Saturday, November 23, 2013

Interview: Sarah M. Eden

I am so excited to be welcoming regency author Sarah Eden to my blog today! I just finished reading her charming novel, Courting Miss Lancaster, and I absolutely loved it! I can't wait to read all of Sarah's other works as well.

What got you interested in writing?
My pride. Okay, not really. But I did start writing in response to a dare. After bellyaching to my mother about not being able to find the kind of romances I love, she tossed out a challenge. “Why don’t you write your own?” So I gave it a shot, immersing myself in studying about writing and how to craft good stories. I had already been studying the Regency era for more than a decade, so naturally my first foray into the writing world was a story set in that time period. By the time I finished that first manuscript, I was hooked and have been writing ever since.

What was your inspiration for the Lancaster series?
I started with Seeking Persephone which is a Regency-era retelling of the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone. I fell so much in love with the Lancaster family and the other supporting characters in that book that I knew I couldn’t leave it with just that one story. So one by one, I’m letting each of the Lancaster siblings have their moment in the sun.
Yay! I can't wait to read all the others' stories!!! :D

What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy most?
I love telling stories; I always have. I love the work of getting those stories out of my head, pouring my heart into them, even when the effort is overwhelming and frustrating. I love when that story turns out better than I expected it to. I adore hearing from readers who enjoyed a book or a story, who related to a character, who were touched by a particular moment in a story. To feel like I have made a difference for someone, even if it was nothing more than offering an afternoon’s respite from life, that is what I love most.
Well, you definitely do a great job at storytelling! I was captivated from page one and your story never dragged- it was incredible. :)

What do you find to be the most challenging part about being a writer?
The hardest part for me is what author Malinda Lo described as walking into an ice storm. “The... more you put yourself out there... the more criticism is thrown at you, and the unending barrage can wear you down. It can feel like walking into an ice storm. No matter how good your cold weather gear is or how experienced you are at weathering the storm, you have to keep your eyes open so you can keep moving forward. It’s impossible to avoid every freezing barb of ice, and... it stings you in the eyes.”
Writing involves so, so much rejection. From agents, from readers, from reviewers, from critics, often from other writers. Getting a book from idea to published book inevitably involves critiques, rewrites, rejections, nasty reviews. Walking through that storm can be discouraging and exhausting, but it has to be done. So while it is by far my least favorite part of being a writer, so far it’s worth it.

What intrigues you most about the Regency era?
The entire thing. I know that sounds cliche, but it’s the truth. History has always fascinated me. I love delving into an era and learning about the culture of the time, the events that shaped it, the history that influenced it, society’s rules and expectations and how they changed over time. I love the feeling that, by learning more about a place and time in history, I understand the people who lived in it better and, in so doing, understand better what connects us all. Even years and oceans and lifetimes apart, people are so very much the same. We all love and dream and hope.

What were the most interesting things that you learned while writing and researching "Courting Miss Lancaster"?
Just as Seeking Persephone is a retelling of the myth of Persephone, Courting Miss Lancaster, Athena Lancaster’s story, pulls heavily from the Greek myth of Athena. She was the goddess of war and intelligence. As such, so much of Athena’s character is based in that concept, a woman who plans and strategizes, who is intelligent and savvy. But leading with her head and not listening to her heart is what keeps her from realizing what she really wants. I thoroughly enjoyed studying Athena and the tales and myths attached to her.
That is neat! I think it's interesting how you were able to convey a Greek myth into a novel about Regency social life- somehow the two don't seem to go together- but you did a great job and it came out super well! :D

Which character did you enjoy writing about the most in "Courting Miss Lancaster"?
Adam. Definitely Adam. I loved writing his character in Seeking Persephone, and being able to revisit him for this book was an absolute joy. He is so gruff and grumpy and has absolutely no sense of tact. When deciding on his dialog, I basically ask myself “If I had no filter and could get away with saying anything in that moment, what would I say?” Then I take it one step further. Adam can get away with it, and I love that about his character.
Lol that's so awesome! I loved Adam as well! :) I laughed so hard watching him get away with saying so much to so many different people! ;) One of my favorite of his lines from Courting Miss Lancaster: "On your feet, maggot!" Idk why, I just loved it. ;)

How long (on average) does it take you to write a novel?
It really just depends on the novel. The fastest I ever wrote a first draft was six weeks. The longest was about six months. To get from the planning stages to the final rewrite is generally 1-2 years. And there are generally years between then and publication because the wheels just turn slowly in this industry.

What is your goal or mission as a writer?
I have goals in a lot of different areas. There are specific steps I’d like to take in my publishing journey: markets I’d like to reach, publishers I would love to publish with. I have more personal goals for my writing itself: to continue growing as a writer, to tackle more challenging projects, to expand my repertoire into new subgenres. I want to look back and know that I’ve improved over time. And, of course, every writer has those dreams they hope will come about but know they can’t do much to guarantee: a book that sells better than they’d hoped, winning awards, movie deals, etc. For now, I’m focusing on improving my writing and moving forward.
Ooh, wow- I'd love to see the "Lancaster" BBC drama! lol :D

Coffee or tea?
I love honey-lemon herbal tea, especially during the frigid winter months.

What is your favorite time of year and why?
I love the autumn, when the leaves are changing and the mountains all around me turn auburn and gold and russet. The colors are so lush and varying and nothing looks quite like it.

Where would you go on vacation if you could go anywhere in the world?
I would go back to Ireland. I’ve been once before and fell irrevocably in love with the people and the country. If I could manage it, I’d love to go back for a long, leisurely stay, wandering the countryside and exploring the winding streets and historical districts of its cities, walking through ancient ruins, climbing the spiraling stairs of its castles, absorbing the wonderful traditional music, and happily falling into a colcannon coma.

What is your favorite Period Drama film?
Wait? I have to choose just one? That is cruel. I love North and South, especially the final scene in the train station. I grow giddy just thinking of Pride and Prejudice--Colin Firth version, of course--and have been known to watch the entire 5+ hours in one sitting. My first taste of period dramas was an outing with my mother and sister to watch Sense and Sensibility (Emma Thompson), so I will always be particularly attached to that one. Chances are, if there’s a period drama on, I’ll happily watch it.
North and South is definitely one of my favorites- but I know what you mean, I love so many of them!!

What is one thing most people don't know about you?
I have had 14 teeth pulled. Every time I am seen by a new dental hygienist, we have the inevitable moment when my teeth get counted, then counted again, then generally one more time. I always laugh and explain that I have regular-sized teeth in a teeny, tiny mouth and there just wasn’t room for them all. I probably should just explain upfront, by I kind of enjoy the look of confused shock I get.
That was a lame “things you don’t know about me,” but everything I thought of was lame. Maybe my answer should have been “Most people don’t know that I’m really lame.”
That wasn't lame- I'm sure most people didn't know it! lol ;D
Thanks so much for stopping by and chatting, Sarah! :)



  1. Great interview! Caught myself laughing out loud a few times and smiling the rest. I love the pictures you find for your interviews!
    Thanks to both of you for sharing with us.

  2. Haha Thanks!! ;) I enjoyed it too! :)