I’m talking with Sarah Vance-Tompkins today. She was born in a small town in northern Michigan. She lives in a suburb north of Los Angeles with her husband, The Handsomest Man Alive, and three very naughty cats. Two years ago after she was laid off from her job as a social media manager, her husband gave her the opportunity to stay home and write in the spare bedroom. It was a dream come true.
Sarah received an MFA in Film Production from the University of Southern California and went on to work in feature film development at Lightstorm Entertainment, The Ladd Company and USA Films, among others. Prior to film school, she wrote and produced radio and television commercials. She has worked as a reporter for a weekly entertainment trade publication, as well as a freelance journalist and movie reviewer.
She is a member of LARA RWA, the Contemporary Romance RWA, and Young Adult RWA. Her first published romance was a short sexy contemporary Christmas story, Celebrate Me Home, with Books-To-Go-Now in December 2014. Her first YA novella, Kisses On A Paper Airplane, received second place honors in the OCC-RWA 2015 Orange Rose Contest in the novella category. It will be published by Inkspell in Summer 2016.
CC: What gets you in the mood to write?
SV-T: It usually takes me a few minutes before I’m able to find my groove when I sit down to write. Sometimes music can be a great way to nudge my imagination into taking flight. If I’m really stuck, I walk away and read. I’ve found over and over again that reading is the best cure for writer’s block. It always makes me want to write again. And I have to say there is no better feeling than when you’re completely lost in a scene you’re creating. I love it when my characters take over and tell me what they think rather than the other way around.
CC: Where do you write?
SV-T: I write in a big brown leather chair in the spare bedroom. It is filled with all of my favorite things. (Yep. There ARE a lot of books in here.) It is always sunny and warm and you can count on a constant parade of cats. Because of the cats I can’t close my door all the way.
CC: If you could meet one author to have dinner with, living or dead, who would it be?
SV-T: I would love to have dinner with Agatha Christie at Greenway, her country estate in Torquay. It would have to be a semi-formal occasion, with polished silver candlesticks on the table and the French doors open to the outdoors on a warm summer night. I started reading her murder-mysteries after devouring every Nancy Drew I could find in the library. Her books were grown up but sexless, and I wasn’t ready for sensual themes Daphne DuMaurier or Victoria Holt, but I couldn’t get enough of Dame Aggie’s murder mysteries. I did a report on her in the sixth grade. Her interests included archeology, local theatre, and…surfing. Not kidding. She was a pioneer of the sport, which warms the cockles of my Southern California heart.
CC: Have you written characters that are someone you know?
SV-T: I frequently use real people — people I know in real life and celebrities — as the jumping off point for characters I create in my imagination that end up populating the stories I tell. Let’s just say that several of my exs have been used as models for antagonists in my stories. It’s a good thing I had such bad taste in men for so long…
My YA novella, “Kisses on a Paper Airplane” features a red-haired Brit pop star as the hero. Which will surprise no one who knows about my May-December crush on Ed Sheeran. My story is completely fictional, of course. Or you could call it “wishful thinking.”
CC: Is there a genre you haven’t written, but would like to explore?
SV-T: I would love to write a mystery. I have always carried a torch for mystery novels. Nancy Drew and the Bobbsey Twins were some of the first books I read and there is nothing like a good ‘Whodunnit’ to make me turn pages until the very end. Writers who build engrossing tales that leave me guessing until the very end absolutely amaze me.
Be sure to come back next Wednesday when we’ll be chatting with V.S. Morgan