Today we have the pleasure to learn a bit more about Sarah Ettritch, another of those wonderful Canadian authors out there. Sarah writes stories featuring strong female characters. Her protagonists are often (but not always) lesbian. She’s the author of The Deiform Fellowship Series, the Rymellan Series, The Salbine Sisters, Threaded Through Time, and The Missing Comatose Woman.
A while ago I read The Salbine Sisters and enjoyed it a lot. I’m happy to have Sarah here with us today:
Some warm-up questions first:
Coffee or tea?
Tea, with milk and one sugar. I like the smell of coffee, though.
What puts you in a bad mood?
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
The power to grant wishes, which isn’t as generous as it sounds. 😉
Where is your favorite place you’ve ever traveled to?
What would you do if you won the lottery?
Nothing spectacular. I’d give most of the money away.
And now on to the writing-related stuff:
For how many years have you been writing now, and how did you come to it?
Unlike many writers, I haven’t been writing since I was a child (school assignments notwithstanding), and I’ve never kept a journal. I tried it once and lasted all of three days before I got bored. I wrote for a couple of years when I was in my thirties, then stopped until I was in my mid-forties, when I picked it up again. If I total up the time, I’ve been writing for about eight years.
I don’t remember why I wrote a story when I was thirty-something. It was too long ago, and it wasn’t a momentous event for me. I also have a terrible memory.
Why do you write? What does it mean to you?
I enjoy making up stories and writing them down. I prefer not to analyze why. Having said that, for me, writing is a form of self-expression, which isn’t true of my other passions. I love how something I’ve written can touch another person, even if it just provides her with an hour or two of good entertainment.
How long does it take you to write a novel?
I typically write around 3000-5000 words per week (I’m a slow writer). Fortunately I also tend to write novellas and short novels, so it only takes me 3-5 months to complete a first draft.
How much time per week do you spend writing?
I usually write for 1-2 hours every weekday. I rarely write on weekends.
When and where do you write the most?
I prefer to write in the mornings. It’s the first thing I do after checking e-mail and such. I write in a spare bedroom that we use as a computer room.
How much of yourself is in your characters?
My stories and characters aren’t based on me; in fact, it’s not unusual for my characters to have opinions and beliefs that are opposed to my own. Having said that, I’ve given some characters shallow autobiographical details, and my experiences and interests influence the stories I write and the characters I create.
What do you find the most challenging part of writing?
Definitely writing the first draft. I work out all the story problems during that phase, so it requires the most time and creative energy. Once I get to the editing phase, I’ve already done 95% of the work. It’s smooth sailing from there.
What are you reading right now?
Dragon Age: Asunder by David Gaider. Dragon Age is a computer role-playing game series. In my experience, books based on games are usually mediocre, but Gaider’s series of books is an exception.
What do you think makes a good speculative fiction story?
Ideally, the speculative element plays a role in the central conflict and influences everything and everyone in the story. If you were to remove the speculative element from the story, there shouldn’t be much left. If that doesn’t happen, the story might still be a good read, but it would be weak speculative fiction. It sounds obvious, but not everything categorized as speculative fiction passes the test.
What advice would you give new authors?
Find out what works for you and make sure to read. If you don’t have time to read, make the time by cutting back on your writing time. You’ll learn more from reading other writers’ stories than you will from reading their blog posts.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on the third book in the Deiform Fellowship series, which is a fantasy/mystery series about agents of God called Deiforms. The main character is a lesbian, so in that sense the books are lesbian fiction, but they don’t focus on lesbian themes or contain any romance.
What future writing projects can we look forward to?
At the moment, I’m focused on Deiform Three. I haven’t decided what I’ll work on after that.
Thanks for the answering our questions, Sarah.