I met Sara Harricharan through FaithWriters.com and other forums we both happen to frequent. I have enjoyed getting to know her and am excited for this chance to interview her for FaithReaders.com so you can get to know her, too. She's a great girl with a passion for life, reading and, of course, writing!
LYNDA SCHAB: Tell us a little about yourself.
SARA HARRICHARAN: Would my six-word personality work? Love to read, Live to write!
Seriously, I'm the only girl from a family of five, and forever the middle of the sandwich. I'm a college freshman, all the way from the cozy depths of the famous smoky mountains. Oh, and I really, really like to read.
Growing up, reading was one way to let my imagination out. I give credit to my Mom for getting me started at a young age. I would read through a dozen books per weekend, buying the books to fill in the number gaps when the library didn't have all of them.
From reading all those wonderful stories, I would tell my own versions to my brothers and we'd end up in hysterics. I started carrying around a notebook and, to this day, I always have some sort of paper or book around me, no matter where I am.
LYNDA: I can hardly believe you're only a college freshman! Having read some of your work, I have to say I am so impressed with (and a little jealous of) what you've done with your talent already at such a young age. Have you always known you wanted to write or did the urge just creep up on you?
SARA: A little of both! I never really thought of writing as writing. I liked to tell stories and writing was just another way to do it. I took a red composition notebook, stuck a pen inside and started jotting down ideas and whatever else came to my mind. When I finished the first notebook, I realized that I didn't want it to end right there. So I started another one-now I've got so many, it's hard to keep track of them all.
The official starting point, though, was when I was about nine and visiting some relatives. There was a boy sitting in the corner, writing in a notebook. I asked him what he was doing and he said he was writing a story. I asked if I could write one too and he said no. That made me mad. The moment I got home, I sat down with notebook paper and a ballpoint pen and I wrote my very first story. It was supposed to be a mystery about a shack hidden in the woods, but it's evolved over time into something very…different. Since then, I've been writing and I don't think I'll stop.
LYNDA: What types of books do you normally choose to read? Do you prefer to write in those genres, as well?
SARA: While I love nearly all mysteries, I read a little of everything. I am a huge Nancy Drew fan. I have every hardcover book, some of the case files, the computer games and few other collectible things. I love the old-fashioned feel to them and they were the first mystery books I ever read. I've been hooked ever since "The hidden staircase". Sherlock Holmes got me started on the intellectual side of mysteries and that took me to Agatha Christie. When I got tired of those, I found the Tea Shop mysteries (Laura Childs) and then Mary Russell books (Laurie King) a sort of continuation from Sherlock Holmes.
Lately, I've enjoyed a mix of mystery and Christian romance. Dee Henderson and Jill Elizabeth Nelson have that pretty well balance. I also like Lori Wick's English Garden set and the Sisterchicks by Robin Jones Gunn.
And of course, I love fantasy and sci-fi. Cast in Secret (Michelle Sagara), Flashpoint (Frank Creed) and too many others to list!
When I started writing, my first goal was to write a good mystery. As I worked on that, a few other things started popping up and superheroes started slipping into the stories. Now? My favorite genre to write is fantasy-sci-fi-ish. Anything in which I can let my imagination go - that's the beginning of a great story!
LYNDA: You've mentioned several authors you love. Are there any, in particular, who have inspired you in your own writing?
SARA: Dee Henderson is an amazing writer. The emotions I travel through while reading her books make me want to write something that will touch someone else.
Frances Hodgeson Burnett (The Secret Garden, The Little Princess) is also a favorite of mine because of how timeless her 'famous' stories are. There's always a wistful, bittersweet sort of quality to them that stays with me long after I've finished the story. She inspires me to write something that will last - even when I'm no longer here.
LYNDA: You participate in several national challenges, including the National Novel Writing Month, National Novel Editing Month, February Album Writing Month, and ScriptFrenzy. Tell us more about these challenges and what are the advantages of participating?
SARA: NaNoWriMo, as National Novel Writing Month is dubbed, or just NaNo, is a month long challenge where participants write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. The main focus is to just get the story out!
The support from fellow writers and novelists is phenomenal during this month. There are local write-ins where fellow NaNoer's can meet up and write together, and there are some pretty cool web icons and even a certificate when you're finished. The best thing about NaNo-is at the end of the month, you have 50,000 words to show for your hard work. That's quite a bit of story that wasn't there before.
I love to participate for the support and the fun of it. I have quite a few stories in my head; taking the time to do NaNo is one way to get the story out-and to keep me on track.
FAWM, also known as February Album Writing Month, takes place in February and the main goal is to write 14 songs in 28 days. There are weekly prompts and challenges posted on the forums.
Songwriting is very different than what I expected. Because of the leap-year, the goal was 14 ½ songs, so I wrote 15. I'm not a musician, but I can carry a tune fairly well. FAWM was definitely a learning experience and lots of fun.
EdMo, is National Novel Editing Month and it happens in March. The goal is to clock in 50 hours of editing. The main focus is to put your red pen to work and get some serious edits in!
Word counts are easy to boost but there are only 24 hours in a day, so EdMo is definitely a challenge. There are community forums to connect with fellow EdMo's and of course, web icons and certificates. The end result is some snappy writing.
