Yay! Look who has just walked in and plonked herself down on the sofa … it’s the lovely Sarah Tranter [hugs and smiles all round]. And yes, the place is looking a bit bare, we’ve just taken our decorations down but unfortunately, still finding pine needles everywhere.
How was your Christmas and new year, Sarah? I expect you were very busy with your family. Oh, look, there are some mince pies left over, do you want one with your tea?
Oooo ― And they’ve icing on the top ― yes please! [sits down and promptly stands back up again, nearly spilling her tea. Putting mug down, she brushes away problematic pine needle from her behind. Settling back down again] Christmas was lovely, thanks. Full on, but lovely. Not much different to yours by the sounds of things. Well done for surviving it, too. You know, it’s so wonderful to see you all again. And Happy 2013!
So, your debut novel No Such Thing As … Immortality is officially released in paperback this week – huge congratulations, you must be thrilled. The ebook edition has been out for a few weeks now, how has that been received?
Thank you [ridiculous grin on her face]. I still can’t quite believe it. But yes ― I am over the moon ― as you girls can no doubt tell. You’ve been with me every step of the way on this one. Thank you so much for that! Oh dear. Refuse to get emotional here. Oh. Sod it. I need to give you more hugs here!
Oooh, a group hug, no tears please. Damn it – too late. Anyone seen the tissues? Please don’t say they were packed away with the decorations. Panic over, I’ve found them. All okay now? Right, Sarah, you were saying …
Umm. The reception? I can’t believe it, to be honest.. It’s been phenomenal. So much better than I could have ever imagined. Before it went live, I was haunted by a very vivid nightmare in which I dreamt my first review was a one star. When that first review was a five, I can’t begin to tell you how I felt. It was an incredible moment. One of so many that have comprised so much of this process. But that one was really special. No doubt there will be less favourable reviews ahead ― but to date, it’s been fantastic. I’ve even received messages from people reading it ― telling me how much they are enjoying it. Nothing can prepare you for that.
That’s great news. You’ve certainly got some smashing reviews – well done! What influenced you to write No Such Thing As Immortality from purely a male point of view?
That is such an interesting question. When I started, I had nothing planned. No plot, no characters, nothing. I just knew I wanted to start it with a car accident. And I wanted to make it an impossible car accident. Whilst I was playing around with the scene ― in third person ― Nate formed. In fact he leapt out of the page at me and I started seeing the scene through his eyes. I wasn’t convinced writing it through him would be possible. I’m not a man. But there again, neither am I a vampire. I decided to rewrite from his perspective, simply as an experiment at that stage. But that was it. As soon as I started, he began talking to me, and there was no going back. It became his story.
The emotional connection he shares with Rowan, ensured that there was a way for the reader to have some insight into the heroine’s feelings, too. My biggest concern about writing it from his POV, was that that would be lacking. The connection not only provides that insight, but, because everything is from Nate’s perspective, also provides a lot of opportunity for misunderstandings between the pair. Nate is really bad at interpreting her. The female reader invariably ‘gets’ it, before Nate does.
I love reading/writing the male POV and growing up with older brothers, I always try and put myself in their shoes. What techniques do you employ to get into the hero’s head?
It’s such fun doing the male POV, isn’t it? I feel cheated if I read a book that doesn’t include it. These mince pies are sooo good. Can I grab another, please? Pretty please? Thank you! Re techniques … I knew the questions from you lot would be tricky, LOL! It’s great though ― you are really getting me thinking here. Umm. It’s immersion I’m afraid. Complete and utter immersion and getting into the zone. I wish I had a technique that would fast-track that process for me ― a piece of music, an image ―or wearing a cravat and a pair of the kids’ plastic fangs J Unfortunately, it’s immersing myself in the story. It’s his story, his words, so once I have reconnected to it, I’m both in his head, and he’s in mine. It is a killer though when you finally get into the zone and have to abandon it to do the school run and then hope you can re-connect six or seven hours later when the kids are in bed.
Did you set out to write a trilogy?
No, not at all. I set out to write. To see if I could do it. First a scene. That was my challenge. But when Nate started doing his thing, it became a book. Well more than a book ― hence the trilogy.
Why vampires and faeries (and why is there an ‘e’ in faeries?)
