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Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Friends: Meet Sarah Simas

Today's Friday Friend is someone I've known only a short while, but somehow, she felt like an old friend right from the start. Her enthusiasm and drive reminds this jaded "been there, done that" author just why I got into this business in the first place. Cause I love it! I'd forgotten that.

Sarah, tell us about The Lovestruck Novice, and why you chose to gear your blog toward the beginning writer.

I'd only been writing a short time when I started having words like POV and Active Writing thrown at me like darts and had no clue what they meant. So, I started asking questions and did my homework. Luckily, I have a great group of experienced writers who were more than willing to let me pick their brains. As I started growing as a writer, I knew I had to pay it forward and help other newbies. So, I started The Lovestruck Novice.

It’s been a long time since I started out in this business. What challenges do you find as a writer just starting out?

When I started writing, I had no idea about the current industry standards. I formatted my pages like I would an essay from college. Double spaces after a period, spaces between paragraphs, and a list of other editorial nightmares.

I only knew what I read. Johanna Lindsey, Julie Garwood, and Jude Deveraux lined my bookshelves. Fine and dandy, right? Sure for reading purposes, but not so much for writing. My first draft had so many -ly's and -ing's!! I remember wondering if I was leaving a trail of red ink out the door when I left my first critique session. Books from the 80's and 90's are wonderful! Just not great examples of current writing practices. LOL

I think anyone trying to break into writing needs to research their genre. Looking for support, I joined some writer's Yahoo groups and started lurking. There is a lot of good information that gets passed around on loops. *heehee* It's where I find the authors to interview and tidbits for my other blog.

I call "lurking" research and my hubby calls it stalking. LOL I find I learn more when I listen and observe. I also follow links. If someone has a link in their siggy line, I'll follow it. You never know what information, tips or sites they list. I've met quite a few of the authors I've interviewed that way.

Tell us a bit about yourself and why you write the genre you do.

I'm a huge fan of romance novels. I snitched my mom's copy of Silver Angel in Jr. High to take with me to camp and was hooked. I cut my teeth on some of the greatest names in romance. After I'd read a book, I'd find myself wondering why an author didn't have a character do this or do that. By my senior year, I'd already tried to write my own novel. LOL I still remember the beginning scene. Merciful heavens, I hope I've progressed!

When I'm not writing, I'm a stay at home mom. If not submerged in housework, I'm chasing around two toddlers. I have a 3 y.o daughter and a 2 y.o son. This fall, I'm so happy that my girl is starting preschool. I like imagining that I'll have a lot more free time, but I know I'll be just as busy! Before I was a mom and a writer, I was a foreman in a quality control lab for one of the world's leading mozzarella cheese makers. There are some juicy stories I have tucked a way from that blip of my life! *sheesh*

How long have you been writing?

I've been writing for almost a year. Right after I had my son, an idea hit me for a prologue. I tried to write the scene out but kept getting lost. I had no idea of what I was doing! LOL Life got busier when I started watching my nephew. I had two 2 y.olds and an infant all day- everyday. I often felt my mind was leaking out of my ears! So, I put the story on hold until last summer when the scene just wouldn't leave me alone. I had to write the story or go crazy!

Where do you get your ideas?

I get my ideas from words, songs, conversations, etc. Anything is fodder for my imagination. For my current WIP, I think I had been watching a movie about a serial killer and that sparked a vision of a scene in my mind. I took the idea and ran with it. I'm constantly scribbling away when I hear something funny or think up a scene. Usually, my best ideas come to me either when I'm doing dishes or just before I fall asleep.

Describe your typical writing day.

I think one of the good things milking cows and feeding calves through college taught me was the benefit of being up early. I'm usually up at 5:15am or so to write before my kids awake up. After that, it's all down hill until naps. Writing during the evening and night is difficult. So, I have to be very organized and as productive as possible! Someday's, I'm lucky to write at all!

What was your “Aha!” moment—when you knew you had to be a writer?

