Name Sarah Jane Butfield
A little about yourself `ie your education Family life etc
I am originally from rural Suffolk in East Anglia, UK. I was born in Ipswich, but we lived in small village called Stonham Aspal where I also attended primary school. We later moved back to Ipswich when I was in college studying my pre-nursing course. My nursing years were spent in Colchester, Essex and Liskeard in Cornwall. Later we lived in Australia and then France. I am a bit of a gypsy! After 28 years as a Registered General Nurse working in a variety of healthcare establishments, I am now a full time author and freelance writer which makes me very happy and pays the bills. I am also a mentor to debut and aspiring authors at Rukia Publishing where we provide a range of free services to help authors navigate the world of independent author book promotion and marketing. I am married, third time lucky! With 4 children and 3 step children, all grown up and spreading their wings into the big wide world, but always finding time to Skype or visit mum! I am also now a grandmother to two boys with a baby grand daughter expected in February, which is a wonderful feeling and I am truly blessed.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I have a new book currently on pre-order called, ‘Bedpans to Boardrooms.’ It is Book 2 in The Nomadic Nurse Series which documents my 28 year nursing career in a variety of health care settings in both the UK and Australia. Book 2 is set in aged care where, as a newly qualified nurse and new mum, I struggle to keep my personal and professional life on track.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I truly was The Accidental Author even though I always harboured the idea of writing a romance novel. My debut memoir Glass Half Full was originally written from my journals after the Brisbane floods in 2011 as a cathartic exercise to try and come to terms with the loss of our home, belongings and the roots to our Australian dream life.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I don’t think I really considered myself as a writer until I started to be invited to join writer and author groups and when I was invited to take part in my first book signing. to know that people are reading and have opinions on your writing is a humbling experience but to be able to meet them and talk about issues I have written about and how other people relate to them is quite a surreal experience.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
The first book in my travel memoirs series was inspired by my journals which I kept during our time in Australia and more importantly during the period of shock and adjustment after finding out that our newly renovated home had been totally submerged during the Brisbane floods.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I don’t know that I have a specific style although my books have been compared to Driving Over Lemons by Chris Stewart, so if you like his style you may like mine!
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The title if my first book Glass Half Full totally depicts the approach myself and my family take towards life and the challenges that it throws at us.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
All of my travel memoirs have an inspirational them, to motivate reader to believe that whatever obstacles occur in life there is always a way through and there is always something better waiting ahead.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
All of my books are true stories.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I have been an avid reader all of my adult life. I think I have been heavily influenced by my self published peers who have not only motivated me, but who have helped me to learn so much on my writing career to date.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
There are a number of new authors coming through the free services that we provide at Rukia Publishing in a variety of genres and I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to read their books ahead of everyone else. Authors that come to mind are Randy Williams author of Sherlock Holmes And The Autumn Of Terror and Margaret Daly author of Dusgadh.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
The Rukia Publishing social media team is a support that any author would be proud to work with and alongside.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I do now, but I think the word career is not really the best description for the work of a writer or author. It is and has to be a vocation as it is totally absorbing.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I actually enjoy revisiting my books to improve and enhance them with images, quotes and more editing.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Here is the background to Bedpans to Boardrooms
It’s the late 1980s and a newly qualified staff nurse is now taking on dual roles as she becomes a first-time mum. This additional role necessitated a rethink and some serious adjustments to her intended career pathway to enable her to juggle the roles of a nurse, wife and new mum. The mortgage rates were high so the option of being a full-time stay at home mum were out of the question and in all honesty, it was not what she really wanted.
The events that follow will see Sarah Jane unexpectedly enter the aged care sector starting as a staff nurse at a private nursing and residential care facility, funded by a charitable organisation, in Colchester, Essex. Sarah Jane had trained to become a Registered General Nurse in Colchester and was familiar with the nursing home and its reputation, yet despite this familiarity with the home and her local area, this new position immediately posed challenges as she moved from the relative safety of NHS hospital wards, supported by her peers and more experienced Staff Nurses, Ward Sisters and Matrons, to a role with greater professional independence and responsibility.
Here is an excerpt:
I awoke with a warm, damp sensation under my bottom and lower back. Thinking that I had wet the bed due my deep, drug induced sleep, I knew I needed to get up and deal with this situation. I looked at the white-faced clock on the wall in front of me and saw that it was only 2.20 am. As I moved, intending to head off to the bathroom to sort out my embarrassing accident, I suddenly felt a pressure on my inner thigh. I threw back the sheets, looked and screamed.
Carol, a buxom, African nurse ran in and also started screaming. Suddenly from behind her came a loud, assertive instruction. “Keep still Sarah! Carol, get the wheelchair; Donna call the labour suite and tell them we are on the way. Tell them to page the on-call anaesthetist and his team.”
Carol pulled the wheelchair close to edge of the bed. I was crying, fearing the worst for my baby, whose head I could now feel properly between my legs.
“Now let’s get you to the labour ward.” Carol spluttered, obviously still trying to regain her own composure after her initial outburst as she gently manoeuvred my legs to the side of the bed.
“Is the baby ok?”
“Everything is just swell, now come on with you.”
