Tuesday 27 August 2013


What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
Sarah M. Cradit. I was born in Washington state, and I now live in Oregon.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I always wanted to be a writer. There were periods where I saw it was an unattainable career and instead considered being a lawyer, or a psychologist, but I never lost the passion for writing. Now, I consider it my second career.

When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
I’ve considered myself a writer since the age of 7. But it wasn’t until I published my first book that I realized that it was more than just a hobby. It was a career.

Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
It did, but I blame only myself. I lacked the confidence to put my baby out into the world, and it never felt good enough. As a writer, one of the hardest lessons to learn is stepping back and realizing that what you write will never be perfect. Once I finally decided to take the plunge, I spend about 6 months getting it into shape and then put it out there.

Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
Yes. I’ve been in Consumer Experience and Marketing for thirteen years. While it doesn’t inspire me quite the same way that writing does, it keeps my brain fresh and there are always new challenges.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in
less than 20 words what would you say?
The Storm and the Darkness, which just came out July 6th. 20 words? Ana has a terrible secret. To protect those she loves most, she flees for a small island in Maine.

Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
I self-publish. I like the higher royalties, and the creative control.

Do you have a "lucky charm" or "lucky routine" you follow when 
waiting for your book to be accepted by a publisher?
Although I am not shopping for one, my typical superstitious activity when awaiting news is to not get too excited, and not share it with others.

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
Most of my first drafts start off as a NaNoWriMo project, where I write 50,000 words in 30 days. Once its time for me to go back and revisit it for edits, it takes anywhere from 3-5 months to add/rewrite/edit for publication. So I would say about 6 months of work, though it can take longer if I have too much going on in my day job.

Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
The first one was the hardest, because I had not yet established an effective writing routine. My editing process was all over the place, and my formatting sucked. It got almost out of control, and I didn’t know how to reign it back in. It was also a fairly complex story, which didn’t help matters.

What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I will be continuing the House of Crimson and Clover series, and I have around 9 books specced out so far (with the potential for more). Starting with the second book, the paranormal aspects of the series are introduced and then ramped up. By book three, the readers are introduced to a new race of beings, and the Deschanel powers start to come to light. This new race, the Empyreans, is also spawning a couple of additional series. One will be a fantasy/paranormal series based on them, and the other will be a YA series.

Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
I am currently working on the third book in the series, The Illusions of Eventide, which will be released in December. Next year I am tackling books 4 (Midnight Dynasty) and 5 (Moonlight and Midwinter).

What genre would you place your books into?
The first book is a love story, though I would categorize it as literary fiction, as it is not a romance. Starting with book two on forward, the paranormal elements start to pick up, and by the third book they become front and center.

What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I love blending the unusual with the usual.

Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written? If so why is it your favourite?
St. Charles at Dusk will always be my baby. It will always be my favorite love story. But I think The Storm and the Darkness may be a tighter book.

Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
This is like asking a parent to pick a favorite child :). I love them all for different reasons, but the most natural voice for me is Nicolas’. Whenever he’s in a scene, the whole room lights up. This is a man who walks into the room and becomes the center of attention without saying a thing. I’ll always love him.

If you had to choose to be one of your characters in your book/books which would you be? and why?
Probably Oz, because he is loosely based on me.

How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I was 7 when I got my first creative writing assignment from my 2nd grade teacher. 
It ended upwinning a contest and my reward was to read it at the biggest public park 
in my city. Realizing I both loved it, and was at least somewhat good at it (by the standards of others), it became a lifelong passion.

Where do you get your book plot ideas from?What/Who is your inspiration?
Like most writers, I get my ideas from everything around me. My initial themes were a culmination of inspiration from my favorite authors (Anne Rice, Tolstoy, Tolkien), but it was my love of world-building that inspired the stories within. I created complex family trees and histories for my series, and from those, the stories almost jump off the pages.

Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
Sort of. I write best when I am in my home office, which is decorated with all of my favorite geeky collectibles.

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 often release ARCs to reviewers before release. Other than that, I have a trusted group of beta readers that get to see and critique it before it comes out.

Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
All the time. For The Storm and the Darkness, as an example, I gifted about 100 copies to reviewers (though only a handful have reviewed so far).

Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?

What was the toughest/best review you have ever had?
The toughest was one that picked apart some of my tendencies to slip into detail. The reason that was tough is that the detail is part of what makes my writing what it is (and what appeals to many of my fans). It does, however, alienate some readers, I think, who want a quicker read. The best review I received was from Anne Rice’s assistant, Becket, who had wonderful things to say about my first book. Not only was it a shock that he took the time to read it, but he compared me to Anne Rice, who is probably the single greatest influence on my writing.

Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
No, although if they were unprofessional and/or rude, I might privately reach out to them to understand why they chose to be that way. I am perfectly fine with negative reviews, so long as the reviewer aims to be professional and constructive (i.e. being clear about what they did not like, rather than just saying “this sucks”).

How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books?Who designed the Cover of your books?
For St. Charles at Dusk, the title was inspired by one of the chapters (which is based on a real experience I had) where the characters take a walk down St. Charles Avenue at dusk. Once I realized I was writing a series, I decided to give a theme to my titles. The Storm and the Darkness followed suit. Dusk and Darkness were the words thematically linked. The third book, The Illusions of Eventide, has Eventide following the theme. For my covers, I worked with Justin Mikkelsen, of The Creative Dood. I gave him a rough idea of what I wanted and he produced beautiful covers for me.

Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
For the first five books, I wrote the book first, then chose the title. I have, however, chosen the titles for books 6-9 ahead of time, so I could play out the theme.

