Today I am very pleased to introduce you to Sarah Jane , a great online friend of mine who is a relentless supporter of indie authors and a gifted writer. Another one I yet have to meet in real life. For now, this interview will have to do. Welcome Sarah Jane. First up, please tell us about your connection to Wales.
I have lived in South Wales since February 2014. I am not Welsh, but my future son-in-law is Welsh and my first grandson was born in Wales last November, so I have a strong Welsh bond now! Christoph, I believe we met in the ASMSG group a few months before you moved to Wales, very near to me as it happens.
Tell us a little about yourself as writer and as person.
I am an old-fashioned romantic at heart and I had a dream of one day writing a romance novel. However it wasn’t until we reached a cross-roads in our lives after the Brisbane floods in 2011 that I decided to take some action to achieve my dream. Well to be honest, Nigel told me to ‘do something, or shut up, about it!’ So it was quite by accident, as a cathartic exercise, that I came to write my first travel memoir Glass Half Full, our Australian adventure.
As a mum, step-mum, wife and now a grandma, life is always busy. I work full-time on my writing and book marketing business, but in my ‘downtime’ I do enjoy making cards and gifts using cross-stitch and visiting the coast. My husband Nigel and I have seven children between us, and although currently we are empty-nesters, we do have our ‘boys’ two Australian cattle dogs called Dave and Buster and a French cat called George to keep entertained! As many empty-nester parents will attest to, the nest has now become more of a hotel for frequent return visits, especially now that we live so near to the Brecon Beacons.
Initially, I was ‘the accidental author’ documenting our experiences of moving to Australia and then losing our home in the Brisbane floods of 2011 in memoir format. Since then due to the huge amount of interest in our story, and thanks to Nigel for supporting me, I have been able to fulfil my dream of not only writing one book, but I have also written two further travel memoirs which takes my readers with us as we journey from Australia to France. We also delve into a culinary memoir format in book three which focuses on our frugal living style and how we developed a degree of self-sufficiency in order to survive in France with no jobs!
What is your life like outside of writing? What makes you laugh, what makes you cry?
My family would probably say I don’t have a life outside of writing, to which I would protest strongly, although at times I know this is secretly true.
I laugh at sitcoms from the 1980’s. I am a big fan of ‘Only fools and horses’ ‘Fawlty Towers’ and ‘Ab Fab!’ I cry very often watching movies; my youngest daughter will not watch ‘Mamma Mia,’ or ‘P.S. I Love You’ with me anymore and I have been known to cry whilst watching ‘Four weddings and a funeral.’
Which Welsh person would you like to invite for dinner and what would you serve?
Oh an easy question! Anthony Hopkins for sure as I am a huge fan of his work, but OMG what would I serve him? Maybe we could share some Chianti!!
What is the best thing about Wales?
I love the Welsh coastline, having lived for many years in Cornwall the similarities make me feel at home. I would love a house by the sea – hint, hint Nigel 🙂
I have two projects on the go at the moment; I am part of a team ghost-writing a charity book sharing an abuse victim’s story and I am working on book two in ‘The Nomadic Nurse Series’ which has a working title of, ‘Bedpans to Boardrooms.’ There is a sneak preview in the bonus features of Ooh Matron!
Who are your editors and how do you quality control your books?
In the early days of my self-publishing journey I didn’t really know what I wanted or needed in the way of editors, proof-readers and beta-readers. Cost was a big influencer and for this reason as soon as I was able to I invested my earnings into producing second editions of my books which benefited from professional editing and editorial guidance. The aim was to address the constructive feedback achieved in reviews and from my peers, to improve the books and the reading experience for my readers. I now have a team of professionals that I can call on to help me with the many aspects of self-publishing, such as professional covers, edits, etc., and the proof of the pudding is in the reading, as the reviews show. Martin Papworth has been a huge part of my editorial growth and development and I am really pleased to have him on the team for our charity project. Julie Haigh is an honest and experienced beta-reader who played a big part in the fine tuning of Ooh Matron!
How have you found the experience of self-publishing? What were your highs and lows?]
To be honest at first I had no intention of self-publishing, but now nearly two years in I am so glad for the rejections I received. The lows of being rejected in the early days drains what little if any confidence you have in our writing, but the highs of readers loving your books, emailing and leaving reviews and interacting with me on social media, and making so many new friends has been awesome.
Keep writing, even when you don’t think you have anything to write about. Start a journal, develop and expand your food shopping list, do anything that makes you put pen to paper or keeps our fingers moving on the keyboard. Secondly, network with your peers because writing and book marketing is a huge learning curve and you don’t need to reinvent the wheel when you have some good buddies at your side who are travelling the same road as you.
What is your favourite book?
Oh I have so many favourite authors, let alone favourite books, but if I had to choose it would be ‘Left Neglected’ by Lisa Genova. This is because the story and the writing in this book made such a big impact on me the first time I read it. Even now, when I re-read it, the story touches me again.
What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?
I am currently reading ‘Twisted’ by B.A Morton in paperback and ‘Prunes for Breakfast’ by John Searancke on my Kindle. I may soon start a third book as I now have iTunes and other reading devices, which could prove dangerous!
Author Sarah Jane Butfield was born in the market town of Ipswich, Suffolk. Sarah Jane, the roving Florence Nightingale, has had a successful career as a nurse and used her nursing and later teaching qualifications to take her around the world. She is now the successful author of a travel memoir series set in Australia and France. In addition, she recently released the first two books in a series of self-help literature for aspiring and debut self-published authors: The Accidental Author and The Amateur Authorpreneur. Her new nursing memoir series, The Nomadic Nurse, launched in September with the release of ‘Ooh Matron!’ which is already a UK best-seller.
Sarah Jane’s website & bookstore: http://sarahjanebutfield.wix.com/sarahjanebutfield
Sarah Jane’s writing blog: http://sarahjanebutfield-glass-half-full.blogspot.co.uk/
Follow Sarah Jane on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SarahJanewrites @SarahJanewrites
Stop by and say hello to Sarah Jane here on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSarahJaneButfield
http://bit.ly/FacebookOM Ooh Matron! page
Support and networking for authors provided by Sarah Jane & the RPBP social media team: