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A Conversation with Sarah Remy, author of ‘Stonehill Downs’

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Sarah RemyWe’re happy to be hosting Sarah Remy today at Beyond the Books! In 1994 Sarah earned a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from Pomona College in California. Since then she’s been employed as a receptionist at a high-powered brokerage firm, managed a boutique bookstore, read television scripts for a small production company, and, more recently, worked playground duty at the local elementary school.

When she’s not taking the service industry by storm, she’s writing fantasy and science fiction. Sarah likes her fantasy worlds gritty, her characters diverse and fallible, and she doesn’t believe every protagonist deserves a happy ending.

Before joining the Harper Voyager family, she published with EDGE, Reuts, and Madison Place Press.

Sarah lives in Washington State with plenty of animals and people, both. In her limited spare time she rides horses, rehabs her old home, and supervises a chaotic household. She can talk to you endlessly about Sherlock Holmes, World of Warcraft, and backyard chicken husbandry, and she’s been a member of one of Robin Hobb’s longest-running online fan clubs since 2002.

Her latest is the fantasy novel, Stonehill Downs.

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About the Book:

Stonehill Downs 2Stonehill Downs follows Mal, a powerful mage who functions as Lord Vocent, the king’s personal forensic scientist and detective.  Magic and murder are his calling.  Never have the two entangled in quite as terrifying a manner as on Stonehill Downs, where Avani, a Goddess-gifted outsider, has discovered a host of gruesome corpses reeking of supernatural malfeasance.  The investigation is haunted by ghosts of Mal’s past, and the two quickly learn that they must cast aside their secrets if they are to succeed in unearthing the pervading evil—before it’s unleashed from the boundaries of the Downs, straight into the heart of the kingdom.

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Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Sarah. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

Thank you! Lovely to be here. I’m a multi-published author. I’ve been writing for a long time and sold to various markets.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

The first time I published was through a small publisher. It was a very positive experience but I felt that I could do much of the legwork myself and next time around I self-published. I continue to self-publish years later alongside short stories in small presses and a contract with HarperCollins. I think of myself as a hybrid author.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

Regarding my latest book, Stonehill Downs, I signed Harper’s contract in June and the book came out in December. It was a very professional and smooth process.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

I was very excited, of course, and a little shocked. I went out for Indian and champagne, and then started on my next project. I’m a firm believer that it’s important to keep moving forward.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I hit up all the local bookstores. As an author, you need to personally make sure your book is ordered in and promoted in-store. In general, most brick and mortar stores are eager to support the local talent. Every store I approached set up a signing. If I hadn’t put myself politely in front of the book buyer, however, they would have never known Stonehill Downs existed, and that’s in spite of Harper’s press releases and promo blurbs. Your average author shoulders as much of the marketing work with a mainstream publisher as when self-publishing.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

I think once you’ve got that first book under your belt, you’ve less excuses to waffle on the next one. You’ve done it once, you know you can do it again. You’ve got that little confidence lift.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

It’s changed a lot over the years. Social media has made it a new animal. Luckily I’m a social media fiend, because these days you really need to be. You have to get out there and promote yourself and your work, but It’s not about sales, it’s about making connections with an audience who might enjoy you as a person and your stories as entertainment.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

I really don’t think the reward is in being published. The reward is in writing a story you’re proud of, and enjoying the writing of it. The thrill is in creating, fiddling, and perfecting. I find escapism in writing almost exactly as I find escapism in reading.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Always keep moving forward. No regrets, no second-guessing. Write the story you enjoy writing, polish it up, send it out. Move on to the next one. Find joy in the process, because honestly that’s the best part.




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