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Interview with Sydney Scrogham   1 comment

Today’s interview is with Sydney Scrogham. Welcome to the blog, Sydney. Tell us something about yourself.

Scrogham author photoAny fellow Caskett fans out there?  I’ve learned so much about plotting from watching Castle episodes…

I’m on the East Coast in the United States, Virginia to be precise.  (The weather’s crazy here in case you’re wondering.)  My day job finds me as a support staff specialist for Wingfield Ministries, and I’m the proud momma of one miniature dachshund (Zoe) and one big Selle Francais (horse—named Snowdy).

At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I was 12.  In the span of a year, I wrote a 30-some book “series” (about six pages long each) about My Little Ponies who lived on a farm run by Beanie Baby cats.

What is your favorite genre … to read … to write?

Fantasy and romance… as long as there’s no erotica.

What are you passionate about?

People discovering that their heart’s desire is a good thing that they should pursue, even if it seems impossible.

What is something you cannot live without?

A horse.

Have you written any books that made a transformative effect on you? If so, in what way?

I just finished one, and it’ll be the next to come out after Chase.  I wrote it to deal with a bad breakup.  I wanted to write the happy ending I didn’t get, and I ended up learning a ton about myself in the process.

Scrogham Chase-CoverIf someone who hasn’t read any of your novels asked you to describe your writing, what would you say?

Poetic.  Visual. Fresh.  I can’t stand clichés, and I love to have my characters express themselves through their body language.

Do you have a special place where you write?

No, but I like quiet, and I’ve got to have instrumental music.  Writing to Marvel movie soundtracks is my go-to sound.

Now that is different. I like that. Are you a plot driven or character driven writer? Why?

I see that as the same thing—a good character will drive the plot as he changes into who he’s meant to be.

Do you write from an outline or are you a discovery writer?  Why?

I do a little bit of both.  I’ll outline for a little bit, and then I’ll discover, and then outline some more, etc.  I outline ONLY if I’m worried about forgetting something.  I’ll also make an outline in reverse—meaning I’ll record what’s happening as I write so I don’t forget where I’ve been.

What point of view do you prefer to write, and why?

First person, because I can get away with so many intimate character thoughts.  I also appreciate the challenge of trying to make each of my first person characters sound different.  I want readers to know who’s who without glancing back at the beginning of the chapter.

I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?

Gosh, I’ll sleep.  A lot.  And it’ll be wonderful!  But when I’m not sleeping, I’ll be exploring outside.  I love new places.  When the weather’s bad and I have to be inside, I’ll have my laptop, Nintendo DS (to entertain my need for a Pokemon game every once in a while), and a couple books.  I’ll bring The Scorpio Races (Maggie Stiefvater), the sequel to Kindle The Flame (Tamara Shoemaker), I’ll wish Kristin Cashore had another book for me to read, and I’ll study the Bible and Plot Perfect (Paula Munier).  Alongside my imagination, that’s really all I need to survive.  But I’ll miss my animals so much!

Talk about your books individually.

There’s only one available to the public right now, and that’s Chase.  It’s taken a couple contracts to get there, but that makes me even more excited about it.  I keep imaging one young girl who gets wrapped up in Agalrae and sees a blue Alicorn the next time she looks at a horse.

Right now, I’m working my way backward in the series, and I just completed a story about Chase’s grandparents. I’m super excited to let all these characters all meet in a book one day.

I love your cover, by the way. What do you want readers to think or feel after reading one of your books?

Wow, that’s a loaded question.  Chase is just a part of the story, and I want people to be satisfied with the beginning as well as wondering where we’ll go next.  I have one fan that based a horse training business off of some things that were mentioned in Chase’s first draft.  I don’t know if there’s anyone out there that can top that, but I’m open to it!

You’re published through a small press with what’s called “hybrid” publishing. Can you explain that for my readers?

Koehler Books has been amazing to work with.  I’ve also had other writers tell me that I’ve got one of the best hybrid deals they’ve ever heard of.  (Hybrid means the author and the publisher split the cost of publishing.)  Additionally, I’m getting mentored in becoming a professional, branded author.  I couldn’t’ve asked for a better situation for my first book.

What do you think self-published or hybrid-published authors might be missing out on?

Discoverability.  That’s a big word that means it’s hard to be noticed as a self-published author.  You can have a great book, but you’re going to struggle if no one knows about it.

 

Yeah, that’s why I do these interviews. My small part in helping others be discovered and hoping to get some exposure for myself at the same time. Do you believe that hybrid-published authors can produce books as high-quality as the traditional published? If so, how do you think we should go about that?

Yes.  But you’ll have to pay as much as the traditional publisher.  There’s also something a traditionally published book can offer you that hybrid or self-publishing can’t, and that’s promotion.   It’s a lot easier to be seen with a traditional publisher than when you go on your own or with a smaller press.  Just remember, there’s no reason you can’t try both worlds! I know many authors prefer the control over self-publishing, but even with a hybrid contract I’ve given up some of my control in exchange for professional guidance.  For example, the publisher overruled me on Chase’s cover.  (But that’s okay because I liked it anyway!)

 

 

Do you write specifically for a Christian audience? Why or why not?

No.  Personally, I cannot stand the Christian market.  If you don’t fit the cookie cutter, then your book can’t be “Christian.”  That irks me.  I want to be able to blur the lines.

 

We are in agreement there. What are some of the special challenges you’ve encountered being a Christian writer?

Sex scenes.  There aren’t any in Chase since it’s a YA title, but I just finished a draft of another story that included a moderate sex scene.  Definitely not Fifty Shades worthy, but still, this goes back to the “I want to blur the lines” thing.  If a couple is married (and they were), then I should be able to write a sex scene without making a Christian audience upset.  Yes, I know there are a lot of people who’d disagree with me.  But if sex is relevant to the story and a character’s transformation…  A ton of healing can occur in a healthy marriage, and that’s the situation I found myself in with my work in progress.

 

Good for you. That’s a challenge for me as well. Christians are told to be “in the world, but not of it.” As a Christian writer, how do you write to conform to that scripture?

I think the answer is best seen in Chase’s story.  I pray daily for the people who have and will read Chase.  It’s loaded with spiritual themes presented in (to me) a fresh way.  God, the author of romance, rose from the DEAD because He wanted a relationship with human beings that badly.  Chase barely touches on the surface of that love, but I still pray it brings breakthrough for people where they need it.

 

Do you feel that Christian writers are expected to conform to some standards that are perhaps not realistic to the world?

Yes, which is part of the reason why I don’t market myself as a Christian author.

 

Do you feel that Christian writers should focus on writing really great story or on presenting the gospel clearly in everything they write? Or is it possible to do both?

I think it’s possible to do both because I ask Holy Spirit for creativity—a great story was His idea first. Susan May Warren is a great example of Jesus on the pages of a great book.

Where can readers find you and your books?

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sszoewriter/

Chase’s eBook on Amazon (print coming on August 1): ​

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=chase+by+sydney+scrogham

Posted September 2, 2015 by aurorawatcherak in Author Interviews

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