Tuesday, 19 February 2013

A Chat with Sarah Louise Smith

I have invited fellow Crooked Cat author Sarah Louise Smith to chat with me today. Sarah has recently published her first novel, the lovely chic-lit tale "Amy & Zach". 

Meet Amy & Zach
Amy has moved to the US in order to find her real father, but she hasn’t quite worked up the courage to do so yet.
Then she met Zach, who swept her off her feet. They fell in love, fast. But Zach has a secret with the potential to ruin everything.
As Amy prepares to return to England for her sister Libby’s wedding, Zach drops a bombshell. Amy is furious, so she hides his passport and flies alone. But Zach’s secret isn’t her only worry. She will see Tim again – her sister’s fiancĂ©.
After he finds his passport, Zach heads to the UK to surprise Amy. 

He wants to apologise and finally meet her family. He knows he has a lot of explaining to do. But just what will he face?
Amy & Zach take it in turns to share their tale with you. They will reveal all, and may surprise you, in the end... 

Hello, Sarah, and thank you for talking to me today. 
Thank you for having me.
Tell us a little about your writing journey, when you started and how you got to publish your first novel, “Amy & Zach”.
I have been writing stories since I was a child, and it was always a dream to just complete a novel, let alone have it published. Once I’d finished, I started approaching agents and publishers and lucky for me, Crooked Cat liked it and took me on.
“Amy & Zach”, published by Crooked Cat, follows two people as they meet, fall in love and get to know each other and their respective worlds. What inspired you to write the story? What is your personal experience with two different cultures coming together? 
I read a lot of different genres but my favourite has always been romantic comedy/chick-lit. I like a fun read and always prefer the first person narrative, so I decided to write something I knew I’d enjoy reading myself.
I used to work for a company whose HQ was in Boston, MA, and half of my teammates were based there, so I visited a couple of times and dealt with Bostonians regularly. This helped me to set the scene and have a good idea about the different cultures, etc. 

You chose to write the novel in the first person, alternating between the two main characters’ point of view. How did you find writing from two different perspectives?
I really wanted to let the reader know what the hero was thinking and feeling, as well as the heroine. It was difficult writing Zach’s point of view; partly because he’s American and I’m British, but also because he’s male! But I think it gives the story a bit more insight and allows the reader to get to know him as well as they do Amy. So it was difficult, but fun. 

What do you think makes a great chick-lit novel?
My favourite chick-lit author is Paige Toon and she ticks all the boxes for me; her novels are always in the first person, which, for me, means I really identify with the main character. Her novels are also fast-paced with serious issues and humour at the same time. I think chick-lit needs to be realistic, not too ‘fluffy’ and easy-going to read, with a happy, satisfying ending for that feel-good factor.

Like Amy, you are obviously an avid reader. What do you enjoy reading mostly? Which authors would you say influenced you as a writer?  
I read quite a variety of genres, but mostly chick-lit. As mentioned above, Paige Toon is my favourite, although I only started reading her recently so she didn’t influence my writing of "Amy & Zach". I also love Lisa Jewell and Marian Keyes.

Apart from writing and reading, what else do you enjoy doing?
Walking, I have a golden retriever so we go out most days. Travelling; I’m always counting down to my next holiday, and cooking – I’m an experimental cook, always looking for new recipes.

And finally, what’s cooking in your writing pot?
I’m currently working on my second novel, untitled as yet, which is a completely new story. A few people have asked me about an Amy & Zach sequel. I’d never planned one but after being asked, I’ve started to consider how that might this space!

Thanks for coming along. All the best with “Amy & Zach” and your future projects.
Thank you Michela! :)
"Amy & Zach" is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

You can find Sarah on her  website

And on Twitter

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