This week my guest is Sarah Menary, who has been writing in her spare time for a few years, along with a full time job. What is for sure, is that she lives a varied and very interesting life, as you will see. I am so pleased that she has kindly agreed to be a guest on my blog. Readers often wonder how writers spend their time. So here goes!
Q.1. What do you write?
A. I write gothic horror, and fantasy, and general fiction. I started writing novellas as a teenager as a sort of therapy for dealing with the world. These developed into full length novels over time. More recently I have been writing short stories and poetry, and I have been influenced by a group of poets I write with. They are all hugely talented and extremely modest people who continue to inspire me. I like to be challenged, so I write different things as it forces me to try out new ideas, I was recently challenged to write a romance story which I found very difficult, as I have a tendency to gravitate to the dark and the macabre.
Q 2. Can you tell us something about your present work in progress?
A. I have just finished work on my first international publication. It is a fantasy romance short story that I was asked to write for the Oklohama Tornado Relief Fund. The Anthology was compiled by 19 authors from around the globe, and available from 30th October 2013.
I am also working on my debut novel, The Blood Gate. It is a fantasy/horror novel about revenge and the land of the dead.
Q.3. Have you ever had writer's block, and what did you do to get out of it?
A. I have had writer's block! Not too many times though. The best way I've found to deal with it is to post the problem up on Facebook, and ask your friends for help! Some people would recoil in horror at the thought of doing that, but I have had much success with a great bunch of helpful friends who have the daftest suggestions. They always make me laugh, and I usually come up with something out of what they say.
Q 4. Where do you write? Do you stick to one place?
A. I write predominantly at home, but I find the best place to think about writing is in bed. My subconscious seems to unravel the plot if I dream. I also find that I write poetry best on the train, staring out of the window. I also have the occasional treat to go off to a writer's retreat. I know a fantastic little place in Wales where there is no mobile signal anywhere in the village, and it is fantastic if you want to get your head down to write.
Q 5. What do you like to read? Give us a few of your favourite books.
A. Tough one to narrow down! My all time favourite books are Dracula by Bram Stoker, and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I am a big fan of the classics. There is a sense of patience with the Victorian classics, which I think we have lost in this fast world of today. However, I do like contemporary writers such as Val McDermid, and Neil Gaiman.
Q 6. Do you have any hobbies apart from writing?
A. I have so many hobbies it's a wonder I have time to write! I am a practicing Martial artist, studying Tang Soo Do. I am also a historical enactor and musketeer with Sealed Knot. That basically involves strapping yourself with gunpowder and having a massive battle with all of your friends! I also do a bit of freelance artwork, and I love my music.
Q 7. Do you have any pets? And do they play a part in your writing?
A. I have a very dozy cat called Artemis, She likes to walk across my keyboard and generally cause chaos! She almost set her tail on fire once when I was writing by candle light! Needless to say, the candles are now banned.
Q 8. Where do you get your inspiration?
In the strangest places! When I used to go to work early in the morning, I often found myself first on the train platform as the sun came up. There is something special about how the light hits the industrial landscape. It always feels like a secret beauty, just on show for you.
I find a great deal of inspiration from music, and I create playlists to listen to when I am writing particular pieces of work. For a high action piece, I listen to Rob Zombie, and for a more relaxed piece, I might have a bit of Moby.
Q 9. Do you find a particular food or drink helps with the creative juices?
A. Two things I need - caffeine and sugar. My family laugh at me because sometimes my fridge would be empty apart from diet coke and skittles.
Thank you so much Sarah. I'm sure readers would find your life most interesting! And best of luck with The Blood Gate.
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