“I can’t sit in the chair!” I shouted.
“Yes, you can, I will position you, don’t worry.” Worry was not the word I would have used to describe my feelings at that moment. Hysteria would probably be more appropriate. As Carol and the ward sister pulled me to a standing position a student midwife, who had been watching this debacle from the doorway, suddenly lurched forwards. I don’t know exactly what happened in that split second, but I felt a tugging sensation as she grabbed the bed sheet and it disappeared from its role of covering my dignity. The next thing I knew she was sprawled beneath me. I felt as if my intestines had dropped from my body as a large squelch echoed and Carol screamed again.
The screaming was immediately replaced with a shout of, “I’ve got it!” From the student midwife.
“Bloody hell!” Donna shouted, as she rushed back from making the telephone calls, “You’ve had your baby, Sarah.”
I felt faint, my legs wobbled and a hot sweat came over me. They pushed me backwards onto the bed and I think I must have passed out for a minute or two because as my eyes opened, despite the room spinning I could hear Carol saying, “That’s it, placenta is out and intact.” I was shaking uncontrollably as they cut the cord and started rolling me from side to side to change the blood and amniotic fluid soaked bedding.
The next half an hour found me in the undignified position which involved me laying with my legs up in stirrups whilst the ward sister and the student midwife inspected and sutured various parts of my perineum which had been torn in the process of my baby making its unannounced, sudden, premature entry into the world with no labour pains or preparation.
Turning towards Carol I hardly dared to ask, “Is it alive?” No answer.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I do not travel specifically to write, but my travel memoir series does document our experiences as an expat family in Australia and France.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Since my debut offering with a cover I created in Picasa using a photograph from our time in Australia with overlaid text, I have updated and improved my covers with the help of Amalgada Design, Tabatha Stirling and The Black Rose, photographer.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Knowing how much to keep in without offending family and friends, but without cheating the readers out of the whole, true story.
Fiona: If any of your books were made into a film who would you like to play the lead
If my books were made into a film or television series I would love to be played by
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
The best advice I have for debut authors is – ‘get your author platform in position before you publish. If I had known this I could have saved myself over 6 months of hard work. For more on this feel free to download a free copy of The Accidental Author available at all good online bookstores books2read.com/AccidentalAuthor
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Read everyday and thank the authors of the books you enjoy with a review.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am reading the paperback, ‘The Darzoids’ Stone’ by Richard Smith, which is awesome and is a highly recommended young adult fiction book.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The first books I remember reading my childhood were the Peter and Jane Ladybird series, that went up in numerical order. However, as a child choosing my own reading books it has to be Enid Blyton Famous Five series of adventures.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I love watching romantic comedy movies for a good light hearted laugh, but in our family life my children and my oldest grandson make me smile everyday. Our two dogs also make me smile with their unconditional love and antics.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
I would love to meet Robert De Niro, who is my absolute favourite movie star hero. He must have so many fascinating stories to tell from his movie making career that I am sure I could listen and talk to him for hours.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
“She said she would and she did!” Because you have to have goals and dreams and you owe it to yourself to chase and achieve them, after all you live once!
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I enjoy family time with my children and grandchildren. We enjoy camping, walking and travel. In my own quiet time I enjoy cross-stitch and knitting.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I enjoy watching psychological thrillers or dramas as I like to try and work out what has happened before it plays out
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
My favourite food is anything spicy. I love Indian, Thai and Chinese food especially when eaten from street food vendors in the native countries.
My favorite colour is purple and I enjoy indie and pop music. i am a huge Maroon 5 and Robbie Williams fan.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
As I have been a nurse for 28 years before becoming a writer I think if I now had to choose something else to pursue it would be furniture upcycling and restoration.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
You can find detail on all of my books and the work I do for other authors on my websites below.
Support and networking for authors provided by Sarah Jane & the #RPBP Social Media Team:
Sarah Jane, the roving Florence Nightingale, has had a successful career as a nurse and used her nursing and later teaching qualifications to take her around the world. She is now the successful author of a travel memoir series set in Australia and France. In addition, she recently released the first two books in a series of self-help literature for aspiring and debut self-published authors: The Accidental Author, The Amateur Authorpreneur and The Intermediate Authorpreneur. Ooh Matron! Which was release on 14th September 2015 is the multi-award-winning book one in The Nomadic Nurse Series and is a highly popular read at all good bookstores.
Glass Half Full: Our Australian Adventure, her debut travel memoir, and the award-winning sequel Two Dogs and a Suitcase: Clueless in Charente, are regularly found high in the Amazon rankings in categories including; Parenting, Grief, Christian faith, Step-parenting, Travel and France. Her culinary memoir, Our Frugal Summer in Charente was recently voted as one of the ‘Top 50 self-published books worth reading in 2015’.
Author Sarah Jane Butfield was born in Ipswich and raised in rural Suffolk, UK. Sarah Jane is a wife, mother, ex-qualified nurse and now an international best-selling author. Married three times with four children, three stepchildren and two playful Australian Cattle dogs she an experienced modern day mum to her ‘Brady bunch’, but she loves every minute of their convoluted lives.