Monday, 12 August 2013

Author Interview: Sarah Stovell

Today I am taking part in Sarah Stovell's blog tour for her latest book The Night Flower which is published this Thursday by Tindal Street Press.  Sarah kindly agreed to answer a few questions so I'll hand you over to Sarah.

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? 
Yes. Always.

Have you ever had writer’s block? 
I’ve had the odd day where things aren’t going well, but no, I’ve been lucky enough not to suffer from any kind of long-term block so far.

If you weren’t a writer, what career path would you have chosen to follow?
At 21, I probably would have gone for media or something like that, though in reality I don’t think I’d have survived. Now, I often wish I’d become a left-wing politician. More likely, however, I’d have been an English teacher. It’s still quite likely that I will become an English teacher.

Can you tell us a little bit about The Night Flower?
It’s set in the 1840s and is about a young Gypsy girl who burgles a house and is sentenced to seven years’ transportation.

Where did the inspiration come write about transportation to Tasmania?
I started off writing a completely different book, which wasn’t working very well. At one point, I needed to move my character from England to Romania. I can’t remember why I chose the very indirect route of a convict ship, but I decided she would commit a crime, be sentenced to transportation and then somehow get off the boat in Spain and make her way by land (highly implausible) to Eastern Europe. Once she’d got to Eastern Europe, however, the book became very hard to write. I slogged out 30,000 words but all the while a voice was saying to me, ‘You should have left on the ship to Australia.’ In the end, I did some research into transportation and decided it was much more interesting that the book I’d been writing, so got rid of the 30,000 words and went back to the ship. From that point on, everything was easy.

Which came first, the characters, plot or destination?
The characters. They’d been around for about three years before I started writing the book.

If you had to pick, who would be your favourite character Rose or Miriam?
Miriam, without doubt.

Are you working on a new book, if so are you able to give us a hint as to what it is about?  
I’ve got a few ideas, but nothing definite yet.

Being a writer appears to be such a solitary lifestyle, especially when you’re in the midst of writing, so do you consider the influence of social Media, Facebook and Twitter, a blessing or a hinderance?
A blessing, absolutely. I’ve made some great friends on an online writing forum. There’s so much advice and support from people who understand what it’s like to be a writer and also who know about the industry.

Do you have a set daily writing routine?
I have two mornings a week to write. As soon as my children are out of the house, I turn on my laptop and get into bed and write. I don’t move until I’ve done 500 words. Then I have a break and do another 500 words. Then I stop.

If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
Don’t do it.

Do you prefer to read physical copies of books or e-books?

When you’ve finished writing a book, do you treat yourself to a reward?
I’ll use any excuse for a reward. So yes, I do, but it’s never anything specific. It’s more like, ‘That’s a nice pair of shoes. I can’t really afford them. Oh, sod it. I’ve finished a book. I’ll buy them.’

Where would be your idyllic location for a writing retreat?
I wouldn’t like to go on a writing retreat. I can spend the day on my own, but by the evening, I need people to drink with.