Please welcome author L.A. Sartor to the blog as we showcase her upcoming release (available for pre-order) Brushed by Betrayal!
Hello! Welcome to my blog and thank you for answering my nosy, I mean discerning, questions. 🙂 First, please tell us a little about yourself and the kinds of stories you like to write. Would you say there is an underlying theme behind your stories?
McKenna, thank you for having me as a return guest on your amazing blog. Interesting questions you pose. I’ve been writing for a long time, yet only very recently discovered that I am truly a plot-driven writer. I was told this by a veteran of 40+ novels, and at first, I was insulted. Then I stepped back and looked at her criteria and realized with an enormous amount of relief that indeed I was. My stories always revolve around complex plots, at the same time I weave the theme of trust and/or finding one’s real path in life. Usually they go hand-in-hand. But I think of the creating the plot question first, then building the characters to work in it.
There is nothing wrong in either being either a plot or character driven writer, and we authors can have readers who love both. But finding my own true writer calling made a big difference. I write romance into my stories, but they are mostly not “romances.” (I do have a couple of pure romances.)
What part of the world do you call home? Can you tell us a little about where you grew up and where you live now?
Colorado is now home. I was adopted in Germany as was my brother, different birth families. I’ve never thought of anyone else as my parents and haven’t been driven to locate anyone. We moved to Southern California as young children and being a stone’s throw from the ocean created a deep need to come back to it as often as possible. But while Boulder and its massive flatirons are my backbone, the ocean is my soul.
That’s so funny because I was born and raised within sight of the Appalachian mountains and I can’t imagine living anywhere else–unless it was to the Rockies!
How long have you been writing? Did you write as a child or is it something you developed a passion for later in life?
I started telling stories at a very young age. Mom wrote them down and I illustrated them. I still have those which are horrible, but I love them. Then in Jr. High I was writing what is now fan fiction with a friend and loving it. But an English teacher told me and my parents that I was failing because I wouldn’t learn grammar. I immediately stopped writing. I only learned about this (apparently, I totally wiped the incident from my memory) after I told mom I was going to write and book and she said, “finally”. Then revealed the story. I’m now in the exact right spot for me.
“Writers should write what they know.” What does this statement mean to you as an author?
This statement makes me so frustrated, both when I first heard and even now when I hear folks agonizing over it. So, I’m going to get on my soap box. We all know life’s ups/downs, celebrations/heartaches. We all have experiences. That is what we know.
But for the longest time and still today, authors and pundits say I can’t write a treasure hunting adventure or chocolate making scene or legal thriller because I’m none of those. Baloney. Research, good solid research and interviews will give us that information. Would I write a hospital driven drama, no, because I’m not interested in that kind of writing. But adventure, danger, various treasures, myths, even some courtroom scenes have all been written by me and apparently are doing well.
I agree with this whole-heartedly! I think when people say “write what you know” what they really mean is write about the forces that would drive a character to leave home and hearth to fight for all he holds dear–whether it be a Hobbit journeying to Mordor or a young man headed off to the trenches in WW1. The means by which you tell the story doesn’t matter as much as the authenticity behind the motives.
Most authors admit to feeling uncomfortable with the degree of self-promotion necessary to be successful. Are there some aspects of social media and self-promotion that make you more comfortable than others? Are there some you avoid like the plague?
I really enjoy the self-promotion that is necessary for both the indie and the traditionally published writer to do. For instance, a blog like this is fun to write. I love to teach writing and use my books (after all I know my stories best) as examples, then see the light come on in an aspiring writer’s eyes. I love creating images or memes for my books.
I have a YouTube channel for writers, but I’m getting views from folks who want to know more about how a writer works, not be one. That’s cool!
I’ve done a lot of interviews on camera and now feel comfortable talking about me. Now if I only weighed 25lbs. less…
It’s part of the business, so I figure I might as well enjoy it and of instead of shy away from it, embrace it.
I will definitely have to check out your YouTube Channel! I confess while I enjoy spending time on certain social media platforms, I have no real desire to get in front of a camera, and I admire anyone who does!
Have you ever been intimidated by reviews?
Yes. At first I was scared to look at them and when I found one that was less than complimentary, I’d be totally crushed. Literally couldn’t write a new word. Then I realized a couple of things and grew up as a writer, maybe even as a person.
Sometimes people will just not like what you write. That’s okay. I may want to please everyone, but honestly know I can’t. Some people are meanspirited. I feel sorry for them. Some people think they’ll make me a better writer if they point out every flaw.
