Today we are talking with Sarah Lonelodge about her latest book To The Everlasting. Sarah is a new author, but her writing has struck a chord with hundreds of people already, and I see her future as someone to watch.
Hello. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview.
Hello. Thanks for having me.
I understand that you are a relatively new author. Everyone has their own memories of being “newly published”, from terror to joy. How would you describe the process of publishing your first book?
It was an amazing whirlwind of excitement and fear because it all happened so fast. I submitted my manuscript to Karen at Books-A-Daisy Publishing, and we went through a few rounds of editing over as many weeks. That was exciting. The fear came in when I realized that people would actually be able to read this really intimate thing that I wrote and that some of them may not like it or understand it. That really hit me the day it was published, but overall, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.
You have fifty-six reviews on Amazon, almost all of them are 5-stars. That is a phenomenal feat in itself, and shows how your writing style has deeply touched your audience. After all, even Stephen King has his fair share of one-star reviews. How do you respond to your success when you see these reviews?
I’m just completely grateful and thankful–first of all that those people took the time to read it, and secondly that they enjoyed it. It’s truly wonderful to see that my work has touched that many people.
Your book, To The Everlasting, ventures into the concept of eternity. While many fiction books draw on our everyday world — the laws of physics, gravity, etc. — what kind of world did you hope to build for us in your view of the after-life?
I wanted to show a place in between this life and the next where people have to deal with the choices they made. I imagined it as plain and grey because no one is there very long and because it isn’t about rewards and punishment; instead, it’s about focusing on what we did in life and why and, most of all, accepting what our eternity is because of it.
In reading your own work, which of your characters speaks loudest to you? What is he or she saying to you or about you?
Rupert the Angel. He isn’t exactly the main character, but he is the voice that I most easily identify with. He’s very annoyed with humanity’s inability to see beyond their own lives and frustrated they we can’t acknowledge our faults and move toward forgiveness. I wrote him to be the most objective so that readers might see themselves through his eyes, imagining themselves at the end of life, answering for their choices. We might all do things a little differently if we thought about the bigger picture instead of only the immediate consequences. That’s what I hope Rupert is able to do.
As authors, we each have that one moment when we say “I think someone needs to read about my idea.” What inspired you to write your story?
I remember that moment very well. I was thinking about my views on life and death and eternity and so forth, and I remember coming to this kind of conclusion that life is really a test. And I know that a lot of people say that, but I felt like I recognized it more than others who might blame God for their troubles. I decided that I could write a really stellar essay on that subject and explain that losing your job or your grandma or your health isn’t God being mean: it’s just life. Those things happen, and it’s how we deal with it that determines our eternity. But then I remembered that most people don’t just sit around reading essays, so in that moment, I decided to turn that idea into fiction–into a story that people could identify with and hopefully learn from.
In your day-to-day life, who is your biggest inspiration?
That would definitely be my husband. He is fantastically supportive and always puts everyone ahead of himself. He takes care of dinner and helping our son with homework and the dishes and everything else when I have a lot of work to do. If it weren’t for him, I don’t think I could accomplish much of anything.
Aww… he sounds like a keeper. If you, yourself, could take a journey into The Everlasting, what do you think would be the most interesting part of your journey?
I suppose the most interesting aspect would be finding out which door I’m entering. In the book, we follow two characters who are on the fence. We aren’t sure whether their everlasting eternity will be heaven or hell. They aren’t great people, but they aren’t terrible people either. There are other doors and other rooms for those who are saved and will assuredly go to heaven. I’m hoping to be one of those.
As a independent author who also has a day job, I find it increasingly difficult to find time in my day to write. Many days I find that I’ve let one thing or another slip through the cracks. How many different roles do you handle in a day, and how do you make the time to tackle each task without neglecting the other aspects of your life?
I’m a wife, a mother, a writer, a teacher. Most important to me is that my family always comes first, and the other roles take turns. I teach in the mornings, so I theoretically have evenings to write, but that doesn’t always work out. I really just prioritize and do my best. If I have enough papers graded and my lesson plans are complete, I’ll usually take a few hours to write. Otherwise, I have to wait for the next day. And, like I said, my husband is amazing, so if I really must get something done, I can always count on him to take care of anything else.
And to wrap things up, I like to ask one off-the-beaten-path question. If you were a piece of household furniture, which piece would you be?
I think I’d be a lamp. I would chase away darkness and shadows and help people to see by illuminating the world around them.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today, and I am really looking forward to reading my own copy of To The Everlasting.
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