My Liebster Confessional…

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Many thanks to Gloria Chao for kindly nominating me for the Liebster Award – I’m delighted to receive it. The official description for the Liebster Award is as follows:-
The Liebster Award originated in Germany. The German word Liebster means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. In short, this award is given to the upcoming promising bloggers who have some worth-reading content and certainly have less than 200 followers as a recognition of their talent and as a way to greet them “welcome”. This is a small act of inspiration that might change a blogger’s whole point of view, just like it changed mine. The Liebster Award is an award for Recognition. You would not get any money, or cup, or medal, or certificate; just a recognition which will give you a spot-light mark in this crowded blogging-market!

Another thing about this award is that this is a “Pay it forward” award, like a chain-reaction. Once you have accepted the award, you have to search for other bloggers, who are emerging as new buds with some really promising content which you find worth reading. You can accept it, or you can let it go; no harm done….However, if you want to accept The Liebster Award, you have to follow six simple rules which are:

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The lovely thing about this award is that it seems to sum up the spirit of so many of the fascinating and inspiring blogs I read.

These questions are the ones Gloria has set for me, as one of her nominees, so I’ll do my best to answer them…
1. If you met your main character (or the main character from your favorite novel) in person, would you be friends, enemies, or frenemies?
The main character of my trilogy I’m currently working on – Jezell Campo – is opinionated, strong-minded, brave and rather damaged… I think we’d probably be frenemies.
2. What is the most unique part of your manuscript or blog?
Everyone who reads my manuscripts says it’s my voice. It’s very distinctive, apparently – though I have toned it down quite a bit since I started writing.
3. What is your career now, and what is your dream career?
I work as a part-time Creative Writing tutor and editor, which is a lovely job as I have a wonderful bunch of students. However, my dream career is to be a hybrid author. By the end of the year, I hope to have self-published my space opera trilogy The Sunblinded and have acquired an agent for my YA dystopian science fiction novel, Mantivore Dreams.
4. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
It has to be Alderney, which is one of the Channel Islands. I love the sea and am lucky enough to live very close to the coast, but Alderney is simply beautiful. I spent a wonderful holiday there as a girl and have often dreamt of living there.
5. What inspired you to write (either your manuscript or your blog)?
I’ve always known that at some stage I’d write a book – and then, about 15 years ago I simply had to make a start. The story spilled out of me and I couldn’t have stopped if I’d tried, and by the time I realised the hardest part was learning the craft of writing, I was thoroughly addicted. As for my blog – I’ve always loved reading and discovered that I also enjoy sharing my experience of the books I’ve devoured in my reviews. Which has also become something of an addiction…
6. What is the hardest lesson you’ve learned so far in your writing journey or life?
To walk away. Or better still – run. I wish I’d learnt this earlier – I wasted far too much of my life being profoundly unhappy.
7. What is the best advice you’ve received?
The advice came from my beloved Grandpa, a brave, intrepid man who I loved dearly and provided me with most of the really useful advice in my life. But the best tip he ever gave me was, “Don’t ever say never…”
8. Who is your closest confidante?
My husband, John, who is my hero and constant helpmate. Life would be a drab, monochrome affair without him
9. What’s your favourite blog and why?
Oh, I’ve FAR too many favourites to be able to pick out a single example – my friend Mhairi writes with fluency about her own issues and how we can boost our creativity; but all those below have something awesome and individual to offer, ranging from John’s wonderful site on old films, through to Jeanne’s quirky take on books.
10. Books, tv, or movies?
Books, books, books… I could quite happily cope without ever seeing another film or TV programme – but the prospect of never picking up another book again would destroy me.
11. How do you make difficult decisions about your characters or settings? Any trouble “murdering your darlings”?
I have an inbuilt BS sensor that quickly picks up when my narrative has taken one left turn too many, when I need to backtrack and ensure everything gets back onto solid ground. I’m something of a conflict junkie, so occasionally overload my poor suffering protagonists. So I regularly commit wholesale slaughter for the sake of pace and clarity, because my darlings are nothing of the sort. They are overwritten padding designed to help me visualise my world and have no business littering up my final draft.

Eleven Random Facts About Me…
1. I LOATHE being cold. I’m with the Vikings – Hell is a frozen wilderness.
2. I’m very bad at working out my left from my right – it took me 3 goes at my driving test before my driving instructor realised what the problem was, so made me lipstick an L on my left hand before I took my fourth test. Which I passed…
3. My parents lived in Zambia when I was a girl, so I flew on my own for the first time aged eight from Gatwick, to Ndola, stopping off at Entebbe to refuel and nearly missed the plane because I insisted on finishing my free drink.
4. I like most foods, but a fair number plain hate me – chocolate gives me migraine, chilli blisters my tongue and I’m dairy intolerant. You’d think this would mean that I was on the slim side of svelte – sadly it’s not the case…
5. I’m terrible at multi-tasking.
6. I LOVED having my children around when they were little and always came home and cried on the first day of term when they had to go back to school.
7. I hate housework – and as I get older I care less and less what people think about the state of my house.
8. I’m really good at reciting tongue twisters like ‘She sells sea shells on the sea shore’ and ‘Betty Botter’.
9. I contracted a mild case of TB as a baby which left me with scarring on my lungs – apparently… (I haven’t personally had the opportunity to check).
10. I’m fond of most insects and especially like spiders.
11. I’m addicted to strong tea. I particularly enjoy Assam and would sell my soul for a nice cup of lapsang souchong – or smoky barbeque flavour, as I like to call it…

