I'm a lucky woman. Not only do I create for a living, I also get the opportunity to meet interesting authors from all over the world. It's truly one of the best things I can imagine. Their creativity, their life experiences, and their unique perspectives spur me to a deeper level of understanding. For that, I'm eternally grateful. Today we're lucky enough to have author, Sarah Jane Butfield, join us for an interview. As you'll see from her answers, she's one of those fascinating people I mentioned who I'm grateful to know.
What inspires you as an author?
As, to date, I have principally written non-fiction travel, culinary and nursing memoirs I would have to say that life events, especially those situated around our family life, are my biggest inspiration when writing. I love to reminisce and I collect photographs, ticket stubs and other items to help my memories. My husband, Nigel, calls this hoarding, which I totally deny! That said, I do have my first piece of fiction writing in progress, which is a romance novel, and I would be lying if I said that some of the scenes are not based on personal or observed experiences.
Diversity! I love it. You're covering all of your bases, much like I do. Tell us briefly about your recently published book and what you feel is the most important topic/sub-message you share.
My new release is titled Ooh Matron! It is book one in The Nomadic Nurse Series. The series starts with the how it all began for me at the tender age of 16 with no higher ambition than to work on the till's in Woolworths, get married and have a family.
Here is the synopsis:
"Sarah Jane is a sixteen-year-old country girl, a little old-fashioned with a mischievous sense of humour, who suddenly decides she wants to be a nurse.
I am not sure what Florence Nightingale would make of her!
Sarah Jane has no career aspirations, all she wants is to leave school, work as a cashier at Woolworths and get married. Then everything changes and she finds herself wearing a fluorescent pink uniform and studying to get into Nursing School.
What inspired this surprising change of direction? What happens when she leaves her Suffolk home, friends and family to live in nurses quarters in an Essex garrison town with a housemate who is a party animal?"
I like to write from the heart sharing the emotion that I felt during the events and later as I reminisce about them. This I know appeals to a large number of readers who feel able to relate to my story even if they are not nurse or healthcare professionals.
What inspired this particular book?
I have been a qualified Registered General Nurse for just over 28 years and during that time I have worked in many healthcare settings, both in the UK and in Australia. These roles have included hospital wards, care in the community, hospice, aged care, rehabilitation and nursing agency management, to name but a few. I feel very privileged to have met and worked with highly skilled professionals with whom I have shared many experiences. The Nomadic Nurse Series documents my career as it runs along side family and social life over almost three decades, sometimes with hilarious consequences. Nursing has changed enormously within that time and it still surprises me as I write the series how the developments in nursing practice and medicine in general have impacted not only the training but the ongoing professional development of nurses and healthcare professionals.
Like all authors, you have had your fair share of rejection letters. You obviously did not let the letters deter you. How did you keep your determination without getting discouraged?
It took only one rejection letter, well rejection email, to reset my writing and publishing journey in its very early days. I truly was The Accidental Author. A woman who had been through a series of life changing events, in a short period of time, whilst living as an expat in Australia. When we lost our home, its contents and in reality the roots to our new life in Australia, I used writing my story as a cathartic exercise. I didn’t realize then where writing this story would lead, but here we are with three travel memoirs self-published which follow our journey from the events in Australia to our eventual pursuit of another bucket list item renovating cottage in rural south west France.
In hindsight, I am now grateful for the rejection because I use my experiences of accidentally ending up in the self -publishing world, loving it and wanting to absorb all there is to know so that I can help other new and aspiring authors. It also initiated a new author project called The What, Why, Where, When, Who & How Book Promotion Series where myself and other relatively new authors share our experiences to help new and aspiring authors get started without having to reinvent the wheel whilst learning the ropes of the self publishing and book promotion world.
It has been my experience, some things in writing come quite easily (like dialogue) and other things aren’t so easy (like deciding on a title). What comes easily to you and what do you find more difficult?
The writing of the first draft comes easily, but writing the blurb or synopsis for book sites or for when a book is featured in a magazine or on a blog I find really tricky. Titles usually come to me during the writing, I have never started with a title and the written around it.
