Friday, June 28, 2013

Author Interview with Sarah England

Sarah England, Author
Sarah England: bio

Sarah originally trained as a nurse in Sheffield (UK) and then went on to work as a medical representative for nearly 20 years, specialising in mental health.
She had always wanted to write fiction, but did not begin until around 8 years ago, prompted by a house move and relocation to the South coast. Since then she has had around 140 short stories published, mostly in national magazines and various anthologies; and most recently a 3 part detective serial in Woman’s Weekly.
‘3am and Wide Awake’ was released in May 2013 by Alfie Dog Fiction - a collection of 25 thrillers, many supernatural or medically based - two of her predominant themes.
‘Expected’ is Sarah’s first novel - a comedy launched by Crooked Cat Publishing on 28th June, 2013.

She lives in Dorset with her husband, Don, and spaniel, Harry.

Book Blurb for ‘Expected’ by Sarah England

Sam Sweet is a failed psychiatric nurse from a sink estate in Weston Super mare. Her mother, whose husband ran off with another woman 20 years ago - although you'd think it happened only yesterday - has only one ambition and that is to be a grandmother.
But Sam is terrified of giving birth. She is easily traumatised and has no ambition to return to the sink estate and have dozens of children. She just wants a chance to do something with her life first, to fall in love, to see a bit of the world. Alas, in a drunken stupor she meets Simon - the psychopathic surgeon, who promises her a wonderful life and she believes him - because she is a dingbat and has a lot to learn.
Her latest job is injecting facial fillers and clients are suing because it’s going lumpy. And her best friend, also her boss, is sexually jealous to the point of blind rage because her boyfriend fancies Sam and does little to hide it.
Sam is coping - by shopping and over eating chocolate. But soon piles on weight and sinks deeply into debt, at which point Simon the surgeon starts playing serious mind games; and by the time it dawns on Sam just what a horrific mess she's in - well might as well pass her the JCB because she keeps on digging.
Then as the company spirals downwards and all knives are out for survival - a new MD is brought in from the states – Joel – WOWEE - Madison! Sam and he instantly fall for each other but...her mother is now going bonkers - has booked the wedding....with the psychopathic surgeon....oh it's getting worse.......fireworks? You bet....but that would be telling......

  1. I noticed in your book blurb you say Sam is over eating chocolate?  How is that possible?  I know of no way someone can overeat chocolate.

Ha ha – she does her best, Brenda! Sam is overeating because she is putting on weight and it is mostly with calorie-dense chocolate. Yummy. Just a pity she can’t get into her clothes anymore….

  1. Where do you get most of your inspiration from for your stories?  Life?  

Yes, most definitely. And the lives of others, and the stories I’ve picked up over the years. Sometimes inspiration comes when I’m in the middle of watching a film or reading a book.  Ah, I see I have jumped into your next question…yes just a flicker of a character or an idea I can see to develop. But mostly, with a medical background, my short stories in ‘3am and Wide Awake’ for example – are hugely influenced by experience. With Expected – again, I used to inject facial fillers myself and worked in a team of sales reps….

  1. Others’ books?  TV shows?  Movies?
  2. Since you are writing fiction, and your book is in the medical field, have you ever used real life experiences in any of your writing?

There is a scene in ‘Expected’ where Sam is injecting a facial filler and it won’t come out of the syringe. The product is too hard. Yes – that happened to me and I was pressing the plunger down so hard I broke a sweat. Awful experience. Happily my client was luckier than Sam’s. 

  1. Who is your favorite author?  What makes that author stand out from all of the other authors you read?

Well actually I love Stephen King, because he is a genuinely gifted raconteur – the stories pour from him. He’s the kind of storyteller who has you riveted with idea after idea – and with horror often juxtaposed with comedy too. I write comedy and at the opposite end of the literary scale – thrillers and horror – so I’d have to say Stephen King. But there are many others I admire too – like Ian McEwan, who I really feel is the master of literary prose – superb. 

  1. What is your favorite reading genre?
I enjoy classic literature, historical fiction such as ‘The White Queen,’ comedy, the supernatural and a really good thriller. I couldn’t choose. Not too keen on sci-fi, that’s all.

  1. How many books do you read each month?

I used to read around 3-4, but I’ve been so busy lately, that has probably dropped to around 2.

  1. Do you believe the adage that in order to write well you must read a lot?

Yes – definitely! 

  1. Would you give this advice to anyone else who wants to write?

Yes there is no way round it – it’s essential. It’s a learning tool. An education. A pleasure. However, if you are serious about your work then I’d read in your chosen genre.

  1. How many edits did you have to do on your novel, Expected?
Expected’ was probably written about 4 times. It then went on to be accepted by an online company and I edited it again with their in-house editor. That company then disbanded, and I was left trying to find another home for ‘Expected’ after 6 months of um…expectation…..Happily Crooked Cat liked it immediately and I was asked to edit it again. I then did it again once the kindle version was formatted…. So a fair few times! And every time I picked up more typos…

  1. How long did it take you to write your novel?

Around 3 months or so – but the editing would add another month on to it each time!

  1. Is your family supportive of your writing?

I didn’t get to be a writer for a very long time. I had to earn a living and pay the bills. So I came to my dream quite late in life. As I started writing magazine stories and earned quite well my husband was happy, but recently – with the novel – he is not so happy as I’m not earning. He’s supportive in that he believes I can do it, but I’m not sure he thinks I will be successful….. 

  1. Are they as excited as you are for your debut novel?

No! But my mum and dad are buying the book and telling their friends now – so maybe…. I think with my brother being a professor, you know, I’m not sure they know how hard this has been and how much of a passion it is.

  1. Do you have a special place at home where you write?
I usually jot everything down in my notebook and then type up later in my/our office. I have to be totally quiet. No music. No interference. Just the space inside my head. But at the ideas stage I can be anywhere – as long as my notepad is handy! 

  1. Do you write the same time every day, or just when you get the chance?

I am totally erratic – sometimes 4-5 hours will fly by and others I can’t get started.

  1. Does living on the South coast keep you from writing?  Are you near the beach?
No – we are well inland near a little saxon town called Shaftesbury. I am surrounded by farmland and there are no distractions. It’s so boring – even the cows are bored.

  1. What distracts you from writing?  If anything.
Everything. I have to be totally quiet, which is why living in the back of beyond suits me!

  1. What else would you like my readers to know about your writing and your new book?

Well ‘Expected’ deals with many contentious issues. It’s a comedy in that Sam Sweet, the main character, spars with her dreadful fiancĂ©, biding her time while she plans her escape – but she also injects facial fillers, is terrified of childbirth, and has a background from which she wants to escape. She feels fat, has low self-esteem, and copes badly – with shopping to debt level and trying to pretend she can live the life expected of her without falling apart inside. But she can’t – the serious message – if you like, in a comedy – is that she must find her voice. And it takes her quite a while…..Yes there is a bit of my heart in this book! However, I am also fascinated by the dark side – tarot and the supernatural – so that’s another dimension I work on, hence the collection of horrors and thrillers in ‘3am and Wide Awake.’ Many of those are straight from my 20 years working in mental health. But overall I have to say that my primary goal is to entertain the reader… And I hope that I have achieved that, and will go on doing so.

Here are Sarah England’s links.

Twitter: @sarahengland16
Smashwords: free download of short comedy: coupon = SP93M


Links to books: ‘3am and Wide Awake’ –


  1. Sarah, thanks for the honesty. I enjoyed getting to know you better.
    Brenda - great interview.

  2. Thanks Laura! And thanks Brenda too - I've had a blast! xxx