Author Sarah Andre | Between The Covers
This week on Between the Covers, we feature Sarah Andre, Author and SWFRW (Southwest Florida Romance Writer) Conference Coordinator.
Sarah has written four novels. They are romantic suspense novels: Locked, Loaded and Lying, (a stand-alone murder mystery), and her Damaged Heroes series; Tall, Dark and Damaged (Book One), Capturing the Queen (Book Two), and A Savage Trick (Book Three).
When I asked Sarah about current projects, she informed me that she is taking a brief hiatus but it is for an event designed to help other writers.
“I’ve taken a break from writing to organize the Southwest FL Romance Writers ‘Hearts in the Sand Writers Conference,’ which will be Jan 31st and Feb 1st in Estero, (and open to all fiction writers,) but I plan to write the fourth and final Damaged Heroes novel later this year.”
I pressed Sarah. Why would an author who is writing critically-acclaimed books stop writing, even temporarily?
“Writing is such a solitary endeavor and a writer’s internal critic can sabotage creativity and torpedo his/her best intentions to get in a daily word count. The remedy is to get away from the work, get out of your head- go into the writing community and learn and grow. Taking craft classes, attending workshops or conferences can lift a writer’s spirit and regenerate that creative joy. Learning something mind-blowingly NEW so that you see your work from a fresh perspective is worth the cost of a class. And networking with other writers in this rapidly-changing industry is essential.”
Sarah described her defining moment as an author.
“When my novel Tall, Dark and Damaged was a finalist in the 2017 Rita Awards (the most prestigious national contest sponsored by Romance Writers of America.) I got the phone call and cried so hard my husband thought someone had died. This award is our industry’s Academy Awards, and the weight of its title is priceless for a romance writer.”
For people who are not in the literary industry, it may seem crazy to be about helping other authors because that is so contrary to other fields where people are competing against each other. Sarah elaborated on why she gives back.
“After 15 years in the business, it’s all about giving back…helping others achieve their writing dreams, which is why I’ve coordinated the 2018 and 2020 “Hearts in the Sand” writing conference. (Info at swfrw.org)
Even though we’re a romance writing chapter it’s open to all fiction writers or people even thinking about writing. We hold general craft workshops, tips to increase your readership through social media and branding, and attendees can network with other writers and industry insiders. Authors at all stages of their career benefit from this conference, and personally, being in a ballroom full of writers recharges my energy and enthusiasm.”
Sarah offered her best advice for aspiring writers.
“Keep learning your craft (like by attending our conference) No one stops learning how to write a better story! Be patient with yourself. And never, ever give up. This career is all about perseverance.”
I asked Sarah how she came to be an author.
“It’s been a lifelong dream to write a novel, but I was always so busy that I kept waiting for the ‘right time.’ I realized in my 40’s that there IS no such thing, so I rearranged my life to devote the time… and then mustered the courage. It’s the hardest but also the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.”
Sarah shared one of the most satisfying things about being an author.
“When I see my books on someone’s shelf, I’m overcome with joy. It’s tangible proof I achieved my lifelong dream.”
To learn more about Sarah or the “Hearts in the Sand” Conference happening in a few weeks, please see check out the conference schedule and links below:
Hearts in the Sand Conference
Friday, January 31:
3:30 p.m. – Making Your Social Media Posts Go Viral
5:30 p.m. – Networking reception with appetizers (free cocktails if you are a registered hotel guest. If not, a cash bar is available.)
6:30-7:30 p.m. – one-page critiques with Angela James (limited to the first 10 submissions)
Saturday, February 1:
8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Breakfast included for hotel guests
Scheduled consultations with Barbara Vey
All-day Master Class with Angela James: Before You Hit Send
Raffle baskets and hotel raffle prize drawings – WIN a 2-night stay at Embassy Suites! (Cannot be used conference weekend)
Conference link: https://swfrw.org/hearts-in-the-sand-conference/
Author webpage: https://sarahandre.com/
Author FB page: https://www.facebook.com/SarahAndreNovels
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Sarah-Andre/e/B00YCLIH4E/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0