Interview & Contest: Sarah J Bradley

Jen: Today we welcome Sarah J Bradley to Romancing the Book.  Sarah, will you please share a short bio with us?

Sarah: I have lived in the Upper Midwest all my life, raised by very devout, religious parents who never had a lot of money, but always did the best they could with what they had. My dad was a high school English teacher for many years, and I know I got my love of reading and writing from him. My mother is a very entertaining story teller. I think it was genetic for me to have stories in me that I needed to share. I am now married to my college sweetheart. I have two high school aged kids who pretty much ignore me unless they need gas money or a ride someplace, and I have four, yes, four, rescue cats, all of whom are VERY interested in me only when I sit down at the computer to write.

Jen: Tell us about Lies in Chance and where is can be purchased.
Sarah: Lies in Chance is a story that’s been in my heart for most of my life. Every author talks about that one story they can’t seem to forget, and this one is mine. The characters have been my “friends” since I was in high school and I’m so delighted to finally share them with you all. Shara, my heroine, is a young woman who wants nothing to do with her family’s very successful auto dealership business. At the start of the book, she wakes up on a creek bank. She is beaten up, lost, and clueless about what happened the night before. All she knows is that her grandmother, one of the most powerful businesswomen in Milwaukee, has been murdered, and the police want her. Lucky for her, she’s landed in a small, rural community near Door County, Wisconsin. The people in the town of Rock Harbor (A fictional town. My family used to go to Door County in the summers when I was growing up, and I just loved the area and the people there.) sort of adopt Shara, or rather, they adopt the alias she has assumed to protect herself from the state wide manhunt. Bryan, my hero, is a school teacher who simply doesn’t trust strangers since his own marriage ended so very, very badly. He doesn’t trust the new woman in town, he’s the only one who even thinks to connect the missing heiress with the ‘creek girl.’

Lies in Chance is available where you purchase all your fine digital books, and I am also so excited to tell you that this past month I released the book to print. You can purchase print copies of “Lies in Chance” through Amazon.com.

Jen: At what age did you discover writing? When where you first published? Tell us your call story.

Sarah: I knew from a very young age that I wanted to put words to paper. When I was seven, I decided to write a complete history of the Civil War. It was four pages long, (nine sentences) and I illustrated it myself. I don’t draw…at all. As a middle school child I entered every writing contest our local paper offered (one) and I won it once. My very first publishing success as an adult was a short creative humor piece about my children’s vomit habits. That one I sold to a parenting magazine. (Oddly enough…they never bought another piece from me.) My first novel, Dream in Color is a rock and roll romance I sold to the Wild Rose Press a couple years ago. (You can get digital or print copies of Dream in Color through all the usual online outlets.) I started writing what was to become Lies in Chance when I was 13. I was going through a very lonely time, as kids that age will, and somehow creating a quiet, rural place like Rock Harbor, and throwing some drama into it, drama I could actually control, seemed like the right thing to do. I’ve worked on it and shelved it a thousand times over the years. I’m so proud now, in this new age of self publishing and e-publishing to be able to share this story with you.

Jen: Describe your writing in three words.

Sarah: You want a novelist to sum anything up in three words? Okay: humor, romance, adventure.

Jen: How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?

Sarah: I’ve tried plotting, but like most writers, I have my characters’ voices in my head. When I wrote Dream in Color I had a completely different ending planned out. But Ramona, my heroine, kept shouting at me until I finally gave in to her. With Lies in Chance I knew these characters so well, I would say, “Okay, Shara, is this something you’d really do or say?” And I’d get an answer back. I think most authors are just a tiny bit schizophrenic that way.

Jen: Do you have a theme, object or person that appears in all of your stories?

Sarah: I have yet to write a novel that doesn’t reference Rick Springfield in some way. And clearly, my heroines are never capable of living life the way it’s expected of them.

Jen: Is there a genre you’d like to write? Is there a genre you’ll probably stay away from? Why?

Sarah: I doubt you’ll ever see me come out with a sci fi or an historical novel. I don’t have the world building skills for one or the patience to research the other. My hat is off to those authors. As for me, I’m currently working on a collection of humorous stories from my own life. I’ve been told I have a flare for telling a funny story, and it seems like most of my life is a stand up comedy routine. So the next thing I hope to publish will be an Erma Bombeck sort of book. (She is my hero forever.)