I tried EdMo this year to whip my NaNo novel into shape. I enjoyed the story and wanted to go further with it, so EdMo was my next option.
Screnzy, the short name of Scriptfrenzy, is a sister effort from NaNo. The goal is to write 100 pages of script during the month of April. It's a great challenge and atmosphere, just like NaNo, except for it's a script instead of a novel and it is very fun!
I'd never written a script before. I've always enjoyed reading short pieces and things like that, but scriptwriting was a whole new venture for me. Learning to craft a storyline and characters solely out of dialogue is challenging, but fun. It's not my best work, but I got some great lines and, incidentally, I haven't ended it yet. It keeps growing, so it's still in progress.
I wanted this year to be filled with fun and excitement and to try my hand at things I'd never done before. Taking on each of these challenges was a blast! I had fun, learned a lot of new things and I've got a novel, a script and fifteen 'songs' to show for it.
LYNDA: I think that's so cool. I've always wanted to participate in NaNo and hearing your enthusiasm, one of these days, I may just give it a shot.
Let's move on to my favorite subject…FaithWriters. How did you find FaithWriters and what do you love most about it?
SARA: I met author, Sue Dent, through a writer's forum while I was experimenting with poetry. She suggested that I sign up for the FaithWriters Weekly Writing Challenge and give it a try. After two weeks, I was hooked! I haven't missed a challenge yet.
My favorite thing about Faithwriters is the people, truly. Everyone is so wonderful and helpful and encouraging. As a writer, whether you're experienced or not, you're accepted into the bunch, just like that. I have made some awesome friends through Faithwriters and learned so much about writing.
LYNDA: According to your FaithWriters profile, you have completed two novels (Congratulations – that's HUGE!). Can you give us a brief synopsis of each? Do you have any plans to pursue publication with either manuscript?
SARA: Yes! I am polishing up last year's NaNo and I do plan on seeing it published. It's titled, "The Child Rescuer" And it's in a typical space/sci-fi setting, with a few fantasy elements added.
The story focuses on a woman with the extraordinary power of finding children, through visions. She's a well-known hero and is content with her routine life and job. Her last mission is a near disaster and it starts triggering memories that she can't place. Her visions start turning into really bad headaches with glimpses of coordinates to places she's never been. It's a traveling adventure while she tries to piece together what's happening with her and while solving a mystery from one of her very first rescues.
My second novel is strictly a mystery-no sci-fi stuff.
This one is about a young girl whose father is a famous detective and whose mother works with the FBI. When her father moves them to a new house as part of his new case, strange things start happening and she has to find out if the house is really haunted…and by what.
LYNDA: Ooh…The first sounds VERY intriguing and the second sounds super Nancy Drew-ish, so I'm sure I'd love both. Hurry up and get them published, would you? LOL.
So we know that you love to read and write. But what else do you like to do for fun?
SARA: I'm obsessed with colors of all kinds, paint, crayons, chalk, etc. I usually end up doodling cartoons and rainbows in any available space. I also like to paint rocks.
Origami is something I picked up one summer. I love making things with colored paper, because it gives my perfectionist side a chance to be creative. In Origami, every fold has to be precise and you never cut anything. I also dabble in graphology, the study of handwriting. Purely amateur, but loads of fun!
Music is a huge part of me, even though the only instrument I can play is the keyboard, by ear. But music is part of who I am. I like almost any genre, except Rap, Rock and Country. A few of my favorite artists are Enya, Conjure One, ZOEgirl and Natalie Grant. Music keeps me going and it plays as background noise for whatever brilliant idea I'll come up with next.
I also love to cook! I'm vegetarian, so cooking is always an adventure. My best dishes are fried rice and lasagna, along with a few Indian dishes. I'm a slightly better baker, because there's less chance of something burning if my mind wanders off. Muffins, cakes and cornbread are my specialty.
Summer sports, swimming, biking and horseback riding, are also favorites!
LYNDA: Tell us more about your family. I have to imagine your parents are pretty proud of you. Are they supportive of your writing?
SARA: They are! We are a really close-knit family. Dad is my personal cheer team, Mom has an editor's eye and my brothers are excellent sounding boards. I love that I can share my writing moments with them.
LYNDA: Finally, where do you hope to be in ten years (at which time, you STILL won't be as old as I am right now, I might add.)
SARA: I'll be creative and extravagant in my answer: I plan to be graduated with honors. I'd like to be married, with kids, in a two-story home tucked into the mountains, with hi-speed internet access. I'd also like to have my novel published, to be working on a sequel and to have several writing credits behind my name as I travel the world and create my own line of postcards and bookmarks.
LYNDA: Well, with all you've accomplished so far, Sara, I totally believe you will achieve those goals. I've really enjoyed this interview and appreciate you taking the time to give us a peek into your life. Best wishes for a lifetime of success, both personally and in your writing. I'll be counting the days until those two books appear on store shelves!
To read Sara's work, visit her FaithWriters profile here: http://www.faithwriters.com/member-profile.php?id=21645 and her web pages here: http://www.faithwriters.com/websites/my_website.php?id=21645 and http://www.freewebs.com/sjdh
FEATURED AUTHOR ARCHIVES