Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?
I only read adult fiction in high school, so when I sat down to write The Vanishing Spark of Dusk, I wanted to write *that* book that I always wanted to read. When I started shopping this story around, the main feedback I got was that it should be geared toward the young adult market. I had no idea what they meant by that, so I started picking up YA books to see, and, MAN, I didn’t know what I was missing! I read YA book after YA book, and realized they were right. I was writing what I wanted to read, and what I wanted to read was YA fantasy/scifi/dystopia, etc. I didn’t even know half those books were out there. So I guess you could say I didn’t pick the field/genre, it sort of picked me. 🙂
Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?
My parents are booknerds, and so me and my sisters didn’t really stand a chance. 😉 When I discovered Goosebumps books by R.L. Stine, all the books by Bruce Coville, and of course the Harry Potter books, that’s when I first realized that I wanted to tell wild stories as well.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been *seriously* writing for about ten years. I’d written poetry and journaled long before that, but that’s when I decided I wanted to make a career out of writing.
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
The hardest part was creating the politics and culture, and being consistent with them throughout the story.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I loved, LOVED creating a new exotic world with fantasy creatures and scifi technology.
Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.
I have a few queer characters in The Vanishing Spark of Dusk. I’ve honestly found it hard to find many books out there that represent the queer community without the fact that they’re queer being the main plot. I feel like the more the lgbtqiap (etc) people group are represented in books, the quicker their lifestyles will be accepted and normalized in society.
Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?
Tahereh Mafi influenced my writing. When I read her Shatter Me series—THAT’S when it clicked about how to show and not tell a character’s feelings/emotions/actions. Sarah J Maas inspired me to include more queer characters in my book without making a big deal about their lifestyles, but rather showing that they’re just like anybody else.
What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was least useful or most destructive?
Most useful: Reading. I’ve found that the more I read, the better my writing.
Least useful (And I’m going to get into trouble for this): Rules. I mean, rules are great and necessary, but MAN. They held me back as a writer for SO. LONG. Grammar rules, plot rules, character rules, POV rules, I couldn’t nail any of them down, and was hugely discouraged by them. Then I finally decided to write just for ME and not let the rules hold me back, and this book happened. My advice to new writers is always to just to WRITE the darn thing, and worry about rules later.
Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?
Part time, since I’m a full time stay-at-home-mom. 🙂 It affects me in that parenting really limits my time. I remember before kids, when I had a *normal* job, I could come home and spend the entire afternoon writing with no interruptions. It was bliss. Now with kids, my time is really limited and constantly interrupted by my toddlers. The only way I can get any writing done is to set a chunk of time aside after the kids go to bed, and dedicate it to writing.
What are some day jobs that you have held? If any of them impacted your writing, share an example.
I taught English in China for a year, and traveling around China during that time has provided excellent world-building material. I also worked in a baby-wipe-making factory. That hasn’t impacted my writing, I just like telling people I worked there because it’s such a weird job. 😀
What do you like to read in your free time?
I love to read what I write, which is YA fantasy/scifi/dystopia—basically anything futuristic and/or with magic. 😉
Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?
I read a lot of Christian/historical fiction when I was teen, so my main inspirations were Francine Rivers with her Mark of the Lion series, Angela Hunt with her Dreamers series, and Lynn Austin with her Fire by Night series. These books moved and changed me as a teen, and made me want to write life-changing stories for others.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
The main characters’ names are always important, and especially my main heroines’ names—which often set the theme of my books. I choose my characters names both on the way they sound and their meanings. 🙂
What literary character is most like you?
Can I choose my own? If so, I choose Lark from The Vanishing Spark of Dusk. I basically fashioned her off of my former self. She’s shy, quiet, and has trouble speaking out or defending herself. A few readers had trouble with her because they want the badass heroine, (And don’t get me wrong—Lark grows into that), but I feel like YA fiction needs more of those quiet and reserved heroines who become strong. We’re not *all* naturally brave, extroverted, take-no-shit-from-anyone type of people, after all. 😉
Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?
Rome. I would love to visit the ruins that are still standing from the ancient roman empire.
About The Vanishing Spark of Dusk:
When Lark is stolen from Earth to be a slave on the planet Tavdora, she’s determined to find her way back home to her family, no matter the cost. Placed in the household of a notorious slave trader, Lark quickly learns her best assets are her eyes and ears. And if she’s brave enough, her voice.
Kalen is the Tavdorian son of a slave trader and in line to inherit his father’s business. But his growing feelings for Lark, the new house slave who dares to speak of freedom, compel him to reveal his new plan for the slave ships returning to Earth—escape. Together, they just might spark a change that flares across the universe.
Sara was born in the heart of the Andes Mountains in Ecuador where she spent her early life exploring uncharted lands and raising chickens. She now makes her home among the endless cornfields of Indiana with her husband and two children…and she still raises chickens. Her dystopian novel BLACK TIGER was self-published in 2016. When not getting lost in a book, Sara can be found gardening, devouring chocolate, and running off the sugar-high from said chocolate. You can visit her online at www.sarabaysinger.com.
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