I am pleased to give the blogging stage to author Sarah Potter today! I first connected with Sarah a few years ago, through her blog Sarah Potter Writes. Since then, I have enjoyed following her publishing career as well as reading the poetry and short stories she has shared on her blog.
When she released a new book of juvenile fiction titled Noah Padgett and the Dog-People, I wanted to have her over here to talk about the writing process and learn more about the book. So, without further ado, here is Sarah.
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Thank you, Christy, for inviting me to guest post at your wonderful blog, to talk about publishing and my latest novel, plus offer some tips on finding writing inspiration.
Welcome to the world of multi-genre mash-up
By nature, I’m an eccentric person with a quirky, exceedingly British sense of humour who doesn’t find it easy to conform; thus it’s hardly surprising that my novels buck against the trend and don’t fit neatly into a single category, which, in turn, makes them a huge challenge to market. I have a pile of rejection letters from publishers and agents to prove that this is the case; they say things such as, “beautiful writing, but too hard to market” or “we applaud your imagination, but can’t see this fitting neatly on any shelf in a bookshop.”
Last year, encouraged by my family, I decided to indie publish one of my five novels, Desiccation, rather than leave it filed away gathering dust. It is a young adult crossover novel (for readers aged 15+).
Years ago, my teenage son read it in a night and spent the following day dozing off at school. He didn’t care that my novel was a multi-genre mash-up of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, humour, with a few erotic undertones and plenty of teenagerisms. He just loved the story and characters.
My latest novel, Noah Padgett and the Dog-People, aimed at readers aged 10-18+, is an adventure and survival story with smidgeons of science fiction and fantasy.
Am I glad I’ve indie published? Yes, I like being in control of a project from beginning to end. Editing is exhilarating. It’s immensely satisfying learning nifty tricks for formatting that end up producing a professional result in print and on Kindle. Do I enjoy marketing? No, but I keep at it, living in the hope of that big breakthrough. What do I love the most about doing what I’m doing? That some people who read my first book, have now bought my second one, which means they appreciate my writing enough to come back for a second helping.
Who are the Dog-People?
“Dog-People” is the nickname my boy hero, Noah, has for members of the species Canis sapiens who live in the Zyx-dimension where most of the story takes place. They are intelligent biped dogs who treat any dog-like behaviour as a criminal offence. Thus, it’s against the law to show your tail in public, get down on four paws, roll in fox’s scat, play fight with mouths and claws etc. The dog-people consider Noah and his puppy, Bluebell, mutants and alien collectibles.
Main Themes of the Book
• Loss — Noah has lost his mother and has to suffer a stepmother from hell. His father gives him a chocolate Labrador puppy to help console him, only to have her stolen from him in the Zyx-dimension.
• Overcoming fears — Noah is mildly afraid of many things, but terrified of heights and water, both of which he has to vanquish in order to survive. One of the ways he overcomes his fears is by having to be brave for someone else who’s even more afraid of everything than he is.
• The making of a hero when you’re rather puny and the odd one out — This is all about being a stranger in a strange land, who must prove himself, cement strong friendships, build allies, and outdo an enemy with his wits rather than with muscle.
Tips for Writing Inspiration
My number one tip is to read and read and read. Don’t stick to one genre, but read widely anything from pulp fiction to high literary, depending on your mood. If you don’t like a book, abandon it. Life is too short.
By reading we learn and inwardly digest what works and what doesn’t work. On both a conscious and a subconscious level, we absorb technique and expand our vocabulary.
If you have writer’s block, don’t beat yourself up about it. Leave it be, whether for a few hours, weeks, months, it doesn’t matter for how long. Do something completely different.
Embrace the great outdoors, climb a mountain, disappear into a forest, dig the garden, visit an art gallery, socialise, paint a picture, take photographs, groom the dog, watch a movie; there’s so much else other than writing to do. The Muse often strikes you, when you least expect her to; she cannot be coerced into submission or forced. When she reappears after a long absence, she’s like a new romance, or the return of an old flame reignited.
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Wow, great advice to end the guest post! Thank you, Sarah.