Author Interview - Sara Francis
For this week's installment of the Author Interview Series, I spoke with Sara Francis about her experience in the writing and publishing world. She has several books on the market, with an upcoming novel available for pre-order! Check out what she had to say below.
1) Describe your most recently published book and/or your current work in progress.
My first published novel is the first of a Sci-Fi trilogy called The Isles (book 1 of The Terra Testimonies) which I released in 2017. Since then, I have published 2 children’s books, a poetry collection, and am currently working on book 2 of the trilogy called The Mainland. This one is a prequel to The Isles and explains how the world fell and survivors woke up on 6 islands. Here’s a brief description about the book:
"A runaway, a princess, and a thief have been separated at birth in a world that’s falling apart. Their entire lives have been an attempt to escape abduction while trying to survive and prevent the terror, chaos, and destruction happening around them… most of which they are responsible."
2) Which do you prefer: self-publishing or traditional publishing? What factors made you choose one over the other?
This is a hard one because they both have their pros and cons. As much as I would love to be traditionally published, I chose to self-publish to start. The best thing about self-publishing is the freedom with your books. No editors breathing down your neck telling you “put this in, take this out, this is how it should go.” Your story stays how you intended it and for me that’s very important. Another reason I chose the indie route was because I’m actually working on opening my own vanity press. If I went traditional publishing to start out, I would have no knowledge of the process and be completely oblivious to all the tips and tricks that I plan to share with others.
3) Are there any books, movies, music, etc. that influenced your writing?
For my Sci-Fi books, I’m mostly influenced by the events of our times and music, believe it or not. The events and emotions of the books are taken from the world we live in today. The moods, meanings, and sequences of scenes have been inspired by bands such as We As Human, Red, TFK, Nine Lashes, etc. If I had to choose books that influenced my writing, I would say 1984 and Animal Farm by George Orwell (and more recently Lord of the World by Msgr Robert Hugh Benson).
4) Which is your favorite genre(s) to write in? Which genre have you never written in but would love to try someday?
If you couldn’t tell, I love Sci-Fi. But another genre I am falling in love with is Supernatural. I have another fiction work-in-progress scheduled for release in 2020 that is about the real spiritual world. (Super psyched for that one, not going to lie). A genre I never EVER thought I’d write is Fantasy. It’s not really my cup of tea, but honestly I would love to sit down and try it one day.
5) Do you prefer reading on an e-reader or actual books? Which do you think is better from a publishing point of view?
Printed books all the way. While I love my little Nook, the feeling of holding a book in your hands while sipping a cup of tea is so peaceful. I also feel like our generation looks at screens way too much. However, from a publishing point of view I would say E-books. While they are more difficult to format correctly, they are the cheap and students with no money can afford them. It is also instant and readers can get it immediately. (However, I love the feeling seeing my book in print for the first time. It definitely is more exciting.)
6) How has the online writing community affected your writing career?
The online writing community has inspired me in so many ways. I’ve made new writing friends I didn’t have just starting out as an author. By learning from each other, your writing path can go smoothly and your job will be so much easier.
7) Describe your typical writing routine.
Make tea, put on music, open my computer, scribble some notes, and get distracted by the internet for an hour. After slapping myself for wasting so much time, I smash my fingers on the keys and type for hours straight until I’m interrupted or run out of time.
8) What is your ultimate goal in terms of writing?
WRITE ALL THE BOOKS! Seriously. I have ideas swirling in my head since I was a little girl. I need to get them out! But the ultimate, ultimate goal is to have my books be read. I’ve worked hard (as other writers understand) and desire to share my work with others. I want to inspire people with my work and help them on their journey to bringing their stories to life.
9) What has been your biggest writing struggle? What is your greatest strength?
My biggest writing struggle is getting the books reviewed. I’ve sold plenty of books but everyone forgets to leave a review (or Amazon is evil and deletes five of my reviews). My biggest strength is probably my knowledge as a Media Communicator (writing is not my only job). With all I know, I have been able to format, market, design, promote, and more as a media professional.
10) Is there anything about the publishing world that has been very difficult? Has anything been easier than you expected? If you aren’t published yet, what do you anticipate being easy or difficult?
What’s been difficult with indie publishing is the feeling of being alone. With our regular, everyday lives, trying to write and market a book on your own is tough. There are times where I feel like my book is just collecting dust on my shelf and no one has read it. To be honest, nothing has been easier than I expected. It’s all been a challenge, but it comes with its own reward.
11) What is your favorite way to market your book and yourself as an author?
I love to market my book through Instagram especially. It’s through that platform that I’ve met many new authors and connected with readers. Another way I love to market is through the short stories I share on my blog.
12) Have you taken any writing classes? If yes, would you recommend them? If no, do you want to?
Yes, I took one course specific to creative writing back in high school. Honestly, it helped me so much. Yes, I highly recommend! That’s always my first advice to young aspiring writers. I actually offer creative writing workshops to help individuals get their first novel off the ground.
13) Is writing your full-time job? If yes, what was your last profession? If no, do you want it to be and what do you do now?
Writing is not my full time job. I am actually a Media Communicator which means I do graphic design, video editing, marketing, writing, and more. My talents are currently being utilized at an NPO Christian Media Company. I also work as a part-time teacher at a K-12 school. Honestly, as much as I love to write, I also have a passion for media which is why I am starting my own indie press. In the future, my job is to teach Media (that includes writing) at the University level and keep writing as my second job.
14) What do you think the future will hold for the publishing industry?
I have to say, I’m not entirely sure. With the rise of indie press and the popularity of E-books, anything could happen. All I know is there are many aspiring writers out there who have dreams of completing their stories; so I would start building bigger bookshelves!
15) What advice would you give to someone who has just started writing?
Be inspired, not intimidated. That is always my go-to piece of advice. This writing world is vast and there are many great stories out there, but that shouldn’t discourage us. Each story is unique in its own way and it is coming from you. You can look at other books and authors and desire to be like them, but remember that you have your own story to tell. So, pick up that pen and write!
Keep up with Sara's writing endeavors by following the links below!
Follow Sara on Instagram.
Like Sara on Facebook.
Tweet Sara on Twitter.
Also check out Sara's book of poetry, Stardust.