My Eleven Nominees for the Liebster Award
1. Independent Woman
2. Book Minx Reads
3. J.E. Nice
4. thepickypagesproject
5. Reality Refugee
6. Noirish
7. Necromancy Never Pays
8. Into Another World
9. Past Offences Crime Fiction
10. The Avid Reader – Books! Books! Books!
11. The World of the Teigr Princess

9 responses »

  1. You’re very welcome, Jeanne. I really enjoy reading your articles and think the blogging community is one of the best things to come out of social media and the internet…

  2. Yay! Congrats on your Liebster Award, Sarah. 😀

    I enjoyed reading your answers to Gloria’s questions. I especially liked #6 (something I’ve learned as well), #8 (awwwwwww), #10 (I’d pick books over TV and film any day, too), and #11 (liked this insight into your writing / revising process).

    If you loathe the cold, you wouldn’t want to be where I live right now. Since mid-January, winter has been brutal here. Snowstorm after snowstorm for the past 3 to 4 weeks, so we have somewhere around 3 to 4 feet of snow on the ground now. And some days, the high temps have only been as high as 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-12 to -6 degrees Celcius). Tomorrow and this weekend might be even colder than that. *covers herself in fleece blankets*

    I think putting off housework is a common trait among female writers who write part-time. I do the same thing. 😉

    Funny you mention strong black tea. Right now I’m drinking a 50/50 blend of Lapsang Souchong and vanilla-flavored Ceylon. It’s pretty good!

  3. Thank so much for taking the time to read my responses with such attention, Sara – and then going to the trouble to comment:)). Yum… the tea sounds absolutely wonderul. But you’re absolutely right – I would no more want to swap places with you than dive headfirst onto a marble floor… Brrr!!!

    The cold shrivels me – both physically and emotionally. I feel miserable, diminished and unable to concentrate when uncomfortably chilly and would FAR rather be a sweaty, puce-faced mess, so your current weather fills me with horror. How do you cope? Presumably, being cold doesn’t phase you so much. What is the mean temperature in your house, for instance? And do you wear swathes of clothing? I’m assuming you have to take care that you don’t sweat too much, because in those temperatures that is quite dangerous, isn’t it…? Do you manage to get out much? Or are you confined to staying inside in those conditions?

    Sending warming thoughts in your direction, nevertheless…

    • *lol* Well, even though I hate cold, snowy winters, I can’t imagine living anywhere else (Massachusetts, USA) because everything and everyone I’ve ever known is also here. I’d be miserable if I relocated to a new place where I didn’t know anyone else. I’m not adventurous in that regard. :S

      I also tend to stay indoors a lot during the winter (which is helping with the novel-writing). Of course I go to work, run errands, and see friends and family. Oh, and to shovel snow. *blech* But I don’t go out for day trips or fun things as often as I do in the warmer seasons.

      What else? I wear heavier coats when I go outside, sweaters, and warmer PJs (fleece and flannel are two of my best friends during the winter *lol*). I eat more oatmeal and hot, “stick-to-your-ribs” meals. I keep my temperature at home about 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celcius?) – comfortable enough without getting hot, but plenty warm enough to keep the pipes from freezing.

      I guess I’m just used to our winters, even though I abhor it and complain about it. Living in them long enough makes you hardy, and you know how to cope with it because you’ve done it for so long. I will say, though, that I’m glad I don’t live any further north, like in Maine or Canada. Their winters tend to be even worse than ours…

      • Well, it’s just as well you have that feeling, I suppose. Many, many thanks for answering my questions so very thoroughly:) I find it a constant delight that in the blogging community I have a chance to meet up with like-minded people from other parts of the world, who are willing to share their experiences:)) We are always hearing about the darker aspects of the internet, but this – truly – to me is still a wonderful daily gift…

  4. I loved learning more about you, Sarah. Gloria’s questions are fantastic. I’ll definitely have to ‘borrow’ some of them the next time I do an interview. And I’m very much with you on your answer to no.11. I too am a ‘darlings’ serial killer!

  5. Thank you Dylan:) I appreciate you taking the time to read and then comment on the blog. They were good questions, weren’t they? I certainly had to think about them quite carefully, before answering them.

    As for the ‘darlings’ – I think most writers are either mainly ‘adders’ or ‘snippers’ when it comes to the editing phase. Are you also mainly a snipper?

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