart.
What’s the best advice you were ever given? Someone gave me an Eleanor Roosevelt quote once, and it ended up in my high school year book, under my picture. It’s probably some of the best advice I’ve ever received… “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
Rare glimpses of birds are the only reminder of the freedoms Rain Hawkins once had. Now segregated into a mixed-race zone within the United Zones of the Authority, under tyrannical rule of President Nicks, Rain is forced to endure the bleak conditions set upon her. The possibility of a way out arises when Rain discovers an organised resistance called The Freedom Front, and learns that she, along with many other multi-racial people, has special abilities. Determined to overcome her situation, Rain sets out on a mission with the resistance that will fill her life with wonder, romance, and the undying hope for a better world.