It’s starting to feel like fall here in Northern California, with dark, chilly mornings and evenings. Perfect weather for curling up with a good book! Try reading something by Sarah E. Burr, my interview this week and the author of many books including her latest, Too Much to Candle. Enjoy the interview!
About the Author
Sarah E. Burr is the award-winning author of the Glenmyre Whim Mysteries, Trending Topic Mysteries, and Court of Mystery series. She currently serves as the social media guru for the New York chapter of Sisters in Crime and is the creative mind behind BookstaBundles, a content creation service for authors. Sarah is the co-host of The Bookish Hour, a live-streamed YouTube series featuring author interviews and book discussions. When she’s not spinning up stories, Sarah is singing Broadway tunes, reading everything from mystery to manga, video gaming, and enjoying walks with her dog, Eevee. You can stay connected with Sarah via her newsletter: https://bit.ly/saraheburrsignup.
Who or what inspires you to write?
My characters! Coco Cline, Hazel Wickbury, and Duchess Jacqueline are very vocal about their stories being told. I hear from them constantly about their latest adventures, so I’m never without inspiration. In Too Much to Candle, Book Two in the Glenmyre Whim Mysteries, my MC Hazel was adamant that she wanted to explore the possibility of buried treasure in her hometown. What resulted is a National Treasure meets Bewitched meets Murder, She Wrote cozy mystery. I’m also inspired by the world around us, particularly the adverse events (unfortunately) we see daily in the news. They inspire me to write stories where good always triumphs and people care about others more than themselves.
I love that the characters in your books always care about others more than themselves. With all of the troubling news we get on a daily basis, we need books like that to remind us that we must watch out for each other. What is the best thing that has happened because of your writing?
Through my writing, I’ve met and befriended many amazing people, whether they be readers or authors. The mystery community is so warm and welcoming; getting to know these folks has been a joy. My writing has also encouraged me to stretch myself and push the limits of being an “author.” Most recently, J.C. Kenney (author of the Allie Cobb Mysteries and Darcy Gaughan Mysteries) and I launched a live stream YouTube web series, The Bookish Hour. This new endeavor allows us to interact with readers and writers in real-time. There’s always something new and exciting to explore!
I couldn’t agree more about the amazing readers and authors in the book community. I’ve watched The Bookish Hour, and it’s a wonderful web series showcasing authors. It’s really well done and a great way to get to know authors and what they’re writing. On the other side of the coin, what is the most difficult thing you have experienced about writing or publishing?
Marketing! When I started writing, I had no idea how much effort I’d need to put into marketing myself as an author. When I was growing up, marketing materials didn’t influence me to read books. I usually just came across one at a bookstore, and if it interested me, I’d read it. Nowadays, there are so many ways to reach out to readers; it’s pretty overwhelming. However, I’ve had a great time learning about book marketing; now, it’s no longer the challenge it once was.
Marketing books is challenging for most writers, especially when we’re starting out. I’m happy to hear it’s no longer a challenge for you—there’s hope! What didn’t you do during your writing or publishing journey that you wish you had?
I wish I had started connecting with the writing community sooner. I’ve been writing and publishing mysteries for the last five years, but I only started getting involved in writing organizations and conferences within the previous year. Some of my favorites have been: Bouchercon, Malice Domestic, and Sisters in Crime.
Writing organizations and conferences are fantastic and have been a huge help to me, especially the San Francisco Writers Conference. Do you have a publisher and/or agent, or are you an indie (self-published) or hybrid author?
I am one of those fun hybrid authors; I see so many sides of the publishing industry, and it’s really enlightening. I have books with Level Best Books (#FollowMe for Murder) and TouchPoint Press (The Book Blogger Mysteries), as well as my own indie works (You Can’t Candle the Truth and the Court of Mystery series).
I’m amazed at how many books you’ve published in just five years—you’re a prolific writer! Which genre(s) do you like to write in, and why?
I’ve dabbled in many genres over the years, but the one I’m able to write successfully is a mystery. To date, I have four series that I juggle, and I’m always pondering the next one. My love of writing mysteries is due to the main story coming so easily to me: who was murdered, why they were murdered, and how. A murder mystery is a story within itself, so everything else (characters, setting, other plotlines) is just layered on top of it!
