AMA: From Norse Myth to Murder

Sarah-Jayne Briggs
Jan 1, 2018

I'm Sarah-Jayne Briggs, a long-time writer who has recently self-published my first book, Ice Warriors: Key of Midgard. I have now started a Kickstarter campaign to create and promote a second book I'm very excited about writing. At the same time, I'm working on book two of Ice Warriors: Key of Hel. I also own and moderate my own blog, Ink of Blood, through which I share reviews and also pieces of my writing. Ask Me Anything!

Facebook: www.facebook.com/sarahjayne.briggs.9

Kickstarter campaign: www.kickstarter.com/projects/1900003258/solstice-1

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How old are you when you started writing stories?

Jan 2, 6:44AM EST0

Most days, it feels like I've been writing for my whole life. I remember telling my sister stories when I was very young. But I started out writing endings I'd prefer to have to a book series that was my favourite at the time. It was at school, probably about 11, that I started veering off into my own original work.

Jan 2, 7:36AM EST0

What type of genre are you introducing to both books you created?

Jan 2, 4:54AM EST0

Ice Warriors is more of an urban fantasy bleeding into high fantasy. I'd say Solstice is more of a psychological thriller with elements of the paranormal mixed in.

Jan 2, 7:35AM EST0

How do you describe your normal day like?

Jan 2, 1:41AM EST0

First of all, I'm very much a night person. I stay up late and get up late. Apart from that, I go to work (unfortunately, I'm not earning enough to quit my job yet). I try to write where and when I can, but it's tricky when inspiration doesn't hit. I'm not really a social person, so I spend a lot of time indoors...but that still means it's easy to procrastinate. I love reading, so quite often, the book I'm currently on grabs my attention.

Jan 2, 7:34AM EST0

How much time did you spend on writing and posting articles on your blog site?

Jan 2, 1:00AM EST0

My blog's been going strong for a few years now. The reviews themselves don't take me long to write; perhaps an hour once I know what I'm going to say. What takes me longer is when I'm involved in blog tours and have to include all sorts of promotional material provided by fellow authors.

Jan 2, 7:31AM EST0

What could be the best way to market your books?

Jan 2, 12:21AM EST0

I think pretty much spreading the word. Allowing people to get to know my name and the names of my books. Reaching out to people through Twitter and things like this. I want to also get promotional material done for my books, such as bookmarks and perhaps even book trailers.

Jan 2, 7:29AM EST0

How did you go about researching to come up with great ideas?

Jan 1, 8:54PM EST0

Google is a particularly good tool, I've found. I've typed in a lot of very different questions. But apart from that, I can get ideas from anything. Dreams (which I have to heavily adapt the majority of the time); snippets of conversation; song lyrics; lines in television shows or books... Once I started writing and coming up with ideas, the problem became turning them off to only focus on one at a time.

Jan 1, 8:58PM EST0

What is the farthest location you have traveled to date?

Jan 1, 8:26PM EST0

I live in the UK and currently, I've travelled to Crete, Turkey, Majorca and The Netherlands. But I'm not sure I could say which one of those is the furthest. The most recent trip was to The Netherlands, which also happened to be the only time I've been on an overnight ferry.

Jan 1, 8:42PM EST0

What is the advantage of publishing your own book?

Jan 1, 7:50PM EST0

Probably effectively being my own boss. But that, of course, also makes it easy to procrastinate. I can work on what I feel called to, though, within reason, rather than writing something that might perhaps be popular but not something I find engaging enough.

Jan 1, 8:39PM EST0

Do you have a formal education in relation to your current profession?

Jan 1, 7:08PM EST0

I don't. When I was much younger, I wanted to be an author who happened to be a vet - much like James Heriot. I devoured his books when I was much younger. I did an animal care course and decided it wasn't for me. But as for the writing, I've done workshops and one course that consisited of, as I recall, five Monday evenings.

Jan 1, 8:37PM EST0

What were the challenges you had as far as publishing is concerned?

Jan 1, 7:03PM EST0

I think editing was one of the most difficult parts of readying my book for publication. And, of course, trying to spread the word. It was harder and has been harder than I anticipated to keep promoting and spreading the word.

Jan 1, 8:35PM EST0

Do you have any idea on the dark side of a Nordic Myth?

Jan 1, 7:03AM EST0

From a very early age, I've had a strong interest in myths and legends; to the point I couldn't actually say where or when that interest first started. One of the things that appeals to me are the darker aspects and in Key of Midgard, it explores a bit more of those, especially in regards to Loki.

