About Sarah Michelle Lynch:
Sarah’s first job was opening a newspaper shop, when she was just seventeen. It was a good exercise in discipline, having to get up at 5a.m. on a weekend morning. Since then, she has worked all kinds of jobs including cafe assistant, student mentor and ambassador, checkout girl, bartender, shelf stacker, supply teacher and after graduating university, magazine journalist. The jobs may have come and gone but the urge to write was ALWAYS there.
Sarah currently lives in East Yorkshire with her husband and daughter.
What inspires you to write?
Many things. In the beginning, I was inspired to create a possible future world. I guess this went hand-in-hand with motherhood and that whole question of what the future held for my daughter. I wanted to create a world not entirely separate to our own, but one in which I could explore aspects of the present in the plausible post-apocalyptic future I fashioned. I write to create, to challenge my imagination – and sometimes to take readers on a journey they perhaps weren’t expecting. The thrill of always looking for that “something new” keeps me writing.
Tell us about your writing process.
I used to be a pantser, flying by the seat of a train, car, boat perhaps even – just typing words wherever and whenever – but I realised there is so much value to pre-planning. For one, when you pre-plan, you’re making the job much less of a job. It might not be as exciting as writing ad-hoc but you can get in all those details that make your writing flourish without the immense stress of writing the plot as you write. I think it honestly depends on what genre you’re writing, too, because romance really benefits from the little details – knowing the characters well beforehand – but thrillers really benefit from the feeling that even the writer didn’t know where it was going to go!
Whilst pre-planning, nowadays I write notes in a word.doc designated “Notes” – alternatively, if I am out and about, I normally have a pen and paper on me – and I’ve been known to write notes on post-its, the back of receipts or even on my hand, perhaps just that one keyword that forces me to remember that scene or character trait I felt was important to sneak in the current WIP.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I sometimes do act out in conversations in my mind, usually it’s last thing at night or first thing in the morning while I am laid in bed. Sometimes when I’m sat at the laptop I even shudder or wince or bite my lip or grimace, shrug my shoulders, because I’m unconsciously reacting exactly how my character(s) would a I’m writing a scene. If I am writing a character with a different accent to mine, I have to say their words out loud in their accent to see if it sounds like something they’d really say.
What advice would you give other writers?
Just don’t stop writing. It’s rare your first novel is your best. It’s rare you will please everyone. Above all, just enjoy it.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Self-publishing was for me because above all, I still hold the rights to my work and that is important to me. There is traditional publishing of course and your smaller, independent publishers too. I think every book is unique and has its own path. The gap between the routes is shortening now and I firmly believe the readers are the ones who really decide the future of books.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
As above! I think self-publishing is great for those just wanting their work out there or to test the water, begin building a fanbase, or to just plain enjoy themselves. Obviously big publishers will get more books to more vendors. I think people will always relish hard copies on shelves. There is something about having a physical book in your hand to smell and hold. I also believe that many people on trains, aeroplanes or boats just want something hand-held to read for pleasure and how ever you read, it’s important you’re reading and keeping some variety – and variety in the book world is becoming broader because of self-publishing and all the true-life, mis-lit and memoirs/blogs-into-books that are currently available.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?: Romance, contemporary, thriller, science-fiction, dystopia, erotica,
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print