For today’s post, I interviewed author Sarah K. Stephens, who has a new thriller coming this winter!
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Author name: Sarah K. Stephens
Works: A Flash of Red, a literary thriller coming from Pandamoon Publishing for Winter 2016
What is your all time favorite book?
It’s a tie between Children of Men by P.D. James and The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
What is your current favorite book?
I am loving the Robert Galbraith mystery series, starting with Cuckoo’s Calling
What is the most recent book you’ve read?
The Hand That Feeds You by A.J. Rich
Who is your author role-model?
P.D. James. She was a widow raising two daughters while working in Britain’s civil service, and yet she still made her writing life a priority. She continued to write until her passing last year, and each book she wrote was plotted with spectacular precision and written with a tangible admiration for the English language.
How old were you when you began writing?
I was 9 years old, in third grade in Mrs. Lippiatt’s special English class.
What inspires you to write?
As a developmental psychologist, I find people and their connections to each other fascinating. Human behavior is so terribly complex that we’ve only begun to understand what brings people together and what tears people apart, either in a dyadic relationship between two lovers or on a larger scale within a community or a country. It’s this complexity that inspires and challenges me. My goal with my writing is to reveal some portion of humanity to my readers that they perhaps had not yet considered.
Do you base characters off of people in your life?
To paraphrase the always insightful P.D. James, my characters are based on everyone and no one in my life. Parts of my family, friends, and colleagues show up in my writing, but never as a direct reproduction. Rather, I strive to make my characters real by interweaving what captures my attention about people in the real world.
Read the book or see the movie first?
Read. The. Book.
What are your thoughts on major plot-twists?
I love them, especially when you can read the book a second time and, in your hindsight, see how the author gave you clues of what was to come.
How do you read a book (i.e. cover to cover, sometimes finish it, will tear through it in a day, read the last page before starting)?
I have a habit of reading the author’s note and acknowledgements first, then sometimes the final sentence, after which I rip through from beginning to end.
What is your advice for aspiring writers?
Nobody is born a writer. Rather, writing is a skill like any other—hard work, diligence, and being responsive to constructive feedback are the keys to improving that skill each and every day.
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Sarah K. Stephens earned her Doctorate in Developmental Psychology and teaches a variety of human development courses as a lecturer at Penn State University. Although Fall and Spring find her in the classroom, she remains a writer year-round. Her short stories have appeared in Five on the Fifth, The Voices Project, The Indianola Review, and the Manawaker Studio’s Flash Fiction Podcast. Her debut novel, A Flash of Red, will be released in Winter 2016 by Pandamoon Publishing. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook and read more of her writing on her blog.
Thanks for reading! Be sure to check out Sarah’s blog and watch for A Flash of Red this winter!