Today I am pleased to introduce you to Author Sarah Burhman. Sarah is an AuthorGoddess, one who embraces the divine honor of creating worlds with words in the hope of inspiring others. Sarah has been writing for more than 20 years. She lives in a magical land with two monsters (the kids), an ogre (the hubby), and whatever drama-llama is coming to visit this week. Sarah is the author of Too Wyrd, book 1 of the Runespells series, and the Life 101 series. She has short stories and essays in several anthologies, including Visions IV: Space Between Stars, and Chasing Fireflies: A Summer Romance Anthology.
Please Introduce us to your Blog. What is it all about? What sorts of posts do you lean towards?
Sarah the AuthorGoddess (https://authorgoddess.blogspot.com/) is about my journey as an author. I talk about things in my life that affect my writing, how I develop characters, and the struggles of marketing on a shoe-string budget. I seldom do promo posts, though it has been known to happen.
What Inspires and stirs your creativity?
I am inspired by people. I write fantasy but, first and foremost, I’m writing about people’s lives, struggles and relationships. I love to explore how people interact in different situations, how they react to things, what motivates them. I think that is the core of my writing.
Conversely, what do you find difficult to write about?
Not much is off the table for me. I’ve written about my psychological traumas, deaths in the family, bitterness and anger… It’s all fodder for me.
What Message, if any, do you hope to Share through your blog/posts?
Compassion, respect, understanding… These are the best qualities a person can have, but life doesn’t happen without scars. We need to know we are not alone, and we need to be able to go through things without it making us into something mean.
How has your blog helped you as a writer/Indie Author? What things have you learned along the way that you never anticipated?
Oftentimes, I blog as a way to get my thoughts into a coherent idea. I’ll take how I feel about something and just try to get it out there in a way that makes sense. It helps me to really analyze my thoughts and what they mean to me and to my writing.
Tell us about your book(s):
The Runespells series starts with Too Wyrd. Nicola is a pretty normal woman, but she gets thrown into this really crazy situation. She ends up being tapped by the Norse gods to be the hero for their quest, but she isn’t the Chosen One or anything. Just the first person who has the necessary skills to come along. All she wants to do is get home, but her sense of responsibility keeps her on her path, and her snarky attitude keeps everyone on their toes.
My most recent novel, Fluffy Bunny (due out Nov. 30th), is the 2nd of the Runespells series. It deals with a lot of physical and psychological torture when Nicola joins a cult at the request of the Norns, and gets caught up in their brainwashing techniques. She ends up going through a lot of trauma that will come back in future books.
What Inspired you to write your book?
The Runespells series is based entirely on a dream. I knew the moment I woke up that there was a great story there, though it took me a while to figure out what it was, exactly. I really wanted to do a kind of magical-realism, female protagonist version of the Dresden Files (which is one of my fav series), and the feedback so far is that I’ve succeeded.
From what Point of View do you prefer to write? Is there a reason?
Not really. I wrote the Runespells from 1st person POV. I felt that 1st person was the best way to really cover the internal nature of Nicola’s adventures. Most of my other stuff is 3rd person, but I try to steer away from omniscient POVs. I think that half the fun of a great story is the surprises and twists that the reader can experience along-side the main character.
How would you describe your “Voice” or Style of writing?
I use a lot of really deep descriptions of experiences, such as emotional reactions, how it feels to regain consciousness, etc. I don’t do so much on environmental descriptions, though. I set the scene and give enough info to give an idea, but I let the reader fill in a lot of those blanks. I believe that people’s imaginations take them to where they need to go just fine, and the exact nature of the couch a character passes by in a hotel lobby isn’t all that necessary. I write in a minimalist style that way.
I love dialog and much of it has a very Gen X/modern sarcasm feeling. I also tend to write in scenes, so I have a lot of breaks in my writing.
What genre do you prefer to write or are you truly eclectic?
