The Sunday Spotlight
This week I am delighted that Sara Brooke, author of the frighteningly scary novel 'The Zyne Project' is on the blog.
Talking with Sara
The Sunday Spotlight
Welcome Sara, firstly, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a horror author who has published several novels this past year. Each one is unique in its own right and showcases the stranger, more horrific side of life. But I do try to have fun with the storylines. There’s always some dark humour and sexual activity to lighten things up.
What inspired you to start writing novels for your chosen genre?
To be truly good at what you write about requires a love for that particular genre (at least in my opinion). I’ve been reading horror novels since I was in grade school. Started with the classics like Stephen King and gradually began reading authors like Bentley Little, who may not be as popular…but write with a smooth, entertaining style.
Have you published any other novels? If so can you share the details?
Yes, this year I’ve published three novels through Biting Dog Publications: Still Lake – which is contagion-related horror. It takes place in a small Northwest Florida town and unravels over the span of about a week. Something is making the townspeople sick and one by one, they succumb to the craziness of their illness. I wrote Kransen House shortly after, which has been called a “Gothic horror story” that takes you into a very spooky house with some crazy in-laws. My most recent, The Zyne Project is about a clinical trial gone wrong and has been compared to Michael Crichton with a mixture of zombies, creatures, and some poor souls caught in the middle of the mayhem. This past week, I released a free short story entitled Ghost Swim about a haunted pool that was downloaded off Smashwords more than 100 times in the span of 24 hours. It’s a great way to read my work without spending a dime, giving you a chance to decide if you want to read my other novels. So far…so good.
Are you working on anything new right now?
Yes. I enjoyed writing Ghost Swim so much that I’m working on a full-length novel ghost story. This one takes place along the Mississippi coast and is going to be incredibly spooky and dark – with a couple of surprises along the way. It’s been a lot of fun to work on thus far and that always makes for a good novel in the long run.
What is your all-time favourite novel?
My favourite novel is Usher’s Passing by Robert McCammon. It’s a terrifying journey into the darkness of the Usher legacy and the curse all the descendants possess. I’ve read it at least five times.
If you could be any character in any novel, who would it be and why?
Despite writing horror novels, I am a true romantic at heart. Therefore, I would love to be Jane Eyre in Charlotte Bronte’s novel of the same name. Jane was depicted as a strong, pure woman with incredible innocence that was tinged with iron-clad resolve. Her simple beauty in both spirit and in life, coupled with the deep romantic love she felt for Mr. Rochester is a story that I often revisit. My friends laugh at me because I rent every video version of Jane Eyre (and there have been a lot of them). But, I can’t help it. The story gets me every time and if they remake it again…I’ll be watching!
What is your preferred method of writing? Are the plots pre-planned from day one or do you just go with the flow and see what happens next?
This is a great question, and one that plagues me continually. When I begin a new novel, there is always a pre-developed outline so that I’m able to work off a predestined path…or so it seems. But once I get going, something unexplainable takes over and often times my tales veer off the original course and go in an entirely different direction. I think it’s because I write in my mind and as I’m watching the story unravel, there are different things that can happen to make it more interesting. In addition, I’m constantly thinking about how real people would respond to the situation. Would they panic? Handle the situation with ease? Fall apart? The most important element to any novel is the ability to believe in the characters and therefore I spend a lot of time relating to them and making sure that they’re people you could envision in your mind and your heart.
What is the best thing about writing for you?
The release. It is a creative release from all of the “serious” thinking I’ve got to do all day. When the story begins to tumble out on to the screen, everything else disappears. The real world gets swallowed up and is replaced by an amazing adventure.
What’s your least favourite part of the writing process?
My publishers all know the answer to this one. Editing. It’s tough to re-read what you think is a masterpiece and discover that you made various mistakes. But despite the fact that it is difficult, editing truly is the most important step in the process because it helps you revisit the creativity and sharpen it. If you don’t edit, you are doing your readers a serious disservice. Everyone makes mistakes and it takes many sets of eyes to catch all the little things that were misspelled or misdirected.
How long does it typically take you to write a novel?
Typically it takes me 3-4 months. But that includes editing and proofreading drafts before release.
The Zyne Project book trailer is on YouTube
Many thanks to Sara for letting me shine The Sunday Spotlight on her and her work and if you like being scared witless by the walking dead, read The Zyne Project!
Until next time, have a super relaxing Sunday