Sara Brooke is an international Amazon bestselling author who writes horror and suspense novels.
A lifelong avid reader of all things scary, Sara's childhood dream was to write books that force readers to sleep with their lights on. Her first novel, Still Lake, was released spring 2012. Sara's influences and favorite authors include Bentley Little and John Saul. She is presently working on her next novel
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I’m from Florida and enjoy writing by the ocean, but a can of Diet Coke and a comfy couch will work fine too. Most people are surprised that I write horror because I don’t really fit the mould of the archetype: Gothic, black clothes- wearing, depressed woman who has black fingernails and doesn’t leave her home. With red hair, a regular smile painted on my face and the propensity to laugh―people typically think that I write Romance or Comedies. I’ve written a paranormal romance/horror book, but I’m best known for creepy horror tales.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I enjoy sleeping, watching horror movies, working out at the gym, and spending time with loved ones. As life goes on, I realize that you really need to enjoy each moment as much as possible.
What’s your favourite food?
Jalapeno Kettle Chips! Disgusting, I know. But I eat them in bulk. My blood is probably spicy from eating them so often.
Who would be on the soundtrack to your life story?
I’m a big fan of Coldplay. Their music tends to touch on so many elements of what a person deals with in their life. I’m recently divorced, so there’s many melancholy and “life is starting over” songs that come to mind.
Tell us a dirty little secret?
A dirty secret? Hmmm. I guess perhaps that my books are a mix of horror and sex because those are the kinds of things I enjoy reading about. A good helping of gore never hurts either. In life however, I prefer sex to gore and horror (just in case anyone is getting any strange ideas;)
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t settle. I’ve made some decisions in my personal life that weren’t always the smartest because I wasn’t happy with the life I’d made for myself. From this point forward, my intention is to do things that make me happy, regardless of how much work they are. I’m intent on being good to the people around me and cherishing the ones who truly deserve it.
Characters often find themselves in situations they aren't sure they can get themselves out of. When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do?
I think getting divorced was really difficult. It’s difficult to fail at something that you’ve worked really hard for and especially when you know that things were good at one time. But sometimes you have to move on, even when it’s rough. And thankfully, my divorce was amicable and my ex is a great person. My characters have much more treacherous paths to walk than I do.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
I enjoy Bentley Little, John Saul, and Robert McCammon.
What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?
I really enjoyed The Haunting by Bentley Little. Not sure about disappointment? Usually I don’t finish a bad book. There was one that I downloaded off of Amazon by a newer writer that never went anywhere. The character just wandered around aimlessly and it was a chore to read.
What is your all-time favourite horror novel, and film?
My all-time favorite novel is The Resort by Bentley Little and favorite horror novel would have to be The Shining. Such a great flick. It ALWAYS scares me. And I’ve seen it a million times, too.
If you could erase one horror cliché what would it be?
Slasher films and books bore me to pieces. They are so formulaic that a 4th grader could predict what will happen. Show some originality! Throw in some real terror that isn’t entirely predictable. Please put me out to pasture if I ever write a “slasher” book. Ech.
Which fictional character would be you perfect neighbour, and who would be your nightmare neighbour?
I’d like to live next door to Zorro. He’s a babe – particularly if he looks anything like Antonio Banderas. Or perhaps Thorin from Lord of the Rings. He’s pretty handsome. My nightmare neighbour would probably have to be any of the ghosts that haunt my tales. They’re all pretty messed up and don’t look all that pleasant. There’s naked hags, rotting corpses and all sorts of great creeps that you wouldn’t want hanging around your front door.
If you could kill off any character from any other book who would you chose and how would they die?
I would kill off Bella from Twilight. Completely. Forever. Too mushy and obsessed for my tastes. Women should be portrayed as having the ability to love and be strong at the same time. There’s nothing wrong with romance but you’ve got to have your own life, passions, and goals.
And if you had free range what fictional character would you like to write for?
I’m a big fan of Jane Austen, so I’d like to write a book from Mr. Darcy’s perspective (Pride & Prejudice). It would be great to write it in first person and reveal his passions, fears and suffering. He was such a tightly wound character in that novel that I’ll bet he’s got some great dirty secrets and things that keep him up at night;)
What do you think of the current state of the genre?
The genre is in a weird place. There’s too many zombie and vampire books out there. True supernatural horror isn’t getting as much play as it used to. Many people thought the Zebra horror books of the eighties were cheesy but I loved them. I’ve been trying to write novels that are reminiscent of some of those horror novels. Authors like William Johnstone or Ruby Jean Jensen put together some great stuff.
What do you think is the biggest problem facing horror fiction right now?