Probably when my story idea wouldn't go away. The devious killer (who oddly I've come to love writing the most) wanted his story told. And we all know that once unleashed, sometimes characters just won't shut the heck up!

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

CRAZY! Writing gives me time just for me. Plus, I get out of the house every Friday night for my critique group. *score!*

Tell me your best cure for writer’s block?

I'm still trying to master writer's block! Usually, I'll go back and work on edits. I find this helps me get refocused on where I'm heading.

Tell us a little bit about your current WIP, In Pursuit of Love

IN PURSUIT OF LOVE is my current WIP. It's set in England during the Regency Era. I've had a lot of fun putting my heroine, Melanie, through the ringer. Here is my newbie attempt at a blurb:

Orphan Melanie Wainscott returns to London to reclaim her birthright and unlock the secrets of her past. When her quest for the truth attracts the attention of a killer with a score to settle, Melanie must fight for her life and chance for true love.

EXCERPT: - In this scene Melanie is locked in the boudoir of a brothel where she is about to be sold to the highest bidder. All her attempts at escape have been futile and panic is gripping her hard and fast. Bradford stumbles upon the girl he nearly seduced by a pond but days before while searching for his father's missing ward.

Melanie’s knees threatened to buckle. Her skin tingled with awareness. His magnetism was palpable. She felt as drawn to him as the tide to the shore.
He stood paces away, but his heated gaze scorched Melanie’s skin. A bevy of emotions overwhelmed her when he stepped into the room and shut the door quietly behind him.
The time for the auction was close at hand and her nerves were as frayed as an old rope. His presence soothed her better than a dram of outlawed whisky.
Elated by his arrival, she threw decorum to the wind and ran to Bradford with open arms.
Melanie met with a wall of warm flesh. The heady scent of sandalwood and leat her hit her senses like a storm. She sighed when he wrapped his arms around her. The cut of her gown left a ribbon of delicate skin exposed down her back. His gentle caress sent shivers of delight down her spine.
Being held within Bradford’sl embrace filled Melanie with renewed hope. She squeezed her arms tighter around his waist. She was safe.
“Look at me.”
His voice was thick and weighted with promise. Melanie’s stomach fluttered. She longed to know if Bradford felt the same fire upon his skin when she touched him. Unable to deny him, she lifted her eyes to meet his smoldering stare. In an instant, Bradford lowered his head and captured her lips for a long, hot kiss.
Over and over, he plundered her mouth while his hands ran the length of her body. She rose up on her tip-toes and settled shaky arms around his neck. The delicious feel of his body pressed against hers was intoxicating. She felt the fevered clip of his pulse beneath her fingertips. Lightly, she stroked the back of his neck.
When he broke off the kiss, Melanie felt robbed. Warm hands cupped her bottom and pulled her closer. His breath whispered across her shoulder and Melanie trembled. She opened her mouth to speak, but words failed to form.
He nuzzled the base of her neck. “Let me take you away from here.” He place a soft kiss on her shoulder. “Be mine.”

Wow--did she say she's only been writing a year????

Anything else in the works you can share with us?
I'm always busy looking for authors to put in the Hot Seat for TLN. I've also got some ideas going for a Depression Era romance and a Contemporary Romantic Suspense.

I'd like to thank Nicole for turning the tables on me! It was fun seeing what being in the Hot Seat feels like. I guess I should have remembered the saying- Turn about is Fair Play! LOL

LOL. Thanks for stopping by, Sarah!


Sarah Simas said...

Thanks,Nicole, for having me here today!

I had a blast being in the Hot Seat!

Rebecca J Vickery said...

Wow, Nicole and Sarah.
What a way to start off a Friday.
Great interview and it's only fair, Sarah, that you get to answer the tough questions. I am loving the excerpt and your ideas for new stories. Can't wait to see this one published.
Thanks for inviting me over, ladies. I definitely enjoyed it.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Nicole and Sarah,
Great interview.

