Today’s guest is Sarah Buchynski, author of Before the Light: The Awakening. Here’s a description of the book:
The fate of the world is uncertain…A secret society, historical protectors of mankind and thought to have been lost for centuries, re-emerges in dire times. When a sinister madman emerges and threatens the balance of harmony, a young girl realizes her quest for purpose.
Tricia: Hi Sarah. Please, tell us a little about yourself.
Sarah: I am just a regular college student (almost graduated) who is really “right-brained” with a dash of “left” to put it all together. I enjoy the more “artsy” things in life like writing and music. I suppose I enjoy anything that involves creativity, which is probably why I enjoy writing.
Tricia: When did you begin writing?
Sarah: I have been writing ever since I learned how to write. I always enjoyed coming up with stories to entertain people. However, it did not get really serious until when I was 16. This is when I had my first poem published in an anthology and that eventually branched out into novel writing.
Tricia: Can you tell us about your most recent publication?
Sarah: Before True Light: The Awakening is a unique concept. It is purely fantasy based; however, I was getting a bit tired of the concept of magic. So I created a system that still has an essence of magic, but is based on ancient alchemy (very early principles of chemistry). With this, there is a reason why and how the characters can use their abilities. However, there are still aspects that are still 100% fantasy, but not highly unbelievable. It also digs into the darker side of human nature and the struggle between the light and dark.
Tricia: It sounds very intriguing! How did you get the idea for the book?
Sarah: The actual idea for the book came one night I could not sleep. It was 1:00am on a cold December night. Since I could not sleep, I turned on my laptop and just started writing. Thinking back it was strange how I was pulled to open my text processor and not go on the internet.
Tricia: What was the most challenging aspect of writing your novel?
Sarah: Keeping the story exciting was challenging. The hardest thing about writing a series for the fantasy genre is that the first book has to explain how the world works and setup the story. I feel that I ended up with a good combination of explanation and exciting/interesting story elements.
Tricia: Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?
Sarah: Izanami is one of my favourites. She is the character that the reader can relate to the most, sympathize with, or have some sort of connection. I have had many tell me that she appears to be like a real person. I think this sense of reality helps convey the powerful emotions throughout the story.
Tricia: Which character was the most challenging to write?
Sarah: Xenon was very challenging to write, but at the same time, fun to write. It is difficult to explain why writing for his personality was fun. Perhaps it was more complex to create since his insanity and I had to think, “how would an insane madman act”? I guess it took more creativity since that is an aspect of personality I do not have.
He is the outlet to explore the dark side of human nature. Through his actions, he shows that life is not all sunshine and daisies. He is the looming darkness that exists in life, but where there is darkness, there is light to balance it. I feel in life there is a constant “battle” for light and darkness to overtake one another, so it is a constant balancing act. Of course this is exaggerated a lot to create a dramatic effect that is entertaining.
Tricia: Which authors have inspired your writing?
Sarah: Authors have not really inspired my writing. I have been influenced by the video game series, Final Fantasy.
Tricia: What projects are you currently working on?
Sarah: I am working on several. The next book of the series is in the editing process and another is in the writing stage. I am also involved in The Awakening’s book trailer where I will be composing its score and design all audio aspects needed. Its audio book is in the pre-production stage right now.
Tricia: If your book was ever made into a movie, which actors and actresses would you cast?
Sarah: I would not care much about who is in it. Although I think an all British cast would fit it nicely. I would be more concerned with the film studio letting me do the foley (foley artist) and be involved in the score – possibly co-writing and engineering.
Tricia: How do you handle unfavorable reviews?
Sarah: I honestly get really upset. However, not everyone can like my book and that’s okay since there are, so far, more people who enjoy it and that’s all that matters.
Tricia: What songs/artists are on the playlist for your book?
Sarah: When I write, I always have music playing. It consists of artists like Amaranthe, Theocracy, or video game scores (Final Fantasy 7, 9, 10 and Assassin’s Creed 2)
Tricia: Do you have any special skills, education, or hobbies that enhance your writing abilities?
Sarah: In grade 10, I had a light bulb moment in English 10A. We were learning about all these grammar rules in depth and it finally clicked. Ever since then my writing sounds and flows so much better because I can write using proper grammar (most of the time). I also find that a thesaurus is my best friend when writing so I am not using the same plain words over and over. It also helped that for the next few years after that I was constantly writing, which gave me plenty of practice.
Tricia: What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?
Sarah: Editing is so important. Edit your book and when you think you are done, edit some more! By the time I was done I could almost recite my entire book by memory. Also get a second pair of eyes because after awhile you cannot pick up on the little details. Readers hate reading books with spelling or grammar issues (plot holes are the worst), so even though you really want your book out there, do not rush the editing process.