Hello everyone! I thought it would be fun to do a writer q&a. It’s been ages since I’ve done one! I chose the most fun questions I could find. I think it would be fun if you participated, too, and answered these questions. If you want to, you can copy and paste your answers in the comments below or create a post on your blog. Let me know if you do, because I’d be curious to read your answers!
#1. Have you ever considered using a pen name, and why or why not?
There’s a bit of a story to why I use my full name rather than using a pen name. While I always loved the idea of a pen name, I really like my own name. Sara Flower Kjeldsen has a ring to it, right? 😛 I met a new friend during my first year in college and he said that my name sounded like some rock star name and hoped that I would do something with it. When he said that, it sparked something inside of me. I’d always wanted to do something in the performing arts to some degree. I guess you could say that I met this friend at the right time – his kind words always stuck with me. Sadly, he passed away unexpectedly in an accident, but the light he spread to everyone around him will never die. It’s why I try to be encouraging as much as I can, because one kind phrase can stay with someone for the rest of their life!
The second part of why I kept my full name is because it became a controversial topic in my life at one point. I was tempted to tell the story here, but some things are meant for one’s personal life only. Let’s just say that once I was made to feel guilty for wanting to keep my name as it is – and I wanted it back so I got it back. XD So, Sara Flower Kjeldsen is here to stay!
#2. How long have you been writing and when did you start?
I’ve been writing stories since I was 5. The village public school I went to was thankfully very oriented to creative writing workshops. I went above and beyond the assignments and wrote several books on my own time – at one point my teacher asked me to stop because I was using up all the paper supplies they gave us to make our little books. Through my teen years, I did more drawing and I’d dabble in a bit of writing, but I could never bring a story past the first few chapters for some reason. Things changed when I read a young adult fantasy series when I was 26. When I was finished, I had this very strong urge to start writing my own fantasy book. I was in between jobs, so I was able to finish it within a couple of months. I haven’t stopped or looked back since. Once you really dive into story writing, the inspiration grabs hold of you and it never leaves.
#3. How do you develop your plot and characters?
I write in a linear fashion, so I experience the story as I go. To be fair, I often have the climax or the ending already figured out in my head and a general idea of the characters, but I like to write as I go to let the story reveal itself organically. Where do the ideas come from? Most times, I don’t really know, but I have an interest in historical fiction, so I think the books/films I’ve read and watched have helped shape my writing.
#4. When did you first call yourself a writer?
When I was 26 writing my first novel. Before that, I’d just dabble here and there. I did attend a writer’s group about a year before that where I experimented with writing children’s tales, but I didn’t see myself as a real writer until I was working on that novel. Funny how we do that to ourselves – we have our own definition of what makes us a true writer.
#5. How do you use social media as an author?
I use some accounts to promote and/or share my books. Twitter and WordPress are my two biggest accounts for my author brand. I also use a second Instagram where I post pictures of my books or my writing spaces.
#6. How many books have you written and which is your favourite?
I have published 14 books in total with a few stories that are finished, but not yet published (I may or may not work with them further). My favourite is … oh, this is hard to choose with so many out there now! If I had to choose only one to keep with me, it would have to be The Pup & The Pianist. I’m so proud of that story!
#7. Which of your characters do you relate to and why?
I’d say I relate well to Alfred and Sarah in The Suicides. They’re both INFPs (INFP is a Myers-Briggs personality type) and both represent different parts of me. Sarah in many ways is the old version of myself. Alfred represents the active part of me who calls out social injustice and fights for what he believes in. He’s the epitome of a male INFP. I’d also say that Zara in Shepherd Girl is much like me – I even based her loosely on myself. Of course, my life path isn’t anything like hers (Thankfully), but our personalities and how we process things are quite similar. “The Princess” in Write To Survive is based on myself and some of my experiences (Though not a literal account, of course).
Most of my other characters are very different from myself. Some people may project them onto me, particularly Mary in The Broken & The Foolish for some reason, but in reality she’s very different from how I act, perceive, feel, etc.
#8. How would you describe your book’s ideal reader?
This is such a cool question and it’s one I’ve never asked myself before! I always thought that my books were meant to reach certain people, but who would those people be? I’ll base my answer on the people who have read and connected well with my books so far:
I think my books’ ideal reader is someone who is highly imaginative and intuitive. They don’t need a lot of detail and descriptions in books, because they can imagine the situations easily. They feel deeply and enjoy deep thinking characters who are different from the status quo. The emotions often run deep in my stories, so someone who can appreciate that will likely enjoy my books.
#9. What was your hardest scene to write and why?
When a character does things that I would never do (Like killing), it’s always hard to write it, but I think from their perspective and in the time frame they’re living in to get through it.
#10. Would you and your main character get along?
I’ll base this on my most recently published book, Shepherd Girl. Zara and I would definitely get along. Our personalities are similar, but our experiences are different enough to make it interesting. She’s a mother and I am not. She’s a farmer and I am not. I’d love to spend a day out in the field chatting with her as we tend to sheep – and eat some of her good cooking. 😛 In turn, I’d share with her some interesting things about the future and she would know that her mindset and efforts in maintaining her peaceful personality were not in vain, because the world does get better. (I’d also refrain from telling her I’m the author who wrote her into existence. There would be some conflict there!)
I really should be more active on social media. One thing I’d learned from my first book wasn’t about writing it, but how important marketing actually is. Thanks for this post, Sara!
Yes it’s so key to Market and then keep marketing. Hard to do sometimes, but it can be fun thinking of creative ways to do it. 😊
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