Winterview with Author Sara Bond

To celebrate 13 weeks of winter, Hàlön Chronicles will be conducting one interview a week for 13 weeks. Join us on the hashtag #13Winterviews, or check out our right-side blog hop to sneak a peek at all the wonderful authors and artists I’ll be interviewing in the coming weeks.

Hosted by: K. J. Harrowick

Without further ado, the best damn writer of crashing a spaceship through a planet’s atmosphere, Science Fiction & Fantasy Author: Sara Bond.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Born and raised in Atlanta, I am a southern tall-tale teller with a terrible poker face. So I write fiction.

I studied political theory at the University of Virginia, and though I did not complete my doctorate, I did develop a lifelong passion for the political. I dabbled in campaign management, but soon discovered the political questions I wanted to explore were more personal than could be expressed on the ballot. So, I began writing.

I am the mother of a tornado that currently takes the form of a two-year-old boy, though I find time to write with a combination of ceaseless insomnia and a relentless imagination.

What types of books do you write, and why?

I write speculative fiction. Science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy. Even when I try to keep it realistic, I drift into magical realism. You see, I like to write about political truths, identity, tough issues, and I always find an even thin layer of fantasy to establish distance allows me to write about them more truthfully. I try to keep it raw and real, and if you have a bit of sleight of hand happening to distract you and keep you entertained, it’s easier to write about the hard stuff.

What were your early influences, and how does this manifest in your work today?

Earliest influences are George MacDonald, L Frank Baum, and CS Lewis. I went hard for fantasy. Then I graduated to Christopher Pike, and I can still see his influences in my work. The calls to mythology and religion encouraged me to use fiction to explore how people work, to use stories to understand the world around me. I then went through a Heinlein phase and began to get heavy into philosophy and politics. Current influences are Patricia Briggs, Elizabeth Moon, Patrick Rothfuss, and Jacqueline Carey. I’m drawn to lush prose, immersive world-building, and stories that speak to more than just a fun plot with memorable characters.

Are there aspects of the craft that excite you more than others?

I’m one of the weird ones who loves the editing. Drafting can be painful for me; what I write never seems to line up with what I first pictured in my head, and just getting to the end seems to take centuries. But when I have a complete draft and I can start analyzing, I see the arcs, the symmetry and balance of it all coming together. Drafting is piling up a big pile of sand without discernible shape or meaning; editing is wiping away the excess, carving out the turrets, giving the pile structure and stability. When I start to see an actual castle in the mound, that’s when I start to get really excited about my projects.

What books or websites are your go-to places while editing?

Not a website, but definitely my best tool: SCRIVENER! I’m a devoted convert. I keep all of my research, my character sketches, my early drafts in one place. The split screen tool allows me to easily move from old versions to new, borrowing and cutting where I need it. I even save pictures and inspirations for easy reference.

If you’re committed to diversity in fiction, I also recommend Writing with Color. It’s a Tumblr with advice on everything from incorporating diverse cultural traditions to describing skin tone and hair. One of my latest main characters is biracial, and I’ve committed to getting it right. I’ll be using sensitivity readers and beta readers who have similar lived experiences to my characters, but I’ll also be sourcing from the Sensitivity Reader Database at Writing in the Margins. I’m writing the story both as a fun urban fantasy but for my son and any future children I may have to see themselves as heroes in contemporary fantasy.

Also, beat sheets! I use several to keep track of where my story has been, where it’s going, and where it should be. Jami Nord has compiled a great set of links to the best out there. I suggest you check them out and give your story structure.

Tell us about your writing space (music/snacks/interruptions/etc).

I’ve just moved to a new house, and could not be more excited about my office. It’s cut off from the rest of the house (and my aforementioned tornado). It looks onto the backyard. It’s got a gorgeous red desk and all of my books. It’s brilliant.

I usually write with some sort of beverage. Mornings, it’s coffee or Earl Grey. Evenings, I’ve moved onto wine or scotch for drafting, more tea for editing. I’m also a big fan of writing with music, and I’ve committed to making playlists for each of my novels. Delilah Dawson gives great advice about creating a playlist to get you in the mood each time you sit down. It helps you focus on your story. Incidentally, when you hear a song from your playlist out in the world, it can immediately get you back in writing mindset and start triggering new ideas and inspirations.

Tell us about your current WIP or your latest book release.

I am querying a space opera in the vein of Joss Whedon’s Firefly or Ann Aguire’s Sirantha Jax GRIMSPACE series. Basically, when Lena Lomasky’s crew is blamed for starting a war, a disgraced heiress turned spaceship pilot must decide whether their lives are worth trading for her current cargo: the plans for a gravity bomb that can kill millions.

While I try to sell that, I’m in the dreaded drafting stages of two other stories. One, an urban fantasy about a biracial fae with divided loyalties must track down a serial killer for her mother, the local fairy queen. The other I’m pitching as Practical Magic meets Army Wives. It’s a contemporary family about a woman who gets lost in her husband’s military world and finds her own power when she joins a coven of witches.

I’m terrible at keeping up a blog, and I can’t build a website to save my life, but I’m a frequent tweeter. You can find me there @saramuse.

Before you leave, don’t forget to check out all the amazing Winterviews Authors. 🙂

One comment to Winterview with Author Sara Bond

  • Maria Guglielmo  says:

    Awesome interview, and it’s so great to hear more about Sara! Love to hear from another Scrivener fan.

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