MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR SARAH BUHRMAN♥️
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
Sarah Buhrman, Urban Fantasy
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
Too Wyrd was based on my love of the Dresden Files and my desire to see a woman who was a normal Pagan woman (magical realism), who didn’t get romantically involved, and who had nothing but her wits and a sharp tongue, who had to deal with a crazy situation that was hers to deal with, not because she had powers or was a Chosen One, but because she was the first one to step up with the right skill set. The Runespells came from a dream I had, which I included (with small changes) in Too Wyrd. Once I had the dream, I knew what my plot was. Then I started looking into the runes and realized that it was a series of books, not a one-off.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
It’s a genre I particularly enjoy reading. However, I write pretty much anything. I have children’s books, steampunk, erotica, sci-fi, horror, and even non-fiction. I write what I write, and I don’t worry about genre until it’s time to categorize it for marketing.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
I’ve read up on the Havamal, particularly parts regarding Odin and the 18 spells. I’ve done even more research into Ragnarok and several of the gods. I’m trying to keep close to the actual stories, but it is, first and foremost, a work of fiction. I also researched several locations for accuracy.
Can you tell me about your Series?
The Runespells series is about Nicola finding and retrieving the 18 pendants that embody the runes that are also spells, which Odin found in the well at the base of Yggdrasl after hanging upside down for nine days and nights. It’s also about her discovering things about herself, working through several crappy situations, and the price that goes with responsibility and being a hero.
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
Really, my fav is the one I’m working on or that’s coming next. Right now, that is the third book, The Chains That Bind.
Was it always meant to become a series?
No, I actually intended for it to be a one-off, but when I was researching the runespells, I kept getting these ideas for the other books in the series. I decided that I was just going to have to suck it up and write it as a series.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
Sadly, with kids, events, online meetings, etc, I haven’t found it productive to have a set schedule. Trying to keep to one has been counter-productive. Generally, I try to do my marketing stuff during the day, and my writing stuff in the evenings after bedtime. What that actually looks like varies widely. I have a desk, which is where I spend most of my time with writing, bills, marketing, meal planning, etc. I don’t set a daily goal because I just end up disappointing myself.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
Fluffy Bunny, book 2 of the Runespells series, is coming out November 30th. I will be working on The Chains That Bind over the next few months. I also have three short stories for anthologies, and a fourth anthology to edit. I have a bunch of stuff going on for the rest of the year.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
Not really. I pick ones that “sound right”. I used to do things like have names with meanings that associated with the character, naming a geologist after a rock formation or something, but it was a lot of busy work, and wasn’t as awesome as it sounded in my head. Generally, if a name is wrong, I’ll figure it out before the end of the book.
Where do your ideas come from?
My brain takes books, TV shows, movies, commercials, songs, memes, etc, and blends them all together and spits out ideas. ALL THE TIME. I get at least one great idea a month – meaning an idea that I will turn into a finished product. Sometimes I get half-baked ideas, and I turn them over and throw them back in to cook some more. I’ve gotten really picky about what I will spend time on.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
The time it takes to take a picture/scene from my brain and make the words on the screen.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I like them. I don’t think they do enough to spend a lot of money on. I make my own. They are just another marketing tool.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
I don’t know. I don’t think much about my accomplishments. I do what I do, and I do my best, and I keep getting better. Many have been the best, at different times, by different standards. And I have yet to achieve my best, at the same time.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
People like the crazy in my head when it’s written down on paper.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Pretty much doing the same thing. I like where I’m at in life and I could easily keep this up.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Research your chosen field. Authors are business owners, and you will need to be able to address all the needs of your business. No, you can’t just write, unless you want virtually nothing out of it. In that case, try blogging – it’s less of a headache.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
Chem/bio lab tech. I enjoyed that for a couple years. I liked doing genetics, too. Psychology was fun, but I don’t know if I could be a therapist. Maybe in research…
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
Yes, I read all reviews. I do not respond to any reviews, ever, unless someone gives it to me directly. When I get a bad review, I read it, I cry to my hubby. Sometimes I rant about it. Sometimes I pick it apart. Then I look for constructive information that I can apply to my future writing and move on. Strangely, I have the exact same reaction to good reviews. I don’t really know how to deal with feedback, so I vent it all to hubby.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
There’s not an immediate or clear validation of what you are doing. You don’t get a paycheck for each hour you spend on your manuscript, etc. It’s hard to figure out what works and what doesn’t, though some of it I still wouldn’t change.
