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18.01.2014

Scottish Writer Sarah Reid answers 13 Questions

I’m proud to present a ‘blog hop’ between Scottish writer Sarah Reid (pen-name Sarah Wallace), whose recent books were published last year, with another due out at the beginning of 2014, and me. You can have a look at my answers to her questions on http://shreid2013.wordpress.com.
 

Like so many of my writing friends, I met Sarah at the Swanwick Writers' SummerSchool. Right from the start, I was taken by that lovely, energetic woman, who's not afraid to try and benefit from the technological possibilities that now exist for writers. She's taught herself to e-publish and blog. 

It's such a pity that her wonderful Scottish accent, so different from my Swiss twang, doesn't show on the page.

The most important question first – when will your next book come out?
 
In 2013 I self-published two electronic readers on Amazon.co.uk and there will be a third e-book due in February, 2014. The first one was called ‘Murder at the Tannery’, second one was ‘Body in a Bag’ and the one coming out soon is ‘Unscrewed’.



Why did you begin to write? Was there a specific event that spurred you on?
 
I had a habit of keeping a diary and a journal and somehow the notion of writing


short stories became a reality when I sent them to People’s Friend (a woman’s magazine). This coincided with the fact that I was due to retire from teaching and would have loads of time on my hands. I saw it as an opportunity to do something I enjoyed.
What genre do you write?
 
I prefer crime stories where I can use my imagination to figure out why a human being acts in a certain way. In other words, to find out what makes them tick. I find this fascinating.

It also applies to the other characters in the story –how will they re-act to finding their relative has been horribly violated? And how will their life change because of it?

Which do you find more challenging, the process of thinking up a story or the editing?
The thinking up a new story with a new plot, a new setting and new characters is much more challenging than editing. Editing comes after the first chapter is finished – you have something to work on.
Do you have a favourite among your books/stories and why?
The first one I published, ‘Murder at the Tannery’, has elements that belong to my past. The places are familiar and the characters are from that era, so I’m inclined to favour this one. But my second one ‘Body in a Bag’ has elements from my life in it, too. I’m fond of painting, and the main character is an art teacher. Again, I like the idea of the murderer getting his comeuppance.
How do you fit writing into your daily life?
At one time, I wrote at four o’clock in the morning for an hour and then went back to sleep, but I could only write 400 words in that time. Now I find I can write sometimes over a 1000 words per day, if I choose to write in the afternoon, and I type them up at night on the computer. That means my writing is done after being out in the morning and I’m relaxed and in the mood. And it’s important for me to clear one day before I start on the next 1000 words.
Should you ever consider changing genre, what would you like to write?

This is a difficult one. I have considered Young Adults, but I’m not sure I could relate to them, even although I have five grandchildren who are teenagers. Their world is so different from the one I grew up in. But it is a possibility if I put my mind to it.

Which of the senses are likely to become involved when there’s a spark of an idea?

When I envisaged ‘Body in a Bag’, I thought about the sight of a dead body in a blue see-through plastic bag and how it would smell after a week inside it. It would be stiff and cold to touch. I also pictured the sea lapping on the beach in the darkness, while the sound of the spade dug out his grave.

Are there any writing related events that you go to?

The main event of the year is my seven day attendance at Swanwick Writing School in Derbyshire. I meet like-minded people who have the same goals as I do. I attend courses which further my writing and give me new insight. The highlight of each day is the speaker in the evening who entertains us by telling us how he or she attained their status in the writing world.


Do you belong to any writing-related organisations?

I used to attend a writing club every week, but after about six years, the venue changed and it was further away from the railway station and not suitable for me.

How important is reader feedback to you?

I rank this as very important. When I read readers' comments on Amazon, it gives me the satisfaction that I got it right. And if they have a quibble about something, I take it on board because there is no such thing as the perfect writer. One wants to improve, and one way is to listen to what is being said by the readers.

How can readers contact you?

The easiest way to contact me is through my blog – http://shreid2013.wordpress.com .
Any question or comment can be made at the bottom of the page in the comment box, and I’ll answer it as soon as I log on.

What is your favourite book of all times?

This is another difficult question. I have read a great many books over the years.
I remember Anita Shreve’s book called ‘All That He Ever Wanted’. I’ve never forgotten it because the protagonist could have had it all if it hadn’t been for his jealousy.

Another was Val McDermid’s book called ‘The Torment of Others’. I’ve never forgotten how the murderer committed his crimes. Some books leave an indelible mark, and others are forgotten within a week of reading them.
Well, Sarah, thank you so much for letting us have a look at your writing life. We're all looking forward to hearing more about you in the future. And good luck with the impending launch of 'Unscrewed'. I know you've had some fantastic critiques for 'Murder at the Tannery' and 'Body in a Bag'. I'm sure you're fans already have their fingers poised on the "buy button".

 

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