Sarah has graciously volunteered to stop by for an interview this month, and has offered up a copy of her novel as part of our final giveaway:
She gave up everything to become a Salbine Sister, member of a religious order of powerful female mages. But when Maddy nearly dies while trying to draw forth elemental fire, she learns that Salbine has withdrawn from her the gifts every sister works to master. Feeling trapped in an order to which she no longer has any right to belong and believing herself unworthy of the love of Lillian, one of the most powerful mages in the sisterhood, Maddy begs the abbess to let her travel to another monastery to research her condition. On her journey, Maddy's faith in both herself and Salbine are tested to their limits. When she attempts to draw fire and fails horribly, frightened townsfolk throw Maddy into prison. Fearing that the abbess will never learn her fate and rescue her, Maddy resigns herself to a short and brutal life. The only bright spot in Maddy's existence is Emmey, the pickpocket with whom she shares a cell. Through her and the steadfast love of Lillian, Maddy learns that Salbine's purpose is not always the same for everyone, and that love and compassion are more valuable than magic.
I'll be sharing a link to my review of The Salbine Sisters after the interview but, for now, let's allow the lovely Sarah to tell us a little bit about herself and her work:
♥ Thanks so much for stopping by, Sarah! For those who may be new to your writing, and who haven't yet checked out The Salbine Sisters or the Rymellan stories, please tell us a little about yourself.
I live in Toronto (a fellow Canadian and Ontarian!) with my partner and our four felines. Up to this point, I’ve written speculative fiction with lesbian main characters, but I’ll soon branch out on both fronts.
♥ The journey from 'aspiring' to 'accomplished' can be a long one, but I think it's fair to say you've made it. When did you begin writing, and how did you feel when you first saw your work in print?
I started to write seriously around 2007. Before then, I dabbled but didn’t stick with it. When I first saw my work in print, I felt relieved. I published Rymellan 1 myself, so I had my publisher hat on when I held that first book. I wasn’t thinking, “Wow.” *sniffle* “My first book.” I was thinking, “Thank god the interior isn’t printed upside down!”
♥ Next to misspelling your own name, probably the most important feature! Did publication of The Salbine Sisters strike you as something significant, given that the Rymellan stories began online, or was it just a natural progression for your writing?
I don’t see the web as an inferior way of getting work out there, so I don’t see publishing in print or eBook format as a “progression.” It’s about the stories, not the formats. Rymellan 1 was more significant than The Salbine Sisters because it was the first time I’d taken a project from a Word document to print/eBook. It was great to see all my research into the publishing process come to fruition.
♥ With far too many Word documents of my own languishing in the land of potential, I can appreciate that. You've now published in both the science fiction and fantasy genres, but your stories are still very much grounded in reality. How much temptation is there to take advantage of the genres and go wild, or do you feel it's important to keep things plausible and relatable?
I write what I like to read, and while I do read SF&F, I don’t like stories that are too “out there.” Given that, I’m not tempted to go wild, but I won’t say it’ll never happen. I will say that I think it’s important for SF&F to be plausible and relatable, no matter where a story falls on the wild scale.
♥ Do you have a schedule or a routine to your writing? Is there a time and place that you must write, or do you let the words flow as they demand?
I prefer to write in the mornings. I’d drive my partner crazy if I sat down to write whenever a vivid scene is running through my mind. As it is, I probably zone out on her more often than she’d like, especially when she’s talking about clothes or the housework I should be doing. “I don’t know why the muse always comes alive when the sink is full of dishes. It’s uncanny! But we mustn’t question the muse!”
♥ I'll have to remember that one! For some authors, it's coming up with a title, and for others it's writing that first paragraph. What do you find is the most difficult aspect of writing?
Choosing what to write. I have so many ideas that I was paralyzed earlier this year when trying to pick projects for 2011. A close second would be writing the first draft. I much prefer the editing stage.
♥ When you're not writing (or reading), what are some of the hobbies and passions that keep you happy?
Computer gaming, especially role-playing games. For someone who likes to create characters and alternate lives, sandbox RPGs are a dream.
♥ That makes a lot of sense, and seems to be a common theme among authors. Is there a particular theme or message you're expecting readers to take away from your work?
No. I love that every reader collaborates with me in a unique way. It’s one of the many reasons literature is brilliant.
♥ What can we look forward to from you next? I know you have a few projects planned, but is there something on the horizon that you're really excited about?
This summer I’ll release a story involving time travel, in which two characters from 2010 run into two characters from 1910. Look for it in July! To see what else I’m working on, visit my website at http://www.sarahettritch.com/.
Thanks for the great interview, Sally!
A huge "thank you" to Sarah Ettritch for stopping by. You can check her out on the web at http://www.sarahettritch.com/ and you can also check out her Rymellan fiction at http://www.rymellanstories.com/.
Oh, and if you missed it last December, please be sure to check out my review of The Salbine Sisters.
Spring Celebration, it's also time for you - the readers - to do your part by stopping by, saying hello, and hopefully even sharing a few thoughts on any of her stories that you may have read . . . or are looking forward to.
Don't forget, this is also your chance to become eligible for this week's giveaway (including a copy of The Salbine Sisters), so be sure to include your email address in your comment. Of course, you don't have to be a follower to win, but being a follower will earn you a bonus entry for the week (just let me know in your comment if you're a new follower or an old favourite).