We had the good fortune of connecting with Sarah J. Sover and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sarah, what do you attribute your success to?
Success is measured in so many different ways, especially when it comes to being an author. And those goalposts keep moving! At first, just holding a book I wrote in my hands was the epitome of success, but then I had to get to work on getting it out there and writing the next one. In such a difficult industry, I think it’s imperative to celebrate every win, big or small, because every step you take means you’re out there fighting for your dream. The successes I’ve earned–publication of my novel, acceptance of my short fiction, invitations to conventions, etc.–have been thanks to the authenticity of my brand and the support of the people around me who didn’t laugh off my ridiculous ideas. To reach the next level, it’s simply a matter of finding the readers who enjoy off-kilter humor and weird fantasy novels/audiobooks. For any author working with a small press, reaching readers, amassing reviews, and generating buzz can be a monumental feat. I was able to secure a positive review from Kirkus and get the opportunity to work with Writer’s Digest on a few endeavors, and those were both huge for me. But ultimately, a writer has to define and own their own success or they will burn out.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My stories are like my personality– weird, eclectic, dark, and sometimes funny. I couldn’t be prouder of my debut novel, DOUBLE-CROSSING THE BRIDGE, the story of a group of cavern-dwelling trolls planning to rob the evil corporation The Covered Bridge. It pokes fun at itself, society, life, and just about anything you can imagine all while following a group of drunk trolls as the pull a perilous heist. It’s for kids like Deadpool is (so, not). As a person who sometimes takes herself too seriously, DOUBLE-CROSSING THE BRIDGE represents the weird and wonderful parts of my personality that even I forget exist. But the road wasn’t easy, and it gets harder every day. I’m currently working to secure representation for my next novel, and I’m fairly certain querying agents is one of the circles of hell. Anyone who chooses to go into writing must be masochistic, relentlessly stubborn, or an idiot. The secret isn’t so much overcoming challenges as pushing through them and believing in what you’ve created enough to fight for years, even as the universe tells you you’re not good enough. For every win, there are hundreds of rejections and even more ghostings, and that’s why it’s important to have a supportive community at your back to remind you that your stories deserve to be out in the world.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh, it would be a week long brewery tour, hands-down. From Red Hare to Monday Night to Scofflaw, we’ve got fabulous breweries to explore and enjoy. The Lost Druid in Avondale Estates graciously hosted my book release party, even creating a specialty menu and small batch ale for the occasion, and Good Word Brewing in Duluth is the only public place I’ve visited since covid began thanks to their careful handling of the situation and outdoor seating options (and OMG, the cheese plate). Between breweries, we’d stop in to Tall Tales Books or Charis Books for a reading, visit the fantastic Dark Crystal and Fraggle Rock puppets at the Center for Puppetry Arts, then go blues dancing. And of course, we’d try to catch a show at the Fox, an exhibit at the High Museum, or a concert at Center Stage.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
A special shout-out to JordanCon, a local Atlanta convention representing everything Science Fiction & Fantasy, for giving me my first publication credit and embracing my weirdness in so many ways. Also, to my amazing friends and critique partners, without whom my stories would not be the same: Sara Bond (author of Gravity’s Heir), Tyler Hayes (author of The Imaginary Corpse), KJ Harrowick, Stephanie Sauvinet, Glen Delaney, Matt Harshaw, Alex Sover, Colleen Caron, Ben Humphrey, and Max Caron. Thank you to the publisher of DOUBLE-CROSSING THE BRIDGE, The Parliament House, for taking a chance on me. And to the fabulous editors who I’ve had the pleasure of working with along the way.
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