Sara Beth Williams was born and raised in Northern California and resides with her husband and two daughters. When she’s not held hostage by the keyboard, she enjoys teaching children, playing guitar, reading, and spending time with family and friends.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Asking me how long it takes to write a book is a tricky question. It took me about 4 months of nonstop writing several hours a day, to finish a complete first draft for my debut novel When Hearts Collide. Then I spent quite a long time rewriting it. That about goes the same for my 2nd and 3rd, but I wrote those at the same time, switching off. However… things have changed and now with 2 kiddos, 7 and 3, it’s a LOT harder to write every day. But from blank page to finished first draft… I’d say about 6 to 9 months. That doesn’t include professional editing or anything though, which adds another 6 to 9 months to the time frame.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
My ideal schedule WOULD BE to sit and write from 8am to 12pm in the mornings, or from 9pm to 12pm at night. However… my writing schedule is all over the place. Most of the time, I try to write from about 9pm to 11pm, but It doesn’t always happen. Ah, #parenting…
Where do you tend to write the most? At a table, outside, coffee shop?
I write all over the place. I used to write in the bathroom with my laptop, or in the break rooms at school. Now, I tend to write either at my desktop at night, or on my laptop at the kitchen table at night.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t do handwriting (My penmanship is atrocious) If I do write by hand, it’s to sketch out ideas (which I have to try and decipher later) and only when I’m afraid I won’t remember something. I much, much, much prefer typing and I find I can’t get down any quality writing unless I am on my laptop or computer.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I work with kinder kiddos, play guitar, read as much as I can in my bit of spare time, attend church, and hang out with my family and friends.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
One of the most fun and surprising things I’ve learned while writing my first and subsequent books in the series is that characters often dictate their own stories, even side characters. It fascinates me how much characters come to life, the more you shape them, the deeper you dig into who they are. I am definitely a character-driven writer. It also surprised me how easily a series sprung from my debut, without much effort. I know many authors will pre-plan out a series before they even begin writing, with a slew of already-drawn out characters, but for me, it’s so much more fun to let the characters show me where to go next.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve published one, When Hearts Collide, which is available on Amazon. This is planned out to be a three book series and if I am honest with you, the third story I wrote, is my favorite and I cannot wait to share it with the world!
What do you think makes a good story?
Secrets, inter-character conflict, misunderstandings, high stakes, and amazing, beautiful descriptions. Intelligent vocabulary and vivid descriptions will capture my heart and win me over.
What do you wish you had known before you decided to write your first book?
I wish I had known how to market more effectively and I wish I’d saved up a marketing budget. It’s hard to market, and unfortunately, it’s not all done for you even if you’re traditionally published, but there are a lot of resources available. Saving money for this will help you.
What advice would you give a novice writer who wants to take on the task of writing their first book?
Do not edit the thing to death. Just write. Write it ALL down. Get it all down, write as much as your inner muse will let you, then go back and add more, fill in the gaps. Do not edit until the first draft is completely done. Then I highly recommend seeking a professional editor, and/or beta readers.
What advice would you give a novice writer who wants to publish their book for the first time?
Research everything. Publishing houses, literary agents/agencies, editors, what it takes to self-publish v. traditional publish. Conferences, contests. Research.
Hire a professional editor
Begin connecting with the writing community online. Writers, editors, publishers, agents, potential readers. Begin interacting and creating a fan base.
Slowly build your social media accounts. If you only have one, I highly recommend having at least 3 or 4. Social media is a powerful tool not just for advertising, but for connecting with people and networking.
Speaking of which…posting sales pitches of your book constantly won’t help you. Connecting with readers and other authors through conversation, games, interviews, fun stuff like this, sharing book reviews, will help you become a likable person that people will want to know better and then they’ll buy your books hopefully.
Don’t be a jerk on social media. Be positive. Don’t badmouth other authors or ANYONE in the publishing industry.
One unforgivable secret could destroy their future.
A reckless mistake landed Jacob “Jay” Mathews behind bars, but it was his inescapable guilt that led him to God. Upon his release, with the help of a spiritual mentor and friend, he strives to move forward with his life. Determined to graduate college, get a job, and follow God’s word, the last thing Jay needs or wants is a girlfriend. Until he meets Lacey Bennett.
When fervent prayers for reconciliation between her divorced parents go unanswered, and her older sister tragically dies, Lacey questions how God could allow such tragedies to befall her family. Turning her back on her past and God, she focuses on her future. College and theater are her ultimate goals; falling for the one type of guy she swore to avoid—a Christian—is not. No matter how much she wants to resist, Jay is irresistible.
As their relationship deepens, Jay struggles with Lacey’s unresolved anger and her unwillingness to even discuss faith. All he wants to do is reveal how God changed his life, but doing so would mean revealing his status as an ex convict. Finally, as she begins to rekindle her faith, past secrets collide, threatening to destroy everything they’ve built. Now, Jay must rely on his faith more than he ever has before. Can they learn to forgive—or is their relationship fractured beyond repair?
- Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance
- Number of Pages: 279
- Print Format: Ebook
Who are your favorite character(s) and why?
I love my hero, Jay Mathews. He’s a great guy. Tenacious, compassionate, strong, with a tender heart.
From chapter 1: “With one finger, he gently lifted her chin until their gazes locked. He collided with a deep green hue and lost all ability to remember what he was supposed to say or do next.”
From chapter 12: With a mental fist, he pounded down the doubts, pushed the notebook aside, and cradled her in his arms. Her fresh, familiar scent of coffee, and a hint watermelon-shampoo mingled with the smell of earth around them. “Every date we’ve been on means the world to me. Not just because I am finally experiencing new things in life, but because I get to experience life with you.”
From chapter 21: An arm wrapped around her waist, and she whirled around with a muffled shriek. Jay placed a strong, warm hand over her mouth. “Shh, they’ll hear you.” She grinned, gazing into his eyes. Happy butterflies danced in her stomach. She jerked her head to the side, indicating that they should move away from the curtain
Where can your book be purchased?
Is your book listed on Goodreads?
What makes your book stand out among the other books in the genre?
I’ve not read many books about young adults in Christian fiction, in what they call now the New Adult or Crossover genre. It’s a fairly new sub genre. I think it’s important to capture life of the generation of people who are beginning to embark on independence, who might be falling in love for the first time. Because young people have broken hearts and broken relationships, too, and they have difficult pasts, and difficult circumstances. I don’t think the romance genre is addressing the stories of characters from 20 to 30 years of age and I am here to change that.
What would you tell a potential reader (teetering on the fence) to sway them to read your book?
When Hearts Collide is a romance that will rip your heart out and piece it back together again. It’s emotional, authentic and thought-provoking, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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