It must be challenging to juggle four series at the same time. Do you outline your books before you write them?
If I want to finish a manuscript, I must have an outline. I need some idea of where I’m going and how I will reasonably get there when I begin writing a book. Of course, things change along the way, and plotlines go way off track, but to get across that finish line, I need to see it written before me.
Outlining your books appears to be a successful approach for you. How do you define success as a writer?
As a writer, success is writing “The End.” It means I have told a story. As an author, however, success is a lot of different things. It’s holding your book in your hands, reading a review (good or bad), and hearing from a reader how much they enjoyed your book.
Hearing from happy readers is so rewarding. Most authors need to hear that our work is well-received. If you could have lunch with any author, who would it be?
How to choose only one? I’d have to go with Terry Goodkind, the author of the Sword of Truth series. His books might not be for everyone, but to me, his character Kahlan Amnell is the strongest, most awesome protagonist to ever exist.
The most awesome protagonist ever—I’m intrigued! That series sounds like a good adventure. Tell us about a great adventure you’ve had.
In my twenties, I went to Jamaica with a group of friends. It was my first trip as an “adult,” and I was young enough to be up for anything. One day, we did a zip line tour across the jungle, which was beyond incredible. But the most thrilling (and, for a moment, scary) part of the excursion was floating down the Great River in inner tubes. About halfway down the river, our guide pulled our floats to the side and told us to follow him into the jungle. A bit confused about why we were going off course, my friends and I trailed after him. We emerged a few moments later in the middle of an abandoned village, wondering what we were doing. Our guide then pulled a machete from his pack. Yes, a machete! A million things went through my mind, but before my friends and I could move or react, our thoughtful guide shimmied up a tree and chopped down fresh coconuts for us to drink and enjoy during the rest of our tube ride.
My heart would definitely beat faster if someone pulled out a machete in the middle of the jungle—what a thrilling adventure! Zip lining and tubing are so much fun and would be much better in a place like Jamaica.
Sarah, thank you so much for sharing some of your writing and publishing knowledge with us and telling us about your books!
Readers, you can find out more about Sarah and her books at her website: www.saraheburr.com.
You can find Too Much to Candle on Amazon with this link: https://amzn.to/3NlJkyU.
You can find her Court of Mystery series here: https://bit.ly/courtofmystery and #Follow Me for Murder here: https://bit.ly/followmeformurder.
Too Much to Candle is Book Two in the Glenmyre Whim Mysteries. Candlemaker Hazel Wickbury sets out again to bring the truth to light.Iggy Alewell, Hazel Wickbury’s friend and candle shop assistant, is eager to purchase his own home with the advance from his first big book deal. Iggy is on the hunt for something with character, so what could be better than the old Cragmire house that’s rumored to have buried treasure somewhere on its property? Hazel is thrilled her friend has found success, but things in Crucible take a nasty turn when another potential buyer for the Cragmire house goes missing. He was last seen taking a boat out on Lake Glenmyre, and when the rental is found empty, it’s clear to police that foul play is involved.What’s worse is that Iggy becomes the prime suspect in the man’s disappearance, and Detective Holden Whitfield’s thorny new partner is certain Iggy is guilty. To clear Iggy from suspicion and dispel the darkness penetrating their beloved town, Hazel and her Aunt Poppy team up again to find a killer before their friend gets burned.Return to Crucible in Too Much to Candle, Book Two in the award-winning Glenmyre Whim Mysteries.Readers, have you had any mysteries or thrilling adventures in your life? Let us know in the comments!
5 thoughts on “Author Interview—Sarah E. Burr”
Hi Heidi, I’ve been so impressed with your author interviews! Thank you for sharing these with us!
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Thanks for the comment, Nancy! I’m so glad you’re enjoying them.
Wow, that abandoned village and machete-wielding guide sound like the beginning of a neat story. Your organized approach to writing is inspiring. Best of luck to you.
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Heidi, another great interview with an interesting author. More books to read.
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Thank you! I’m having fun learning more about these interesting authors. And yes, more books to read!