INTERVIEW WITH SARAH FINE:
How did you get started writing?
I’ve always been an avid reader, but I was never a person who said, “When I grow up, I want to be a writer.” I never considered myself all that creative. But in my mid-thirties, I suddenly developed the urge to write a book. It was abrupt and felt insane at the time, but a month later, I had a completed novel (it wasn’t very good). After that I just stuck with it, and I’ve written over a dozen novels since.
Who influenced you?
My father is really the one who gave me my love of reading. He used to read aloud to us every night, everything from Robin Hood to short stories by James Thurber. And in terms of writing, I have to say I’ve been most influenced by authors whose books I’ve loved—Salman Rushdie, C. S. Lewis, Margaret Atwood, Ha Jin, and many others.
Do you have a favorite book/subject/character/setting?
I most enjoy reading (and writing) about characters who do not have special powers and are not “the chosen one.” Instead, I prefer characters who are scrappy underdogs and must triumph while relying on their own intelligence, perseverance, and resilience. I guess I find them more relatable.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to be an author?
Read! Read a lot. Anything that interests you. Enjoy the story, but also examine the prose, the structure, and the character development. Drench yourself in the language. Absorb the rhythm of it. See what others are writing and thinking about. Then add your voice and ideas to the conversation.
Where is your favorite place to write?
On a couch, a soft chair, my bed. Anywhere but a hard chair. I don’t sit at desks.
What else would you like to tell us?
Writing is often a solitary pursuit, which suits me just fine because I’m pretty introverted. But I’ll share one thing that I’ve learned over the last few years: It’s important to get out and explore the world, too, and let it inspire you, or else the creative well will run dry. As much as I sometimes want to put my head down and stay in my writing bubble, I’m learning to take breaks between writing books to read, watch movies, eavesdrop on strangers’ conversations in coffee shops, travel, and learn. I think it’s making me a better writer.