My approach to reviewing is that 90% of the time you can find some aspect of the book to talk about with positivity. You may not give it 4 or 5 stars, but why trash it? If you hated it, don’t buy another one from that author. Life is too short to be mean. Kindness is better. And maybe that’s a Pollyanna way of looking at life, and there are many times when I want to throw something at my TV screen for whatever reason, hey I’m human, but that negative emotion doesn’t go beyond my walls.
Do you miss your characters when you come to the end of their story? Do you find ways to write sequels for them or do you become entranced with a new set?
Yes and yes and yes. I spend huge amounts of time building my characters and their stories, their conflicts, their goals. Series allow me to dig deeper, put them into more revealing circumstances. For instance, in my Carswell Adventure series, I had twins, who after a tragedy became total opposites. One more meek, more comfortable by herself than out in the world. The other became an adventure junkie. Stone Of Heaven is about Tori, the city girl who keeps to herself now having to save her adventurous sister from long forgotten Maya gods. The second book Viking Gold brings in the characters again, but we focus on Abby and her quests and how it’s driving all the people she loves away. Will she survive this last treasure hunt?
What are your writing goals for 2021? Your personal goals?
I’m releasing Brushed By Betrayal May 5th. It’s the second in the Kahuna Group series. Then come Monday I’m settling down to create my new cozy mystery series. A first in many ways for me. Writing in first person. A cozy series, creating a new ski town, Angelcroft and all its peeps and fun stuff like red-herrings and most of all developing a complicated villainous character motivation. After all mystery readers like the puzzle, so …. My plan is to have that first book out this coming Fall, worst case before Christmas, since it’s set at Christmas. Then to write one or two more a year. I still have my other series…yikes, I’m going to be busy.
Personal goals, focus on the important things and say no to the rest. I don’t say no easily, but I’m learning.
That’s interesting what you say about plot-driven stories versus character driven, and how you’ve nestled into your groove as a result. And yay for a new cozy mystery series! I love the genre!
Thank you so much for dropping by for the interview and to share a little about your new release!
Blurb for Brushed By Betrayal
“You’re next and the circle will be complete.”
Jade Laurent, art expert and owner of the prestigious Laurent Art Brokers in Boulder, Colorado, is mourning the one-year anniversary of her father’s death when a close associate is killed and that chilling message for Jade is found by his body.
Private Investigator Malcolm Talbot is coming off his latest grueling case when he receives a request that he cannot refuse. To discover who’s put Jade’s life in jeopardy. The problem is that Jade refuses to stand by idly and let him do his job.
The last thing Malcolm needs is an amateur getting in the way and maybe getting dead. The last thing Jade needs is a professional who can’t find an ounce of compassion for her need to be involved.
While matching wits with a killer who is always one step ahead, dark secrets are revealed, putting everything Jade has believed in at risk.
If you like nail biting suspense, complicated mysteries, and characters who find their soul mates, then you’ll love L.A. Sartor’s newest story Brushed By Betrayal.
Buy it today to find new characters to love and revisit old friends from Dare to Believe.
Buy: Currently on Amazon The book will go wide later in May.
I started writing as a child, really. A few things happened on the way to becoming a published author … specifically, a junior high school teacher who told me I couldn’t write because I didn’t want to study grammar.
That English teacher stopped my writing for years. But the muse couldn’t be denied, and eventually I wrote, a lot, some of it award winning. However, I wasn’t really making a career from any of this.
My husband told me repeatedly that independent publishing was becoming a valid way to publish a novel. I didn’t believe him, I thought indie meant vanity press.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I started pursuing this direction seriously, hit the keyboard, learned a litany of new things and published my first novel. My second book became a bestseller, and I’m absolutely on the right course in my life.
Please come visit me at https://lesliesartor.com, see my books, find my social media links, and sign up for my mailing list. I have a gift I’ve specifically created for my new email subscribers. And remember, you can email me at Leslie@LeslieSartor.com
Wow, McKenna, what a great post. This book is one of those giant leaps, where you think you can, sure you can’t, then get it done.
Thanks so much,
Hey, you answered the questions–that’s what made it fun! This story looks amazing, and I’m really interested in your cozy series too!
Great post and great book. I had the privilege of reading it before its actual release day and couldn’t put it down.
Oh, awesome! That’s really great to hear! Thanks for sharing that!
Wonderful interview, with a nice balance of personal tidbits and perspectives on writing. Very interesting!
Thank you! It’s why I love having authors on the blog! It’s so much fun finding out about their writing process as well as getting a little insight into the author as a person and their latest release. 🙂