Re the ‘e’ in faeries ― I think the word looks prettier, don’t you think? J It’s actually because that spelling makes it less like your traditional children’s story book fairies. There is nothing traditional about the faeries in No Such Thing.
Why vampires and faeries? It wasn’t a conscious decision. I am a fan of paranormal though and with my wanting the car accident to be impossible, it opened the door to the supernatural. Nate emerged as a vampire very very early on. He was appearing Darcy-esque albeit in a contemporary setting, he had history that seemed to be from another period in time ― and a vampire managing to crash a car, despite their phenomenal reflexes ― provided me with the impossible car accident.
Re the faeries. That was later on. Just as Nate remains in the dark re the faeries until later on, so did I. I knew they were something. But didn’t know what until all the pieces started coming together. The bend in the road, the May 1st date, the pendant, Aunty Hetty’s characteristics etc. And I kind of liked the vampires not believing in faeries too. Their non-belief helps remove some of the disbelief from the reader ― I hope. Does any of that make any sense? Not at all sure I am making myself clear ― sorry, girls! Sugar rush from the iced mince pies. I resisted buying any of these this Christmas so am proving to be a total pig now.
What sort of books have the power to send shivers down your spine?
Those I connect with. Those that touch on my fears. Those that scare me witless. Not that I can remember the last book I read, that gave me the shivers. How sad is that? It probably has something to do with my choosing to read lighter books at the moment. I like escapism, but, perhaps because I have to immerse myself so much in No Such Thing, I don’t want to be pulled in to something too much.
How do you juggle family life and writing?
Not very well, I’m afraid. I am hoping my juggling will improve with time ― particularly now that Christmas is out of the way. At the moment I am dropping balls left right and centre and don’t feel I’m doing anything as well as I want to. It’s hard ― as so many of you know. My writing has to come second to my boys. But that still doesn’t mean I manage to keep on top of the washing, the food shop etc. It’s the short amount of time I have to write during daylight hours, I find the hardest. Both boys are now at school, which is great. But by the time I’ve got back from the school run, answered emails, done social media stuff etc, I’m lucky to have 2-3 hours before I need to head off to collect them again ― barely enough time to reconnect. And then from that point there is no writing until at least 9pm. And then I’m knackered LOL.
I’m luckier than a lot though. So many writers have day jobs, too. I’ve not a clue how they manage it. They are evidently so much more organised than me. I have huge admiration for those expert jugglers.
Are there any other genres you would like to explore with your writing?
Oh yes! Thank you so much for asking this question. I’d love to write a Regency. I love that Georgian/Regency period of history. It’s not a coincidence that Nate is from that time. I have another MS before Choc Lit at the moment (nothing to do with vampires and faeries) ― but it makes reference to that time too. I’d also like a shot at a comedy romance. I’ve got the idea for one and am reckoning it would be such fun to write.
Ooh, a Regency and a RomCom – liking the sound of them! Is there one book you’ve read and wished you had written? If so, what was it about that book?
I don’t think there is. I can read a book, appreciate the skill and the plot and the characters, but I never wish I’d written it. If I had written it, it wouldn’t be the same book. Each one of us could be given a plot outline, character breakdowns etc ― and we’d all come up with something very different. I’m betting, even if we tackled Harry Potter! The sort of books I adore, are those where the author has managed a perfect blend – and in so doing allows for some magic to kick in. I’m not talking much sense again, am I? Don’t answer that ― your blank looks say enough! Pride and Prejudice, for example, has for me, that perfect blend. The story, the characters, the humour ― but it is what it is, because of Jane Austen’s voice. It was that whole blend, told through her voice, that created the magic for me. Okay. I’m going to stop now. Simple answer ― No, LOL.
Do you have any phobias and have they been written into your novel?
Eeek. Yes, I have phobias. Although I’ve kept the worst firmly out of the novel. I want to enjoy writing, LOL.
