Sarah Sutton – YA Romance Author Interview

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What compelled you to tell the story/stories in your most recent book? (And specifically, why this genre?)

I’ve always loved the YA level of writing for the beauty of firsts. First loves, first kisses—first experiences are just so fun to write. Capturing the depth of a teenage mindset is so fun, because teens feel things so deeply. Everything is the end of the world or it’s the best day ever, and I love writing those moments. I’ve always been such a big fan of contemporary romance, either in books or fun rom-com movies, so whenever an idea pops into my head, I have to write it. It makes my heart truly happy.

What obstacles—either inner or outer—did you encounter while writing the book?

As far as inner obstacles, it was hard to nail the personality of my main character for this book. I couldn’t figure out how to blend her bitterness together with more positive traits to make a well-rounded character at first. This was also my first holiday romance, so that was also daunting. With holiday romances comes a shorter promotional period—no one’s going to want to read a Halloween romance in January, so knowing that this had a small promotional life was a bit scary too. But that didn’t stop my desire to get this baby out there—I just had to tell this story!

How has writing your most recent book changed or added value to your life?

It’s taught me that writing from my heart is the most important thing for me. Like I mentioned above, holiday romances do have a short promotional life. Like a vintage convertible, you wouldn’t drive it in the winter. But it’s something that brings you joy, right? This book is like my convertible. I’ll have it out for a few months and pull it out again next year. And that’s great. Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the marketing and numbers of it all, the “Will this sell, will I make a huge profit, is it even worth it” kind of mindset. But publishing IF THE BROOM FITS has reminded me that this is about the writing and the passion in the writing. It’s made me so much more excited for the stories to come.

Did you self-publish or did you go the traditional route? Why did you choose the route you chose, and what was that process like?

Initially, I’d chosen to traditional publish. Or, I had plans to traditionally publish. After a year and no offers, I felt discouraged. I give HUGE props to authors who can keep chugging along—I’m rooting for them from the sidelines! However, once I realized that I didn’t want to continue the query process, that only left one decision, right? Self-publishing. I remember freaking out. “I can’t self-publish,” I’d thought to myself. “I wouldn’t do it well.” And at the time, I was right. I knew nothing about self-publishing. So, to do it justice and to do it right, I threw myself into research about marketing and promotions and all things indie publishing. Honestly, looking back, I know absolutely that this was the route intended for me. All of the creative control, all of the freedom of deadlines—I love every single bit of it.

Are you friends with other writers? If so, how do they influence your writing?

I’m friends with other writers online, but none in my physical life. Those writing friends online have been absolute lifesavers, though. I host writing sprints on my YouTube channel every Sunday and Thursday, and my writing friends show up and we support each other, encourage each other. I have a few friends online as well who I go to with questions and they help me brainstorm. They help me push forward, cheer me on. I even have a few friends who help me proofread and beta read when those times come. I wouldn’t be anywhere without them!  

Do you maintain a regular writing practice? If so, what does it look like? If not, how do you stay engaged in your writing projects?

Yes and no. As I mentioned, I host writing sprints on my YouTube channel, so there I’m typically writing. I really get most of my best writing done at night, so I try to tune into my work-in-progress every night and get some done. I’m a single girl in my twenties, though. No kids, no other commitments, so I have a lot of free time on my hands, so I’m fortunate enough to choose when I write. I can write at night, in the morning, after lunch—whenever. So it’s not always a “regular writing practice” really. I suppose my regular practice would just be to write every day.

How many other books or stories do you have in progress right now?

I have two projects in the works at the moment—one is the beginning of the drafting stage and one is off with my copy editor. I don’t always work on multiple projects at the same time, but I’m liking the busyness of that practice. It keeps my mind constantly engaged!

Do you view writing as a spiritual practice?

Honestly, I never have before! To me, it’s like kicking back and unwinding. It’s like turning on your favorite movie and snuggling under a bundle of covers. It’s something that makes my soul just feel so happy. 🙂

What would your life look like if you didn’t write?

Oh, gosh, I don’t know! I’ve thought about that a time or two, what might my life be like without writing. Where would I be now? What career path would I have chosen for myself? And honestly, I have no clue. I’m not sure if I’d be in college pursuing a degree or jumping straight into the work force. I think because I’ve been a writer since a very young age—elementary school young!—that it’s so engrained in who I am. I can’t even imagine doing anything different!

Why do you write?

To be honest, I’ve been staring at this question for longer than I should’ve been haha! I suppose I write to liberate my mind. To spill forth the thoughts and murmurings that gather in my head and to see the story come to life on paper (or on Word doc). Because I see these characters, these stories, so clearly and vividly in my head that it’s almost like I’m watching a movie myself. To write them down is fun, but to edit the manuscript and watch the story evolve further is such a rush of joy. And to look at that finished product, to hold it in my hands? There’s nothing like it. There’s nothing like looking at an idea that broke free from your imagination. But I suppose I don’t write dreaming of the end product. I suppose I write because to not write is to surrender to insanity, and though I may be on the cusp of it sometimes—like when a deadline looms and I’m rushing to finish, or when I’ve got so many ideas in my head that it feels like my brain is about to burst—but I’m not quite ready to give into it fully yet. 😉 

Sarah Sutton is a self-published YA Contemporary Romance author from a tiny town in Michigan. She spends her days writing stories about teens falling in love with her two adorable puppies by her side being cheerleaders (and major distractions) or she’s probably taking a nap.