Sarah Burhman | Author Interview
One of the best things about editing is that I get to read some really inspiring works. I want to share some of the amazing people I have had a chance to collaborate with.
I have always enjoyed various genres, so you never know who I will be featuring here!
This month, I have Sarah Burhman, who is writing the Runespells series. I think it is fate that I was introduced to her between finishing Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles and the New Zealand TV series The Almighty Johnsons. I hope this is a sign that I should just research more about Norse gods rather than a harbinger of Ragnarök… But at least I won’t go through Nordic withdrawal quite yet.
So let’s get to know AuthorGoddess better.
Who are you?
Sarah Burhman, aka AuthorGoddess. I write Spec Fic of all kinds. My primary series is the Runespells, of which book three is now released! I write a lot of short stories for anthologies, too. Many of them are charity anthologies, so I strongly suggest people take a look at those.
Check some of them out here!
How long have you known you wanted to be an author?
Always. I’ve never not wanted to write. I started my first novel at eight years old. I just always thought it was an unrealistic dream, like being a rock star or a star athlete. I don’t know why I want to tell stories. I just have these fascinating things in my head, and I want other people to see them, too.
What is most important for your writing routine?
I have impostor syndrome and get really low confidence when I’m in the writing trenches. I love hearing supportive things, mostly from my husband, but I’ve gotten notes from readers that really helped me get over those bumps. Even the smallest thing, like a review or just an IM that says “read it…wow” or something – that makes me feel like I have something to offer, which I do. I’m doing editing right now, not writing; that’s why I can say that… lol.
You heard her, go tell an author you love their work! It’s all in the name of continuing their work.
What do you think is important in shaping characters?
I like to focus on diversity and flaws. Everyone, especially in fantasy, has a special something. That’s what the story is about. But taking a character and giving her a prosthesis, or PTSD or anxiety, or making her a person of color or trans… these things make characters even better. We love the nerdy sidekick with a million phobias. We adore the gritty soldier who finds a reason to fight again. The MCU does a great job of this. Thor is a dork; Banning has low self-confidence; Black Widow has guilt issues; Tony Stark is just plain broken by his experiences. And we love it.
Nerd fact: I just found out that MCU is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is different from Marvel Comics. Also, leave me a comment below and let me know what your fave MCU character is! Then maybe I’ll tell you mine.
I approached Nicola in a very specific way. She isn’t the chosen one. She’s a right place, right time, wrong attitude gal. She’s in her 30s. She’s a single mom. She got herself brainwashed. She died. She became addicted to magical escapism. What she does have is the ability to decide that she’s going to keep getting up, taking the hits, and doing what she can. She starts out the series a bit out of shape. Now, she’s got abilities that make her a fighter and PTSD that keeps her from using them. She is brash but also has anxiety about things. She is a hot mess. Much like most people would be in her shoes.
I love that you show her struggling with what she has to do. She is a real human who has to do superhuman things. That makes it so easy to relate to her and cheer her on, even if you want to believe you would make different choices.
What do you look for in a good book?
I’m not terribly picky. I want a good, original story about interesting people. That can be a bit harder to find than you might expect. I disliked Twilight because I felt the end was a cop out, but I thought the sparkly thing was a rather interesting new take on the vampire/sunlight issue. I love good, passionate experiences, too. Whether it’s about love/relationships or not. People should be passionate about things, and characters should be people, first and foremost.
What are your favorite examples of strong women in literature?
I like women who deal with what life throws at them. Ayla from the Earth’s Children series (Clan of the Cave Bear) wasn’t particularly special, just thrown into a particularly unique situation. Her best trait was her ability to adapt. Aliena from Ken Follet’s Pillars of the Earth was another good one. She was handed bad situation after bad situation and just kept going. I really think a lot of women are strong, not because they can or do fight, but because they can and do survive and thrive in spite of.
I love this so much! (Also, I think like after Beth’s interview, I now have a bunch more books to add to my reading list… Woohoo, one that is finally not waitlisted on OverDrive!)
Do you have any advice for would-be authors?
It’s never too late. Learn where your weaknesses are (we all have them) and figure out how you can work through or around them. Google what you don’t know, or ask other writers. Never think there is only one way to do anything.
Where can we learn more about you and keep track of any new releases?
Anything else that you really want to say?
Fiction is and should be entertainment. But more than fun, it should evoke thoughts and emotions, making our human condition bigger, better, more vast. Fiction adds to us, and that is the way it should be.
I this! Fiction is so important in shaping our world. Thank you for your contributions to this noble cause.