Tell us about your book(s)!
My next book, THE EARL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, is the fourth book in my Muses of Mayfair series. The series features a group of friends who all have secret artistic passions - the first book starred an actress, the second featured a writer, and the third was about a painter. This book’s heroine may be my favorite, though - Miss Prudence Etchingham has a secret penchant for history. When the book opens, she has decided to use her knowledge to forge antiquities. It’s not a great life, but it’s better than making hats or becoming a governess. But this puts her on a collision course with Alex, the Earl of Salford - the man she’s pined after for ages, and the only collector in London who can see through her schemes.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
I would love to cast Emily Blunt as Prudence, although Prudence probably wishes she were more like Keira Knightley. For Alex, I’m going to have to go with Ryan Reynolds - he has the right mix of hotness and general good-guy nature.
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
I’ve slowly started to come around to the idea that writer’s block usually isn’t writer’s block. For me, if I can’t make progress or feel stuck, it’s almost always because a scene or plot arc isn’t working and I’m not yet willing to admit that I have to rework it. Once I sit down and really think through what the problem is, I can usually start writing again. Also, switching writing mediums (going from laptop to pen/paper, or from Scrivener to Google Docs) helps, for some reason.
The other 10% of the time, I’m burned out. In that case, I recommend a strict diet of red wine, steak, chocolate, and whatever leaps out from the TBR pile.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
I don’t read my reviews (cue hysterical laughter). Seriously, I read almost all of them, even though I know I shouldn’t. The good ones are so lovely that they outweigh the pain of the bad ones, and I really appreciate the time that readers take to recommend books to each other. I find almost all of the books I read through recommendations from trusted sources, and reading reviews plays into that - so I think they’re a really important part of the whole reading/writing/publishing ecosystem.
Or, put it another way - sometimes a meal is great, and sometimes it makes you feel a little ill, but you’ve still gotta eat even if you get something bad once in awhile. I’d rather get honest reviews that are occasionally painful than not get any reviews at all. And I really treasure the nice reviews where the reviewer clearly got my voice.
My commute is ninety minutes each way, so I spend a lot of time staring out the window and listening to music. I also love going out for brunch or dinner with friends. Other than that, I’m pretty bad at relaxing, so I’m more likely to take short breaks throughout the day to make tea or catch up on the Duchess of Cambridge’s latest outfits than I am to do something for several hours.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
It’s a tie between “The wisest men follow their own direction” by Euripides (yes, I’m a dork) or “Your life is now” by John Mellencamp. Not sure that either of them thought of themselves as motivational speakers, but I’ll take it.
What is your favorite book?
This is impossible! I’ll give you three: Sunshine by Robin McKinley (a great vampire non-love-story that should have had the success of Twilight but wasn’t YA enough to hit a massive audience); The Masqueraders by Georgette Heyer (great romp/dialogue/double love story); and Romancing Mr. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn, which made me want to be a romance novelist.
Who is your favorite author?
For setting/description, I really adore Robin McKinley, even though she doesn’t write romance. I’ve also been reading anything and everything that Kresley Cole writes - her worldbuilding is to die for.
What is your favorite movie?
I don’t watch a lot of movies, thanks to an ill-fated trip to the movies a few years ago in which I convinced fifteen people to see King Arthur with me (the Clive Owen/Keira Knightley vehicle that has a 31% on Rotten Tomatoes). No one goes to see movies with me anymore, thanks to that. But I adore Zoolander, the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy (with special tip to The Two Towers), and Love Actually.
Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
I would love to meet Eleanor of Aquitaine - I can’t even imagine how crazy/cool/crazy she must have been to pull off marrying a French king, going on a Crusade, leaving the French king for an English king, fostering the concept of courtly love, and having a bunch of sons who all tried to murder their father and each other.
What is the most interesting trip you have ever taken?
I lived in Hyderabad, India, for six months when I was working for a tech company in 2005. I spent a lot of time in the office, but it was amazing to live someplace where such an ancient culture is in constant collision with the modern world.
What was your most embarrassing moment?
There are multitudes, since I’m a klutz. But the worst was sophomore year in high school, when I slipped as I was getting off of the school bus, bounced down the steps, and landed in my derriere in a mud puddle. When I called home to ask for new clothes, my father (bless his heart) didn’t understand the severity of a sixteen-year-old’s shame, so I spent an hour dripping during band practice while I waited for him to show up.
White wine or red? Red
Coffee or tea? Tea in the morning, coffee in the afternoon, tea in the evening
Cook dinner or order take-out/delivery? Cook whenever I can, order takeout more often than I’d like
Vanilla or chocolate ice-cream? Swirl!
Sara is giving away an ebook copy of her next novel, THE EARLY WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE upon its upcoming release later this month. All you have to do to enter is answer the question, In The Earl Who Played With Fire, Prudence is saving money to run away to the Continent. If you had unlimited funds, which city/country would you run away to? Don't forget to leave your email address. Good LUCK!!