What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
I have enjoyed creating stories since I was a little girl, playing with my dogs in the backyard. I remember all through school, I wanted to be a forest ranger … we would take our aptitude tests and I would answer all of the questions so that it would point to “outdoors career” but whenever it came to talking about the classes about making that happen, it was all science-related, which made me kind of turn up my nose. I kept writing all the while, winning a contest here, being published in the school paper there. It wasn’t until my husband deployed to Afghanistan and I had three little kiddos at home that I seriously put pen to paper. Once I started writing, I felt that all of the chaos that came with my every day life kind of made sense out of itself once I got it down on paper (or typed into a Word document). I began my novel, A HEART ON HOLD, at that point and a mess of other short stories and kid’s stories. Now, I finally feel at peace!
What genre(s) do you write?
Children’s Nonfiction, Adult Historical Romance, and Children’s Fiction.
What genres and authors would we find you?
I would be honored to be on the shelves among literary greats such as Lucia St. Clair Robson and Larry McMurtry with my adult historical romances and Sandra Boynton with my children’s books.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I faced many challenges writing A Heart on Hold (Book One of An Everlasting Heart series). First of all, Dear Hubby was deployed so that was an emotional roller coaster in itself. Secondly, I underwent surgery for a malfunctioning thyroid gland soon after beginning work on it. Then, I kept writing through my husband’s homecoming, a cross country move, the buying of a first house, epic PTSD-related breakdowns, the birth of baby number four, and another cross country move to our present duty station in the historic Oklahoma hills. Then came the three rewrites!
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
A pantster in fiction, all the way! I love writing the stories because the characters take on a life unto themselves and I am living and experiencing the adventures and adversities they face right along with them! I am plotted in nonfiction.
Why do you think people should choose your books over another author?
They shouldn’t. They should choose my books AND the other authors!!
What do you hope readers take with them after reading one of your stories?
Life experience, a feeling of hope, and happily ever after.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Perseverance, faith, trust. Oh yeah, and above all, LOVE. Love for Him and for him!
How long have you been a writer?
For as long as I can remember! I won my first writing contest in the 3rd grade and constantly came up with adjectives that described my animals. For instance, when I was eight, I remember we Sevin-Dusted our dogs. My dog, Callie, went bounding through a giant white spot of Sevin dust and I recall thinking “And Callie bounded happily through the Sevin dust …”
How much time did it take from writing your first book to having it published?
I began A Heart on Hold in 2008 and it was published in 2012.
What other careers have you had?
A wildlife biologist intern catching and removing snakes, counting bats, and tracking mountain lions; selling cancer insurance; Army wife; mommy of four; media relations specialist; legal secretary; courthouse researcher; and book acquisitions assistant!
Do you write under more than one name? Why?
No. I write what I won’t mind my children reading someday. I want people to know that it’s me!
Are any of your characters based on real people or events?
Yes. In my children’s story “The Big Bad Wolf Really Isn’t So Big and Bad”, the narrator, Cocoa, is based on my late wolf-hybrid of the same name. In A Heart on Hold, Sanderson is based on two people: Captain E.A. Adams of the Confederate Army who really died in Alton Confederate Prison, after lasting longer than most of his comrades, three days before the war ended; and my sweet husband. Cotton is based on my eldest son, while the three children Charlotte has to rescue is based loosely on the rest of my children. Minerva is based on my best friend, Rochelle, while in Charlotte, I tried to show a little of myself. In all honesty, Jackson is based on Jackson Rathbone’s character in Twilight.
How would you describe yourself if you were “speed dating” your readers?
My name is Sara, I love reading, writing, traveling, animals, my family, and trips to town. (We are country folk.) Larry McMurtry and Lucia St. Clair Robson have molded me as much as anything. Once I got out of my horrendous teenage years, I fell in love with school and excelling at subjects I enjoyed and learning as much as I could about those subjects I didn’t. The core of my soul though is centered around the conservation of our natural resources and wildlife.
What’s something fans would find fascinating about you?
My passion for animal rescue. All of our cats (four of them) and all three of our dogs are rescued animals with a story all their own.
What else would you like readers to know about you or your work?
I am a metal head. At work, I received a call from the management representing some eighties hair metal bands who want to write books about their lives. When the management official told me their names, I squealed like a groupie. Sheesh.
What books or authors have most influenced your life?
