Author Interview – Sabrina Chase July 27, 2012Posted by thehypermonkey in Author Interviews.
Tags: author interviews, sabrina chase
I’m lucky to have Sabrina Chase visit with me for an interview on Akamai Reader! Among her books are Firehearted, The Last Mage Guardian, and the Sequoyah Trilogy.
I love books–I read very quickly, and my favorite writers were not writing fast enough to keep me entertained. I had written stories since grade school, but I didn’t get serious about writing until I was in my twenties.
2. If you could sit down with your favorite author, who would it be? What would you say?
I’d love to have tea with Jane Austen, but I’d probably need someone to introduce me to her first, to be proper. Say, Georgette Heyer. I’d probably have more to say to H. Beam Piper. Much fangirl gushing about his ability to write timelessly (he died in 1964, and if you read his books you can’t tell when they were written), some interesting science news he might find intriguing, and if he seemed in a good mood, a delicate request for him to read my writing…
3. Do you prefer writing sci-fi or fantasy?
I like both. Science fiction is more restrictive in terms of what the genre will allow the writer to get away with without explanation–it has to be somewhat plausible *in this world*. Fantasy is less structured, which means the writer has to both create their own structure and be consistent with it. Also with science fiction (given my physics degree) I have to remember to tone down the science to save the reader from dozing off.
4. What is your writing process?
I am what is known in the “biz” as a pantser. This means I don’t outline. I usually start off with an initial premise, main characters, and a few very vivid scenes. Idea-noodling like that I can do either on paper or on the computer. Then I just have to figure out a way to get the characters to those vivid scenes, and that’s when the supporting characters and setting come to life. I am part of a long-standing critique group, and they go through the first draft. Usually after they are done I have to let the book sit for a few months before I go back and rewrite, so the book is fresh to me. When I’m happy with it, it goes off to my editor–who has the thankless task of trying to cure my comma addiction and other atrocities that shall remain nameless.
5. Which do you like to write more, stand-alone books or trilogies?
I have only committed one trilogy so far, and I didn’t plan it that way (see “pantser”, above). The story just kept going and I could tell it would take three books to finish. I do like each book to be complete in the sense it has its own narrative arc, even in a trilogy.
6. What do you perceive to be the advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing?
The main advantage of self-publishing is it is mindlessly easy, which is also the main disadvantage. I can remember the publishing industry moaning about the advent of cheap word processors and how they created mountains of manuscripts–where before the effort of typing kept the deluge of crap minimal. The recent complaints that self-published=poor quality are just another variation on the theme. I love being able to select and direct my own cover art, for example (although my artist whimpers occasionally) and to write just the story in my head–not the one the corporate market director thinks will sell. I’m responsible for everything about the book–if I don’t do it, it doesn’t get done–but it feels wonderful when I do my job and I get emails from readers complaining of how I made them stay up late to finish my book!
7. What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Read good (that is, well-written) books. Then read a bad one and see if you can point out *why* it is bad, and how you would fix it. Writing is a creative process so there are no hard-and-fast rules, and that is frustrating to beginners who just want to know HOW and why won’t you tell me? It’s more of a path than a recipe. Write as much as you can. Get feedback from people who a) respect the genre you are writing, b) are not susceptible to emotional blackmail and c) will tell you the truth, even if it hurts. Then put the work away until your emotions calm down before you make any changes.
I am admittedly biased in favor of self-publishing since it has worked so well for me. I have been on both sides, however. I have an agent and he even got me a traditional publishing contract for the Sequoyah series–which was so bad I turned it down and he *agreed* with me! Currently the traditional publishers show no sign of respecting authors, and until that changes I can’t recommend pursuing a traditional publishing contract. That said, convincing someone who must make money off the deal that your writing is good enough to pay for is an excellent cure for inflated ego problems. If short stories work for you, try some of the online e-zines or similar publications. But only if you get paid!
8. Can you talk about any works in progress you have going on or future releases?
My current project is a science-fiction standalone, The Scent of Metal. It reveals the *true* nature of Pluto, what really happened to the Neandertals, and computer geeks in space! I am hoping to get that finished and available early 2013. I’m also planning to write a sequel to The Last Mage Guardian, and thinking about some short stories set in the world of Firehearted.
Thanks to Sabrina Chase for stopping by the blog!
Buy her books