Quote of the day:
"Nothing builds self-esteem and self-confidence like accomplishment."
Sarah Hardie - Guest Author
Today I welcome an emerging writer from Wellington, New Zealand - Sarah Hardie. According to Sarah, 'I work in the media industry in Wellington, the coolest little capital in the world (according to Lonely Planet). When I'm not working, I'm either reading, writing or procrastinating." Welcome, Sarah. Great to have a Kiwi as a guest. Now, tell us about your life as a writer ...
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
I’ve always been a bit undecided on what I wanted to do with my life, so after I came back from overseas four years ago, I decided to study journalism because I knew I was alright at writing and I loved photography. I was a journalist for two years before my conscience got the better of me and my job began to compromise my morals, but during the two years I wrote quite a few feature articles and discovered I had quite a talent for writing – I was actually told that I was too creative in my feature articles – so I decided to just start that novel I’d always wanted to write.
WERE YOU A GOOD READER AS A KID?
I always had my head buried in a book. I always got excited about having my reading test at school each year because my reading age was the highest in the class every time. I also loved being read to as a kid. I remember asking my mum to read to me even when the bedtime stories had stopped without me noticing it and I was told I was “too old” to be read to, but she still read to me whn I asked, even after giving me a bit of a weird look – by that time it was a nice thick novel.
WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
I think I’ve been a writer my whole life, I just didn’t know it. You learn a lot from reading a lot and sometimes I wish I’d started writing seriously earlier because my brain is so overloaded with ideas now that sometimes it’s hard to sleep.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Having complete creative control, being able to create anything or anyone I want, and making people think outside their comfort zone.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
I’ve done loads of things since I finished school seven years ago. I’ve worked in retail stores, temped in offices, studied art and design, worked at a place that prints photos onto canvas, went to the States for three months to work at a Jewish summer camp and traveled. And, as I said before, I was a journalist for two years, and not I’m still working in the media industry designing newspaper pages and editing other people’’s stories.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
Since I haven’t actually published my novel yet, my greatest achievement would probably be the lovely comments I get when I put excerpts of it up on my blog. Everyone’s always very encouraging and it keeps me soldiering on.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
I’m the kind of person who has so many ideas, so little time, and I can’t work on one project at a time. So at the moment I’m working on a novel that has the potential to turn into a three part series – it’s a time travel story based in Wellington, NZ (where I live) and covers the first and second world wars and the present day. I’m also working on a sweet little mystery/romance told from the point of view of a jar of jam sitting forgotten on a dusty shelf of a cafe in small town NZ – I’ve pretty much been writing that one on my blog. Lastly, I’m working on a non-fiction project with the working title “Guardians of the Cross” which is about a small NZ town called Tinui which was the first place in the world to have an Anzac Day service in 1916 (Anzac Day is NZ and Australia’s remembrance day). There is a cross that sits on the town’s highest hill, looking down on the town that once sent 2,000 men to war but now houses just 20 people but up to 800 people from all over the country go there on Anzac Day, so I’m telling the story of Tinui’s commitment to the Anzac tradition and the story of the men and one woman who died at war.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Everything. Little everyday things. I see things that most people would think ordinary and suddenly I’ve got a whole storyline or a whole novel writing itself in my head. Everyone and everything has a story to tell. I also like to study people, that’s how I create my characters. I’ve always been a people watcher, watching every little hand gesture, expression, nervous tic.
WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
It’s hard to say really. It’s a mix of adventure/romance/thriller/mystery. I don’t like to limit myself too much because I’m not entirely sure which genre is my strength yet.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
If you’ve always wanted to write a novel, just do it. Just take a deep breath, relax, and let the words come. Don’t even worry if the writing itself isn’t up to standard, that can be fixed later with editing and advice, it’s getting the ideas out of your head and on to paper that matters.
DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
Yes. It’s awful isn’t it? I feel like I’m betraying myself by not writing. It’s like I’ve lost a limb. But I think the best thing to do about writer’s block is don’t force it, the ideas will come back, it just takes time.
DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
No, I write whenever I can because I also work full time and have a busy life. I’ve recently discovered Google Docs, which is a godsend because if inspiration seizes me I can jump on the nearest computer and it’s all there online.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
Not really. My writing places are the couch, the dining table, bed, lunch break at my desk at work. I have a dream writing place though - a little shack with big windows that look out onto a lake or a beach or that’s buried deep in my (future) back garden, with a really comfy chair and a huge desk.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
Letting the words flow and knowing that one day someone, somewhere is going to be moved by my words.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
It’s hard to choose just one, so I narrowed it down to four!
1. Dr Seuss, because he had the guts to make words up, and his work is timeless. I grew up with his books, and so will my future children, and hopefully their children.