Jan 1, 12:37PM EST0

Do you consider the need to feel strong emotions in writing books?

Jan 1, 6:47AM EST0

That's a somewhat difficult question to answer. I've seen two schools of thought on this and one of those is that the author should be close to her or his characters; the other that the author should treat their characters as merely tools for the story.

Personally, I lean towards the former, although I try not to get too emotionally invested when I'm writing. But if an author doesn't care about the characters they write, there's no reason for a reader to.

Jan 1, 12:36PM EST0

What makes your second edition captivating?

Jan 1, 5:47AM EST0

Book one didn't end so well for the Ice Warriors. In book two, there's not only going to be elements of addiction and other personal demons the main characters have to deal with, but they also have to deal with outside distrust. The group is a fractured mess, with members not trusting each other and dealing with a sense of loss.

As for Solstice, perhaps one of the most captivating parts will be the e-mails the main character, Detective Halloran, is receiving from someone claiming to be a kidnap victim. Someone who's told him that there's already been one murder and there are several more planned.

Jan 1, 12:33PM EST0

Can you tell us a brief background of your first book, Ice Warriors: Key of Midgard?

Dec 31, 10:54PM EST0

Key of Midgard is the story that comes after a huge failure. The main characters failed to complete their task as children and by the time the present day is reached, they've all drifted apart and circumstances have forced them back together. Of the original seven, each have been wounded and are trying to put themselves back together in their own way.

Jan 1, 12:29PM EST0

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

Dec 31, 10:38PM EST0

To be honest, when writing Key of Midgard, I didn't run into difficulty with characters of either sex. The character I struggled the most to write was Amberley and that was because I actually held a strong dislike for her.

In my most recent NaNoWriMo novel, I wrote a male character and had to consider certain reactions I wouldn't have to worry about as a woman. It wasn't difficult so much as very awkward to write.

Jan 1, 12:26PM EST0

What is your writing styles and techniques?

Dec 31, 9:20PM EST0

I found a few started rough drafts when I was younger that were in first person, but I primarily prefer to write in limited third person. I don't tend to like books that jump between different first person perspectives, so I steer clear of that style when I'm writing.

As for techniques...I used to spend a lot of time writing character profiles and chapter plans, but while chapter plans can be quite helpful, I think profiles are limited. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. For Ice Warriors: Key of Midgard, I used a chapter plan and I've written a plan out for Key of Hel, too.

I'm currently undecided on how to approach Solstice, though as it's a thriller, I will need to do some planning, at least, rather than just write without a clear path or narration.

Jan 1, 12:24PM EST0

Do you have a target date for your most recent work?

Dec 31, 1:24PM EST0

I hope to have Solstice written and published by March/April 2019. I'm hoping for the same kind of timeframe, perhaps a bit earlier, for Ice Warriors: Key of Hel.

Dec 31, 1:32PM EST0

Apart from Kickstarter, what other crowdfunding company have you approached for you promotional and marketing support?

Dec 31, 12:20PM EST0

Currently, it's only Kickstarter. Through Goodreads, though, I've signed up to a read to review program that has had a few members sign up for a copy of Ice Warriors: Key of Midgard.

Dec 31, 12:30PM EST0

What other social media accounts you have that I can subscribe or follow your work?

Dec 31, 11:41AM EST0

I have my blog, Ink of Blood (inkofblood.com). I'm also on Twitter under the username @Cat2002116. I'm also on Goodreads and can be found here: www.goodreads.com/author/show/16807944.Sarah_Jayne_Briggs and on Facebook, I can be found here: www.facebook.com/sarahjayne.briggs.9

Dec 31, 12:10PM EST0

Do you consider yourself an independent author? If so, what do you think is your advantage over the mainstream writers?

Dec 31, 8:22AM EST0

I would say yes. Although I started out wanting to be published through a company, towards the end of 2016, I was beginning to realise that perhaps the reason reaching out wasn't working was that the best move was to strike out myself.

One advantage that I think is quite important is that I have more freedom. I set my own goals when it comes to writing, rather than having to adhere to a strict deadline. Of course, that means I have to be quite strict with myself about going off-topic. About being distracted.

I think it also means I can write more mixed genre books. Often, there are formulas seen in mainstream published books...or genres that a lot of publishers steer clear of. I can't really count the amount of publishers who put in their submission guidelines that they don't accept science fiction or fantasy.

So, to sum up, I guess being independent means more freedom. And perhaps more ability to connect with people on my own terms, rather than through a publisher or agent.

Dec 31, 8:38AM EST0
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