Name: Sara Daniell
Age: 31 (32 in May!)
Where are you from: Arkansas
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc:
I’m a mom of two girls, married to my best friend for almost 14 years (we were high school sweethearts), I have too many animals: Great Dane, Boston Terrier, Mountain Curr (which is my hubby’s outside dog), two cats, and a leopard Gecko. I love anything that has to do with being outside. Lover of the beach and mountains.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I just found out that three Barnes and Noble’s here in Arkansas are going to start carrying my books and have invited me to do book signings over the summer and early fall! SUPER pumped about that! I will be signing copies of my most recent release, Under the Owl Tree. It is a YA Contemporary Romance/Realistic Teen Fiction.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I have always loved to write. For the longest time I was a closet writer. I didn’t know how to talk about my passion for it and really didn’t think anyone would think it was “cool”. So… I hid it. I didn’t go public with it until my best friend and husband told me to do something with my writing. Now… here I am. 🙂
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
That’s a funny question. I honestly don’t know. After writing and publishing several, it still feel surreal that I actually have written books and I’m a writer. But, the truth is, I ‘ve always been a writer. I’ve always expressed myself with pen and paper… So, I guess I’ve considered myself a writer since I was old enough to pick up pen and paper.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I think it was a song. When I listen to music, it inspires me on so many levels. I can hear one word or several… or it could be the way the music sounds. But I remember hearing a song and that’s when Holly Nather was born. A Life Unexpected was my debut novel and inspired by a song.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
After writing several books, I have finally figured out my style, which can change depending on a story. But overall, I am a realistic silver-lining author. I write the nitty gritty, sometimes not-so-happily-ever-after stories. I put my characters through hell so that when they do grow and change, it’s significant. I love writing stories that aren’t perfect but show how the characters find happiness and love in those not-so-great times.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Under the Owl Tree is my newest release. I came up with that title because there are secret meetings between two lovers under the Owl Tree. The Owl Tree is a huge part of this book because there is an Owl in it that appeared after the death of a character in Summer Seventeen & You. It’s symbolic to the afterlife. So, that’s how the title was created.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Times are hard. Life will not always be perfect and things can get really messy. But, keep going because happiness could just be a page away.
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 I think stem from past experiences, people I have interacted with, and other events I’ve been a part of. A lot of my books are just pure make believe too. I think it’s an even mixture of both realistic experiences and make believe.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Oh wow. This is always such a hard question. I have so many books that I could name but it’d take me all day. And as far as a mentor, I have to say it’s my publishing team at BHC Press. They are rock stars and have my back. Greatest mentors ever!
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?
MicaleaSmeltzer, K.K. Allen, Colleen Hoover, Molly McAdams, and Amanda Hocking. I love their stories because they seem so real. I love getting done with one of their books and having book hangovers because I miss the characters so much. They all have one major thing in common: a way with words. They know just how to tug at my heartstrings and leave me wanting more.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My publishing team at BHC Press. Seriously, I can’t say enough good things about them.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, very much so. But more than a career, it’s a passion I’m hungry for.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Yes and no. I mean, as a writer there are always going to be things we want to change because with every single book we grow and evolve. But, no because when writing that story in that period of my life, it was perfect then. If I went back and changed it now, it wouldn’t be right.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I have always been better at expressing myself through written word than speaking. I have always loved reading and telling a story, so playing make believe was always something I loved to do.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Under the Owl Tree
“How are you?” I laughed when he looked at me oddly. “Seriously. How are you Zach Shaw? Or is it Zachary?” I turned and sat indian-style so I could face him. “Answer it honestly. I feel like so many times people ask that simple question and we lie because it’s easier than spilling out everything, ya know? So… how are you?”
“It’s Zachary,” he smiled a little. “And I’m making it. I’m stressed out and alittle-” he stopped and looked at his hands.
“A little what?”
“Scared.” He looked at me.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Everything. It’s all challenging but so rewarding. It’s never easy to write a story, especially when I know it will be published. I never want to let my readers down, so if I had to pick the biggest challenge, that would be it. But I always write to tell the story that feels right to me, even if my readers hate me. 😉
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not until recently, but mostly because I kept myself “off the market” as far as faraway events go. But this year and in 2018 I will be doing a lot of traveling for signings.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Blue Harvest Creative, the design team with BHC Press (my publishers).
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Finishing it. I never want to say bye to my characters.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Life is unpredictable.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead
An Unfortunate Journey (YA Dystopian/Romance), and I would want Orion Draper played by Taylor Swift. I know you think that sounds silly, but that girl would be awesome for her. Oh, and Plath… he would most definitely be played by Milo Ventimiglia (better known as Jess from Gilmore Girls).
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write and tell the story you want, even if it pisses everyone off.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
THANK YOU A THOUSAND TIMES! I couldn’t do what I do if it weren’t for all of you.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Freeks by Amanda Hocking
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The Nancy Drew series. I remember starting with number one and being hooked.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I laugh when I’m pissed and cry when I’m happy. I laugh when things are funny too. I’m backwards.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Martin Luther King Jr. I know we hear so much about him and we already know so much, but I just would love to meet the man who made such a huge impact and difference in our nation. A man with that much bravery is a super hero. I can’t stand prejudice. I want to be able to listen to him tell me how to be as brave as he was and stand up for what is right no matter what – even if it means death.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
I hate thinking about stuff like this, but knowing me, I’d have something stupid/funny… It could say: Finally getting the sleep everyone told me I needed.
Everyone is always telling me I’m too busy and need to rest more… so that would be appropriate. HA! 🙂
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Camping, reading, being a beach bum, hiking, spending time with my family.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Parenthood, Gilmore Girls, This is Us. LOVED Sons of Anarchy.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Pizza. Green. Everything.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Special Education Teacher, which I also am now.J
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
www.saradaniell.com – official website
www.bhcpress.com – publishers website where you can find info about me and other amazing authors