Name Sara Barnard
Where are you from Texas, but our forever home is Oklahoma
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
Well, I have four amazing children, an amazing husband, three goofy rescue cats, three silly rescue dogs, seventeen Easter egger chickens, and a “tiny” herd of Nigerian Dwarf pygmy goats. Oh, and four Betta fish. I am 15 hours into my MA in Fish and Wildlife Management, am a certified elementary teacher, this year am a stay at home mama, and was most likely born into the wrong century.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I have lots of good writing news. My newest release is titled The Bank Robber’s Lament, from Prairie Rose Publications, and I have two forthcoming works. Old Amarillo (Amish Journeys #1) is coming atcha September 3 from 5 Prince Publishing and the final installment of the Saga of Indian Em’ly middle grade Native American series is coming at you this summer from Painted Pony Books.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I have been writing since the third grade, but began writing for publication when my husband was deployed to Afghanistan on his last deployment. From that hellish experience, my debut novel was born – A Heart on Hold, book one of the four book Everlasting Heart series.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I have actually always considered myself a writer, but never an author until lately.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My husband’s last deployment was the inspiration behind A Heart on Hold and my first paid anthology submission – Cheyenne: Charlie Company Sweetheart, a piece about my husband’s adopted Afghani dog.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I really don’t – I try to just write something I would like to read and make it enjoyable, witty and a bit sarcastic . . . like me.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The Bank Robber’s Lament, my new release, titled itself. My books and characters are bad about that . . . they do their own thing and I am powerless to stop them!
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
In all of my books, from my short stories, to my anthology pieces, to my four book novels—I include something my readers can take away, a silver lining for them to hold on to, despite whatever bleak situations they may face. If my characters face the problem, that means I have faced it as well – and overcome. Whatever my readers can take away is the message meant for them. ❤
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
All of my books are heavily laced with truth. The Bank Robber’s Lament is based loosely on my honest to goodness bank robbing grandpa while Old Amarillo features two different sets of families who were very real at the time, as well as some characters you will probably recognize, like Wyatt Earp, Quanah Parker, and Clay Allison.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Most of my books are a blend between my own life experiences and history . . . but I like to give a happy ending despite what the history books say.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
That’s easy. Lonesome Dove, hands down.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Right now, I am focused mainly on my writing projects but when I do read, it is something amazingly deep like TOOT or 100 FIRST WORDS or DORK DIARIES.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Ann Swann, Kristy McCaffrey, Cheryl Pierson, Christine Steendam, Sarah Galloway
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I have a million literary irons in the fire. The top of my list is capped by my memoir followed closely by some contemporary romance anthology submissions and all of my follow up Amish books. J It is going to be a wonderful year!
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My readers, the people I will never meet but who take time out of their day to leave a review of my work that touched them in some way. Especially those who follow my releases and read them all – thank you!
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Oh yes. And an obsession!
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not a thing :0)
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
When my beloved tomcat was run over in 3rd grade and I wrote an essay about it. It won an award and was read at the PTA meeting.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Here’s a little bit from my upcoming work, OLD AMARILLO.
Katie was just about to step into the buggy when a slumped figure from the side of the saloon caught her attention. She recognized the severe part and tuft of bangs in an instant. “Excuse me, Mr. Allison?” She took care to keep her voice low as she approached him. Squatting down in the mud, she could hear his muffled sobs. “What’s wrong?”
“Hi, Katie darlin’. They won’t put me in jail.”
Katie looked hard at Clayton. “What did you say, Mr. Allison?”
“Sheriff won’t put me in jail. I killed a man last night, and I even walked into the cell myself but fool that he is wouldn’t lock the cell door.”
Katie sucked in her bottom lip as the town of Vinita slowly came to life around them. “Well, forgive me for asking, but…” Katie let her voice trail off before she asked a question she might not have wanted to know the answer to. Giving over to her curiosity, she continued. “Why did you kill him?”
Clayton stretched out his legs in front of him and hung his head. “He called me an Indian Lover and drew down on me. I agreed with him and told him I wished I hadn’t brought the Comanche in to surrender.” He looked up from the mud, depressed and seemingly helpless. As well as hopelessly drunk. “Then I handed him one of my guns to kill me with.”
Not knowing how to respond, Katie stared at Clayton before shifting her body and motioning for Peter to join her.
“By this time we were in the street,” he continued. “Durn dude, he threw my pistol back at me! Then durn thing discharged. Killed him dead. Now the ole sheriff is sayin’ self-defense.” Clayton pinched the bridge of his nose in such a way that a passerby would think the weight of the world rested on the young man’s shoulders.
Katie glanced back at Peter. Sure enough, he was unsuccessfully hiding the smile that flickered on his lips like a candle flame.
“Well, I have never heard of such a thing,” Peter said. “And I’m sorry Mr. Allison, but I have to agree with the sheriff. It sounds like you’re innocent.”
“He is innocent,” a strong-featured man proclaimed as he marched up, fully sober, from the red dirt street. With a sincere smile, he offered his hand to first Katie, then Peter. “Howdy folks, I’m Bill White. This here’s John Threepersons.” He motioned behind him to a tall, lanky man, dark-skinned, with a flat top hat.
Katie nodded. “Hello, Bill. John.”
Peter nodded at the men, an amused twinkle overtaking his eyes.
Leaning together as though choreographed, the men pulled Clayton out of the mud and hauled him to the horse trough that sat in front of the saloon.