What are you working on now?
I have three short stories I’m writing for anthologies: Slings & Arrows is a spin-off of the Runespells, Free Gift with Purchase is a twisted fairy tale, and Mathilda is an epic fantasy for an equality anthology.
I’m also working on The Chains That Bind, book 3 of the Runespells.
After those are done, I would like to finish up The Crystal Wise (sci-fi), Threadreader (1st in a magepunk series), and His Precious Undoing (book 2 of the erotic romance series, Hot Fae Knights, as Lina Greyce).
I’m also working on a toddler book series, Inky the Cat, and a YA epic fantasy, The Second Princess, and a mid-grade fantasy, Paper Dragons.
If anyone has a spare time-turner… just saying.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
Mathilda Browning, the Baker of Green Glen, woke long before the chirping of birds, just as she had done for years. She slowly stretched, working the kinks of sleep out of her joints, and swung her legs over the side of the bed. She pulled her dress over her head and, after a moment, added a warm woolen shawl over her shoulders. It seemed she spent more and more time being cold these days.
She stood carefully, noticing which parts of her legs were particularly sore today, and limped down the stairs to the large kitchen. She pulled out her bowls and began measuring flour, eggs, dried fruit, and milk. Within a few hours, she had baked up dozens of loaves of bread, sweet-bread buns, and a small variety of muffins.
The morning crowd filtered past the kitchen half-door, where Mathilda chatted with the townsfolk before taking a few coin and passing them a loaf or two, or filling their basket with muffins. Before the sun had warmed up the street in front of her home and shop, her daily work was done. She would normally get a few customers later in the day for cakes and other special orders, and evening would draw a few of the poorer folk to collect the leftover buns and loaves.
Mathilda smiled to herself. It was a good life, and she would miss it. The only thing that would make it better was if her dear Colton had lived long enough to join her in it. Unfortunately, an accident at the lumber mill almost 20 years ago had taken her friend and husband, leaving Mathilda with a house empty once her three children had grown.
She thought about her afternoon appointment, then realized not one of her customers had brought up her impending retirement. A frown passed over her face and she wondered if they would miss her being the town baker or if they were ready for a change.
Young Caitlyn from down the lane had seen the Destiny Dragon just a year ago, on her 16th birthday, and the next morning she showed up on Mathilda’s doorstep to begin learning her new trade. Mathilda had shown her all her tricks, knowing that her own 60th birthday meant she would be given a new fate by the Destiny Dragon.
Mathilda glanced over at the clock on the mantle, then squinted at it until the numbers cleared up. She nodded to herself and grabbed her walking stick from its spot by the door before heading out.
Now that she’d been up and moving, her joints weren’t bothering her so much. She didn’t really need the walking stick, but it was nice to have something to swing about when she was in a good mood, or to swat at things when she wasn’t.
Mathilda grinned to herself. She had enjoyed getting older. People had fewer restrictions on her behavior, fewer expectations of her. She could do pretty much anything she wanted. The lack of responsibility gave her step a bit of a skip.
She climbed the well-worn path to the cave of the Destiny Dragon and immediately noticed a small group of people sitting just inside the entrance.
“Bethany, what are you doing here?” Mathilda asked with a grin.
The younger woman stood and hugged Mathilda, then nodded to her husband… Fredrick?
“It’s Kenneth’s 16th birthday, Mathilda,” Bethany explained. “He’s seeing the Destiny Dragon right now.”
Mathilda’s eyes widened. “Your little boy? Sixteen already? Well, I remember when he was just a baby!”
Bethany sat, and patted the seat her husband had just jumped up from. Mathilda lowered herself onto the stone, smoothed by hundreds of years of people waiting for their loved ones to have their fates assigned. “I know!” Bethany gushed. “Time has gone by so quickly!”
