IMAGINATION IS EVERYTHING.
IT IS THE PREVIEW
OF LIFE'S COMING ATTRACTIONS.
– Albert Einstein
Born and raised in Hawaii, Sara studied journalism and later earned graduate degrees in psychology and Chinese medicine. Prior to practicing acupuncture, she worked as a high school counselor and teacher on the famed north shore of Oahu, where surf often took precedence over school. She is the author of six novels – Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers, Sea of Four Directions, Volcano House, The Ranch at Redwater, Salt and Seaweed, and Honeycreepers – with a bunch more itching to be written. She blames Hawaii for her addiction to writing, and sees no end to its untapped stories.
A few of her favorite things, in no particular order – hiking, homemade PIZZA, a good thunderstorm, stargazing, BOOKS, craft beer, her wonderful BOYFRIEND, surfing, mountain streams, her friends, and ANIMALS. In fact, animals inhabit all of her novels in some way, shape or form – dogs, donkeys, sea turtles, a featherless chicken, endangered Hawaiian crows, horses, and even a lion. When she's not writing or practicing acupuncture, you'll find her in the mountains or in the ocean, which is where most of her inspiration happens.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO WRITING?
I have always written poetry, but one Wednesday in 2012, I sat down on my porch to write a novel. I had no idea how to write a book and no idea where it was going, but six months later I somehow managed to finish it. I told everyone, this may be the worst book ever written, but at least I wrote it! Fortunately, with a bit of constructive feedback from friends, a few key books on writing, and a couple of writers conferences (Santa Barbara Writers Conference, Mokule'ia Writers Retreat), I learned a few things. Not only that, but I kept at it (a post-it on my doorframe says Patience & Perseverance) and here I am today, many books later, loving what I do and enthralled by the magic of writing. I am a firm believer that stories write themselves, we just help them along – and of course revise and edit. Again and again and again.
WHY DO YOU WRITE?
Because I love it.
WHERE DO YOU WRITE?
On my porch, or somewhere with a window and a pretty view. Occasionally in my bed.
WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE AUTHORS?
Too many to name, but off the top of my head I love Barbara Kingsolver, Alice Hoffman, Sue Monk Kidd, JK Rowling, and Liane Moriarty.
WHAT BOOKS DID YOU LOVE AS A KID?
James and the Giant Peach, Chronicles of Narnia, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, A Wrinkle in Time, Watership Down, Nancy Drew (read them all several times).
WHAT BOOKS ON WRITING DO YOU RECOMMEND?
The usual suspects. On Writing, Stephen King. Bird by Bird, Anne LaMott. Stein on Writing, Sol Stein. Sin and Syntax, Constance Hale. Wired For Story, Lisa Cron.
DO YOU HAVE A PROCESS?
I usually start with a loose idea and go from there. I attempt to plot out the main story as much as possible, but know that it may well change. Great ideas and new characters often present themselves when I least expect it, which is always fun. I write 1,000 words a day and take a day off now and then if I need to. A first draft usually takes me four to five months. I spend A LOT of time revising and I LOVE working with critique partners and editors who help me take the book to the next level. I also am a nature girl and I love feeding my own curiosity while I write, hence the historical and naturalist elements. One big thing for me is daydreaming. I need time to brainstorm about my work in progress as I walk my dog, swim, paddle, hike, drive or watch the sunset. It's taken time for all this to evolve, but I feel like it works well for me. And lastly, I go to conferences when I can and keep on learning and connecting with other writers.
WHAT'S YOUR MOTTO?
Patience and perseverance.