I can’t stand being underground. I can almost feel the weight of all the earth and rock above pressing down on me. I think it’s the idea that if it all caved in, I wouldn’t be able to get to the surface again to reach air. I need access to lots and lots of air. I have to always have some kind of fresh air coming into the house, even mid-winter ― and loathe staying in those hotels where you can’t open the windows. I feel trapped and get really panicky. It’s a similar thing with being underwater. I once, very stupidly, took a scuba diving course. I didn’t even get past the swimming pool stage. I remember sitting on the floor of the swimming pool and going into full blown panic because of the water above me that I’d have to go through before I could get to the surface and inhale real air. I just imagined myself not being able to reach it. It was ridiculous. I had breathing apparatus on and all I had to do was breathe through my mouthpiece but I just couldn’t handle it. I was very relieved I gave up that course though. I very smugly watched my husband as he undertook the next stage. He waded through mud to reach the water at the bottom of an old quarry ― complete with rusty old car wreck. It was the most foul brown water imaginable. And it stank. You should have seen what came out of his ear the following day when it unblocked itself. Sorry! Too much info. I clearly say too much around you girls.
Yes, sorry, it’s the truth serum we soaked the mince pie filling in.
One phobia that actually did get into the novel ― is Rowan’s fear of horses. They scare me stupid. Their size ― and their teeth. Just like Rowan, LOL. I’m looking forward to exploring that one further.
What celebrity would you most like to share a 100 mile taxi ride with?
George Clooney. I admire him a great deal. Stop wagging your eyebrows girls. It’s not just the lust factor. Okay. There IS the lust factor. But he is actively involved in some great things, and I can’t help but think he is a very very nice man. Stop laughing. I’ll have you know ― his birthday is the same day as my husband’s. But exactly a decade earlier. How spooky is that? But you see, it gives me complete legitimacy in my admiring the man. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. I can’t help but imagine what may have been if I’d been born a decade earlier LOL. Next life perhaps!
Can we come in the taxi with you then? Oh, wait. That would have to be one big taxi – let’s make it a stretch limo instead. What do you mean, no? [blows raspberry]
What is your view on a ‘Onesie’?
LOL. I cannot believe you asked me this question. [You should know us better than that] The big ‘Onesie’ debate. I have a friend who has one and she loves it. I understand how comfy and relaxing they are meant to be. Me? Not a chance I could relax in one. Not only would I end up looking like a Teletubbie ― I’d be thinking of nappies the whole time. Can’t help it. They just remind me of my boys when they were in their baby grows. I suppose you become completely asexual in them though. Great birth-control device.
What is your favourite colour pen?
Black. Strange, because if I’m honest, my initial reaction was red. But then I think of a job I used to be in and my reports being marked up with a red pen. Hated it! Actually, I am amending black. To that very dark blue ink you get with fountain pens. I love that colour! Is it indigo? Hope you know the one I mean.
Don’t worry, we know what you mean!
Champagne or strawberry shake?
Champagne. And I know whose question that one is LOL. Definitely champagne, even if it is a McDonalds more-like-melted-icecream shake.
Woods or forest?
Woods. Forests are too big and dark and easy to get lost in.
Cliff Richard or Johnny Rotten?
LOL. Now I’ve got Mistletoe and Wine playing in my head. Arggghh. Johnny Rotten!
Panto or ice show?
‘Oh yes it is’ or ‘oh no it isn’t’?
Ooooo. Tricky. ‘Oh yes it is.’
Are you left or right handed?
Ripped jeans or smart suit?
Depends who is in them. You still want an answer? Ach. Ripped jeans.
Salty or sweet popcorn?
Real or fake? (Christmas trees, although feel free to apply it to whatever takes your fancy)
Real all the way. And you can apply that to absolutely anything. I think. Eeek. That may have been rash. But yep. Will settle with that … for now. Ooo. Not tan. Must be fake tan. But properly applied.
Thank you so much girls! I’ve had so much fun. I feel like I’ve finally made it now that I’m here. I truly mean it. It’s a huge privilege. Thank you so much for inviting me. Now … Have those last bits earned me another mince pie?
It’s been so much fun having you here, Sarah. And, yes, help yourself to another mince pie. What do you mean, you already have? Hang on. Don’t move … that’s better. There was a pine needle stuck in the icing :-)
Links for Sarah Tranter
Blog : http://ramblingindulgences.blogspot.co.uk/
Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/sarah.tranter.73
Twitter : @sarah_tranter
Publishers : ChocLit Publishing
You can buy NO SUCH THING AS IMMORTALITY on Amazon in paperback and digital format