How do you think the digital age has impacted literature as a whole?
I think the digital age has transformed the world of literature and made it more accessible to more people worldwide. I grew up totally reliant on our school and local library for my reading books and when I was nurse training the myriad of text books that we needed came from specialist stores and were very heavy to carry to classes. I think it is a very exciting time to be involved in digital publishing as the variety of formats that our books can be made into continues to expand and consequently expands our potential reader fan base.
Do you do a lot of research for your books?
As I write memoirs most of my research is of our family journals, notebooks, photographs, etc. although I do have to research music, weather and events of the time that I am writing about is I omitted that in my journals notes.
Tell us about your writing space.
My writing space for computer work is situated in the back bedroom of our house in South Wales, which overlooks the garden and the edge of the Brecon Beacons National park. I chose this spot because I like to be able to look out and see the squirrels, magpies and robins playing and watch our dogs Dave and Buster jump around in their enclosure eager to join in. When I am drafting new material, I am a notebook and pen girl and I like to sit in my big armchair away from the internet and any other distractions as I find this makes the words flow easily. A bit too easily sometimes because I get so carried away and write so quickly that I sometimes struggle to read it when I start copy typing it!
Sounds like a beautiful and serene writing space. What happens before you sit down to write? (Explain your creative process)
When I have a writing deadline, for column or article, I allocate a specific time to the project and endeavour to stick to it, as I can be procrastinator. I always have a cup of coffee at the start of a writing session and I do not allow myself a refill until either the session is complete or I have met a personal target I have set myself. This is a measure I introduced to control my procrastination.
If I researched anything for the project I make sure I have everything I need before I start so that I don't wander off and get distracted!
When they write your obituary, what do you hope they will say about your books and writing? What do you hope they will say about you?
Sarah Jane wrote from the heart with passion, a sense of humour and honesty.
She loved her family and life to the limits, taking risks and living life to the fullest.
That's a great one! I love asking that question because it's very revealing about a person's life. Passion, humor, honesty--what wonderful qualities. Please use this space to tell us more about your books. Anything you want your readers to know. Include information on where to find your books, any blogs you may have, or how a reader can learn more about you and/or your books.
Personal writing blog: http://sarahjanebutfield-glass-half-full.blogspot.co.uk/
Rukia Publishing blog: http://www.rukiapublishing.com/sarah-janes-blog
Author website: http://sarahjanebutfield.wix.com/sarahjanebutfield
Sarah Jane's Memoirs mailing list -Subscribe t for updates, competitions and sneak previews of new releases! - http://eepurl.com/0IuML
Authors advertise for FREE in RPBP NEWS daily http://www.rukiapublishing.com/advertise-with-rpbp.html
Sarah Jane Butfield's book catalogue:
All bookstore links for all books are on her author website
Glass Half full: Our Australian adventure - Life is never without its challenges. How many life-changing events can one family endure before they reach breaking point? Find out in this inspirational and touching true story.
Two dogs and Suitcase: Clueless in Charente -Journey with us as we arrive in rural South West France; enjoy my reflections, thoughts, and observations about my family, our new surroundings, and our lifestyle. Follow the journey of my writing career and how we start our renovation project while managing our convoluted family life.
Our Frugal Summer in Charente: An expat's kitchen garden journal - Frugal living was not part of the plan when they arrived from Australia to undertake the renovation of a quaint cottage in the Charente. However, when life throws them a curve-ball the challenge was set.
Ooh Matron! - Sarah Jane is a sixteen-year-old country girl, a little old-fashioned with a mischievous sense of humour, who suddenly decides she wants to be a nurse.
I am not sure what Florence Nightingale would make of her!
The Accidental Author - Find out how an aspiring author aims to be discovered while learning on the job how to write, publish and launch a new career in writing.
The Amateur Authorpreneur - The Amateur Authorpreneur is a beginners’ guide for authors who intend to develop their writing into a business, addressing the important task of book promotion and marketing.
Thank you so much for taking the time for the interview, Sarah Jane. I wish you every success on your path of writing with passion, laughing out loud, and taking those risks!