Interview with Sawyer Belle

Published 2013-09-19.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes! The first story I ever wrote was in first grade and it was my first dabble into historical fiction. I wrote about the travels of Christopher Columbus, but I wrote about it from the perspective of his fictitious pet dog, a Beagle named Amerigo. I did all of the illustrations as well, and I still have it!
What is your writing process?
Before I ever write a word, I know pretty much how I want the story to go. I have spent months learning my characters, thinking them through different scenarios to get a handle on how they'd act and react to the various twists and turns I'm going to put them through. Every writer is different, but I like to outline. However, I write an outline with the expectation that my finished product is probably not going to look anything like it.

So, after months of thinking about people, places and plot twists, I research and research and research. The fact is, by the time I've actually begun writing, the process has been underway for probably close to half a year. I tend to fly through the actual writing. I'm not one of those people who agonizes over perfect sentence structure and flow in the first draft. I usually just have so much storyline pounding in my head that I need to get it on paper.

Then, the last and most difficult part of the process for me: editing. I spend as much time, if not more, editing the book as I do thinking about it beforehand. Here is where I look for the obvious grammar issues. I also look for plot holes, anachronisms and uniformity, balance and general entertainment value. So, for me, it is safe to say that I probably spend about a year on each project.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I remember reading a lot of stories from a very early age, but the first story I ever remember having an impact on me was Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. I was eight years old when it came out and I read through it quickly. I was always fascinated by history as a youth as well, so this story was doubly impactful. It made me think about human nature and human strength and I cried for days when I finished it.
How do you approach cover design?
It is art, but it is also advertisement. It has to be aesthetically pleasing, of course, but it has to strike appeal in the first second it is viewed. Those two are the most important parts, but I also think a cover has to reveal a bit about the story and the characters. I don't know about anyone else, but it really bugs me when the people, setting, etc. on the cover look nothing like the elements in the book.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Only five?! Oh....this is going to be hard...

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky- because he is just a brilliant anthropologist with the gifts of both insight and articulation

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - because she shows great command of the English language while blending wit and sentiment in a way that is appealing and affecting

The Last Valentine by James Michael Pratt - because, oh my gosh, it ripped my heart open and I loved it

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens - Anything by Dickens is an instant favorite for me, but this story is just such a classic that it blends the genius of Dickens with nostalgia

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott - because I have sisters and understand the dynamics she wrote of, but also because I think she was one of the first great American writers and her novels are wholesome glimpses into a bygone age of America
What do you read for pleasure?
I only read for pleasure. Right now, I am reading a nonfiction account of the Buccaneers of America, a nonfiction on The French Revolution, a nonfiction called The Dark Room about a WWII family, Roughing It by Mark Twain, and a Marsha Canham romance novel. :-)
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I've only tried the Kindle and I like it all right.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Las Vegas, NV. Born and raised, and my childhood was very eventful. So, I used books a lot as escapism. After high school, I moved up to northern Nevada for three years and fell in love with it, hence why it is featured in several of my books. It's rich in character and history in a way that Vegas could never compete. Don't get me wrong, I love living in Vegas now. It's a much different place when you're an adult in charge of your destiny.

As a teenager, I also spent my years in the Utah mountains, wrangling horse rides and had many golden adventures. It's where I learned everything I know about horses and it has been an unending source for the horse-action in my books.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I love writing, but I think that writing can do more than entertain. I try to bring history to life in my historical fictions. I know that simply because I find history fascinating, it doesn't mean that everyone else is going to. So, I try to write in a way that others will appreciate the dramatic events of our great human history.

Also, I try to write about that bottomless mystery: the human heart. I can relate to every love story I've written in some way or another, and I hope that my readers can say the same. So, in essence, the "story" behind my books is the same for each. It's about dramatic love, laughter, life and the entaglements therein. Okay...and it's about hot guys that we'd all like to snuggle up with.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
My friends and family motivated me, actually. I've always written stories for them, never once believing I could be a successful author. When I got older and aquired a family, providing for them became my main priority, which sadly, puts the pursuit of your dreams as a way of living on hold. The indie world offers people like me an opportunity to get their work out there and let the public decide its worth. It's not my life. It's my passion. In some ways, I prefer writing without the burden of it paying my bills. When you need the money, you tend to sacrifice your craft for the sake of making money. This way, I can write what and how I want.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I'll let you know when I become successful. :-)
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Telling stories, bringing people and places to life and feeling like they are a part of me, touching readers and giving them an entertaining break from everyday stress.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm a huge outdoorswoman. My family love to camp, hike, and fish. I am also a runner. Living in a place that has almost-perfect weather ten months out of the year is perfect for these activities.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author or publisher.

Books by This Author

Big Sky Eyes
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 100,770. Language: English. Published: September 19, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
First love is the most powerful, but it can also be the most painful. For Brent, it is beyond reach and beyond hope. For Mackenna, it is worth fighting through the barriers of fear, distance and timing. In spite of everything keeping them apart, their hearts are joined and determined to prove love's greatest quality. Its endurance.