Jen: How much influence does the editor have over the story or characters?

Sarah: Dream in Color was my only experience with an editor. My editor made suggestions, and did influence a few things, but nothing that affected the ultimate outcome of the book. Lies in Chance is something I’ve published without an “editor.” That’s not to say I did it on my own. I have an amazing critique partner, a great beta reader, and I worked this one through a very excellent workshop group, all of whom gave me a lot of input. (Most of it involved the word “terrible” but even negative comments can have a positive effect.) When I finally gave the book to my reader, she deemed it a “joy to read.” That gave me the confidence to publish it. No author is an island. If you’re going self publish or e-publish on your own, you still need a critique partner and a beta reader. It’s a must.

Jen: If you could travel back in time for one year, what time and place would you choose? If you could only take 3 things with you, what would they be?

Sarah: Wow…I had to think about this one. I would go back to 1977, Montello, Wisconsin. I was in 5th grade in that very small rural town in central Wisconsin. My parents were, like almost everyone else in town, not wealthy, but it didn’t matter to us kids. We could run around the whole town day or night without fear. Two of the three things I would take would be my children, so that they can see that yes, it is possible to grow up normal in a world without cable TV, the Internet, cell phones, organized kids activities other than Little League, or an automatic washing machine. (My mother used a ringer washer until 1992.) The third time I would take back is a microwave oven, and show my mother back then just how nice it would be to have. (My mother didn’t believe in microwave ovens. She didn’t get one until about five years ago.)

Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?

Sarah: I’m currently reading Caleb Carr’s The Angel of Darkness. I am also reading A Lonely Sky by new author Linda Schmalz. I’ll read anything Phillipa Gregory and Adriana Trigianni put out.

Jen: What’s the most interesting comment you’ve received about your books?

Sarah: Well, my dad was an English teacher, and when Dream in Color came out we had a big discussion about some of the words I used and why I used them. I think I got a B+ over all from him. Most recently, my mom read Lies in Chance and told me “I still don’t think the swearing did anything for the plot.” I had to laugh because when I was a teen, she ran across a couple pages of the book and was horrified by the use of the initials “S.O.B.” I was grounded for the summer…no radio or TV. LOL!

Jen: What’s next for you?

Sarah: I hope to release my workplace humor book, “I Can’t Fix Stupid, but I would Like to Poke it with a Stick” sometime this late winter. Then I’m focused on “Fresh Ice,” a romantic suspense involving a figure skater and a hockey player. True to form, I’m not sure at this point if that novel will…or will not…be an inspirational book. (Guess I have to see if the swearing moves the plot forward!)

Jen: Where can you be found on the web?

Sarah: It’s ridiculous, I’m such a web person. I have my own website: www.sarahjbradley.com I have my humor blog, http://itcanonlyhappentosarah.blogspot.com
Then I have a writer’s blog http://sarahjbradleydreamincolor.blogspot.com I also have an author page on facebook (FRIEND ME!) plus I am on Twitter @authormomsjb. I have a myspace page…but I’m never there because I’m usually at any one of these places!

Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?

Sarah: Well, I’m a new author. I’d like people to buy my books so I can quit my JOB and work at what I really love to do (A dream all authors have) so, I’d like to know from readers…what do I have to write so everyone in the world salivates at the very thought of a new book from me? (Actually…I’d like to know from readers how many actually are moving to digital reading devices and how many are sticking to traditional print books as their favorite method of reading.)

Contest details:

  • The prize is the winners choice of Lies in Chance or Dream in Color.
  • The contest is open to everyone.  However, to win a print book you must be in the US or Canada, otherwise, the book will be digital.  Winner must also be over the age of 16.
  • You must leave a meaningful comment for entry.  This means your comment needs to be more than “please enter me in the contest”.
  • A valid email address needs to be included in your comment.  If you’re worried about spam, please modify your address, such as admin.bookblog AT gmail.com.  You can also send a message to this email after your comment has been posted.
  • While following the blog isn’t required, it is appreciated.
  • The contest ends on Sunday, January 8.

Purchase Links