About Sasha Pruett:
When asked about my writing I’m at no loss for words, but about myself; total blank so bear with me. I’m a southern country girl and I like it that way. Whether I’m in the mountains, on the beach on my favorite island, or in my living room I’m always comfortable and perfectly content. As a child I hated the stillness of my grandparents house where the only sounds were a ticking clock and the wind chimes hanging out back, now I adore it. The beauty of nature astounds me everyday and I’m just as happy catching lizards and frogs in my back yard as having tea and scones with my mother-in-law. (A wonderful woman by the way).
By the time this interview is published I will just be celebrating my 21st wedding anniversary to my amazing and very supportive husband whom I’m thankful for every day of my life. We’re both avid gamers and I have more hobbies than time, but at least it means I’ll never be board. I may gravitate to nearly anything artistic, but I also love learning and enjoy the hours of research that goes into my books or just for the sake of expanding my understanding.
I’m a huge animal lover and the current pet parent of an adorable, deformed, grey, American shorthaired cat named Bubba that we saved from death, but don’t tell him he’s a cat he won’t believe you. Music also holds a large place in my world and my taste varies from every era, in nearly every genre and style of which I’ve created a playlist just for writing. My favorite movie is a tie between Arsenic and Old Lace and the How to Train Your Dragon movies. Toothless is my favorite character with Stitch running a close second. I’m also a voracious reader and when I find a book I like it’s nothing for me to put away a 300 pager in an afternoon then go back to the beginning and read it again. Some in my collection I’ve read a half a dozen times or better and I love picking up on those hidden elements that many authors write into their stories, just like the game my husband and I have where we try to spot as many errors or “oh that’s just stupid’ moments in a movie as possible. Investigation Discovery ends up on my tv more than any other channel and if I wasn’t a writer I’d try my hand at being a profiler.
What inspires you to write?
I find inspiration in everything good and bad. Every instance of life can add to a story and the ones that have some basis in real life moments come across stronger. Just about anything can trigger a burst of inspiration from a cool breeze on a beautiful afternoon, to the grey drizzle of a fall day. Even a question such as “what if this were to happen” or “how would I or someone of a certain belief or personality handle a particular situation” leads me into another story. Music also helps me to focus. As for where the ideas come from, those usually originate from my dreams. I’ve been lucid dreaming most of my life and have become quite proficient at manipulating my dream life. It’s an amazing adventure nearly every night, and many times I go back to sleep just to finish a dream I’ve been enjoying.
Tell us about your writing process.
I never know what’s going on, or what’s going to happen. Some writers know exactly how their books begin or end and some have even stated that you have to start with the ending and work backwards, not me. Each book is different. I might know how it starts with one book, but with the next it’s the ending, and then with another one all I know is the theme or one pivotal scene and then I work from there.
No matter where it starts or what I do (or don’t) know about the story my system is usually the same. First I write out on notebook paper the idea with a working title. Sometimes it’s just one sentence and sometimes I write a 20-30 page description with my own shortcuts. In one sentence I could have “Old grungy house.” and in the next two pages have a detailed conversation between my characters. These ‘treatments’ (as I call them) get entered into my computer as a safety precaution in case something happens to the paper copy and once I decide which story I’m going to complete ( I have over 120 working projects at the moment) I grab a fresh spiral notebook and long hand a rough draft.
Once the rough draft is finished I celebrate! Then I bring up my computer and give it what I call ‘the Hollywood treatment’ where I puff it up here and cut it up there until I have a first draft on the computer. After that I print and edit. There’s something about having the paper in front of me that helps me to focus and make the corrections needed. Sometimes I go pages without making a mark and other pages look like my pen or pencil exploded on the front and the back.
The first set of edits is mainly for flow. For me a story has to have good flow or I get frustrated and stop reading. It’s like driving a car and tapping the brakes every few yards. I enter the corrections and rewrites into the computer and print again, re edit for flow, grammar, details, and such then do the whole process over again. Wash, rinse, repeat.
When I’m happy with it (and so sick of looking at it I’m ready to scream) I work on creating the cover. That gives me a bit of a break, because to be honest by the time I’ve gone through the book a half a dozen times I have to force myself to get back to it. I keep multiple copies in multiple places, I’ve learned the hard way that you can never have too many copies in secure places in case of emergency.
I work best with the tv off and many times with the music on to block out the distractions around me, but each day can be different so I’m pretty much up for whatever works at the moment. If I feel that I’m getting burnt out then I put it away for a while and either work on something else or just concentrate on one of my hobbies. There’s a time to push through and there’s a time to back off and you have to listen very closely to yourself to realize what’s best for you and your book. I’d rather create something that I’m proud of even if it takes longer and I’ve had to do some massive edits than force myself to produce and end up knowing that I could have done better.
I don’t focus on word count I focus on story flow. It actually saves me time in the end.
Something I’ve found works for me is shortcuts, I can spend a half an hour or better just searching for the right word, in the beginning when I’m trying to get the rough draft done taking that time isn’t feasible so I circle a basic word and write FBW (Find Better Word) by it. That way I can concentrate on the storyline and add the descriptions later. I also initial the names and places so that it saves time and space in my rough draft.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Quite often I put myself into my characters shoes and focus on their own unique personalities and how they would react to the situation, not how I would. My characters develop as the story does so though I may start out with a character acting one way, as I learn about them as the story progresses I find they may change as well. I never know what may happen, I go where the story takes me and I have been surprised more than once about how a scene plays out or what may happen to my characters. I have learned one thing, no one is safe in my books.
What advice would you give other writers?
Writing is as much a learning process as it is a creative one. Each author if different and what works for one may not work for you. Don’t be afraid to try new things. I had been writing for nearly 15 years before I started using shortcuts for my characters names and places. One thing I do suggest might be of use, especially if you write multiple books, is to keep a fact sheet containing the names, dates, places and so on of each book, it helps keep things straight. I also suggest keeping a record of all of the characters names you’ve ever used and for which book so that you don’t run the risk of reusing one unawares. These cheat sheets have been invaluable at times.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I started out old school with the traditional submission to publishing companies, but the area that I usually write in (Christian Horror) is mainly unknown. While I was waiting for a nibble my husband suggested online self publishing. I figured ‘couldn’t hurt’, and went with it. I pretty much go with the flow and indie publishing has really opened up in the past few years with more and more resources for authors and readers to connect. There’s no rule that you can’t do the indie thing until a traditional venue opens up, why limit your options to one or the other.
Not all of us can afford the conferences or write those books that are “mainstream” or “pop fiction” that gets picked up quickly, so the important thing is to be patient. Don’t despise the days of small beginnings, they serve to help you grow and learn, use the increasing number of resources out there that helps readers find your work.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Because of the internet, readers and authors now have a way of reaching each other and connecting in a way that only small books clubs or book readings could do. The world is now one giant book club and what was once a pipe dream for authors has become a reality, reaching the public without being forced to go through an agent and publisher. We’re no longer dependent on what one other person thinks might sell before we can even begin to get our foot in the door and we can go straight to book lovers without being told we have to change our work so that a company can make more of a profit off of it. In a way authors can now hold true to the purity of their vision and get that work that they have slaved over into the hand of readers.
The only down side is the massive influx, your work has just as much competition in indie publishing and without the advertising and promotions of the publishing companies it will be difficult. That’s where you have to use every asset available to you and let the quality of your work stand out.
What do you use?:
What genres do you write?: Horror, Suspence, Inspirational, Paranormal, Poetry, Drama, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Adventure, Comedy
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.