Thank you for joining me for this exciting Author Spotlight!
First, a bit about Sarah:
Sarah Loudin Thomas grew up on a 100-acre farm in French Creek, WV, the seventh generation to live there. Her Christian fiction is set in West Virginia and celebrates the people, the land, and the heritage of Appalachia. Her first novel, Miracle in a Dry Season, released August 2014 through Bethany House. Book #2, Until the Harvest, released May 2015. Sarah is represented by Wendy Lawton of Books & Such Literary Agency.
A graduate of Coastal Carolina University in Conway, SC, Sarah once dreamed of being a marine scientist. But her love for words won out and she has spent much of her career in public relations and marketing. She currently oversees fundraising and communications for a Christian children’s home in Black Mountain, NC.
Sarah and her husband Jim live in the mountains of Western North Carolina with Thistle – the canine equivalent to a personal trainer pushing them to hike, run, and throw sticks. Sarah is active in her local church and enjoys cooking and – you guessed it – reading.
Until The Harvest – RT Book Reviews Top Pick – 4.5 stars – Tweet this!
Now for my interview with Sarah:
1) Have you always wanted to write? Do you use an outline for your stories?
I’ve always wanted to write, but it’s only in the past decade that I got the urge to write novels. They always seemed so LONG! But once you finish a 100,000 word manuscript and realize it’s possible, it seems less monumental. As for outlining, my outline pretty much fits on half a page of paper. I know where I want to begin, where I think I’m headed, and some key plot points. I write so I can find out what happens next. If I already knew, what fun would that be?
2) How does it feel being a published author? Have you encountered any surprises along the way to being published?
It feels AMAZING! I have to stop every now and again and remind myself I really do have books in print. It seems too wonderful to believe. At the same time, it really didn’t change my life as much as I thought it would. Authors are so accessible now and so many writers are “published” in some fashion, I think it makes it feel like less of a big deal to people. There are even some people <GASP> who don’t read.
3) Do you have a folder or a file where you keep future ideas for stories or do you just come up with all of your ideas after a suggestion from your editor/agent/friends?
Thus far it hasn’t been hard to come up with ideas. I grew up in such a rich, storytelling environment that all I have to do is think about family stories and take my pick! Right now I’m itching to write about a WV coal miner who barely survives a cave in (which happened to my great Uncle Harry). Of course, I take VAST liberties, just using family stories to seed my writing.
4) How do you find time for everything… writing, family, church, friends, etc.
I don’t! Something has to give. I think I’ve found a pretty decent balance, but I often have to make hard choices and say “no” to things I might LIKE to do but choose to give up for writing. Not having children makes writing possible. I have to say, I have a deep respect for writer moms!
5) Have you attended any writer retreats, conferences and the like? Do you think they are necessary – or helpful – for your writing?
You’ve hit on one of my favorite topics! Conferences and retreats are PRICELESS! I don’t think I would have been published if not for all the wonderful feedback I got at conferences and through contest critiques. If you’re a beginning writer, get to a conference ASAP! And let people read your stuff. Critiques can be tough, but for me it was the BEST way to learn.
6) What are you working on now? Is there another genre you are interested in writing?
I’m about to turn in book #3 in the Appalachian Blessings series. This one will be set in a more modern day and features Perla’s granddaughter as my heroine. Readers will finally learn what happened that summer Perla got pregnant with Sadie before she wasn’t married. As for genres, I say I write Appalachian Romance and I’m very happy doing so!
7) Many best-selling authors are self-publishing novels… would you consider self-publishing? What advantages/disadvantages do you think there would be in self-publishing?
For me, traditional publishing was the way to go simply because I don’t have the time to invest in the hard work of really high quality self-publishing. The editing, designing, marketing, distribution, and so on. I understand friends who do it because they want tighter control of the finished product and don’t want to wait on a publishers timeframe, but I hope to stick with the traditional route for the time being.
Here is Sarah’s book list:
Appalachian Serenade: A Novella
Delilah Morrissey has always wanted to be a mother, but when she becomes a young widow, that dream now seems farther away than ever. Unable to continue to live alone in Chicago, her only option is to accept her sister’s offer to move in with her family back in West Virginia. Will Delilah have the faith to pursue a new dream–even if it means giving up the old?
Includes an excerpt of Miracle in a Dry Season, the first full-length novel in the Appalachian Blessings series–a book New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber called, “Wonderful, simply wonderful.”
Miracle in a Dry Season – Released Aug. 5, 2014
It’s 1954 and Perla Long’s arrival in the sleepy town of Wise, West Virginia, was supposed to go unnoticed. She just wants a quiet, safe place for her and her daughter, Sadie, where the mistakes of her past can stay hidden. But then drought comes to Wise, and Perla is pulled into the turmoil of a town desperately in need of a miracle.
Casewell Phillips has resigned himself to life as a bachelor…until he meets Perla. She’s everything he’s sought in a woman, but he can’t get past the sense that she’s hiding something. As the drought worsens, Perla’s unique gift divides the town in two, bringing both gratitude and condemnation, and placing the pair in the middle of a storm of anger and forgiveness, fear and faith.
“Once in a while a new author comes along with a work that makes you sit up and take notice. Thomas has crafted a tale of this proportion.” – Library Journal starred review
- Selah Award nominee
- Inspy Award nominee
- Christian Retailing’s Best Award nominee
When a family tragedy derails Henry Phillips’s college studies, he’s left unmoored and feeling abandoned. Although Henry tries to find escape in bad company, the only things that can tamp down his anger and grief are the family farm, his fiddle, and sweet but unusual pre-teen Mayfair Hoffman.
Unfortunately, Mayfair’s older sister, Margaret, with the freckles and cute, turned-up nose, has the opposite effect. Worse, she’s his grandmother’s housekeeper and helper, so she’s always around and ready to push his buttons. At first he thinks she doesn’t care about his loss, before beginning to understand she’s facing her own struggles. Mayfair’s health and unique gift sit at the heart of those worries, and Henry and Margaret soon find themselves relying on each other as both Henry’s future and Mayfair’s life are put at risk.
This followup story will delight readers of Thomas’ previous novel, but, it reads perfectly as a standalone as well. – RT Book Reviews Top Pick – 4.5 stars
COMING IN 2016!
The Secret of Being Content
Ella Phillips’ life is just about perfect—until her fiancé leaves her for another woman. She keeps the truth from her family for months, fearing they’ll see her as a failure. But when her beloved Grandma Perla suffers a stroke and can’t speak, Ella rushes home to help. She’s always had a knack for understanding pre and non-verbal communication, so she confesses her secret and stays to help nurse her grandmother. Of course, Pastor Richard Goodwin and handsome Davis Markley make her choice a little easier.
Perla Phillips has carried a secret since she was eighteen years old. While family and friends know her oldest child, Sadie, was born out of wedlock in 1949, no one knows the father’s name. Perla sees her granddaughter struggling for perfection and decides to share her secret so that Ella will know God can use even the biggest mistakes for good. But before she can reveal what happened during the summer of 1948, she has a stroke.
Sadie Phillips adored her stepfather and never wanted him or her mother to know she secretly longed to find out who her real father was. When she realizes Perla could die without revealing his name, she determines to discover the truth. Still single and nearing retirement, she takes a sabbatical from work to nurse her mother and dig for secrets.
Three generations of women carry secrets. Will they have the courage to share their hearts with one another? Or will the truth remain buried forever?
Thank You Sarah… and God bless you!
Today’s the last day to enter Sarah’s GIVEAWAY contest!
God bless you!
© 2015 DJ Mynatt