By Jeff Salter
Welcome to Sara R. Turnquist, my first Guest Fox of this new year. I’m struggling to remember exactly when I first encountered Sara, but I’m sure it was on the site where the Clean Reads Authors gather to encourage one another and update everyone. Sara graciously invited me to appear on her blog, which I did on Nov. 1 last year… and had a blast discussing my newest fiction release, Size Matters.
For a look at my appearance on Sara’s blog, check out this link:
Anyhow, when I saw that Sara had a new release of her own, naturally I hustled over to book her for an appearance at 4F1H. She graciously agreed, and here she is!
- I see you already have four novels out, including at least three with Clean Reads Publishing. How long have you been writing fiction?
[S.R.T.] — I’ve always written short stories and fan fiction and whatnot. But I started writing the manuscript that would become The General’s Wife when I was in college (I dare not say how long ago that was!)
- Obviously you like to travel. Where does that interest come from?
[S.R.T.] — I don’t really know. My dad was a military kid. He grew up all over the world. But we didn’t travel much when I was a kid. Except to visit relatives around the southeast. The biggest trip I took was to Arizona as a kid with a youth group. But I loved it! When I was fresh out of college, I took advantage of an opportunity to go the Czech Republic to teach a summer English camp in the Krokonose Mountains. And I was hooked.
- What was it like to visit the Czech Republic? How many times have you been? Have you formed friendships over there?
[S.R.T.] — It was amazing! I recommend everyone seize the opportunity to spend real time outside the U.S. (whatever your politics) and see Americans from another perspective. It teaches you things – both reaffirming and challenging. And the country is gorgeous. And so full of history. Because of the way things went during WWII, Prague was not bombed. A “new” building to them is one that is only 200 years old. It’s just crazy. I’ve been five different times and I’ve made real friendships with both my translators and my students. There are a couple I’ve kept in regular contact with and several that I would look up and visit on a return trip.
- You’ve worked in the Memphis Zoo and also for a zoo in Orlando. Is this direct interaction with animals? Which animals do you like best?
[S.R.T.] — My job at these zoos was primarily education. But there were opportunities for direct interaction with animals. Mostly with invertebrates (not my favorite) and herps (reptiles and amphibians). But we had amazing interactions as well. I’ve been sprayed with water by an elephant, been goosed by a rhino, and rubbed the belly of a two day old baby rhino. It’s hard to beat that baby rhino. He stole my heart.
- Besides NYC, what big American city have you visited?
[S.R.T.] — My favorite city to visit is Chicago. I LOVE the museums there. The Field Museum is perhaps my favorite. Their standard exhibits are great, but I have seen some interesting traveling exhibits there too. I enjoyed San Francisco, but driving those sharply angled hills really tried my fear of heights. I’ve been to Phoenix, Los Angeles, Orlando (of course), lived in Nashville and Memphis (didn’t go to Graceland until after I’d moved away), Atlanta…that’s a lot for this small town girl. In NYC, I couldn’t hardly walk straight I kept looking up, shocked at how tall the buildings were.
- Have you ever encountered people who seem unable / unwilling to comprehend that writing is something you are driven to do?
[S.R.T.] — Yes. I think that people who haven’t been “bitten by the writing bug”, if you will, think it’s something we do because we want to make money or enjoy the lifestyle. They don’t understand that it’s something we can’t NOT do, that our fingers fairly itch to get the words out sometimes, that the power of an untold story with us is sometimes too overwhelming.
- If you were not a writer, can you imagine what else you might do to express the creativity within you?
[S.R.T.] — I am also a musician, a singer, and a painter. I suppose painting would be the next medium I would go to. Although, when I’m at the piano and the music is flowing, it can be very cathartic.
- If sales (money) and critics (reviews) were immaterial to you, what genre and length would you write?
[S.R.T.] — I am VERY fortunate…I am not dependent on sales and, while critical reviews can sting sometimes, they are not the majority voice. I feel that I am writing what I want and the length I want. Sure I aim for a certain word count, but, by the grace of God, my first draft seems to put me in that zone anyway.
- Give us at least one example of someone who has contacted you and expressed how much your writing meant to them.
[S.R.T.] — There was a lady who contacted me about Hope in Cripple Creek actually. She had been through an awful divorce several years before and had not been able to read romance novels of any sort. Someone encouraged her to look at my book and she thought it was such an intriguing story and sweet romance. For the first time in years, she found herself getting into a romantic storyline and enjoying it.
- In the interviews & blog questions you’ve handled over the years, what is one writing question which you’ve WISHED had been asked of you… but never has been asked? Then answer it.
In your writing journey, from first book to most recent, what is the biggest craft skill you have honed?
Sara’s answer: Character development. I now do a ton of character development before I write one word of the manuscript. I do profile sheets, character idea boards, and a Dark Moment Story for each point of view character. It’s amazing how deepening my characters deepens the story.
Tragedy strikes Katherine Matthews and the small town of Cripple Creek, Colorado. An epidemic teams her with an old enemy, Wyatt Sullivan, the town’s doctor. In the midst of desperation and death, Katherine has decisions to make. But she has no idea to what extent they will affect her daily life and livelihood.
The town is turned upside-down when the gold miners go on strike. The owners bring in outside reinforcements, ready to break the resolve of the Western Federation of Miners. Everything in an upheaval, Katherine faces a crisis of faith and hard choices. Will life ever be normal again?
Amazon Buy Link:
Sara is originally from Middle Tennessee where she currently resides with her family. Graduating with a B.S. in Biology, she first pursued a career in Zoo Education. She also enjoyed a short stint working in the field of Sleep Medicine. However, her great love of the written word drew her to write. She is an avid reader and enjoys reading and writing clean Historical Romance. Her travels have also served to inspire her writing. Sara is the author of The Lady Bornekova, The General’s Wife, Off to War, and Hope in Cripple Creek. She is also a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).
What creative outlet do YOU find gives you that cathartic release?
[JLS # 317]