How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
Place is easy. Most of the books take place in New Orleans, which is a hotbed for creative inspiration for me. For names, I have created most of them ahead of time through my genealogy project. I typically will go online and find Southern names from the time period. I also try to stick with cultural themes. For example, the Sullivans are very proudly Irish (even though they are several generations removed), so most of them still have distinctly Irish names.

Are character names and place names decided after there creation? or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
I usually create the name first, and the character follows.

Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I usually get the basics down ahead of time, so I understand how that character will act. However, many of the finer details of the character come out as I am writing. Often the character will tell me what they like and don’t like :)

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 usually do a brainstorm that results in a very high level outline. I’m a pantser, so detailed outlines only work for me when I have filled in most of the details already. I actually have created my own outlining method that I’ve shared with other pantsers and it works for them as well. You can read more about it here: http://wp.me/p1RVbM-jc

How do you market/promote your books?
Mostly through Facebook, my blog, and having book bloggers feature me or review the books. I have paid for advertising, but none of it turned a profit for me. I find networking with the readers directly works the best.

What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ?
Luck. Honestly, I’ve seen terrible books become international bestsellers, and really great books never see more than a few readers. A lot of it has to do with a good marketing strategy and luck of the market.

Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
Oh, absolutely. More often than I’d like. To tackle it, I usually try coming at the story from other angles. Either writing a different scene (one that does inspire me), or by doing an active free write brainstorm. World-building also often gets me back in the mood, by bringing me back into their world.

What do you do to unwind and relax?Do you have a hobby?
Sometimes I feel like I never get to do this! Reading is one hobby, for sure. I’ve been doing a lot of reading for reviews, but I am hoping to get back into reading for pleasure soon.

Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
I’ve definitely based events on real-life things, but I try not to base characters on people I know. For one, that makes it hard for me to suspend my disbelief as an author, and for two, I don’t like seeing my characters as anything but my own creation.

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..")
All of my books run deep with major themes...redemption, darkness, etc. Nothing that happens in any of my books is trivial or coincidental.

Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing?
Anne Rice (from the perspective of the love of New Orleans, and of sweeping family histories) and Tolstoy (complex character development, complex themes).

Which format of book do you prefer, ebook,hardback, or paperback?
I prefer a trade paperback in my hands, but will read any.

What is your favourite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?
The Witching Hour by Anne Rice. It introduced me to my love of New Orleans, and the characters stayed with me forever. I’ve read it many times.

Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst book to movie transfer?
I think its hard to adapt something properly. Our imaginations are not limited, but what you can put on screen is. My favorite would be Lord of the Rings. Though there are plenty of holes I could poke in the adaptation, for the most part it was a perfect journey into my favorite characters of Middle Earth and I absolutely love it. The worst would be Queen fo the Damned by Anne Rice. It was so horrible that Rice even refuses to let people speak of it in her presence. In fact, I am pretty sure the producers were not even reading the same book.

What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
I am currently reading an ebook copy of Red Clay & Roses by S.K. Nicholls. It’s a very different read, and for that reason I am finding it very refreshing and interesting.

Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
Maybe not totally, but they will certainly become the dominant form.

Do you think children at schools these days are encouraged enough to read? and/or do Imaginative writing?
In general, not enough. But I still believe there are those teachers that excel in bringing creativity and reading to children.

Did you read a lot at school and write lots of stories or is being a writer something newer in your life?
It’s something I’ve been engaged in my whole life. If I was not writing, I was reading, and if not reading, I was writing.

Did you have a favourite author as a child?
Stephen King. I grew up reading his books (picked up the first at the age of 9 or 10), and I just devoured them.

Do you have a treasured book from your childhood? If yes, what is it?
The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. When I started reading it, the third book had just been released, and so I grew up with the series. I feel as if I know that world as much as my own.

Do you have a favourite genre of book?
I love historical fiction and non-fiction, and I love a good paranormal read (good, as in, lots of development, such as Anne Rice’s vampires or witches). Mostly, anything with dimensional characters and a rich history.

Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish?
I will never read 50 Shades of Grey. Ever. Not because its Erotica, but because I will not support authors who are published more for shock value than talent.

Are there any New Authors you are interested in for us to watch out for? and Why should we watch out for them?
I can’t pick just one. In general, pay attention to your indie authors. Find the ones who are not just selling their books, but also have something interesting to say.

Is there anything in your book/books you would change now if you could and what would it be?
I would have future-proofed St. Charles at Dusk better. I didn’t know it was going to be a series when I wrote it, so there are things that happen in future books that I had to find ways around in order to remain consistent.

What do you think about book trailers?
I’ve seen some epically bad ones, for sure. But if done right (which will usually require a budget), they can be a great promotional tool.

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
The be good at writing you have to write. All the time. Daily. Even if only for a few minutes. You might have flashes of occasional brilliance, but at first your writing will be repetitive and probably not great. But if you stick with it, anyone can become good at it. Grow a thick skin when it comes to feedback, and you will learn things that will help you grow as a writer in ways you never imagined.

Do you or would you ever use a pen name?I considered it, but in the end it was more important to me to be exactly who I am. I suppose if I ever started writing anything terribly controversial, or if I wrote anything of a dramatically different genre, then I might.

If you could invite three favourite writers to dinner, who would you invite and enjoy chatting with?
Anne Rice
Leo Tolstoy
J.R.R. Tolkien

Where can readers follow you?

Your Blog details?

Your Website? sarahcradit.wordpress.com

Your Facebook Page? facebook.com/houseofcrimsonandclover

Your Goodreads Author page? 

Your Twitter Details? twitter.com/thewritersarah

And any other information you wish to supply?

I have an entire section on my blog dedicated to The House of Crimson and Clover series, that includes all sorts of fan extras (including family trees). It’s the official source for all things C&C.

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