4th August 2018
Interview with Sarah Bailey
Good morning Ms Bailey. Thanks very much for giving up your time for an interview. Could you summarise your recently published work ‘Demon’s Destiny’ in a few sentences?
A fast paced , gripping romance between a girl with a secret and a demon bounty hunter. It’s a story of self discovery and overcoming your own insecurities and inner demons set in the backdrop of the underground supernatural community in London.
It sets the scene for the rest of the After Dark series. The second book, Vampire’s Kiss released 30th July on ebook and the paperback will be out a little later.
What do you think are the critical components of a paranormal romance novel?
Firstly - interesting, relatable characters (but I would say that about any genre). The reader has to want to root for them to be together. There has to be conflict, either internal, external or both. Whether it be conflict between the two of them or outside forces, but there’s got to be something that keeps them apart or keeps them from committing to each other. I would also always say that there has to be a plot outside of the central relationship which helps carry them along their path. And lastly, for me, there always has to be a HEA (happy ever after).
Do you have any particular favourites of the genre that you’ve read?
I think the books that first got me into paranormal romance is the Undead series by MaryJanice Davidson. It’s essentially about Betsy, a 30-something single girl who ends up dead and comes back as a vampire. The reason I love these books is because Betsy is feisty, funny and takes no prisoners.
The other series I loved was the The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris (well at least the earlier ones). I started reading them after I got into True Blood, the TV adaptation. I enjoyed her take on the supernatural world.
As someone who’s founded their own publishing house, what advice would you give to new writers? What would you look for in a submitted novel?
My advice to new writers is just sit down, write and keep writing until you’ve finished your first draft. Just knowing I was able to finish a book helped me immensely. From then on out, I knew I could replicate that over and over again because I’d done it before. My mantra is you can’t fix something that isn’t written yet. Even if your first draft isn’t perfect, doesn’t matter. You can work at that, but get that story down first.
I think for a submitted novel I’d be looking for something that’s got a twist in it, after all my publishing house is called Twisted Tree. I enjoy books which surprise me and where you can clearly see the writer has their own unique voice and take on things. Those are the types of books I’d want to publish by other authors.
The website for your publishing house says that you’ll soon be accepting submissions. Is that something you’re hoping to start soon?
I do hope I’ll be able to. I’m still learning a great deal through publishing my own works and I want to be able to get it right before I start involving others in the process. I’m really excited about it though. I can’t wait to be able to open submissions and work with other authors.
What made you want to start your own publishing house?
I love to write. When I realised it was something I was actually good at, I wanted to turn it into my career. It was only after I researched into self-publishing I decided having my own publishing house was the way forward. If I was going to do this the right way, I wanted to have my own business. This is something I take really seriously. I might not ever be a famous publishing house, but that’s not what this is about. I wanted to give back to the community that has welcomed me with open arms. Publishing is a scary business if you don’t know what you’re doing.
There is so much conflicting advice out there about what you should and shouldn’t do. When I first started researching, I was very overwhelmed. I had no idea where to start. In a way, I was a little lucky as my aunt is a traditional and self published author so she gave me tips on how to get started. But I did have to do learn a lot by myself. The minefield that is how to format your books, whether you purchase your own ISBNs, what type of marketing you should do - that all forms part of the publishing process. I spent many hours tearing my hair out trying to format Demon’s Destiny. If someone had told me it was going to be that much effort, then I might have paid someone else to do it.
Ultimately, I’m glad I’ve learnt how to do all of these things by myself. It means I’m better equipped going forward. It’s only the beginning, there’s still a long way for me to go, but I’m enjoying the journey.
Did you plan out ‘Demon’s Destiny’ in full before you started writing it or did it change as you went?
It all started with a single thought - What would happen if you fell in love with a demon? - and from there, Ella and Lukas were born. I was in Iceland at the time on my honeymoon, but my husband thankfully just said to me - if you need to write, just write. I had no idea what was going to happen. I just started writing it as I do with all my novels. I’m not a planner at all. And even when I thought I’d finished the book, my characters had other ideas. I think that’s the fun part about writing for me, discovering what’s going to happen next like I’m the reader. Once I’ve started writing, I do get an idea of how it will end at some point, but that always comes out differently than I originally envision it. I’m the type to go with the flow rather than constantly question what’s going to happen next.
Do you have a set routine for a writing day?
Not especially. I should really have a routine, but I also work full time so it makes it a little difficult to pin down. I do try to write every day, but I also allow myself time off if I’m struggling.