“Ma’am, you may want to avert your eyes for this,” John Threepersons warned. Then, he and Bill White proceeded to shove Clayton’s head under the slimy, brackish water.
Katie gasped and looked at Peter. “Should we do something?”
Peter watched as the two men yanked their friend up by his collar. “Sober yet, Clay?” Bill called.
Clayton shook his head and babbled something about just going on and drowning him. “Again,” the mystery friends agreed before dunking him back under water.
From behind his hand, Peter spoke Pennsylvania Dutch. “I don’t think there’s anything we can do that these men haven’t already thought of, Katie.”
Clayton’s voice rang out, watery and loud. “I’m sober now you yellow-bellied sapsuckers!”
John Threepersons grinned, revealing one missing front tooth. “I declare you sober.”
Clayton shook the horse spit out of his hair over the dusty road. “Forgive the theatrics Peter, Katie.” Gesturing, he asked, “Have you fellows met Peter Wagler and Katie Knepp?”
Stone drunk and upset and he still remembered both our names?
“We met Clay,” Bill assured him. “Saloon keeper told us you were out here having a good cry ‘cause the sheriff wouldn’t arrest you.” He shot a pained look to Katie. “John and I hurried over to see if there was anything we could do.”
Something tells me this isn’t the first time these two men have come to Clayton’s rescue.
Clayton tilted his chin skyward, a proud grin on his unshaven face. “No sir, I already done it.”
Bill and John exchange a look. “What’d you already do, Clay.”
Straightening his vest, Clayton began to explain. “Well, when the good sheriff wouldn’t keep me in jail, I paid a visit to the widow.”
Katie licked her lips. “What widow?”
“The wife of the man I killed last night.”
Bill sighed. “You didn’t kill him, Clay. It was a fool accident. Everybody says so.”
“Anyway, I paid her a visit. I apologized, and I gave her my ranch.”
Bill and John shook their heads in unison. They’ve been friends with Clayton for quite some time. Katie followed Peter’s lead and attempted to hide her smile behind her hand.
“It was the right thing to do,” Clayton attested. Producing a comb from the pocket of his vest, he proceeded to groom himself in the saloon’s front window.
Bill closed his eyes. “Oh, Clay. Please say you didn’t.”
He turned his head, checking his reflection from every angle. “All 10,000 acres of the Rockin’ R, down San Antone way. And all the cowboys to work it now belong to the widow of—” Clayton stopped combing as a look of absolute horror overtook his face. “Boys, I don’t even know the feller’s name I kilt.”
Bill and John exchanged a knowing look.
Replacing the comb, Mr. Allison resembled a banker more so than a gunfighter. Or a murderer. Or even a drunk. “I killed her husband Bill; it was the least I could do.”
“Did you marry up with her too?” Jim asked. From his tone, Katie couldn’t tell if he was kidding or not.
“No, I’m already married boys, you know that.” Clayton’s eyes glassed over. “Excuse me fellas, Ms. Knepp, but I have to go.”
Bill flung his hands up. “Where you headed to now, Clay?”
Hurrying down the dusty street with his six guns still strapped to his hips, Clayton Allison offered only a slight glance over his shoulder as he called out his reply. “I have to beat that widow woman to the Rockin’ R. I ought to be the one to tell my wife I just gave our ranch to another woman!”
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Finding the time to write is my challenge. My muse is pretty cool, hangs out and waits until the laundry is done, kids are asleep. But once in a while, I need sleep too!
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Larry McMurtry is my favorite author, I love his characters. All of them, but Gus will always be my favorite.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I have been blessed enough to travel a bit, but not near as much as I would like. All of my travels were wilderness and military related.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Livia Reasoner and Viola Estrella do the magic.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I taught 6th grade while I worked on these, so that added a huge degree of difficulty.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I have learned that the more I write the more I WANT to write. I need more hours in the day.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just write. Fiction, nonfiction, how-to, articles, for contests, try out all the genres. You WILL be surprised at what you find out . . . I am daily!
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
A book about Bert and Ernie going to the grocery store.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Laugh, my kids, especially my youngest (who is 4) singing and dancing to Uptown Funk. Our baby goats also make me laugh daily. As for what makes me cry, what humans do to themselves and to animals gets me . . . I am not a crier either. But sometimes something will strike the right cord and I will bawl like a heifer.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Yes, my relative who came to the United States from Scotland in 1745 in the bounds of white slavery after rising up against the king. Heck, all of my relatives from back in the day would be cool to meet! I would LOVE to meet them!
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
I actually gave this as an assignment and got some seriously creepy answers. I found my most fitting epitaph would be NOT QUITE THE END. Now, onto the best part . . .
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
History and my family, research and genealogy.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Dr. Quinn, Touched by an Angel, Naked and Afraid, and Fat Guys in the Woods. All of the Lethal Weapons, anything with Jet Li . . . except for Romeo Must Die. Tombstone, Restrepo (because my husband is in it)
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Mexican food when my stomach can handle it, green because it is the color of life and of nature, and I love Van Morrison, Weezer, Bruce Springsteen, and whatever my kids listen to.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I have had a host of awesome and strange jobs and I have always been a writer in conjunction with them. However if my entire life had taken a different path, I would have liked to have been a forest ranger. Or an Alaskan bush pilot. I dropped out of nursing school to marry my husband and join him at his Army base in Italy. I sometimes feel I should have stayed in nursing school, but none more than when I got my own cancer diagnosis one short year ago.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?