Tuesday 1 May 2018

Interview: Sage MacGowan

For this week's author interview, I have the charming Sage MacGowan stopping by The Writing Greyhound to chat about life, work, writing and her novel Through Fire.

Hello! Please could you introduce yourself?
Hello, everyone! I'm Sage. Thank you very much, Lorna, for having me!
How did you first become interested in writing?
I didn't really get into writing until about eight years ago. Until then I was perfectly satisfied letting my little scenarios dance in my head. One night that changed. For some unknown reason, I felt I absolutely HAD to get my thoughts down, and the pull hasn't left.
through-fire, sage-macgowan, book

Tell me about Through Fire.
Through Fire is the third manuscript I started, but the only one (to date) I've finished. The overhanging emotion is guilt - the belief that one has committed unforgivable acts - and the damage that does emotionally, physically, and socially. It's about how the people in our lives "prop" us up and convince us to forgive ourselves.
Why did you decide to write for New Adults?
My late teens and early twenties were a very "angsty" time for me, as I assume they are for everyone, and it seemed like the proper age range to deal with the issues and situations I wanted to write about.
What drew you to writing romance?
I read for escape, and what better place to escape to than a world where there is a wonderful person to share your life with? Sure, there are bad things that happen, but you're not alone. Someone's got your back, and in the end, everything is back on an even keel. I wanted to be a part of that.
Did you find writing the book a challenge?
No, not overly so. There were times my muse left me high and dry, and then there was all the research on artificial arms and mountain biking and psychology. It went through quite a few iterations, but I'm glad I didn't just throw my hands up and scrap it. I'm very happy with the way it turned out.
How did you get inspiration?
I'm not sure where my inspiration for this particular story came from. I was just sitting in my car on lunch break (I used to work full-time as a veterinary nurse) and the opening scene in the gym popped into my head. Basically, my muse said to me, "This is what happens." 
In general, my inspiration for my stories comes out of the frustration I felt reading other books involving disabilities. Over and over again, the characters were "magically cured" by the end, and that really bothered me. It was as if the writers were saying it was impossible for them to have a happily ever after as is.
What’s your writing process?
For Through Fire, I was a total pantster. There was no outlining whatsoever. My scenes were all out of order and there were A LOT of changes before I felt it was right. Complete rewrites in many sections. For my current WIP, I thought I'd try plotting instead. I thought if I outlined, it would come together easier, but so far I'm mostly banging my head on my keyboard, trying to come up with scenes.
What’s the hardest thing about writing?
Coming up with ideas. For a while after that fateful night years ago, story ideas flooded my brain. It was like I couldn't type fast enough. Then the plots started dwindling; my muse was leaving me on my own more and more. It took me six and a half years to write Through Fire. Pathetic!
What do you love most about writing?
The work environment and the hours. Any time, day or night, I can plunk away at the keyboard (when I'm not dealing with the more mundane aspects of my life). I love that I can "go to work" in my pyjamas. I love that I have the option of packing up my fully-charged laptop and going off into the woods to write. I finished the storyline for Through Fire sitting by the river on a tranquil August evening.
sage-macgowan, author

Which authors inspire you?
I'd say at the top of the list is Danielle Steel. She's so prolific, and she had the cojones to write Palomino when other authors were afraid to write - or thought no one would want to read - about a romance protagonist with physical challenges. I like to think she paved the way for me. 
I also admire Diana Gabaldon. If I recall, Outlander was her debut novel, and it is SO freakin' good. She's amazing.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Do it for yourself. Don't feel like you have to follow all the rules. Give them a happy ending, for sure, but other than that, let your imagination be free. Write what's in your heart.
What are you currently working on?
It's not a sequel, but it is related to Through Fire in that both couples show up in future novels. My current work-in-progress deals with trust issues on his end, and her being "pushed out of the nest."
What are you reading at the moment?
The Best Medicine by Tracy Brogan. She's a plastic surgeon with no inclination to date, especially not a man who is eight years her junior and who crashed a stolen Jet-Ski. It's great so far and I'm loving the humour.
What’s your all-time favourite book?
There are just too many! But I have a feeling when I finally get around to reading The Princess Bride, it will be my very favourite.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
To keep writing! And to keep enjoying it. I don't care about the money; I just want to make people think.
What are your interests outside of writing and reading?
Well, I don't get the chance to go anymore, but as my picture hints at, I love renaissance faires. I also love animals and have parlayed that into the paying gig of petsitting. I am a nature worshiper and crave the hiking trail, as well as a warm beach.
Through Fire is available to buy now. For more information about Sage and her writing, you can check out her website.

Will you be reading the book? What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!

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