On an average day where I can just write without worrying about anything else, I tend to write in bursts. I will always have music playing in the background. I find I can’t write without it. If the words are flowing, I’ll just sit there and knock them out, but I’m also a terrible procrastinator. I’m still working out how to overcome that.
Some people procrastinate by interviewing other writers for their website, I’m told! What music do you find works best for you?
All sorts really. That’s a terrible answer, I know. I have very eclectic tastes. From indie to folk to synth to power ballads. I’ve got over 600 songs saved on Spotify. I make playlists for the books I write, so for instance in Demon’s Destiny I have such songs as Incosure by Alex Vargas (one of my absolute favourite singer/songwriters) and Fires by These Your Children. I’m always posting songs to Twitter with my favourite new songs or songs which inspire my writing. I also quite often listen to fantasy or epic tracks on youtube. I love writing battle scenes to those.
As a fellow gamer, how good do you thinking that writing and storytelling in games is? Do any examples spring to mind as being especially good or bad?
I think it really depends on the genre with games. I do think there needs to be an element of storytelling otherwise it gets a bit boring. If I don’t relate to the characters, I won’t enjoy the game. On a personal level, I only really play RPGs and a few shooters. I think for RPGs it’s especially important in order to immerse the player in the game. A good story will make up for other mediocre elements of the game.
The Witcher 3 is probably my all time favourite RPG. Not only is it a massive game, which took me hours upon hours to complete and I haven’t even finished the DLC, but the storytelling is brilliant too. The way they’ve weaved choice into the game which directly affects the outcome in certain ways makes for me.
The other games I’d like to mention would be the Mass Effect Trilogy. I’ll admit, I only played them in all in the last couple of years, but the writing is what made those games for me. I got to know those characters on a level I didn’t think was possible in a game. They also hold a special place for me because it’s what inspired my sci-fi trilogy, which I’m two books into writing and I hope to be able to release start releasing soon.
I think it’s time for the make-or-break question...which Mass Effect game has the best story and why?
Mass Effect 2! Simply because there are so many characters and so many outcomes. The suicide mission is terrifying. What if none of them come back? What if only some of them come back? I just love the way Sheppard interacts with the crew. I’m totally a FemShep girl! I just feel that the writing overall in this one was the best. One of my favourite characters was Thane. I think the first time I played this, I totally went for a FemShep/Thane romance. But I do have to say my favourite romance is between FemShep and Garrus. And who couldn’t love Mordin. I still haven’t forgiven them for what they did in 3!
All correct answers! I think the interview should continue quickly before I start ranting about the ending of Mass Effect 3!
It’s amazing that you’re almost done writing your next trilogy whilst in the process of publishing your After Dark series. With a work ethic like that, what would be your advice on staying motivated?
For me personally, I stay motivated knowing that I’m taking steps towards reaching my goal, which is to become a full time author. I think the fact that my characters won’t shut up also helps. I can’t not write them. I sometimes spend every waking moment when I’m not doing my regular job just working on my books even if it means neglecting a lot of other things in my life. I’m lucky enough to have an understanding and supportive husband.
What’d I’d say to other writers is have goals and keep those in mind. Remind yourself that each step you take towards finishing your novel is another step towards achieving those goals.
Any chance of a little spoiler about the sci-fi series?
Of course - I actually recently wrote a blurb for the first book. I can exclusively reveal that the title is Collide and it will be the first in the Alliance Chronicles series. This just happens to be my passion project and I’ve already had amazing feedback from my betas, so I cannot wait to release it.
Joining a crew of aliens when you’re the only human is no walk in the park. Specialist Engineer Kara Lowry’s deployment on the Orion is one experiment the Galactic Alliance hopes will help foster relations between humans and Rolonians.
Rolonians are so different from humans, but Kara isn’t about to let cultural divides stand in her way. Striking up a friendship with a pilot and a marine, she begins to find her feet amongst the crew. And then there’s the stoic, intimidating Captain Paxt. Kara isn’t sure where she stands with her commanding officer, especially when he stares at her with such unnerving intensity.
Diving headfirst into her new role, she’s out in the field for the very first time. But when the crew uncovers a sinister plot involving illegal genetic experiments, Kara discovers there’s a darker side to why she was placed on board the ship. She thought she’d escaped all her problems on Earth, but they’re coming back to haunt her in the worst possible way.
Will her entire world fall apart whilst she fights to save not just her crew but the entire galaxy?
Sounds really interesting - I can’t wait! If people want to engage with you online, what’s the best way to do that?
I’d say I’m most active on Twitter @sbaileyauthor - but you can find links to all my social media on my website www.sarahbaileywriter.com