2. Katherine Mansfield, because she was fearless and refused to conform to the ideals of the time (early 1900’s) because she wanted to enjoy life, have sex because she wanted to, travel alone, fall in love over and over again and write stories about it all. She died at 34 years old and is still regarded as New Zealand’s greatest ever writer.
3. Joanne Harris, her words are just so beautiful. Her novels are so beautifully crafted, sometimes you get so lost in the beauty of the words that you forget what you’re reading about.
4. Diana Gabaldon, because she creates such vivid characters who you feel like you know personally, and she makes your heart break for them. She also weaves so much history and action into the story that you physically cannot put her books down, you have to know what’s coming next.
WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
I get a few comments on my blog when I post excerpts from my projects, but my greatest moment was a few weeks ago when I posted a summary of my three part series and asked my readers, “Would you read this book?” and I got nine comments – the most I’ve ever had on a post – and they all said they can’t wait to read it.
MISSING SINCE TUESDAY by Sarah Hardie
It's the year 2009 in Wellington, New Zealand, where orphans Duncan and Sophia Grant live quiet, often lonely lives. He studies history; she struggles through a thankless government job.
Duncan meets a chatty, popular girl named Maria who is drawn to him just as he is drawn to her, despite their polar opposite personalities. Their fragile partnership is doomed from the start, and is shattered one day at Wellington's rugged south coast where Maria slips and falls into the violent sea - or so they think.
On his death bed, Duncan's grandfather tells him the secret of the rocks - they have the power to send people back in time and, determined to save the love of his life, a frantic Duncan, who is slowly losing his sense of reality, finds himself in the midst of World War Two.
Worried for her brother, Sophia follows and begins her own love story with Arthur, a railway worker taken into the arms of the New Zealand army by call of duty, who has also lost the love of his life, though to murder, not accident. Once Sophia and Arthur's paths cross, powerful secrets are revealed and as they and Duncan and Maria chase love through time in a world turned upside down by war, one must pay the ultimate price to save the rest, whose lives will never be the same.
WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
Haven’t had one yet!
WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
Oh yes, I’m influenced by everything. When you write, you’re essentially writing about life, no matter what genre. Unless you’re writing about aliens, the core of any good story is good characters, and the only way to learn about creating characters is to observe them and to experience them in your own life.
OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
Photography, painting, reading, baking, cooking, music, road tripping, camping, and so much more – I like to squeeze every little drop out of life and try new things all the time.
IF YOU HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK TO THE ENTIRE WORLD, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?
I would get a massive group of people together and we would all sing John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s song “Give peace a chance”.
DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
Either frolicking on the beach on a scorching hot day with my favourite people or curled up on a comfy couch with a good book, a cup of tea and no noise except the rain outside.
WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST ASSETS AS A HUMAN?
Empathy, understanding, love, and a willingness to always keep your eyes and mind wide open to the world, ready to face anything and ready to enjoy everything.
IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE PERSON, WHO WOULD YOU LIKE IT TO BE? WHY?
My partner, because he’s quite good company. And he’s super strong so he could hunt for food with his bare hands and rip trees out of the ground and chop them up with his biceps to build us a shelter...and it would be a good chance to go skinny dipping and not be seen...
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
So many plans. Go travelling (Europe and UK this time – 2014!), get married, buy a house, get a dog, have some babies, publish my books.
Sarah's contact points:
Clancy's comment: Well done, Sarah. Keep going. You seem to know where you want to be - CT.
I'm Clancy Tucker.
Clancy Tucker’s Book Appeal – McGrath Foundation
Clancy Tucker - Victoria x 1 paperback
Jasha Levi - NJ, USA - x 3 eBooks
Kim Stedman - Western Australia x 2 limited edition hardcovers
Kathleen O'Dwyer - Western Australia x 1 paperback
Peter Frederick - Victoria x 1 paperback
Sylvia Massara - Sydney – 5 sets of 4 novels
Errol Broome - Victoria x 4 books
Cindy C Bennett - Salt Lake City, USA - multiple eBooks
M. C. V. Egan - USA - multiple eBooks
Dr. Judith O'Malley-Ford - Queensland - 1 x paperback
Julie Murphy – Victoria – 2 x books
Michelle Worthington – Queensland - 3 x books
Rune Woodman – Sydney – 2 x books
Katie Flannigan – Victoria – 1 x book
Julieann Wallace – Queensland - 1 x book
Melissa Wray – Victoria – 1 x book
Corinne Fenton – Victoria – 1 x book
Pauline Luke – Victoria – 2 x books
Trudie Trewin – Queensland – 1 x book
Jack White – Western Australia - 1 x book x 2 DVD’s