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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Spotlight Saturday: Author Interview and Giveaway with Sarahjane Funnell, author of Blake

Hi, everyone!

Welcome to another edition of Spotlight Saturday at Darlene's Book Nook, where we feature authors and their books!

We will be joined today by Sarahjane Funnell.

About Sarahjane:

Sarahjane Funnell is the Regional PR Officer for LUSH Cosmetics and a newly
published children’s fiction author. Predominantly she writes young children’s
picture books and middle grade stories, set in magical places and enchanted lands
and has just launched her first short story written for YA readers. Launching as an
Amazon ebook during October 2011, Blake is the latest literary addition to her
published repertoire, which also includes the short story Princess Rose and the
Royal Tea Castle
within the Anthology A Pocketful of Moondust published by Rebel

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Welcome to Darlene's Book Nook, Sarahjane! Please tell us a little about yourself.

I enjoy writing but I also love ballet and the stage. I'm trained in Performing Arts from the Italia Conti Associate School where I studied acting, jazz, ballet and musical theatre.

Do you have a specific writing style? Do you write an outline, or do you write more “by-the-seat-of-your-pants”? 

My writing style is either writing lots of ideas and parts of a story all at once, or, if I don't have a lot of time but an idea pops into my head then I will write bullet points or tap something into the notepad app on my phone so I can go back to it at a later date. I usually have a notebook with me in my bag too so I can always write something down wherever I am.

Do you discipline yourself to write a certain number of words daily? Or do you ever have dry periods where you do not write?

As a self-published author I also market my books myself so some of the time that I would spend writing I am in fact promoting my work. I always have ideas that I want to write and develop but it's not possible to write freely everyday whilst working and working on my books. I tend to write freely as and when I have a moment or suddenly have a strong idea and the timing is right. I do tend to write most days in terms of bullet points and jotting things down - that way I can remember my ideas even if I don't write straight away.

What is your ideal writing environment? Do you prefer music or solitude? Is there a time of day (or night) that you prefer?

I tend to go into my own little world when I write so if there is music on I probably won't notice too much but it's nice to have some background noise or the television on. I like to sit on the sofa with my laptop and a cup of tea.

Are there any authors that influence your writing?

All the classics such as Lewis Carroll and CS Lewis and Enid Blyton. Also Beatrix Potter. I love adventure stories and imaginary worlds.

Blake is your debut Young Adult novel. Why did you choose that genre?

My decision to write a YA novel came from being inspired by watching Avatar and Twilight and I also loved the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series when I was younger. Usually I write for younger ages but with Blake I just had an idea in my head for the fantasy world of Elmwood – a land full of trees and greenery. I then thought about the idea for the leading male character that has a magical, secret identity. Blake also the name of the leading male character is different to vampires but has that same ethereal and mysterious quality to his character. His secret identity is a being that is not usually associated for a male character.

Have you written books in other genres?
I've written books for the 6-9 age range and also the 3-6 age range. My first printed book, Phillipa Knickerbocker Glory and the Ice Cream Castle, is a magical adventure story where Phillipa and her pet cat find the Ice Cream Castle where there is every flavour of ice cream imaginable. As my debut, solo published works in print this is a very exciting venture. 

Are any of the characters based on someone you know?

The characters are all fictitious but the books I read as a child have influenced the story.  

Can you tell us about your current or upcoming writing projects?

My picture book is my main project at the moment. I am promoting the book myself and trying to build a network of bloggers and journalists who will possibly review the book and help raise the profile. My next writing project will be Phillipa Fairy Cake, which is the next book in a series of Phillipa titles.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

When not writing I like to watch films, read girly novels by writers such as Lindsey Kelk's I Heart series and also Ali Harris.

What book(s) are you reading now?
I'm about to read This is a Love Story written by Jessica Thompson, who is actually a friend of mine.

Do you have any specific last thoughts that you want to say to your readers?

I really hope they will enjoy Blake. It's a short YA fantasy story that is packed with mystery, imagination and unexpected happenings. It's also a hidden love story between two characters that discover their true destiny.

*Fun Facts*

Favourite music? I love all types of music from acoustic to pop. I love summer dance tracks like Kelly Rowland's When Love Takes Over but I also love Indie bands such as Vampire Weekend and classical pieces such as Tchaikovsky.

Dog-lover or cat-lover? I have to say cats but I do love dogs too.

Vanilla ice cream or chocolate? Chocolate ice cream! Although if you read my picture book Phillipa Knickerbocker Glory it is full of imaginary flavours of ice cream!

If you could meet anyone in the world, alive or dead, who would it be and why? I would love to meet HRH Queen Elizabeth. I've always been a fan of the Royal Family. I'd also love to meet Audrey Hepburn too and go for tea.

I can't live without my... shampoo! I wash my hair everyday and don't feel myself if I don't.

The craziest thing I ever did was... Nothing too crazy I hope! I once bought an Aspinal bag that cost £200 with my student loan but I'm too afraid to use it!

If I could take an all-expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, I would go to...  The Seychelles look absolutely beautiful - undisturbed and natural.

 Thanks so much for joining us today, Sarahjane! It was a lot of fun getting to know you better!!

Ten lucky winners will receive an e-book copy of Blake.

Blake is mysterious and aloof. He possesses a sharp glint in his eye and harbours a hidden secret. Ebony, a schoolgirl, becomes completely mesmerised by him and his strange character. Longing to unveil just what it is that makes Blake so different, she
desperately searches for him in need of an answer. When Ebony finally has an
opportune moment to discover the secret that surrounds him, she learns that it is not only he who has an unknown mystery but that she too has a secret that stretches far beyond her own identity. One that indeed changes not only her thoughts but her very own physical human form.

To enter the giveaway, please complete the Rafflecopter entry form below.

This giveaway is open worldwide, and it will close at 12:01 AM EST on Saturday, March 17th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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