As mentioned, there’s too many vampires or zombie apocalyptic-type stuff.
Are there any reviews of your work, positive or negative that have stayed with you?
I don’t read reviews anymore given that there are too many to look at. An early one I received was from someone who gave me one star because they didn’t like scary novels. I think it’s not necessarily the nicest feedback to rate something low because the content wasn’t to your taste. That’s why we have a book synopsis and most would agree that my summaries outline the fact that the book will be a scary one. If you don’t enjoy horror than don’t read my novels that are based on the same.
What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?
It is difficult for me to write for long periods of time. My brain starts to wander and the concentration is lost. Writing for a couple of hours at a time usually works best for me.
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author?
Crime novels. There’s too much police procedure material that an author needs to be fully familiar with or it starts to sound a bit phony. Those aren’t typically the books I read either and it’s my firm belief that you are able to proficiently write what you are interested in and enjoy reading.
What do you think makes a good story?
A good story needs a powerful hook and an element of surprise. I also think books with prose that flows freely are more interesting and easy to read. Fans of my novels often tell me that my prose flows very smoothly and they can finish my novels relatively quickly.
How important are names to you in your books?
Naming is so difficult! I wrote one novel and realized that everyone’s name ended in an “a”! So it is very important and given that some of my books have many characters, I do take time to ensure names are unique and work for the character that is borne from my mind.
What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Writers need to write. It is that simple. You don’t need to be Shakespeare to write a good book, but you do have to follow a word count plan where you endeavour to finish a certain number of words each day.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
A well-known writer and friend once told me to pay attention to my own work and not worry about the success others might have. This was helpful when I was starting out and I’ve kept it with me throughout the past several years.
What is the most demeaning thing said about you as a writer?
Ouch. You really want me to go there? (Laughs) Ok, I think someone one said that they would have been better off donating money to charity than buying one of my books. While it was hurtful, I also found it to be hilariousJ
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
Marketing communications is key when you are trying to market your work to an audience. Given that I am a newer writer, it’s been a major part of my activities. Connecting with bloggers and others who write about horror and have a trusted following tends to work best.
Who is your favourite character from your book and why?
My favorite character is Renda Bloodmane from “The Awakening”. She resembles me at times and has a feisty spirit that is admirable. I oftentimes tend to relate to people who are strong and keep going despite hardships. She’s definitely that type of person.
How about the least favourite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
My least favorite character in my novels is Ben Kransen from “Kransen House”. I find him to be weak and unappealing, leaving his wife in a terrible situation because of his lack of trust, belief, and resolve.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
The Bloodmane Chronicles – Book One – The Awakening.
And are there any that you would like to forget about? Never! They’re all my creations. There are definitely some I like better than others, but they’re all a part of me.
For those who haven’t read any of your books, what book of yours do you think best represents your work and why?
The Bloodmane Chronicles – Book One – The Awakening. It’s my strongest book to date and contains all the things I love – horror, sex, romance, gore, and mystery.
What are you working on right now?
A book about a group of college students who trespass on a place called “The Gardens Of Babylon.” It’s full of horror, suspense, and gore. Quite a fun ride!
What's the one question you wish you would get asked but never do? And what would be the answer?
Will you always write? Of course. It’s what drives me and makes me who I am.
Find out more about Sara by following the links below
Amazon Author Page UK
Amazon Author Page US
Everything she knows . . .
Renda Bloodmane is a quiet librarian, who lives a quiet life, in a small quiet town in Florida. Her days consist of going to work (which she loves) and watching old Hollywood movies with her dog Jane (which she also loves). Her life is just fine, if a tad on the dull side. So, when her best friend from college, Bobbie Trillo, invites her to visit her family in Georgia, Renda decides a vacation is in order. Bobbie has moved back in with her mother and brother after her parents’ divorce. Things aren’t going well for her mother, and Bobbie needs Renda’s friendship and support.
Everything she believes . . .
Renda soon discovers that there is a lot more going on in the Trillo household than meets the eye. The moment she sets foot in the Trillo home, Renda starts seeing ghosts everywhere she turns. But one very unique ghost stands out from the rest. A sinfully attractive man named Cole, who died more than one hundred years ago, begins to haunt Renda’s every thought. He warns her there is evil in the house and it’s attacking Bobbie’s mother. Only Renda can stop the demon from taking over and destroying the entire family.
Will never be the same . . .
Renda can’t believe she’s seeing dead people. She can’t believe she’s attracted to a dead man. And most of all, she can’t believe that she’s the chosen one who has to fight a centuries-old powerful demon. But there is more to Renda Bloodmane than even she realizes. Her quiet, ordered life is about to change and there’s nothing she can do to stop it.