Monday, June 13, 2011

Interview with author Sarah Ballance

Today on Romancing the Muses, I’d like to welcome author, Sarah Ballance, to share some of her insights, things she’s learned along the way, and get some info on what we might expect from her in the future.

MUSES: Tell us a bit about the process behind your debut publication. What did you learn? Is there anything you know now you wish you’d known then?
S. BALLANCE: I had to learn everything, LOL. I had what I now recognize as an "outsider's view" of the publishing process—i.e., write a book, get it published. And that's what I did. I wrote a book, sent it to Noble, and ended up with a contract. At the time I had no idea how things were supposed to work, so I can honestly say I'm grateful I managed to make a few good decisions—more on blind luck than anything, but I'll take it! However, after reading the experiences of some other authors, I've learned you really can't put too much thought into which publisher you choose for your work.

MUSES: How quickly did it take you to realize that writing the book is just the first part in a very long battle?
S. BALLANCE: Oh, my gosh. No one could have convinced me writing was the easy part, and now I find myself telling other aspiring novelists the same thing (and I’m probably getting the same Look, lol). I'd say I was pretty well clued in after I spent about two weeks following the release of my first book trying to do something with my website and blog, and that was just the beginning. A year later, I'm still trying to feel my way through the responsibilities of being a published author, but WOW, what an incredible ride!

MUSES: What is your opinion on reviews?
S. BALLANCE: They're one person's opinion. I know it's easier said than done at times, but an author needs to read a review as objectively as possible and take from it what they can. I've had a time or two where a reviewer made a specific point with which they found fault and when I thought about it, I had to agree. Those moments make me feel like I've improved as an author, and that's where I find the most value in a review.

MUSES: Is there some aspect of writing you find more challenging than another? Can you share what that is?
S. BALLANCE: Apparently I have some sort of author defect when it comes to writing sex—it seems to cause flu-like symptoms and periods of zero productivity. The logical conclusion would be to eliminate it from my writing, but that's less of an option than writing it to begin with. (I guess my husband is right when he says I'm impossible to argue with, LOL.) The problem isn't that I don't want the sex there … the problem is being able to capture everything in a way that's true to the story and my characters' emotions. Um, ARGH.

MUSES: How much of what you write is from experience?
S. BALLANCE: To some degree, all of it. I don't have enough confidence to tackle a plot that's totally unfamiliar, so while the story itself is pure fiction, there's something in there I'm comfortable with. I'd love to branch into deeper suspense plots which require more research, but so far I've stuck to my zone.

MUSES: You have developed quite an Internet presence between your interviews, giveaways, and author spotlights. How do you find the time to write when you seem to be everywhere?
S. BALLANCE: Oh, I blame the kids. I can't get any writing done during the day, so I use stolen moments to make the rounds and respond to interview questions and reader messages. I don't even try to write until after dinner when my husband is barring the door to keep the kids away from me. In that sense, I'm not using "writing time" for my internet presence, LOL. Things still get hectic when I'm trying to do a dozen things at once, but that's just generalized chaos. Writing time equals sanity for me, and not one of my crew wants to mess with that!

MUSES: What does an author have to do to capture your attention?
S. BALLANCE: Make me laugh.

MUSES: What authors have most influenced you in your journey? Do you try to emulate them in your own writing?
S. BALLANCE: While I definitely have mad love for a couple of awesome authors. I think my biggest influence from others has been the revelation that I have to do this my way. When I wrote my first book I felt I had to follow some set of rules, and when I kicked that shell I actually kind of developed a voice. That is what I'm most proud of, and I hope I can continue to grow into a better version of me.

MUSES: Tell us a bit about your favorite literary character, and what qualities made him/her stand out as more than just a name on a page.
S. BALLANCE: Daegan Raeliksen, from Renee Vincent's RAELIKSEN, is hands down the character I can't stop thinking about. I don't want to give her story away, but suffice to say I've yet to read the second book in her trilogy (even though I have my copy sitting on the table beside my bed) because I can't move on from his character. If anyone wants to know what a three dimensional character is, look no further than this.

MUSES: When you’re not writing or reading, what typically keeps you occupied? What do you enjoy doing in your free-time?
S. BALLANCE: Free time? Huh? LOL. I have six kids. One just hit the big oh-one and the rest are scattered to age twelve, and we homeschool. Translation? My biggest pastime outside of parenting and schooling is yanking my hair out, although so far I've maintained the patience to only pull the gray ones. Should we manage to escape the confines of our acreage, however, we prefer to do so on our boat. Second choice? The beach.

MUSES: Any harsh realities would you wish to impart on aspiring authors?
S. BALLANCE: For most of us, one book release is not going to result in vast riches. There seems to be a misconception out there that us Average Joe published authors are rocking six figure incomes, but I dare say the majority are happy to be able buy groceries when the ol' royalty statement arrives. In short? Don't quit your day job.

MUSES: Where can readers find you?
Facebook author
Facebook friend

Thank you, Sarah, for taking the time to sit down with us!


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Rosalie! It's an honor to share airspace with you. I keep hoping some of your brilliance will infect me (wait, infect might be the wrong word, LOL!). AHEM. At any rate, there's definitely something to be said for good company and you da man, girl. Thanks! ;c)

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