I love fantasy of all kinds. I write everything from sci-fantasy (sci-fi with a little “unrealism” to it, like X-men) to paranormal romance, to steam/mage punk, to urban fantasy. Generally, I stick to stuff that is very “magic in a modern setting” kind of thing, but there’s very little that is off the table for me. Some day, I may even do a western…
Do you painstakingly plot out your story; are you a discovery writer or a bit of both? Why?
I’m a plotter. I have a 9-point outline that I fill in with details as I need. Most of the actual writing is flexible, and I sometimes end up writing a scene in a way that changes where the story is going. It’s all part of the process. My outline is my guide in the deep dark woods of my mind.
I used to do full “discovery” writing, but the only thing I discovered was that I could write forever without going anywhere. I need to plot or I have no direction to my writing. I totally respect “pantsers” but that’s just not how my brain works.
Do you have a favourite or least favourite character? And Why?
Not really. I like all of my characters… that’s why they are there. Even the villains are wickedly great. Bob is the most sadistic person, and everything he touches gets tainted by him. Zaro is the closest to a least favorite. He’s such a smarmy, narcissistic jerk… but he’s so good at it. Nicola is probably my favorite, but Joseph and Hound Dog are pretty close. And then Huginn and Muninn are just awesome…
Share an insight or secret about your book(s).
In the Runespells, Jehovah and Satan show up. While you might think you know who “they” are by the end, you would be mistaken. This is a big aspect of the series story arc, which brings in a lot of lesser-known stories from Norse mythology. This ends up being a multiple unmasking of Scooby-doo proportions.
What do you feel is your best advice to share with other aspiring authors?
Just do it. You might not be great at first. None of us are really great at first. Do it anyways. You won’t get any better just sitting around wishing. This is a skill that takes effort and hands-on experience. And you’ll fail more times than you care to. That’s part of it, too.
Would you like to share an excerpt from the book or a poem or two to give readers an idea what you offer?
I stepped into my bedroom, my thick black hair still dripping from my shower, and froze at the sight of the three women waiting for me. The shock of finding someone in my room drained the heat of my shower from my body. Then I saw – really saw – the women, registered their appearance, and I felt a deep horror wash over me, numbing my limbs the way I imagined a mouse felt seconds before being swallowed whole by a snake.
The women were neither young nor old; not pretty, not ugly. They were average-looking women until I met their eyes. They looked at me in a slightly off-focus way, like a blind person, meeting my gaze without really seeing with those gray-ringed pupils that I found myself staring into.
I felt a slight burning on my chest, and I reached up to touch one of the four silver sigils hanging from my neck by a length of the chain that bound Fenrir Odinslayer, the monstrous wolf-son of Loki. The sigils were Runespells, my souvenirs from several months ago when I won a race for the powerful amulets.
After searching for my missing step-sister, I ended up fighting demons for the Runespells to keep a horrid man, not-so-good ol’ Bob, from using them to cause trouble in the form of starting Ragnarok, the Norse end of the world. I wasn’t sure how Bob would have done that, but I knew that Ragnarok was supposed to begin when Loki gets angry and breaks free from his chains to lead an army of Jotun, fire and ice giants, against Asgard.
None of that would end well.
I stopped not-so-good ol’ Bob, fought off the demons, found the Runespells, and spent half a week in the hospital afterwards. My reward was to keep the Runespells, so I could use them in my search for the other fourteen missing sigils. Some prizes aren’t worth the trouble.
As my fingertips grazed the sigil burning my skin, information flooded my mind, telling me about the god-creatures before me, and I understood why I’d felt such primal fear at their gaze.
The women before me were not gods, after all. They were stronger than the gods. They were god-creatures that I would never want to anger or insult. They were beings that I would normally think long and hard about dealing with before I would even consider bringing myself to their attention. But I didn’t get a warning. I didn’t get any time to prepare for them.
They were the Norns, and they had come to see me.
