What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
Hi! I'm Sara-Beth Cole. I was born in Detroit, Michigan and currently live in Saint Clair Shores, Michigan.
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I've wanted to be a writer since the third grade.
When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
When I finished my first draft of Falken's Woods. That was when I knew I wanted to publish it.
Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
From when I first began writing it, about two years. I self-published, so I didn't have to wait to find an agent or a publisher.
Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
I'm a full-time student working on a degree in Clinical Lab Technology as well as a mom.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
A girl overcoming loss and learning that life goes on. Meanwhile, she learns about the history of her family.
Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
I self-published. It's a lot more work than traditional publishing, I think, but it didn't take as long.
Do you have a "lucky charm" or "lucky routine" you follow when waiting for your book to be accepted by a publisher?
I have a lucky coffee mug I use when I'm writing, but no routine. I write when I can find time, but I prefer early in the morning.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
It took me two years with Falken's Woods. I'm working on a new project now and it seems to be going much faster.
Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
Falken's Woods is my debut novel, so I don't really have anything to compare it to yet. We'll see how it goes with the next one.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I'd love to stay in the same genre, but who knows what kind of ideas I'll have in the future.
Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
I've tossed around the idea of a sequel to Falken's Woods, but I haven't made any decisions yet. My next novel won't be related to this story. It's the same genre, but very different.
What genre would you place your books into?
I believe it's Young Adult Sci-fi or Paranormal.
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
As a teen, I would read one or two books a day and I loved the sci-fi/fantasy novels.
Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written? If so why is it your favourite?
Falken's Woods, of course. My new project is quickly becoming a new favorite, but only because I'm still writing it.
Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
Aunt Liddy is my favorite from Falken's Woods. She always has something great to say about everything and she's very practical.
If you had to choose to be one of your characters in your book/books which would you be? and why?
From Falken's Woods, I would have to choose Jason. He's not afraid to do what makes him happy. His daring attitude is a rare quality in people, I think.
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I started writing essays and poetry in grade school. My step-mom is a retired English teacher and my parents encouraged a lot of reading in our house. I think it's the authors I read that made me want to write most of all.
Where do you get your book plot ideas from?What/Who is your inspiration?
A commercial for a television show, actually. I don't remember the show's name or what it was about. I just remember a pretty cottage overgrown with wildflowers. That's what inspired Falken's Woods.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I write whenever I have the time, but I prefer early morning after my husband leaves for work and before the children wake up. It's the closest thing to alone time that I get.
Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
I had my husband and a friend read Falken's Woods. Both of them gave me great criticism that helped me a lot.
Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
I haven't before, but I wouldn't be against it.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
I have so far, but there haven't been many yet.
How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books?Who designed the Cover of your books?
I chose the title while I was editing. The Cover design was something I had in my head, but John Hofmann at 640 Media Solutions did a lot of work to create it for me.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
I didn't have a title when I was writing the first drafts. It bothered me a lot, so I was relieved when I finally chose a title.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
The character's names came to me once I knew who they were. The town where the story takes place is based loosely on a town near my home so I just shortened the name of the town to Foster.
Are character names and place names decided after there creation? or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
I name the characters second. I have generic names I give them until I feel I really know them and can give them permanent names.
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I know their general personalities before I begin writing, but there are little things that I find out as I'm writing.
Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
I can usually sum up my original story idea in a sentence or two before I start writing. I'm not a very good planner, so I love to let it flow and see what happens.
How do you market/promote your books?
I have bookmarks and posters made for book signings. I also use social media and word-of-mouth to get people to hear about Falken's Woods.
What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ?
I'll let you know as soon as I find out!
Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
I usually feel blocked when I write myself into a corner. That's when I delete whole chapters and find a different route to take the story.
What do you do to unwind and relax?Do you have a hobby?
I love my garden during the summer. In the winter, my husband teaches me to play video games. I spend most of my free time with my children, so it's usually whatever they feel like doing.
Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
I based the main character of my new project on my two-year-old, or at least, who she would be if she were older. The location for Falken's Woods is loosely based on a town where I've vacationed before. I usually take little bits and pieces, such as Jason Falken's hair is how my husband used to wear his hair and Clara reminds me of a girl I knew in high school.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
I wouldn't say it's hidden, but I did want to convey how life goes on after loss and it's important to move forward.
Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing?
The authors I read as a teen were L.J. Smith and Christopher Pike. Both of them inspired me to write YA sci-fi.
Which format of book do you prefer, ebook,hardback, or paperback?
I usually read hardback or paperback, but I do have an e-reader that I'm beginning to use more often.
What is your favourite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
My favorite book is, without a doubt, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. I've read it more times than I care to admit. I even have a custom “Don't Panic” sticker on my car and 2 separate tattoos as a tribute to the book. I love the humor and it never fails to make me laugh.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst book to movie transfer?
I've avoided watching movies based on books because I prefer to read the book first, but then I'm disappointed in the movie. I don't watch many movies or television anyway. If I had to pick, my least favorite would be Eragon. I didn't get more than twenty minutes into the movie. My favorite would have to be Tolkien's series. I've always had a fondness for Tolkien.
What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
I found a copy of “All is Vanity” by Christina Schwarz that I'm a few chapters into. It's a hardback and I'm afraid to finish reading it because it's about a woman who wants to write a book but can't find her inspiration.
Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
I hope not! I just had my husband convert our formal living room into a library! I need books to put on the shelves! Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised, but it will take a long time to convert people like me to read strictly from e-readers.
Do you think children at schools these days are encouraged enough to read? and/or do Imaginative writing?
My son has to read a minimum of twenty minutes per day as homework, not including reading time in class. He enjoys reading and writing, but he's only nine and doesn't have much patience for it. We just came home from a twenty hour road trip where he read a few books along the way. I think the schools do encourage children to enjoy reading and writing, but I worry that things with screens (video game devices and television and such) deter them to read on a recreational level.
Did you read a lot at school and write lots of stories or is being a writer something newer in your life?
No, I've read and written for as long as I can remember. I was one of those kids that wanted one more bedtime story or fifteen more minutes before lights-out. I would carry notebooks with me everywhere and write down whatever thoughts came to mind to write about later. I think I should have been born with a pen in my hand.
Did you have a favourite author as a child?
I went through so many phases, Stan and Jan Berenstain, Shel Silverstein, and Christopher Pike to name a few.
Do you have a treasured book from your childhood? If yes, what is it?
I remember reading Porcupine Stew by Beverly Major a lot in early grade school. I enjoyed the language and how she explored literal and figurative meanings. I would also sneak my older sister's copy of Fox in Socks sometimes. I thought it was so silly!
Do you have a favourite genre of book?
Oh, that I can't choose. I read anything people put in front of me.
Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish?
There might be one or two out there, none that come to mind though.
What do you think about book trailers?
Once I Google book trailers, I'll let you know.
What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Don't give up. Do what you want to do and be friends with as many other writers as possible. Writing is, for me, a solitary act. I find comfort in having coffee with friends who are also writers and discussing everything from language to marketing. It makes me feel less alone.
Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
I don't think so. I shortened my name from Sara-Elizabeth to Sara-Beth so it would fit on the book cover, but that's as far as I think I would go concerning a pen name.
If you could invite three favourite writers to dinner, who would you invite and enjoy chatting with?
Oh, I've done this! I've sat down with my friends Mary Twomey and Madeline Freeman for dinner before. They're a great couple of women. I would have to add Douglas Adams for his brilliant humor, though, to make three.
Where can readers follow you?
Your facebook page? Www.facebook.com/falkenswoods
And any other information you wish to supply?