Ann Swann, because she is my mother and her writing has captivated me since I was small.
Stephen King. I don’t read horror (mostly because I read the newspaper and that is horrific enough), but my mom’s collection of his works surrounded me as a child. I remember looking at the book covers and the way they smelled and looked on the bookshelves in our southwestern-decored home … and that will always be home to me.
Larry McMurtry and Lucia St. Clair Robson, for obvious reasons.
How do your family and/or friends feel about your book or writing venture in general?
Everyone is very supportive, particularly my sweet mama. While I believe her writing blows mine out of the proverbial water, she insists we simply have different writing voices.
Where are you from?
Odessa, Texas, land of the most beautiful sunsets in the world! I have called New Mexico, Georgia, Alaska, Italy, Colorado, and Oklahoma home, as well.
How do you come up with the titles?
My books have always sort of named themselves, if that makes sense.
Has your life changed significantly since becoming a published writer?
Yes, it has gotten busier! But in my quest to become published, I learned many tools of the trade with I believe has helped me grow and evolve as a writer. I flatter myself to think (hope?) I have gotten better.
Do you work on one project at a time? Or do you multi-task?
Oh I multitask!!
When not writing, how do you relax?
Relaxation? What’s that? I work full time, write, and raise a family alongside my husband. Plus, I try and get outside as much as possible to remember what life is all about.
Please tell us 5 miscellaneous facts about yourself.
I was almost a guest on The Next Great Baker.
I used to dance at Powwows.
I watch mostly nonfiction nature shows if I have control of the remote … if I don’t, it is either Pocoyo or jail shows.
I am trying semi-hard to learn French.
I have been accepted to graduate school in hopes of earning my Master’s degree in Fish and Wildlife management.
OTHER INCLUSIONS TO ACCOMPANY YOUR INTERVIEW
Please share with us your future projects and upcoming releases.
I have several children’s books under consideration with 5 Prince Publishing including CHUNKY SUGARS, an infant book, LITTLE SPOON, THE BIG BAD WOLF REALLY ISN’T SO BIG AND BAD, and THE THREE LITTLE JAVELINA’S: THE THREE LITTLE PIGS, TEXAS STYLE.
Books 2 and 3 of AN EVERLASTING HEART series are coming, too. A HEART BROKEN and A HEART AT HOME.
I have several other titles in the works as well: another children’s chapter book for my daughter, more nonfiction plants books, and some more historical family dramas.
Please share any links you would like listed in the Interview. Website, Myspace, blog,
facebook, yahoo group etc.
Pen Name: Sara Barnard
Book Title: A Heart on Hold
Series Title: An Everlasting Heart
Number in the series: 1 of 3
Book description as it will read on the back of the book:
Charlotte’s lips only took a moment to find those belonging to her beloved. He tasted faintly of molasses and she was immediately drawn into the warmth of his embrace. Their bodies were perfectly pressed together, fitting as though one had been divinely made for the other, as Sanderson’s kisses trailed from Charlotte’s lips down her neck.
Her hands found his softly stubbled face and guided him back to her lips. With his strong arms around her, she’d never felt more safe. Or more vulnerable.
War. Devotion. Deceit. Death. How long can a heart hold on before it breaks? Most women would carry on with their lives after being thrust into widowhood, but not Charlotte Adamsland. Upon learning that her husband, Captain Sanderson Redding, was killed in a botched escape from a Confederate prison in Illinois, she clings to his promise to return to her no matter what, and quickly heads north through a war-ravaged country with only her faith in God and her beloved horse to bring her beloved Sanderson home – one way or another.
Author Bio: Sara Barnard
Sara Barnard is a military wife whose own heart has been on hold more often than not. She holds her B.A. in History. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies, including REFRACTION (Marble Press, 2010), THE HARSH AND THE HEART: CELEBRATING THE MILITARY (Silver Boomer Books, 2011), CAMPFIRE TALES (Coolwell Press, 2012), and will appear in an upcoming Canadian anthology titled LIFESTYLES. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and Abilene Writers Guild.
In addition to reading and writing, Sara loves helping her children with their homework, spending time outdoors with her family, and traveling.
Sara, her husband, and their four beautiful children live in the historic Oklahoma hills along with their three rescue dogs, two cats, two rescue kittens, eleven chickens, and one awesome horse.