ALL FOUR KIDS: An Interview with Sandra Waugh, author of LARK RISING- Guardians of Tarnec Book 1

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Okay, so Sandra is debuting in 2014 not 2015, but she’s one of our awesome Fearless Fifteener members, and we have mad love for her! Here’s a little bit about her book.

lark-rising-coverLark has foreseen two things—she will fall for a young man with sage green eyes,and he will kill her.

Sixteen-year-old Lark Carew is happiest close to home, tending her garden and gathering herbs for medicines. But when her Sight warns her that monsters called Troths will soon invade her village, Lark is summoned on a journey to seek help from the legendary Riders of Tarnec. Little does she suspect that one of the Riders, Gharain, is the very man who has haunted her visions. Or that the people of Tarnec have called her there for another reason: Lark is the Guardian of Life, the first of four Guardians who must awaken their powers to recover four stolen amulets. Together, the amulets—Life, Death, Dark, and Light—keep the world in Balance. To take back the Life amulet, Lark will have to discover her true inner strength and give in to a love that she swears will be her downfall.

 

Lark Rising is, no doubt, one of the best fantasy novels I’ve ever read. Is fantasy something you’ve always been drawn to? When you decided to become a writer, did you know that would be the genre of your choice?

Wow—I’m honored, Kerry, thank you! Yes—fantasy is my passion, my escape. I must have read Grimm’s Fairy Tales a thousand times growing up. And I used to volunteer at the Children’s Library in my hometown, shelving books on Saturday afternoons. I would scour the stacks as I worked, looking for anything that would hint of something magical. I know authors who rightly say that everyday life is magical, but honestly the opportunity to step into a completely different world where landscapes and creatures, and opportunities can be anything you want them to be is irresistible. It is a world of wonder, and frankly where I feel more at home.

As far as being a writer—that was something that didn’t really come until the last six years or so. I set out to act, not write! But the best-laid plans don’t always work out the way you intended. I will say though, that words are as lovely on the page as they are spoken.

 

I had no idea you originally wanted to act. I hope you can make that dream come true as well! I’m a sucker for books with vivid settings and you’ve created a very detailed, magical world. Was it difficult to keep places—and characteristics of those places—straight in your head as you were writing?

The topography of LARK came pretty easily to me visually—the villages of Merith, Dann, the path, Castle Tarnec and of course, Dark Wood. I remember sketching a quick map when I started—I just knew what it looked like and where everything could be found. That said, writing SILVER EVE (Book 2 in the series) was when I realized I needed to create a ‘bible’ in order to keep all those details consistent.

 

Yep, I’m the same way. Mapping it out prevents unnecessary mistakes. And your world is so detailed, I can only imagine how much your “bible” comes in handy! The language and sentence structure in your book is lyrical, beautiful, and enchanting—like a professional ice skater who makes a triple lutz seem effortless. Is this something that’s always come naturally for you? I imagine, as a child and teen, your teachers must’ve complimented your writing often.

Actually, the last compliment I remember was back in sixth grade—I wrote something about Halloween! I was an English major in college, but the major had nothing to do with creative writing. Nor did I do graduate work or anything extra curricular pertaining to writing. So I guess whatever qualities I have are credited to being a huge reader growing up.

 

Seriously? Maybe you needed different teachers? LOL In the book, the main character, Lark, is a bit of a recluse. She prefers being alone to crowds, loves gardening, and her dog Rileg. How much of you, the author, lives in the character of Lark.

There are parts of me that I definitely drew from for Lark. I’ve been fairly shy my whole life, (though at least now I can fight through most of my terror at being in a party of strangers.) I ADORE dogs and really all types of creatures, do attempt to feed birds out of hand and leave carrots for the rabbits, thinking I’ll make a friend (not that it happens, though a wild turkey often visited while I ate lunch outdoors—hardly a glamorous image!). I will say that Lark battles a nasty vine called ghisane in the first pages. That comes straight from my own struggles in the garden.

 

Just from getting to know you online, I can tell what a gentle soul you are and am not surprised at your love of animals—nor the turkey’s love for you. Wish I could’ve been there having lunch with you! Okay, next question…I love hearing about how authors create. Do you have any habits, superstitions, or rituals that are part of your creative process? Do you write every day?

I aim to write every day, but being a mom takes precedence. That said, my habit is to work early in the morning before anything interferes. When I am stuck I exercise—mowing the lawn is one of my best times to sort out stories, story lines, or particular problems. My habit—my necessity—is tea. I can’t sit down until I’ve set a hot cup of tea on the table next to me. Superstitions? Hmmm. I don’t have actual writing superstitions that I can think of, but you won’t find me opening an umbrella inside the house.

 

As you know, our debut group is fearless. Can you tell our readers something you are afraid of and something you are not afraid of?

I am not afraid of real threats, but am very afraid of imaginary ones (so, for example if I take veggie scraps out to our compost at night, which is at the border of our woods), I am not afraid of running into a bobcat or bear (both of which come through the property on occasion), but rather what I imagine might be there in the dark, a la Blair Witch and the likes! Basically, I try to remember to dump the compost during the day.

 

This is actually quite amusing. Nothing wrong with keeping the compost on the counter till sun-up. Sandra, I’m so, so excited that your book is finally out in the world, and thank you for the chance to interview you about it. I’m glad to be one of your Fearless sisters! Hugs.

Fans, you can find out more about Sandra and her books on her website. Feel free to follow her on Twitter and like her Facebook page as well. She also blogs about some pretty cool things. But, most importantly, you can purchase her book at  Indie Bound, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, just about anywhere that they sell books. Believe me, you will want to own your very own copy of Lark Rising!!! Look for book two—Silver Eve—in Fall of 2015. Best wishes and happy reading!

Sandra Waugh greSandra Waugh #818 cropped final.w up in an old house with crowded bookshelves, in walking distance of an old library with even more crowded bookshelves. It goes without saying that she fell in love with the old house in Litchfield County, CT because of its bookshelves and she lives there now with her husband, two sons, and Daisy the snoring goldendoodle. Her debut fantasy, LARK RISING, is now out from Random House.

 

Kerry_Offiicial_Author_Photo_copyKerry O’Malley Cerra’s career as an author began at age five when she wrote her first story using crayons on the back wall of her family’s house. She later graduated with a Social Science Education degree from the University of South Florida—GO BULLS!—and taught high school history. After meeting her most awesome critique pals, she joined SCBWI, helped launch Whatcha’ Reading Now?, got an agent, sold a book, and the rest is history—which is her favorite subject ya’ know! Her middle grade novel, JUST A DROP OF WATER, is now out from Sky Pony Press. You can follow her on Twitter at @kerryocerra and purchase her book at any of these locations: Indiebound, Powell’s Books, Amazon, Books-A-Million, and Barnes & Noble.
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