Get to know the author – Sara Shrieves

Last week we heard from Irish author Ken Magee, and discovered that his Dark Tiding’s hero, Tung, was probably the most inept thief you’d ever come across. This week we hear from Sara Shrieves, a Californian movie addict who pulls her inspiration from Joss Whedon to Anne Rice.

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Tell us about yourself? Do you write for a living? If not, what’s your day job?

I am currently living in Orange County, CA with my husband, step daughter and our close friend/roommate James.  We’re all movie freaks and we all get along really well.  I am the only reader in the house, so I have claim over any space that can hold a bookshelf.  Unfortunately I don’t get to write for a living right now.  I do write often, and I sneak in moments at work (usually on my breaks).  I currently work for the County of Orange.  Not too much excitement but it pays the bills!

Favourite food, place, colour and writing zone, please.

My all-time favorite food is Chinese, hands down.  I grew up in northern CA, and we lived in San Francisco right down the street from China Town, so I had access to some of the best you can get in the country, I’d say.  It was also my first solid food!  My favorite color (big shocker for those who know me) is black, and orange when the mood strikes.  I don’t actually have a designated writing zone, sad to say.  I write everything longhand, so I kind of just curl up anywhere and get to it when something pops into my head.

You write in the fantasy/supernatural genre….who’s been your inspiration?Favourite books? Movies? TV Shows?

Well as far as authors, Stephen King is one of my all-time favorites.  I actually have a symbol from the fifth book of his Dark Tower series tattooed on my right wrist.  So yeah, I’m obsessed.  I also love Anne Rice, Peter Straub and Christopher Pike (his vampire series is still one of my favorites).  These are not all of my favorite authors, but just some who help inspire my writing.  I grew up reading Christopher Pike so as far as YA, he was a big influence.

Some of my favorite books are (big surprise) The Dark Tower series by Stephen King, The Talisman, also by Stephen King, the Earth’s Children (Clan of the Cave Bear) series by Jean M. Auel, Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card, as well as his Alvin Maker series, The Martian Chronicles and Something Wicked this Way Comes by Ray Bradbury and also Cate Tiernan’s Sweep series.  I could go on and on with this!

As for movies there are just way too many to list, so I will sum it up with Shawshank Redemption for drama, Mission to Mars and Contact are two of my favorite sci-fi movies, Grandma’s Boy, Kung Pow and Hot Rod are some of my favorite comedies, and for action I love True Lies, all of the Die Hards and the Alien movies (although Alien falls under sci-fi as well).  For TV shows I would say anything Joss Whedon has done.  I absolutely love Firefly and of course Serenity.  Buffy is still one of my favorites as well.  I just love the way he writes/directs his characters.  They are all so different and odd, but they match up as a group perfectly.  That’s what made me so excited for the Avengers movie!

Who’s your favourite all time fictional character?

This is incredibly hard to choose.  I always end up falling for the underdog or the quirky ones, so it probably wouldn’t even be anyone people knew.  One I can say right away is Tom Cullen from The Stand.  Alvin Maker from that series by Orson Scott Card was really awesome too.  I do also love the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris.  She is a great main character.  Oh, also Aurora Teagarden from another one of Charlaine Harris’ series.  For villains I would have to say Randall Flagg from The Stand as well.  And his many other roles in Stephen King’s books.

Who’s your favourite character in your own work?

Definitely Bruce!  He can say anything he wants.  He’s sort of my outlet, I guess.  He is a mixture of a few people I know, so he is very important to me.

Let’s talk superpowers….there’s no denying we’d all love one. What would be your choice, and why?

Oh wow, my husband and I were just discussing this not too long ago.  This has long been a topic of discussion since I was a kid.  I almost always pick flight first, because I just think it would be amazing.  Plus you can get yourself away from any immediate danger at any time.  But then I think about intelligence, and being some sort of super genius.  I just think that would be amazing as well.  Like Beast in the X-Men.  He’s this savage-looking creature but he’s so incredibly smart, or even the Hulk.  He may be a big green monster when he’s angry, but he’s also a gifted physicist.  I just think there would be so much you could do with that.  Learn anything, do any type of work.  Maybe it’s boring, but intelligence stands out to me!

Inspiration’s a funny thing. Where do you find yours? Is there one particular moment that stands out?

