"It’s about a woman named Charlotte whose betrothed, Joe, is taken by a group of men looking for werewolf laborers. She tries to get help from the town, but the sheriff doesn’t feel it’s his place since Joe is a werewolf. It’s then up to Charlotte to do whatever it takes to track down Joe and win him back."
She's currently working on the third book of her cyberpunk romance series Hacked Investigations, Blacklist Rogue.
"I’m excited to be going on another adventure with Ian and Hannah," she told me.
When Sarah was a child, she read a collection of her mother's poetry and first became inspired to writer herself. Then, in the seventh grade, her English teacher encouraged her to enter a writing contest at the school and she won an award. However, what finally convinced her to write, especially in the genres she does, was reading Laurell K. Hamilton and Christine Feehan.
"Their worlds really hooked me, and I instantly fell in love with urban fantasy and paranormal romance," she explained. "I loved them both for different aspects, and I knew what I wanted to write when I put pen to paper, literally."
She started writing Jungle Heat, which was published last year, when she first started writing over ten years ago—along with a romantic suspense novel she hasn't finished yet. She finished her first complete novel in 2005.
Sarah considers herself somewhere between being a plotter and a pantser.
"Kind of," she qualified. "Certain projects swing certain ways. Some manuscripts are flat-out pantsed, and some I have an outline for. I tend to have plot points and a general 'road map' for how I know the story should go, but the stories usually surprise me, and I find out things along the way as they happen."
Typically, an idea will come to Sarah and then she figures out who the characters are. They, in turn, help build the plot.
"It pretty much depends on the story though since some books come to me in different ways than others," she explained.
"How do you do research for your books?" I asked.
"Usually, I’ll work on the story, and if I don’t know about something, I’ll make a note and continue writing. If it affects the storyline, I go ahead and do enough research to keep me going. I make notes at the spots I stop at. During my second draft, I go back through the manuscript and fill in the blanks of what I didn’t know. I tend to use Google and Wikipedia at the beginning of my research process. If I’m not finding what I need, I’ll visit the library."
She and her husband share an office; her black desk is on one wall and his desk is on the opposite wall.
"We share pretty well, and he knows when to not disturb me. My desk needs a little cleaning, but it’s not too bad," she said. "I don’t have a typical work schedule. Writing related business is usually done in the afternoon. Most of my actual writing happens at night. It depends on deadlines and what else I have going on though. My main goal is finding any time I can in a day to do whatever writing I can."
Sarah doesn't suffer from writer's block much—mostly when she's feeling stressed. She just sits down and writes through it, if she can. If she can't do that because she's not sure where the story is going, she'll take a day or so to back off and read—then she has a brainstorm session with her husband and/or her critique partner.
"What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?" I wondered.
"I think the most important elements of good writing are the characters. If a story has a hero and heroine that the reader can really cheer for. If the characters fall flat, then it’s pretty hard to get sucked in even if the plot is brilliant. A good grasp on the craft of writing is helpful too."
Finally, I asked, "What advice would you give a new writer just starting out? Keep with it! Getting published is a long process, and it can be discouraging at times. Join a good writer’s organization like Romance Writers of America. Also, don’t let others deter you from your dreams. If you feel passionate about writing, then focus on it. Sit down and do something toward your goal every day."
About the Author: Sarah Mäkelä lives in North Carolina with her husband and cats. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, computer and console games, and traveling all over the world. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, as well as the Heart of Carolina Romance Writers and the Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal chapters.
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