A young boy appeared out of the darkness of the deeper caves. He had the dazed look that the young ones always got when they were given their life’s path. He stopped in front of his parents, staring blankly at them.
Mathilda waited a few long seconds before tapping his shin lightly with her walking stick. “Well, boy? What did you get?”
Kenneth blinked. “I’m to be a grain miller.”
Bethany let out a small gasp and covered her mouth with her hands, while her husband gave his son a slap on the shoulder. Mathilda nodded in approval. Grain millers were quite prosperous, since everyone needed grain.
“You’ll get to know Caitlyn quite well,” Mathilda mused. “Her being the new baker after today.”
Kenneth blushed a deep red ,and Mathilda hid a grin as she stood up.
“I guess that means it’s my turn.” She waved to the happy family and stepped along the path into the deeper caves carefully. It had been 44 years since she’d walked this path. This time, instead of the fear of youth, she faced the destiny of her twilight years with hope and happiness.
She turned the corner and came face-to-face with the beautiful, ancient pearl-colored serpent. Its large mouth was ringed with rainbow hair. Long, brightly-colored tendrils floated around its face. It had small, sharp teeth which looked frightening until you realized they were more suited to eating fish and small reptiles then for tearing up creatures as large as a human.
The long, white neck bulged into a sleek body that curled around itself. The tail ended in a series of feathery scales that shimmered in the light of the sun that shown down from a large opening in the top of the cave. The scales morphed from white to blue and pink and gold and lavender, showing Mathilda colors she’d never seen anywhere else.
The Destiny Dragon turned towards her, its milky eyes unseeing and all-seeing at the same time. The creature was an underground serpent, built to slide through the caves and slip into the fish-filled pools to feed. The townspeople kept those pools cleaned and well-stocked, and the dragon used its magic to guide them.
Mathilda knew all of this, but even her many years couldn’t buffer the awe she felt when faced with the Destiny Dragon once again.
“You come for your destiny,” intoned the dragon in a voice that somehow combined a growl and the high, pure notes of a master singer.
“Yes, Destiny Dragon,” Mathilda said. “I am ready to take the next step in my life.”
The dragon settled into its coils, its face lifting as it searched for her fate. Mathilda held her breath. Would she be given the destiny of a knitter? She was good at knitting. Or would she be a storyteller? She did love to talk to people. Maybe she would be made one of the Elder’s Council. Berta Applewhite was practically knocking on death’s door and would need a replacement soon.
“Mathilda Browning,” the dragon intoned.
Mathilda wrenched her attention back to the creature. She waited for it to continue. Then she waited a bit more. Then she frowned at it.
“Yes?” she prompted.
“You have been a baker,” it said. “You have been a wife. You have been a mother.”
Mathilda nodded, her impatience growing.
“Now you will become that which will give you purpose until your dying breath.”
Mathilda scowled. This drawing out was getting ridiculous. “Will that breath be taken before I leave this cave?” she snapped.
The dragon lowered its head to her and twisted its mouth into what could only be called a smile. “You shall be a Hero,” it said.
Why did you choose to write in your genre? If you write in more than one, how do you balance them?
I’m not sure that “choice” is the best way to describe it. I write. I write the stories, essays and poetry that I am inspired to write. I skew heavily towards fantasy, but that’s more because of my interests than any intent. I have pen names for my children’s books and my romance/erotica books. That’s to keep them more differentiated than anything else.
Where did your love of books come from?
I live in my head first, and in my body second. Books have always been a part of my experience. I love books like I love my sense of hearing. Most of the time I don’t even think of it enough to actually appreciate it, but when I do, I wouldn’t give it up.
Where can readers go to discover more about you and your books?
My website: http://www.authorgoddess.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSarahB/ & https://www.facebook.com/RunespellsSeries/
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Exhaust. I pour emotions and concepts into my writing, and most of the time I feel strongly about things I write about, good and bad. A good scene will leave me feeling wrung out, and even excitement wears me out once the writing stops.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
A Boring Life with Some Crazy-Weird Parts
What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
What is the greatest compliment you’ve ever received as a writer?
I had someone review Too Wyrd who said my writing was better than Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. I cried.
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️