Interview with Sarah Schartz

Who are your favorite authors?
Nevada Barr and Tony Hillerman are the authors whose work I admire most. I love reading them and they are my fall back authors to re-read when I can't find anything else. I'm an Oregonian born and bred, so I have shelves of books about the history of my state. The three Oregon authors (both in residence and topic of writing) I enjoy most are Rick Steber, Jane Kirkpatrick and Diane Goeres-Gardner. These three vary on the spectrum of fiction to non-fiction, but all of them have a knack for taking real life and weaving it into a story that you can't put down.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I distinctly remember sitting in our elementary school library in about second grade and our librarian (Billy Cook - who is also an author) instructing us how to write our story on these little mimeographed chap book pages and illustrate the story in the squares provided at the top. The cover was pink cardstock and it was all stapled together. I remember it was about a squirrel that ran away and that I couldn't spell squirrel (I still have to spell check it).
What's the story behind your latest book?
In Jr. High, my dad took me to this place called Millican, Oregon to ride dirtbikes. I'm not even sure how he found out about it. At the time, the trails were pretty primitive and there was very little if any maintenance done to them. But I fell in love. He took me and my brother back year after year. When I graduated from college I searched out jobs on motorized trail systems. There were three job openings around the state of Oregon for someone with my degree working on motorized trails. I applied and interviewed for all three. I was offered one in Forest Grove and one in Prospect. I turned them both down, because I wanted to work on the trails at Millican. Finally, the funding came through and I was offered my dream job.

Central Oregon holds a special place in my heart and I wanted to write a story about the place I love and the activity that is my most favorite. All that to say, that the places in my story are real. People that have been to East Fort Rock OHV Trail System (EFR) will likely wonder where the trail and camp names came from. The camp names are those that we called the places when I worked there but are completely un-official. The trail names I made up. All the trails are numbered but that didn't suit my purpose in the story. I tried to use names that described the trails so that people who have been there would know what trail I was talking about. There are two exceptions - Larsen's Loop and Sarah's Trail. The first is named for my good friend and mentor and the second is the first trail that I designed and laid out that actually got built. What's the point of being an author if I can't take liberties?

The people are figments of my imagination.

There are snippets of events that actually happened to me while I was working. For example the interaction with the law enforcement officer pointing out all of the gun releases and explaining protocol if we got shot at and the meeting with the rider that was a sexual predator actually happened and the feelings I wrote are pretty much what I was feeling at the time. Also, when Dakota was recounting her favorite ride - that is my actual best ever ride (minus the real ending which involved packing my bike across three-foot deep snow drifts.)
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Usually when people ask what I do I say I'm a stay-at-home-mom. It's much simpler than the real answer. The truth is that I homeschool my son when I'm home and on the road when we're working. My husband and I own an excavation company. We do all of the traditional stuff like driveways and utility ditches but we typically get one large trail job each summer that takes us away from home. We've worked just about everywhere in Oregon - the coast, the desert and the mountains. I also raise sheep which just happens to play a role in my work-in-progress.
Published 2014-06-24.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Threatened List
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 61,880. Language: English. Published: July 2, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
Dakota seeks respite from her abusive boyfriend on her dirt bike in the Oregon high desert. Did he sabotage the trails, leaving Dakota disfigured? Was it a co-worker? A zealous environmentalist? Will Dakota find out who’s stalking her before it’s too late? When she’s secreted off to her stalker’s home, she fights back. Her escape plan might cost her life, but it’s a price she’s willing to pay.