The weather is turning colder today, so I am extremely happy to be heading south with this week’s featured author. She specifically asked for a Thursday interview, so, as usual, I bow to the guest. However, I don’t get a chance to input the destination and she doesn’t let me know the destination but, as usual, I can’t complain too much because we’re outsied a beautiful beach house somewhere in South Florida. Two stories, lots of windows for ample view of the ocean and the beach with funky but comfortably colored rooms. The ocean waves are magnificent and I am lulled into a semi-nap before I feel a poke in the ribs reminding me that I have an interview to conduct. Oh, and stay tuned till the end for a special contest.
1. Who are you and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?
I am the most fascinating person anywhere in my opinion because I’m the only one in my head. That is how everyone should feel. There is nothing more interesting than the human psyche and I know mine better than any other.
I do not think that I can clearly explain who I am in a short interview but I’ll cover the highlights. I am someone who feels deeply. I cry at sad commercials. I try never to cause harm. I prioritize personal development and hope to inspire others toward positive change. Yet I make mistakes daily. I used to feel exceptionally guilty every time I did not live up to my impossible standards. Now I simply try to keep making progress toward being a better person.
2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?
I was a miserable child, negative, at times rude, often cranky, and very sad. I am not always a ray of sunshine now, but my friends know me as a positive, optimistic person. It surprises them to know that I was radically different as a child and teen, and I am sure it would surprise people I used to know that I am much happier now. I was always kind and caring on the inside hidden under a rough shell. My shell is significantly softer now and better matches my inside.
3. What interested you to become a writer rather than something else such a Broadway star?
I did want to be a pop star, but lacked the talent and energy. I always wanted to be a writer though, even when I had other dreams on the side. I just love to create. I love to write. I even love to edit. For writers, the draw to write, the need, is impossible to ignore. You can avoid it for awhile, but it will always pull you back.
4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?
I think it would be a hoot to gather together my favorite humor writers, crack up some wine, and just laugh all night. I would invite Sophie Kinsella, Lauren Weisberger, Risa Green, Candace Bushnell, Juliette Sobanet, Janet Evanovich, Emma McLaughlin, and Nicola Kraus. There are many other writers I adore, but I think the chemistry of this group would be great.
5. If I were stranded on a deserted island or suffering from a four hour layover at the airport, why would your book(s) be great company?
I once was suffering through a 9 hour layover in Tokyo. Luckily, I met a nice Canadian named Cassidi and a real cool dude named Rickard. We had an international “fight off boredom” party. I don’t know that any book could quite match the experience of bonding with two complete strangers from other countries who just had some amazing travel adventures. But to answer the question, my novel is absolutely hilarious and when you are stuck somewhere out of your element, humor is a welcome friend. Plus the book takes place in sunny San Diego and reading about the popular city can take you out of your present unhappy situation. Last but not least, there is the entertainment value of good ole drama of young people dealing with their insecurities, hormones, and fights to be on top (of the social hierarchy I mean. Minds out of the gutter, please).
6. Share your process of writing in regards to: plot and character development, story outline, research (do you Google or visit places/people, or make it up on the spot), writing schedule, editing and number of rewrites.
I write about places I visit. I went to Thailand twice for a month per trip to get information for the Between Boyfriends sequel. I’m also working on a book that is split between San Francisco and Paris. I visit friends in San Francisco often so I know the area fairly well. I traveled to Paris for a week for research. I sometimes Google places first but I always want to go there before writing about them.
I developed the plot and characters for Between Boyfriends on the fly. My writing process is more structured now. I am outlining my next books though leaving room for creative detours. I tend to imagine where I want my characters to be at the end of the book, who I want them to be, and then I figure out how to get them there.
7. I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?
Hire me to write it. Just kidding. Writers take mainly two paths: free flow and outlining. I sat down and just wrote Between Boyfriends without a lot of planning. I suggest that writers come up with a plan beforehand, fill in as much as they can first. If that does not work though, I say just sit down and write, write, write.
8. I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read, “Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?
My basic philosophy is to cause no harm. No harm to yourself, to other people, to animals, or to the planet. If we could just get to a place where we could be happy and self-sufficient without hurting others or ourselves, the world would be paradise. My role is to work toward that in myself (I’m not even close yet). Every person has to change him or herself. We shouldn’t try to change others but we should support their growth because we’re all connected and none of us will truly be at peace until we all are.
9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you?
My main focus now is finishing up the Between Boyfriends sequel. I have a third book outlined as well. Then I have a couple of other books to finish up. Lots to do. I also spend a lot of time writing my natural health blog, NaturalHealingTipsBlog.com.
10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?
My website, SarkaJonae.com, has a lot of information about what I am up to and what I am working on. I also post a lot on my Facebook page and Twitter.
My thanks to this week’s author and now for the extra special stuff. If you’d like a copy of Ms. Miller’s book you can receive a free copy from Amazon. this freebie deal will begin November 2 and only lasts a limited time, so get hopping over to Amazon.
Also, my blog is only one of several on Sarka’s blog tour. Please visit her website to see where else she’s been. If you comment on each of the sites she’s visits, specifically the feature about her, and this includes my blog, then ask to be entered on her blog at the end of the tour, then you have a chance to win one of two prizes: either an autographed copy of Janet Evanovitch’s Motor Mouth OR a signed picture of American idol runner-up Lauren Alaina.