Sara Alexi was born in Oxford, England. She has travelled widely and now spends much of her time in a tiny rural village in the Peloponnese, in Greece, where she is (very slowly!) renovating a ruined stone farmhouse, whilst observing the Greek way of life and absorbing the culture, to enrich her vision for both writing and painting.
Sara began writing later in life. In school English lessons were a time of confusion, books indecipherable hieroglyphics. Dyslexia was not well understood then and no support was available. The joy of reading and writing were cancelled by the teacher’s red pen …
Despite her dyslexia Sara qualified as a psychotherapist and ran her own practice for years. Her love of people and her fascination with human resilience grew through her work. Her artistic nature was, at that time, confined to painting which she exhibited widely.
In a casual conversation with a client she discovered that Agatha Christie, Jules Verne and Hans Christian Andersen were all dyslexic, and Sara’s perspective changed. The world of fiction opened to her with this shift in perception and she has been a prolific writer ever since.
Her ‘Greek Village Series’, The Illegal Gardener, Black Butterflies, The Explosive Nature of Friendship, has been very well received and provides a keenly observed, compassionate insight into the Greek people and culture, and the human condition in general.
What inspires you to write?
People inspire me to write. As a psychotherapist I am intrigued as to the effects life-events have on the individual so my work is always character driven. I have a strong sense of fairness and this is often a pivotal point in the story line.
People resilience continuously impresses me. We are remarkable. The most humble mother can over turn a truck to free her child. A child forgotten at birth can rise to become a leading voice in society. Face with the deepest adversity we not only rise but often fly.
My characters shout this for me from the highest hill top. They untangle the knots life has twisted them in and come out whole and, often, improved. There message is:- Do not forget how special you are.
Tell us about your writing process
The catalyst for a plot is often a life event of someone I have met. From this a fictitious character grows in my mind, usually from the amalgamation of several people, that could have lived that event.
I write out, with pen and paper, all the events, big and small, in that characters life that must have happened to make them who they are at the time of the story. I also do this for any other major characters that will appear in the story. I list words they would use, phrases they might says, secretes they may not wish to tell.
I usually know the beginning and the end of the story so I sit down and write, with my focus on creating a wonderful contained world. I list what the characters must show early on, and include these points. I usually know exactly where I am going for two to three chapters. The mood is set. Then the characters confused me. They do not fit tightly into the mould I have created, they take on their own life and so I reassess.
At this point I plot out the story arch and the sub plot paths, the characters often dictate this process. I map events, chapter by chapter, and take the time to ensure any minor characters appear regularly enough not to be forgotten if they are to be needed near the end of the tale. If I have more than one protagonist it is at this point that I decide on whose POV leads which chapter and/or event. This is done with pen and paper in a note book. I break the pages into boxes. The chapter displayed like a spread sheet. Sometimes I cut these boxes out if I need to re-arrange the order of event and lay them out to move them around. This is the toughest point of the writing for me.
I feel very strongly what would and would not be character appropriate.
Once over that hump I go sailing along to the end.
I then re-read the whole manuscript with a set of bullet points. These points are to make sure character development/relationships do not happen too slowly or too quickly. That the location of the events is clear and tangible. That the language and sentence structure is kept simple so the story is not lost by being overly fussy.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
My characters wait impatiently for me to tell their tales. When I leave them mid event, sitting on a bench, waiting in a boat, they are bereft until I return to my computer and breath life into them again. They don’t talk to me, they have their won friends, they have their own world, their own lives. I am just a tool for their stories to be told. Usually a tool that is too slow in expressing what they feel needs to be said.
What advice would you give other writers?
Everyone has a tale to be told.
Give yourself the time to write, someone, somewhere needs to hear what you (and you alone) have to say.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I published through Amazon. The choice was financial. The Greece economy was in tatters. Our business went under over night. It was a desperate situation. I needed an immediate result. I have not looked back.
I would advise new authors, if they are going to self publish, to get the best editor they can afford. Ask for an analysis and a critic, and an edit as well as a proof read from your editor. Have it proof read again by someone else. Have a professional cover done, it is the key to people looking at your work. Make your work as professional as possible and people will take your work seriously. Do not cut these corners.
Would I take an offer by a traditional publisher? If the terms were right then yes because I think I can be a better writer. To become so I need experienced advice and good marketing that will allow me the luxury to write more slowly and still keep my profile visible.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I have no idea what the future of book publishing will hold. People are resilient and inventive. The kindle is a major breakthrough but, for me and many I know, holding a book is a different experience. But the new generation is fast on our heels. What will they think? Hopefully something beyond the realms of my imagination.
What do you use?
Co-writer, Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
Link To Author Page On Amazon
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