Sarah explores the issues that touch—and shape—women’s lives. Sarah lives in Morristown, New Jersey, with her husband and two children.
Sarah, welcome to Interviews & Reviews!
For those who aren't familiar with your work, can you tell us a little about yourself?
Ever since I was a little girl, I was writing. I probably wrote my first story as soon as I learned how to write. I self-published for the first time about nine years ago. The book was Fields of Corn, an Amish romance I had written when I was nineteen-years-old. after I published it, I forgot about it. Self-publishing was new at the time and I didn’t really think much would happen. After all, for years, a bazillion agents and publishers had turned me down, including one who said, “No one will ever want to read a romance about the Amish!” (and five years later they published Amish romances!).
But, lo and behold! Money started showing up in my account. A few dollars one month and then a few more dollars the next month. Suddenly it was becoming a substantial amount of money. I thought it was a mistake. When I called Amazon, they laughed at me and said, “You published a book, right? Well, people are buying it.”
Turns out, they weren’t just buying it, they were demanding more!
Today, I write several different genres. While I love the culture of the Amish, I love the challenge of writing women’s fiction and the fun of writing young adult books. From a writing perspective, I’d be bored if I only wrote in one genre. It becomes too cookie-cutter and doesn’t keep my skills sharpened. Writing in multiple genres helps me grow as a writer and that’s extremely important. Writers must keep learning and growing.
How many books have you written?
I’m not really good at math so I stopped counting after 30. However, since the question comes up so often that I actually counted them for you!!!! :-). Sixteen novellas and twenty-seven novels, but I’ve two finished novels already that are in the publishing process and I’m under contract for four more novels with my publishers and one novella. Oh, and wait…I think I forgot a few. UGH. See? I’m bad at keeping track. Let’s just leave it at over thirty!
What is the hardest thing about writing for you?
When I get into a zone, people should really just forget about me. But that seems to be the time that everyone needs me for something. Honestly! What if I was in Africa or Australia? What would they do then?
But it’s not even people. I have a bazillion pets and they, too, interrupt me. Especially my parrot, Coco Chanel. She’s really an interruption. They call cockatoos Velcro Birds. I call her my hat because half the time she’s on my head while I’m writing. She also likes to eat my laptops…a real hazard. But she’s so funny (when she’s not eating my laptop). She makes choo-choo train noises and crows like a sick rooster. How could anyone not simply adore that???
P.S. As I wrote the above, my daughter interrupted me for lunch! Grrr…
family is busy and doesn’t want to bother them until the diagnoses is confirmed. But the initial delay begins to snowball into a problem. She decides that it’s just easier to let things be and doesn’t tell them at all. The journey of self-discovery shows her just how dysfunctional her family is. A stranger enters her life in the most unusual of places and their friendship opens Frances’s eyes to the situation.
What inspired you to write this book, other than your own experience with cancer?
A photograph. Yes, the faded photo mentioned in The Faded Photo is real. I always wondered about this photograph…why did this dying woman want a photo of me for her Christmas card? Why did my mother make me do this? How did I feel when I learned the woman died? From that, the story exploded.
Do you have any other books in the works?
*sigh*. Too many books in the works and not enough time to write them. I’m finishing up my Amish adaptations of Cinderella and Snow White which has been fun. People don’t often think of fairy tales and Amish communities going hand-in-hand.
For women’s fiction, I just finished Heavenly Blues, a novel about a young nurse who gets addicted to pain medicine. Drugs are such a nasty business, but I think prescription drug abuse is one of the worst. Pharmaceutical companies push their medications and doctors write out the prescriptions. Where are the checks and balances for these drugs? It’s almost impossible because levels of anxiety, stress, and pain are subjective to the individual.
For Young Adult, I’m working on my Cowgirl Cat follow-up book, Rodeo Rage. I love writing Young Adult. It’s so easy to slip into the voice of a fourteen year old. The topics in these books deal with very serious issues: bullying, anxiety, social media abuse, etc.
And, as always, I have a bazillion ideas exploding in my head. No one likes standing to close to me when that happens.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Read. Accept criticism. Strive to improve…constantly. Not all interesting stories make interesting books. Know that writing a book is easier than selling a book.
What authors have inspired your own writing?
Jane Austen, George Elliot, Thomas Hardy, Margaret Mitchell, Laura Ingalls Wilder (don’t laugh!), John Steinbeck, and Victor Hugo. You simply cannot go wrong with the classics. People who haven’t read classics haven’t really read. Those writers know how to build a story and develop characters in a way that modern writers do not. And, growing up, Laura Ingalls Wilder was my super-hero. I dreamed that I was her in modern times. That didn’t work out so well for me (although I do live on a farm six months out of the year and I’m determined to visit all of her homesteads…been to Kansas and MIssouri…just need DeSmet, Pepin, and Florida!).
I love Laura Ingalls Wilder! And she was definitely my favourite author growing up as well. So I am not laughing! When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
I have two books coming out in October. First is a women’s fiction book called Heavenly Blues that deals with the issue of prescription drug abuse. The protagonist, Laura Reese, is a nurse with a crazy work schedule, demanding boss, and needy family. Sound familiar? I bet most women read that sentence and groan…they already connect with Laura. But when a nurse begins to abuse her prescriptions, you know things will spiral out of control.
The second book I have coming out in October is Belle, an Amish variation of Beauty and the Beast. Now, I often hear that readers don’t take the Amish genre seriously and that disheartens me, mostly because I totally get where they are coming from. A lot of the books are “boy meets girl at the fence, a miscommunication breaks them up, somehow they get back together, the end.”
However, I challenge anyone who scoffs at the Amish genre to read one of my books. I strive to provide an authentic and accurate portrayal of the Amish culture—which is easy since my family background is Mennonite and I’ve been living/staying with Amish families for over thirty years—while creating a solid literary work that steals time from the reader who, hopefully, gets lost in powerful stories. My books do not focus on the Amish, but on the characters that develop and grow within such an unique setting. In fact, they deal with similar issues that regular people do: depression, domestic violence, death, substance abuse, even rape. There’s no fluff in my books, trust me.
I think that is a definite challenge to all scoffers of Amish books! Thank you Sarah, for sharing with us today. If you want to know when Sarah's books come out, sign up for her newsletter at www.sarahpriceauthor.com.