It's a fantastic cover, Sarah - really eye-catching!
How long have you been a published writer?
I’ve been working as a short story writer for magazines for around 7-8 years – mostly women’s magazines like My Weekly and Take a Break; most recently a 3 part detective serial for Woman’s Weekly. Then just this year I had had my first collection of thrillers published – ‘3am and Wide Awake’ with Alfie Dog Fiction; and 2 months later my first novel – ‘Expected’, a comedy, will be published this week by Crooked Cat.
That's wonderful. You're definitely in the swing of story writing. How many pieces of work have you published so far?
‘Expected is my first novel, but my short story collection has also been published this year. Overall, however, I’ve had over 140 short stories published in magazines, newspapers and anthologies.
What an impressive list, Sarah! Can you tell us about your latest release…
‘Expected’ is a comedy based on the life of Sam Sweet – a working class girl who’s got herself into a bit of a mess. Sam is terrified of childbirth yet all her mother wants is grandchildren; and she’s with the wrong man but her mother has the wedding booked…oh, and she’s a failed psychiatric nurse who now injects facial fillers but it’s going lumpy and clients are suing. Poor Sam is coping by shopping and eating chocolate…. With desperately low self-esteem she’s going to have to do what is expected of her… or so it seems… but then she meets gorgeous Joel Madison – every girl’s fantasy cowboy. Only now she feels too fat to um….take matters further. Oh, and that wedding with the wrong man is getting ever closer!
What’s the genre/ subgenre of Expected?
Comedy in a chicklit style.
Can you give us a hint about the main character of the story?
Sam Sweet is the heroine for all working class girls who want to find their own voice and control their own lives. She’s also a good laugh and hopefully the kind of mate other girls would enjoy a good night out with. She’s a red-headed, busty 24 year old with the world at her feet – and yet like many a lass these days, she feels inadequate - in Sam’s case - fat and ginger, and lucky even to be treated shoddily by her doctor boyfriend, Slimy Simon…
I hope readers will be rooting for her to stand up and be counted.
Do the names for characters just pop into your head as soon as you start a book?
I ‘see’ my characters and names often suit them from the off. Sam Sweet was Sam right away. Joel Madison, the gorgeous American businessman/cowboy, was definitely Joel. He couldn’t be a Rupert, could he?? Ha ha ….Oh and Sam’s mother was Vera. I did have to think about some of the other names and in the end plumped for as near as dammit to the real life people who ‘inspired’ me!
Now that sounds scary for some real live people who might 'read' themselves in the novel! What does your heroine think when she first meets….Joel.
Sam has the most staggering reaction to Joel, when she first meets him. He is the new managing director who has flown in from the States to sort out the ailing company she is working for. He is probably going to fire her and she’s ready for a fight. So she’s rooting in her bag for a lipstick because she had a bad night and feels rough, when he walks into the meeting room…and…..well….it’s a cataclysmic moment – I think that’s the right word! It is also a very embarrassing one – only that would be giving too much away.
Pity! I love sneaky little tidbits! What's Sam's biggest challenge in Expected?
Sam has to stand up to her mind-game playing, superior fiancé, Simon; and her manipulative mother; and gossip mongering, devious colleagues. She has to find her voice and have the courage to be herself. Go against convention and stop hiding from/coping with what is inflicted on her. Basically Sam has to morph from doing what other people expect into being the person she really wants to be. How many young women still do what’s expected of them rather than develop their full potential?
Most of all I would say that although ‘Expected’ is a comedy and Sam is funny and self-deprecating – that is after all, how she gets by – there are some life experiences in here I really wanted to pass on…Sam Sweet is not Bridget Jones with parents in the country to fall back on. Sam is from a sink estate and has a single mother who is not exactly on her side. She is naturally unlucky and makes horrific mistakes – tragedy never being too far away from comedy – as it is in real life. I hope so much that it is an enjoyable read – that’s all I want to do – entertain the reader!
More about ‘Expected’ by Sarah England
Sam Sweet is a failed psychiatric nurse from a sink estate in Weston Super mare. Her mother, whose husband ran off with another woman 20 years ago - although you'd think it happened only yesterday - has only one ambition and that is to be a grandmother.
But Sam is terrified of giving birth. She is easily traumatised and has no ambition to return to the sink estate and have dozens of children. She just wants a chance to do something with her life first, to fall in love, to see a bit of the world. Alas, in a drunken stupor she meets Simon - the psychopathic surgeon, who promises her a wonderful life and she believes him - because she is a dingbat and has a lot to learn.
Her latest job is injecting facial fillers and clients are suing because it’s going lumpy. And her best friend, also her boss, is sexually jealous to the point of blind rage because her boyfriend fancies Sam and does little to hide it.
Sam is coping - by shopping and over eating chocolate. But soon piles on weight and sinks deeply into debt, at which point Simon the surgeon starts playing serious mind games; and by the time it dawns on Sam just what a horrific mess she's in - well might as well pass her the JCB because she keeps on digging.
Then as the company spirals downwards and all knives are out for survival - a new MD is brought in from the states – Joel – WOWEE - Madison! Sam and he instantly fall for each other but...her mother is now going bonkers - has booked the wedding....with the psychopathic surgeon....oh it's getting worse.......fireworks? You bet....but that would be telling......
Buy Expected on Amazon
Buy Expected on Amazon
That sounds like a recipe for success, Sarah! Thanks for answering my questions and for letting me share them. Here's a sneak peak of her fantastic trailer...
and more about Sarah...
Sarah originally trained as a nurse in Sheffield (UK) and then went on to work as a medical representative for nearly 20 years, specialising in mental health.
She had always wanted to write fiction, but did not begin until around 8 years ago, prompted by a house move and relocation to the South coast.
Since then she has had around 140 short stories published, mostly in national magazines and various anthologies; and most recently a 3 part detective serial in Woman’s Weekly.
‘3am and Wide Awake’ was released in May 2013 by Alife Dog Fiction - a collection of 25 thrillers, many supernatural or medically based - two of her predominant themes.
‘Expected’ is Sarah’s first novel - a comedy launched by Crooked Cat Publishing on 28th June, 2013.
Sarah can be found at:
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sarah-England/e/B005P0GDYW/
Smashwords: free download of short comedy: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/328849
(Please use the coupon code: SP93M)
(Please use the coupon code: SP93M)
Buy ‘3am and Wide Awake’ – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00CLFRFHS