Today we have a guest blogger with us, author Sarah Boucher. I hope you enjoy getting to know more about her and her debut novel Becoming Beauty from Cedar Fort. Sit back and enjoy my interview with Sarah.
Red Vines or Twizzlers? Twizzlers! Strawberry flavor, please! My claim that they stave off thirst during movie marathons is mocked by my brothers. But guess what, it’s 100% true. And boys are mean.
How did you get started writing? I’ve been obsessed with books since I was a young girl. Blame a daddy with a nice voice who always read books to his kids. After devouring books for years, writing my own stories was the obvious next step. I’ve been spinning my own tales since my teen years. They were mostly mooshy, sappy tales about princesses and hot dudes, but everyone has to start somewhere, right?
Have you always wanted to be a twister of fairytales? Fairytales have always grabbed my attention. During my college years I discovered writers like Diana Wynn Jones and Robin McKinley and fell in love with fairytale retellings. I never aspired to writing and publishing my own until the idea for Becoming Beauty planted itself in my mind. Before I unleashed Becoming Beauty on humanity, I nursed my addiction for Disney movies, well-illustrated fairytale volumes, and true love in secret.
How has social media helped you to reach/retain your readers and fan base? Any words of advice? I’m an avid tweeter! I toss hashtags around like candy at a parade. Does that make me a bad person? I’m also active on Instagram and Facebook. They provide a way for me to express all my weirdnesses, likes, and dislikes and stay connected with those near and dear. Here’s what I learned from establishing an online presence: it’s not enough to BE online. You can tell people all about yourself and whatever you’re trying to sell over and over again, all day long, but if you don’t focus on people and making genuine connections, you’ll make very little headway. Let’s be honest, chatting with people, helping them out, and sharing a part of yourself is more fun than spamming the world with your product anyway. And hey, all the cool kids are doing it.
Please give us a peek into your writing life. How much time each week do you spend writing? Is your desk messy or clean? Do you have a schedule or are you sporadic? What helps you stay motivated? Balancing writing with teaching kindergarten is a lot like walking a tightrope while juggling chainsaws. Both require a great deal of focus and energy and can eisily sabotage the other. Luckily, school schedules include holidays and summers off, which is when I do the bulk of my writing. Beyond that, I write when the muses demand it, penning a chapter here and there and editing as I go when there are two available braincells to rub together.
Here’s a writerly factoid about me: I edit, draft, outline, and fill plot holes at the oddest times. I have a pile of random scraps of paper, scribbled on receipts, and sticky notes littering my bedside table as evidence. It’s a little eccentric but it keeps me going!
They say you need to read a lot to be a great writer. What have you learned about writing reading books? I’ve had writers tell me they don’t read books. I just don’t get that. Reading relaxes, entertains, and inspires me. My official philosophy is that writers must first be readers. Otherwise, how will they know what people want to read? By the way, I not only teach people to read, I also take it as a personal challenge to find things people will love reading. There’s nothing better than recommending a good book to a friend and having a fantastic conversation about it afterward.
What has surprised you about the whole publishing world good or bad? Strangely, I expected both more and less from a traditional publisher. There’s a lot of reading between the lines and ferreting out how much the publisher will take on and how much I’m responsible for. However, I will say that I am pleased to be working with such wonderful designers, editors, and marketing gurus who know more about selling books than I will ever understand. Becoming Beauty would not look or sound as good as it does without them. I will always appreciate that Cedar Fort took a chance on a nobody kindergarten teacher from rural Utah.
What was the inspiration behind Becoming Beauty? The story has been rolling around in my head for years. When I attended BYU, I thought about the question: What if Beauty was actually beastly rather than sweet and self-sacrificing? That thought inspired a play for children featuring an uber crabby Beauty and a Beast who wouldn’t let her get away with it. Several years later my best friend pressured me into joining her writing group and the idea reasserted itself. In fact, the muses screamed so loudly at that point that it became my first full-length story.
What writing project(s) are you working on now? My main project is a twist on The Twelve Dancing Princesses featuring a huge cast of crazy sisters, opinionated gardeners, and various noblemen. Whenever I have a spare braincell, that’s where I employ it. The next project after Twelve will be an upside down version of Rumplstiltskin. I also have several back burner projects littering up my hard driver as well–everything from snarky writer turned amateur detective to frumpy secretary turned dancing queen. Maybe someday they’ll even see the light of day and my mother/writing group will stop asking for more.
Here is a little teaser:
Claws. Long, filthy, and dangerously sharp.
They’re the first thing Bella sees after what’s been the worst day of her life. If Bella were the quintessential Beauty—gorgeous, kindhearted, and self-sacrificing—she might have a chance at transforming this monster into a man, but she’s never been the toad-kissing kind. Obsessed with landing a wealthy nobleman and escaping her humdrum life, Bella will stop at nothing to achieve her goals. Which is precisely what landed her here, at the mercy of the Beast.
Becoming Beauty is available starting November 11, 2014 at Amazon, B & N, and books & things.
Genre: YA Ficton, Fairytales/Romance
Description: Self-centered Bella focuses her attention on beautiful dresses and fabulous balls rather than helping her family earn a living. And her siblings have had enough! To pay off their father’s debt, they send Bella to a far-off manor where the owner is more like a beast than a man.
As their personalities clash, Bella comes to realize there’s more to the Beast than she could ever have dreamed—if only she can look beneath the surface. And then there’s Jack, the kind servant who helps Bella adjust to her new life, someone Bella could easily fall in love with. But pursuing love may cost Bella her dreams of wealth and beauty. And that’s a price she’s not willing to pay.
About the Author: Sarah E. Boucher spends her days instilling young children with the same love of literature she has known since childhood. After hours, she pens her own stories and nurses an unhealthy obsession for handbags, high heels, baking, and British television. Sarah is a graduate of Brigham Young University, who currently lives and teaches in Ogden, Utah. Becoming Beauty is her first novel.