Today, as part of her blog tour, we have an interview with Sarka-Jonae Miller.
Sárka-Jonae Miller is a novelist and health writer. She has more than 4,000 articles published on topics such as fitness, sports, martial arts, yoga, nutrition and natural health. She has also written about travel, beauty, spirituality, education, home and lifestyle. Her work has appeared on websites such as MethodsofHealing.com, LiveStrong.com and NaturalNews.com, as well as in the "Post-Standard" newspaper, the Washington Home & Garden online magazine and the New York Home & Garden online magazine.
Sárka-Jonae is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She is as a former personal fitness trainer and massage therapist. She is also an avid traveler, having spent time in Costa Rica, Canada, England, Mexico, and Paradise Island. She has also been to France and Thailand researching her next books. She lives in San Diego with a menagerie, including two cats, two dogs and a horse.
Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?
For my first novel, Between Boyfriends, I just let the story flow. I planned nothing. I did, however, do a lot of editing and planning when I did a rewrite. I am outlining the sequel and the third book in the series though. I think planning is a better way to go.
Do your characters ever want to take over the story?
What is your favourite food?
Lemongrass tofu with rice and chocolate cherry chip soy ice cream are my current favorites. Together, they make a great meal.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Night owl, for sure.
Where do you dream of travelling to and why?
My top travel destinations are Ireland, India and Hawaii. I would like to go back to Thailand, France and England too. I have friends in Japan I would like to visit. I also would not mind getting down to Australia some day.
Do distant places feature in your books?
The Between Boyfriends sequel takes place partly in Thailand. I went there twice for research and plan to go a third time. Paris is featured in another book I am working on.
Do you listen to music while writing?
Not usually. I tend to want to get up and dance if I hear music. I love to dance.
Between Boyfriends is about one of those girls who is NEVER single. Everyone has a friend like that. She becomes absolutely devastated every time she gets dumped and throws herself immediately into a new relationship. You just want to shake her and say, “STOP. Be alone. Take a break.” So that is what my main character, Jan, does: she stops dating. She decides to change, but nothing is ever that simple.
Jan also has been hiding something from her parents: she dropped out of college and is taking massage therapy classes. At first, she signed up for massage to make her then-boyfriend happy but now she kind of likes it. Her parents are less thrilled. Her mother is an ambitious, professional woman who runs a law firm. She was already disappointed in Jan and when she finds out that Jan is no longer in college, she decides to stop supporting her financially. She is also so mad at being lied to that she cuts off contact with her daughter. Jan is forced to get a job while she is dealing with being more alone than ever. The book is about how Jan deals with becoming a new person, partly because she has to and partly because she wants to.
What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?
Publishing is a constantly changing field. It used to be that you would write a book, send it to publishers or agents, and then you would get a book deal and shift your focus to writing your next book. What I have primarily learned about writing and publishing is that writers now have to take responsibility for almost all aspects of the process. This can be quite difficult for writers to accept. It took me awhile to let go of the old publishing model, but now I am learning so much about using social media, advertising and cross-promotion efforts.
Is there anything you would do differently?
I wouldn't have spent so much time courting literary agents. I think it is better to put your book out there and build a fan base, then approach agents or publishers.
Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?
I draw a lot of inspiration from my friends and stories about their friends and co-workers. Every time something funny happens to me I get an idea of how to work it into a book. I guess what most influences my writing is my life. Write what you know.
Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?
I would highly recommend taking not only creative writing courses, but English, critical writing, and editing. I think a lot of writers have good ideas but we all need to learn how to write. Putting a book together, making it entertaining and believable, takes more work than beginners realize. You need to spend time learning now only how to write creatively, but also how to write correctly. It wouldn't hurt to take some marketing and communications classes too. Writers must be business and media savvy now.
What are three words that describe you?
Funny. Honest. Compassionate.
What's your favourite book or who is your favourite writer?
My favorite book is The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks. It is a fantasy novel and it is brilliant. Within the chick lit genre though, I love Sophie Kinsella, Risa Green, Lauren Weisberger, Emma McLaughlin, and Nicola Kraus, among others. I really love funny and sometimes even snarky writing.
Any places people can find you on the web:
Thank you, Sarka-Jonae and good luck with your books!
Between Boyfriends will be available free on amazon select on 2nd November 2012.