* * * * *
They spoke, all three at once, with the same words, but each had a different rhythm and sound to her voice. The effect was uncomfortable in a way that made my ears hurt and my soul flinch.
The one standing closest to the door, to my right, had a voice like a snake shedding its skin in dry leaves and dead grass. Her voice was slow and even. Unstoppable. It sounded parched and brittle, reminding me of the death before rebirth. She seemed to be the oldest with a dull, scaly look to her skin.
The middle one stood straight upright, her face ageless and severe. Her voice was firm, a clipped monotone, the way I imagined a single-minded cybernetic creature would sound while explaining with cold logic that the human race was to host the next generation of their kind, and that fighting this fate would be a waste of energy.
The last of the three lounged against my dresser with bright, languid eyes and a small, unpleasant smile on her large, moist red lips. The sound that passed those lips was that of sweaty sex mixed with the bloody squish of a blade thrust into a human abdomen.
“The Weaving is threatened. Souls are not passed on as they should be. The half-corpse will cut short threads needed to form the Pattern. You will restore the balance.”
I clutched the towel wrapped around my torso, holding it close around my body, defensively, like the energy I had drawn up in a reflexive shield. I opened my mouth and croaked out a wordless sound.
Damned gods. They just showed up and did their best to scare the crap out of you – and, to be fair, they did a good job of that. Then they just had to speak in riddles, as if making something even harder to understand was part of their job description.
Annoyance helped me swallow the dryness in my throat so I could speak, and I fell back on my usual defense. Sarcasm. “Can you say that again, this time without the code-talk for us mortals who haven’t taken Cryptic Godspeak 101?”
As soon as the words left my lips, I realized what I’d done. Horror drained the little remaining warmth from my body. I clamped my jaw shut, snapping my teeth together on the tip of my tongue. I tasted blood and my shoulders sagged in defeat, certain my lippy-ness had finally gotten me killed.
Now, lets talk a little About YOU:
If you had to describe yourself to someone who has never met you, what might you say?
I’m an introvert, and I’m funny. I’m pretty darned smart and I love double-speak. If you ask my opinion, I’ll give it to you. If you tell me about yourself, I don’t judge, though I do analyze which is a very subtle distinction. Most of my friends describe me like this: “She’s the Sarah.” I think that means I’m unique, though I’m not really sure sometimes. You might love me, you might hate me, but you’ll always be surprised.
If you could meet one person from the past, who might it be and why?
Elizabeth I. She had guts and smarts and she wasn’t afraid to break tradition to do what needed to be done. I don’t agree with all of her choices, but at the very least she wasn’t about to be intimidated by her circumstances. I’d like to ask her what her motivations were for the choices she made; what her thoughts were about all of it.
When you are NOT writing, what is your favourite pastime?
Reading, of course, and I enjoy puzzle games: Sudoku, 100 Doors, etc. Most of my time, however, is spent managing my family and their schedules, needs, etc. We plan a lot to minimize complications.
Describe Your Dream Getaway Destination. Have you ever been there? What makes this place Irresistible to you?
I would like to travel Europe, visit India, and take a cruise to Alaska. I love northern climates, vast mountains, natural wonders, etc. I want to see them all.
Do you have a Mantra?
Just keep swimming… (LOL I see you’re a fellow Dori fan J )
We all encounter difficulty. Take a break if you need to, but then keep going.
What “Charity” or “Cause” do you feel passionately about & Why?
Wow. Um, most of them. I’m a total bleeding-heart liberal activist on everything from class inequality to autism, to environmental issues, to LGBTQ+ rights, to racism, etc. It’s hard to pick just one, so I get spread pretty thin that way. I believe that all people have the right to a chance for the best life they can have, to be the best version of themselves they can be. And we all have a lot of work to get to that point.
Thanks so much Sarah for stopping by and sharing your time and talent with Booknvolume. It’s been wonderful getting to know more about you
Please be sure to visit Sarah at her social places: