Sarah J. Williams
This week we caught up with Sarah J. Williams (a.k.a. Äsa Blumélius), avid reader and British-Swedish author of the 'Sophia' series to find out where the idea for Sophia came from and what her must-have read would be if she were stuck on a desert island!
Who are you? Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi, I'm Åsa Blumélius and I write children's books under the pseudonym Sarah J. Williams. I live with my half-British family in a small town called Sköllersta, in Sweden but I used to live in Gravesend, in Kent.
What first inspired you to start writing?
I started to write even long before I could spell! I used to write small children's books which I drew the illustrations for. The text was just wavy lines! I would memorise those books and re-tell the stories over and over again to my family. These are my first memories of writing books, my other memory is of when I wrote Sophia & the Dragon: Who Came for Dinner. It took me eight years to write that book(!) and I was inspired to write it because of all the stories I used to tell my daughter when she was growing up. When my daughter was little, a dragon did come for tea every meal and it helped her finish her dinner. I thought that if it helped my child, then maybe there are other families who need the assistance of a dragon.
What made you want to work with Rowanvale and be published?
I was contacted by Rowanvale Books on Twitter many years ago and I wrote down their name and contacted them when I had a full manuscript. I was very pleased with the outcome! I am never looking back and am planning on publishing my next children's book with Rowanvale Books.
When you’re not writing, what are you reading?
I love reading! I just finished reading Circe which is a novel based on Greek mythology, written by Madeline Miller. I'm notorious for reading several books at the same time, so I'm currently reading: 3 World's Journey by Matt Kratz, Last Fight of the Old Hound by Nils Odlund, Radish by the Nobel Prize winner Mo Yan, Another View by Rosamunde Pilcher, So, Anyway by John Cleese, and last but certainly not least I'm reading the Christmas book: This Year It Will Be Different by Maeve Binchy.
Which work are you most proud of?
I've written and am currently writing five books, but I'm the proudest of Sophia & the Dragon: Who Came for Dinner. It's a magnificent little story that I keep getting great reviews for. Since starting up on social media under my pseudonym, I now have fans who keep telling me to write more. I am! I'll let you know my secret in question ten!
What’s your best advice for handling writer's block?
I've had writer's block many times! My thoughts on it are that it may be your body that's telling you that you need a little break from writing and that you then need to reignite your passion for it. So I:
a) take a break and go do other things, such as read a great book, go for walks, etc. Whatever you need to get yourself thinking on something else for a change. Then do that for as long as you feel you need to, to re-charge.
b) When you feel relaxed again, start researching for your book, take a writing course or just sit down and write sweet nothings. Really get your head into your characters and the world you've created. And,
c) start writing again, and surround yourself with people who inspire you.
That's the procedure I follow again and again and it's yet to disappoint!
What’s one thing you always have with you when you’re writing?
My computer, pens and a notepad. I know that there are many of you out there who cringe when I say that I write in notepads, but I need to or I wouldn't get much writing done!
What is the one book you would take with you if you were stuck on a desert island?
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, for sure. I keep enjoying Douglas Adams' writing and return to this book series again and again. The beginning with the bulldozer is my favourite! I keep on reading it over and over again. Just the thought of the word, "Yellow", cracks me up. You have to read it though to get the joke.
What is the best part about being an independently published author?
The complete control that I have over my book and that I get most of the money from sales. Something that's really important to me is customer service and I truly got great service from Rowanvale Books!
What’s next for you?
My next book is called Sophia & the Spaceship! I'm still tinkering the manuscript but be sure to see the book here on Rowanvale Books soon.