Carla Sarett is a Ph.D. who has worked in TV, film and market research. In 2010, she began writing short fiction; and to date, her short stories have appeared in over twenty magazines, both print and online. She has two stories forthcoming in anthologies, Love Hurts and Contrary Cats.
In 2012, she published Nine Romantic Stories in a Kindle edition– most of the stories were previously published, but a few are new. She is planning a second collection of stories later this year, and is at work on a romantic comedy novel.
What inspires you to write?
I started writing fiction after my mother’s death, so in some way, that must have been a catalyst. I often think of what my mother would have liked when I start writing– she was a great reader, and formed my literary tastes. I think, would she find this entertaining or worthwhile or interesting? But everyday life provides the greatest inspiration — women I meet in supermarkets or trains, snatches of conversation, articles in newspapers. It seems there is always another story to tell.
Tell us about your writing process
The story idea comes in a rush, but the writing comes slowly. I like refined prose, well-crafted stories, and that takes time– and I love the writing itself. Once I have the story arc, I’ll start playing around with voice and characters, and inevitably the story starts to change. Occasionally, I’ve written a story in both first person and third person to compare voices, to see which voice tells the story. And with humor, of course, it’s a matter of timing and crafting punchy dialogue that gets a laugh, but with heart.
I like to read stories to other people so I can “hear” the story in my head and know that it’s working on all levels. Then I’ll put it to bed, let it rest, and review it again with a clear head. When I’m happy with it, I usually submit it right away, to see what an editor thinks. Some stories are accepted right away, but others go through further revision before publication.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
You have to listen to characters, because they are a part of you. It’s your brain telling you what the story is, what it means. I’ve had the experience a few times of ending a story in a dark way, and then feeling that I cannot be cruel to a character. I feel that the character needs hope, and I craft a new ending.
What advice would you give other writers?
Write what you love to write, and do it for the joy of it. If you’re writing short fiction, submit often.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Short stories don’t have much of a market, so I figured that self-publishing a short selection of my stories was a reasonable strategy. Was I correct? The jury is still out on that one. I under-estimated the dreariness of formatting for Kindle. And I may have under-estimated the marketing challenges. But it’s a learning curve.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Human beings love to read, and story-telling isn’t going away. I love print, and I often buy a hard copy of a book that I’ve read on Kindle, if it’s wonderful. So I think there will continue to be a role for beautifully made books along with the digital.
As for what book publishing will look like, that’s hard to say. History and biography, it seems to me, need publishers and editors, and fact-checkers too. I would never buy a “self-published” history of the Civil War, for example. I want to know that someone’s checked it. But for fiction and poetry, I’ve found lots of read that was self-published, and much of it, very fine indeed. So that seems to be evolving into a hybrid model.
What do you use?
Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write:: Literary fiction, short stories, romance
What formats are your books in: eBook