I constantly get inspiration from my family.  Especially my husband and step daughter.  Audrey is loosely based on my step daughter, but she insists that personality-wise she’s exactly like me.  Of course she’s coming from my head, so I can’t argue it too much.  But I think I take ideas from everything around me.  From overheard conversations, to complaints from my step daughter about her school friends.  As well as my husband and his co-workers.  There are some pretty insane people at his office, ha ha.  Also past experiences!

Writers have very different approaches to completing our works. Are you a heavy plotter? Jump back and forth between scenes? Sit down, start at the beginning and just write?

I’m definitely one of the “sit down, start at the beginning and just write” types.  I can’t jump back and forth, it throws me off.  I usually write out a loose outline and plot out how I want things to go, but it doesn’t always turn out that way.  The story will take on a mind of its own and I just tend to go with it.

What’s fresh about your books? Quirky and different? Likely to entice readers and keep them coming back for more?

Well with Who is Audrey Wickersham? it takes the zombie genre and does something completely different.  Plus it’s humorous and has a lot of gore, which I loved writing.  The second one in the series (which I’m working on right now) will also be gory, but have a completely different plot line from the first book.  I don’t want each book to be the same type of thing.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on the second book in the Audrey series, and also a non-YA book loosely based on my work environment.  Sort of an office humor book I guess.  I also have one other YA sci-fi/fantasy book that I have written a little of, which I will get to when I’m done with the next Audrey book!

How can readers connect with you?

My Facebook is under my name, Sara Shrieves, and my Twitter account is as well., @sarashrieves.  I can also be found on Goodreads.com, under my name!  I also have two websites:sarashrieves.com and whoisaudrey.net

Get to know the author – Michael Brookes

I don’t know about you, but I’m quit enjoying these Get to know the author Tuesdays. Last week, L.E. Fitzpatrick gave us an interesting look into her life and the writers who inspire her. This week it’s the turn of Michael Brookes, game developer, avid reader and the writer behind The Cult of Me and An Odd Quartet.

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Tell us about yourself? Do you write for a living? If not, what’s your day job? 

Unfortunately I’m not yet writing for a living, that is the goal for some day in the future. In the meantime I spend my days as a Producer at a video game developer. Games are one of my other passions, besides writing so doing what I love day and night isn’t too bad, but can get a little tiring 🙂

Favourite food, place, colour and writing zone, please.

Favourite food is a Sunday Roast. Place would have to be Germany, the Schwarzwald if I need to be more specific. My favourite colour is blue – I’ve no idea why. And writing zone is my huge comft leather recliner in my front room.

You write in the fantasy/supernatural genre….who’s been your inspiration? Favourite books? Movies? TV Shows?

In the horror genre Clive Barker has been a big inspiration, along with James Herbert and Stephen King of course. I also draw influences from othergenres like Ian M Banks – probably my favourite author. Movies include The Hitcher (original version) and Hellraiser (Clive Barker again). TV shows is Millenium and Twin Peaks – classic shows that mix the weird and the darkness well.

Who’s your favourite all time fictional character?

That is a tricky question. I focus more on story than character. If I have to pick one then I’ll go for Lucifer/Satan in Paradise Lost.

Who’s your favourite character in your own work?

Friar Francis from The Cult of Me – he is a good mixture of physical, spritual and mental.

Let’s talk superpowers….there’s no denying we’d all love one. What would be your choice, and why?

This might seem an odd choice, but I’d like to be able to speak and comprehend and language.

Inspiration’s a funny thing. Where do you find yours? Is there one particular moment that stands out?

Driving seems provide most of my moments for inspiration. Usually while I’m driving to work. It’s also a good time to unravel plot knots.

Writers have very different approaches to completing our works. Are you a heavy plotter? Jump back and forth between scenes? Sit down, start at the beginning and just write?

I’m very much a planner. I will plan out the chapters in detail before I start writing. Although as any good general knows the plan changes almost immediately – I do try to maintain the plan at least until I have completed the first draft so I can use it as reference.

 What’s fresh about your books? Quirky and different? Likely to entice readers and keep them coming back for more?

I try to bring something new to horror stories, whether that be perspective or the situation. I do enjoy mixing the supernatural with the modern. And I love a twist.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on Conversations in the Abyss, the sequel to The Cult of Me.

How can readers connect with you? (Facebook/Twitter etc).

You can follow me on Twitter. I also have a blog.

Michael’s books are available from Amazon, and you can learn more about An Odd Quartet and The Cult of Me by following the hyperlinks.