What is your favorite craft book?
I love the thesaurus books by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, particularly the Emotional Wound Thesaurus and The Conflict Thesaurus. These books give writers a great place to start for crafting character’s backstory and conflict/emotional responses to their current situation.
Which do you think is the most underrated craft book? Why?
The Careful Writer: A Modern Guide to English Usage by Theodore Menline Bernstein. I learned so much about grammar by reading this book (especially those tricky combos like lay/lie and then/than). While it’s out of print now, you can still find copies in used bookstores. It’s well-worth a buy to keep you on your toes with grammar (the glue that holds our sentences together and makes them readable!).
What is your favorite (or most anticipated) writers conference?
I enjoy one-day conferences more than several day conferences, mostly because my brain gets full rather quickly. But that’s not to say I don’t attend multiday conferences. This year, I’m hoping to get to Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference and maybe the ACFW national conference too.
What’s your favorite other source (YouTube, podcast, etc.) for writing tips/info?
I like to watch/listen to YouTube videos for writing info and try to watch at least one new one per month, especially for marketing/indie publishing. There’s always so much more we could learn, it’s tough to pick and choose which ones to partake of.
Who is your writing mentor/inspiration? Why?
I’m not sure I have a writing mentor, but for inspiration, I read a lot in my genre, Christian romantic suspense. I try to read a wide variety of authors in the genre to both keep up with current writing trends and to enjoy good stories.
What’s the worst writing advice you’ve ever received? Why was it bad?
Use Scrivener to write. My brain doesn’t work the way Scrivener is set up—more trouble than it was worth for me (and I was very glad there was a trial period, so I didn’t end up with buying software I hated). What I learned was it’s okay to try different methods of writing if what you’re doing isn’t working for you. What I was doing was working for me, so I should have just kept doing that, even though many writers love, love, love Scrivener. If it’s working for you, you don’t have to change the way you write.
What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
Try to write every day. The more you can write every day, the more your story will move along because you don’t have to reacquaint yourself with your story.
What would you say is the best writing tip for new authors?
To give your writing the best of your time, not the leftover time. I realized a few years ago I was leaving my writing time to the end of the day, when I’d done all my other work-related and family-related tasks. That meant I was tired and often didn’t end up writing because I ran out of time. I determined to give my fiction writing the best of my time and now start each day (as often as I can) with writing before opening my email and tackling other things. That has helped tremendously in making progress on my current manuscript.
What is your best self-editing tip or advice?
When you’ve finished the first draft, let the manuscript sit for a few days or more before going back to edit it. You need to create some distance between you and the manuscript so you can look at it with fresh eyes.
Please share your most encouraging tip for frustrated/discouraged writers.
Remember writing, like life, has seasons. Some seasons, the words will flow easily. Other seasons, each word on the page will be hard fought. Some seasons, the book contracts will come in rapid succession, while other seasons, you’ll struggle to find an outlet for your work. It’s easy to keep going when the current writing season is, well, “easy,” and hard when it isn’t. But if you’re called to write, then you’ll find a way through the tougher times to continue putting words down on paper.
Tell us about your newest release/upcoming release.
The Dark Reckoning is the conclusion of my Cold War Legacy trilogy.
A good deed turns into a search for a missing woman.
When Isana Thomas finds a smartphone among the cherry trees, her life is put in jeopardy. Isana discovers the phone belongs to Lillian Hillam, whose son, Cyrus “Cy” Hillam, works at The Heritage Museum with Isana. But Lillian is missing, and someone doesn’t want the pair to find her.
Cy can’t believe his mother would disappear without telling him, not after his father’s suicide when he was a child. Then kidnappers claiming to have Lillian contact him, asking to exchange her life for a list of names. Cy and Isana must delve deep into his parents’ past to find the list and save his mother’s life.
But someone doesn’t want them to succeed and will do anything to stop their search. Will Cy and Isana uncover the truth about the list before their lives are snuffed out?
Award-winning author Sarah Hamaker loves writing books “where the hero and heroine fall in love while running for their lives.” She’s written romantic suspense novels and nonfiction books, as well as stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul volumes. As a writers coach, her heart is encouraging writers. Her podcast, “The Romantic Side of Suspense,” can be found wherever you listen to podcasts.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002TIARBS