Emma Lai said...

Great interview, ladies! Sarah loved the excerpt. Can't wait to see what you publish!

Mary G said...

Great Interview & excerpt. Best of luck!!

Martha Eskuchen said...

Thanks Nicole and Sarah - wonderful interview and I am glad to know more about Sarah! Nice excerpt too!

Cheryl Pierson said...

WOW, girls, great interview! Nicole asked some great questions, and it was good to get to know you, Sarah, better. I don't know how you do any writing at all with 2 little ones at home. I used to live for naptime, and then one day my daughter told me, "Mommy, I'm too old for naps now. So I won't be taking them anymore. But I WILL rest." LOL (She was three, and she meant it.)I enjoyed reading this and learning more about you, Sarah. Great excerpt, too!

beth kery said...

I really enjoyed the interview, Sarah and Nicole. It was nice getting to know you better, Sarah. I loved your answer for what you'd be if you didn't write. lol. I can identify with that one.

Vibrant excerpt, Sarah. Can't wait to hear what happens next...both with your heroine and your career!

Nicole Morgan said...


I had to laugh in your first answer when you mentioned having POV thrown at you. I had a bit of dejavu. LOL. Great interview and I loved your answers. One stuck out though, doesn't the fact that you are a writer make you just a little crazy?


Paty Jager said...

Sarah, Fun information about you and a great excerpt! And I think any writer would go crazy if they couldn't write. I know I get very cranky when I can't write.

Great interview, Nic!

Unknown said...

Great interview, Sarah. Loved reading your excerpt, it was very vibrant and visual. I'm going to have to check out the The Lovestruck Novice.

Have a great weekend.

Sharon Lathan said...

Sarah, Your first interview was a knock out! I loved reading all you had to say, and the excerpt? Wowza! Can't wait to read more. :)

I am very blessed to have just recently met Sarah. Already I admire her passion and commitment to writing. That is a major part of the challenge, and the necessary trait to make it happen. I wish you all the best, my friend. And I WILL see you soon. :)


Lindsay Townsend said...

Fascinating interview, Sarah and Nicole! Wow - that was some sensual excerpt, Sarah, beautifully vivid.

I'm also really impressed by how you manage to write and look after all those little ones.

Thank you!

Eliza Knight said...

Great interview Nicole and Sarah! Great excerpt Sarah! I hope it finds a home soon so I can read more :)

I wish I had your stamina to get up early...that would save me so much time! I usually get up an hour before the kids but only so I can shower in peace...

Funny you say you get your ideas when doing the dishes. So do I! It's great zoning out time.

Good luck!

Carol North said...

Nicole: Terrific interview. Your questions drew out the best of Sarah.
Sarah: I enjoyed learning more about you. The excerpt is wonderful. It's amazing that you've been writing for so short a time. You're the romance industry's next big star.

Nicole McCaffrey said...

Sarah--thanks again for sharing your enthusiasm with us today. Maybe next time you'll share some time management tips on writing with kids. *G*

Thanks everyone for stopping by and hanging out with us today!

Karen Michelle Nutt said...

Oh yes, it is only fair you had to answer tough questions. lol I enjoyed the interview.

Wow, Sarah love the excerpt. What a kiss! I can't wait to find out what happens.

Wish you the best!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful interview. Your work sounds fantastic. Best of luck.

MitMoi said...

I'm so not surprised to see Sarah being passionate and dedicated to writing and learning. That's the way she is about everything. If there's something to tackle, she'll take it head on.

Great progress, cousin! You're gonna blow them out of the water!

<3 you,


LK Hunsaker said...

Sarah and Nicole, what a fun interview! Ah, how I remember the days of writing around young kids.

Good for you for helping new authors in their path and with their craft!

Ginny M. Christensen said...

Hello Nicole & Sarah,

Great twist! Loved the Q&A.

Sarah, my dear. I think you're on to something. Keep wacking that keyboard. I need more!


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