Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Sara Brooke back to The FlipSide. At the moment, she is touring to support her most recent novel Cursed Casino and she has graciously answered all of my probing questions. Let’s take a moment to get you all reacquainted…
Sara Brooke is a horror and suspense novelist living in South Florida. A lifelong avid reader of all things scary, Sara’s childhood dream was to write horror 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, John Saul, William Blackstone, and Joe McKinney.
She is presently working on her next novel.
Welcome back Sara, tell us about your writing process?
First, the idea has to generate. Sometimes the idea comes to me while I’m in the shower or having a vivid dream. Once the idea is in my head, then I work out an outline of where the story should “generally” go. Then, it’s basically “off to the races” and time to write. In order to really concentrate, I’ve got to turn on some relaxing music and focus. Once the novel is written, then it’s time to review and edit – usually with the help of several people (pre-readers, editors, etc).
Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?
It’s not easy to write in different genres as each contains its own set of challenges. However, I do enjoy comedy. So perhaps, a romantic comedy – Woody Allen style.
What are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?
The first would have to be The Fall of the House of Usher from Edgar Allan Poe. I first read that book in grade school and it was so terrifying that I had to hide the book under a stack of photo albums in the living room. It was actually scary to have the book in the same room as me. But, in essence, I was intrigued by the strange and macabre.
The Resort by Bentley Little. By the time I read this book, I was already familiar with Mr. Little’s work. This novel encapsulates everything good about horror writing. It’s also a book I tend to read when my mind needs to be filled with juicy horror and excitement. You’ll never look at a luxury resort the same way again.
The Ignored by Bentley Little. This is the first book of Little’s that I read and it is not typical horror, but rather what happens when someone who is so dull that they’re regularly overlooked, begins to get “truly” overlooked – and becomes invisible. The story takes you on the journey of a group of people who are all basically the same, dull variety and how they take over the world; wreaking havoc and having the time of their lives. The reason this book is so fascinating is that it is true-to-life. How many people in your life do you see regularly, but they’re so uninteresting that they just seem to fade into the background? It is a harsh reality, but a truth that can be horrific if you’re one of those who becomes a part of the background and never really seen or appreciated.
Usher’s Passing by Robert McCammon. I found this book at a used bookstore many years ago. It takes the reader behind the history of the Usher family and is set deep in the woods, at their palatial estate. With such expectant content, McCammon had a big task ahead to make this novel as interesting and creative as the original Poe tale, and he does succeed. I know that the author has written more popular novels such as A Boy’s Tale and Swan Song, but I find this one to be his best by far. And that worn paperback still sits in my house.
Apocalypse of the Dead by Joe McKinney. Not normally a fan of zombie books, I decided to read this one a few years ago. It is a fast-paced book that reads like a movie and is very well-written. It is also the last book I read, before I decided to start writing myself and I thank Joe (who has also become a friend) for all of his encouragement along the way.
That’s a very interesting list. I haven’t read The Ignored by Little yet, but now I want to pick it up. Thank you! If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters?
Cursed Casino is probably the most commercial novel for film. Would cast Sandra Bullock as Darla and Michael Fassbender as Jackson.
What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?
Probably take the day to celebrate by going to a great movie or sleeping. I know, that’s not very exciting, but the busier I get… the more I appreciate 8-10 hours of sleep;)
Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing?
The biggest vice I can think of is Facebook. Don’t want to get started on my soapbox here, but many writers I know get sucked into Facebook and post things all day long. I often wonder how they get any writing done when they are constantly posting photos and phrases. One in particular, spent the entire political season posting her views… every few minutes or so. But, I do understand the pull. It’s like a drug. So, I make sure to keep away unless I’m just bored and killing time (which doesn’t happen often). I’ll check in once or twice a day to answer emails and postings. But that’s about it.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Live life. Spend time with the people I care about. Eat. Sleep. Go to the gym. Read.
Please share with us the first nine lines of your current work-in-progress.
The rain fell in heavy drops, pelting the ground with wet bursts. Overhead, dark clouds hung deep within the sky and successfully blocked out any rays of the soaked half moon. The constant onslaught gathered in the dirt below and small rivers were born in the darkness of the muck.
The shed, despite being constructed years past, was able to withstand the rain. Despite a few leaks along the roof, it was dry inside. Dust gently shifted along the ground, subtly nudged by the cooler winds seeking refuge from the moist night.
In the center of the sheds sat a large wrought iron bed. It had no mattress or box spring. But it was ornate, despite its nakedness. Black arches rose on either side like spikes, the tips glinting from the small vestiges of light that had miraculously found their way inside.
Now let’s take a look at Cursed Casino… Don’t forget to click on the cover – it will whisk you away to Amazon so that you can purchase a copy!
It sits along the Mississippi coastline, welcoming tourists with its lavish shops and a vast casino that’s home to sparkling slot machines and elegant gaming tables.
A group of friends is gathering for a reunion and a chance to experience the luxury of the Van Vincent before it officially opens, but a night of gambling turns into a night of hell.
Because when darkness descends on the Van Vincent, the dead don’t always stay underground. And the phantoms of the past like to play for keeps.
Just in case you want to try the hands of fate at winning a copy, you can enter the Rafflecopter contest for a chance to win a complete digital version of all of Sara Brooke’s book from Biting Dig Press!
Don’t forget to come back next week – I will be interviewing Anne Michaud!