What type of writing do you do? (Books, blogging, articles, genre, audience, etc.) And are you traditionally published or self/indie published?
Sarah: As a professional freelance writer, I’m always writing! Over the years, I’ve written hundreds of articles and blogs for national trade associations. Currently, wearing my freelance writer hat, I write magazine articles and daily news files for the National Association of Convenience Stores. I also edit and project manage books for other authors, both fiction and nonfiction. In the nonfiction world, I’ve had two books traditionally published: Hired @ Home and Ending Sibling Rivalry. In the fiction world, I write romantic suspense, with one title traditionally published so far (Dangerous Christmas Memories). I also have indie published a novella, a children’s chapter book, and several nonfiction short ebooks.
What inspired you to begin writing?
Sarah: The stories in my head! I’ve been writing stories since I was a child. My best friend, Robyn, and I wrote a little book of poems and short stories that my mom typed up on carbon paper and we illustrated. I’m thrilled that my work is now being published and can’t wait to write more.
How often do you write?
Sarah: I try to write something every day. The more often I write, the easier it is to write. I prefer to write first thing in the morning, when my brain is the freshest and I’m not thinking about other things. To do that, when I sit down at my computer, I open Word only, and don’t open Google Chrome or my email program. That helps me minimize distractions and stay focused.
Are you a pantser or an outliner?
Sarah: For nonfiction, I usually have an outline, either written down or in my head. For fiction, I’m trying to move toward more outlining so that I can write faster and also pitch editors before I have the manuscript completed.
What are your favorite resources for writers and why?
Sarah:I’ve just purchased Plottr to help me, er, plot better. It’s kind of like an organizational spreadsheet way of looking at a book and it’s specifically for plotting, not for writing like Scrivener.
Do you have an agent and how did you find one?
Sarah: For my two nonfiction books, I did not have an agent. For Hired @ Home, I shopped the book to publishers who accepted unsolicited manuscripts that I found through The Christian Writer’s Market Guide (https://christianwritersmarketguide.com/). An editor at a publishing house approached me directly to write Ending Sibling Rivalry. But for my fiction work, I have an agent (Tamela Hancock Murray) who reps romantic suspense, among other genres. I first met Tamela when she spoke to Capital Christian Writers years ago, and we connected at various conferences and workshops over the years. I actually pitched at least two manuscripts in a different genre to her that she turned down before she suggested I try writing romantic suspense. I did, and ended up signing with her a couple of years ago.
Who are your favorite authors and why? What are you reading now?
Sarah: I read a variety of genres, including Christian romantic suspense. Some of my favorite authors include Lynette Eason, Patricia Bradley, Dani Pettrey and Irene Hannon. I also love reading British mysteries, especially historical ones set around World War I or the 1920s/30s.
What do you find most challenging about writing?
Sarah: Finding the time! I also struggle with outlining, but I am working hard to overcome that. I’d like to write faster, but life often gets in the way of my word count goals. However, I’ve learned to be thankful and not to fret about “lost writing time” because all time is God’s time, and if he chooses to have me spend it not writing, then that should be okay with me too.
What is your writing dream?
Sarah: Me, a computer with no Internet, and lots of glorious time with nothing to do but write. That’s not going to happen anytime soon, but that’s my writing dream!
What are you working on now?
Sarah: I’m finishing up another potential Love Inspired Suspense book, and then I will finish editing a romantic mystery I hope to indie publish later this year. I’d also like to write another romantic suspense novella, as I like the challenge of creating a taut suspenseful story in under 30,000 words.
What would you most like to share with other Christian writers?
Sarah: I love to encourage writers! One of the reasons I agreed to be president of Capital Christian Writers Fellowship is because I want to encourage writers who are Christian to share their writing with others. It’s hard to be a writer. It’s often lonely, and we listen too much to our inner critic when it comes to sharing our work. Yes, it can be nerve-wracking to let someone else read what we’ve written, but if our aim is to write the best article, blog, story or book we can write to bring glory to our Heavenly Father, then we should be willing to let our work be seen by others.
Sarah Hamaker has been spinning stories since she was a child, with nonfiction books (Hired@Home and Ending Sibling Rivalry) and romantic suspense novels (Dangerous Christmas Memories and Mistletoe & Murder) published. Sarah won the 2015 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award for romantic suspense. She’s a member of ACFW and ACFW Virginia Chapter, as well as the president of Capital Christian Writers Fellowship. Sarah lives in Virginia with her husband, four children, and three cats.