Sarah Dale is a wearer of many, many hats. She’s an author, mom, partner, daughter, step-mom, friend, dog-walker, cat-appreciator, word-lover, thought-thinker, picture-taker, always-learner, library book balancer, living in Nebraska, and just trying to get things done.
Kathryn Schleich: You have an interesting background as a librarian and an author, which seem to go hand in hand in many ways. Were you a librarian first or a writer or both?
Sarah Dale: I think I would say writer first, although I wasn’t published until after I began working in libraries. They do go hand in hand, in the sense that I am surrounded by books and readers and cover art all day every day. I’m also privy to the things people like to read. That said, I don’t always write things that I see being snapped up on the regular. As one example, Romance is a genre that is wildly popular that I would completely stink at writing. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing about love, but for me it has to be surrounded by explosions and dragons and magic. Romance readers likely wouldn’t dig that sort of silliness.
KS: How did you come to write the fantasy fiction genre?
SD: Fantasy and Magical Realism are my comfort zone, and quite simply, I write it because that’s what I like to read. I cut my teeth on King and McCaffrey, along with Lewis and and then Gaiman and Garcia Marquez. My general feeling is that I like reading about what I don’t see every day. If I want realistic stuff, I’ll read the news … and frankly, there’s only so much of that I can take!
KS: How did you develop the idea for the Tales of the Zodiac Cusp Kids series?
SD: It started out as an attempt to craft a short story for an anthology on 80’s horror flicks. My go-to personal experience on 80’s horror films was at a Halloween sleepover we’d staged when we were kids, after which, just like in Something Wicked, we had to go out and do the paper route after staying up all night watching scary movies. Fortunately, we didn’t run into any of the adventures Angie, Jenny, and David did! Once I looked at what I’d written, I liked it, but it was entirely too long to be a short story, but too short to be a novel. That’s when I started thinking about making a series of novellas, just little bites that busy people can read in a couple of hours, or in shortie little sections suitable for lunch break reading. My publisher liked the plan and off we went!
KS: Have you written other types of works like short stories or in different genres?
SD: I have a horror/adventure novel that I’ve co-written with David Owain Hughes, and one short story that appears in an anthology of horror shorts.
KS: What is the best advice you’ve received as an author?
SD: Write. Really, it’s pretty simple. It’s one of those things that is entirely too easy to blow off. Real life has a nasty habit of getting in the way of fiction. You have to make non-fiction rules for staying on top of your fiction.
KS: In the same vein, what advice would you give to a writer just starting out?
SD: Put pen to paper and don’t put unnecessary limits on that. Some things write themselves when you really weren’t planning them at all. Plus, don’t forget that you’re doing it because you love doing it. It’s easy to spoil the fun by being too restrictive or too unfocused or too whatever. Just don’t forget to have fun with it.
KS: The Zodiac Cusp Kids series comprises several books. Are those books completed? If they are, what are you currently working on?
SD: They’re not completed. I’m about to get rolling on book four, and I’d like to have books four and five completed before I get into the holiday season this year. I need to be able to take November and December off from deadlines. And I always have other projects that I putter with. There is a sequel to We Could Be Heroes that is getting written slowly but surely, and I have plans with a friend to work out a story inspired by some old Appalachian folk songs.
KS: What are your goals as an author?
SD: Honestly, just to be as authentically me as I can during the lifetime I have. Regardless of publication or success or deadlines or any of the rest of it, my goal is to live authentically, and for me, that means writing.
KS: Anything else that you would like to add?
SD: Do the things you love, enjoy them as much as you possibly can, be kind and forgiving, and for the love of goodness, go outside and walk the dog. You’ll be happier, and so will the dog.
Learn more about Sarah, her many books, and future release dates of the Zodiac Cusp Kids novellas on her Amazon author’s page.
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