For the past few years, I have had the pleasure of working with Sara Dobie Bauer. She’s exactly the type of writer every reader wants to fall in love with: her stories are erotic, romantic, clever, heavy on characters to drool over, and deft with plot twists, plus she’s adorable (is it appropriate to say she’s hot as hell?), slightly wacky, and energetic (every time I blink, she has something new!). Exactly the kind of gal with whom you’d like to stay up all night talking and drinking. Who wouldn’t want to obsess over her work and say proudly “I was on that ride just as it left the station!”
Her most recent work is “Forever Dead” which lands on Amazon this week. Not only is the story one of her best–witty, intriguing, erotic (there’s that word again!), and smart, but the cover art is also worth showcasing on your bookshelf.
After reading so much of Sara Dobie Bauer’s work, I collected my thoughts and launched a slew of questions her way, and her answers sort of blew my mind. Check them out, and then swing on by Amazon and pick up her latest book. Trust me, you’ll be as hooked as I am.
Forever Dead Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00RQWJ9GG
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Depressive writer with anxiety disorder who enjoys horror films and scotch.
Ohio University creative writing honors graduate (which means my college experience was more fun than yours).
Book-aholic. Obsessive wordsmith.
Sufferer of wonderfully elaborate and detailed nightmares.
Gay rights advocate.
Die-hard Benedict Cumberbatch fan.
Wife of Jacob and mother of two dogs.
Midwesterner who still doesn’t fully understand how to survive in the desert of Phoenix, Arizona.
Tell us about some of your books and short stories.
Can’t tell you everything because it would take years, but my favorites? “Don’t Ball the Boss” was published by Stoneslide Corrective and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. It’s about a gay personal assistant who falls in lust with his boss (based quite obviously on Benedict Cumberbatch). Also finished writing the novel Bite Somebody: A Bloodsucker’s Diary this year about an awkward newbie vampire chick who falls in love with the smell of her adorable neighbor. Currently agent-shopping.
If you want to use links:
How long have you been writing?
Since elementary school. My dad was really into true crime, so I read all about John Douglas, the guy who pioneered psychological profiling for the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit. (Yes, I might have been too young to read these books, but hey, I turned out okay. Sort of.) I remember writing extensive psychological profiles of characters in my short stories in junior high. I wrote my first novel as a freshman in high school. I was either a creative prodigy or a complete psychopath.
What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
Being a writer sucks, but if you’re born a writer, don’t fight it. Write and write and write. And READ. Stephen King said, “If you want to become a better writer, you must first become a better reader.” Never a truer sentence uttered. And grow some thick skin. This career kills people.
Do you have a writing ritual, like a place where you write or a warm-up you do?
Nope. Stories come to me in flashes. I can be anywhere: the gym, the grocery store, in a movie theater. Images appear to me like flashing lights, and I have to write them down. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. They pour like blood from the vein. Sometimes I feel like leeches are literally stuck to my skin.
Do you belong to a writing group and do you find them valuable?
I do, and yes, very valuable. However, thick skin is key. If you join a writers’ group, you’re going to hear things you don’t want to hear. You’re going to be attacked and not always because of your work. As human beings, we carry baggage, and certain topics make that baggage spew forth. I once utilized a stereotype in a short story. I created a young woman who was overweight, insecure, and played video games. I got skewered by my group to the point of having to finally shout, “ENOUGH! We’re not talking about this anymore.” Have a thick skin. Be willing to listen. Take some advice; discard the rest. Other people are not always right. Figuring out who is right is part of the critique process.
What is your writing process like from idea to final draft?
Ha. I wish I could tell you. More often than not, I have no idea where the story is going. I don’t outline. I do stick to my junior high habit of profiling my characters pre-draft. Other than that, I write and I write, and I let the characters take me where they need to go. Writers might be punching the computer keys, but we have no power over what our characters are going to do. If you’ve written someone strong, your characters will steal your thunder and boss you around. Don’t be afraid. That’s a good thing. Plot is the last thing that should be on your mind during a first draft. Character, character, character! I’ve even had moments where I thought I knew what the end of a story would be, and the damn character changed his or her mind. Ride the wave. If you try to control your characters, the story will suck.
This one is for the peanut gallery: where do you get your ideas?
I would say everywhere, but that’s a bullshit answer. One of the best places to get an idea? Music. I’m a Pandora fan, and my stations range from Frank Sinatra to Meg Myers to Imelda May to Fiona Apple to … I could go on forever. Certain songs trigger an emotion in me, and then, an image builds. Grows. Expands. I’d say music is my biggest inspiration but so are my dreams. Half my stories are based on dreams that wake me in the night. It’s why I keep a pad of paper by my bed at all times. My husband just loves when the lights go on at 3 AM. Really.
Did you begin your writing career as a result of a single formative event?
I tried to fight the writer in me. Hard. Post-college (where I earned a creative writing degree), I was a bartender. I was a really good bartender, because I’m a Grade-A flirt. Then, I worked in public relations. I went years without writing a solid story. But there was always an itch in the back of my brain to write. And then, I did. I wrote a novel at twenty-five (my fifth by then; I keep my first four manuscripts in a locked box in my house). I quit my job as a publicist and have been writing professionally ever since. A single event? No. A creeping knowledge that writing was my life purpose? Always.
Whose work would you like to be on the bookshelf beside?
Christopher Moore. Nuff said.
What do you read?
EVERYTHING. I read 66 books last year, and I hope to break that record in 2015. I’m drawn to dark stuff: Neil Gaiman, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Erin Kelly, and Christopher Rice. But like everything else in life, I’ll try anything twice.
What attracts you to one book and not another?
As a professional book reviewer, I know the drill. A good cover. A story I’ve never heard. I like to skim the opening pages. If the writing blows, the book ends up in the donation pile. If you can’t hook me in twenty pages, you’ve failed.
What book are you an evangelist for?
I’m honestly unable to choose one, so:
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (The truth about censorship.)
Music for Torching by AM Homes (The truth about marriage.)
The Awakening by Kate Chopin (The truth about being a woman.)
The Rules of the Tunnel by Ned Zeman (The truth about being mad.)
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (The truth about the fearful future.)
What book, if you could read it again for the first time, would you read?
Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I was a depressive, drug-abusing cutter as a teen. I also loved Rocky Horror Picture Show (still do). In high school, I had yet to define my sexuality. This book speaks to all the troubled, lost teens out there, but it speaks to adults, also, reminding us of the bravery it takes to truly be yourself and embrace every moment.
What are you currently reading?
At the Sign of the Naked Waiter by Amy Herrick
Who is your favorite literary character?
I’m sorry to plug myself, but my favorite literary character right now is Ian Hasselback from my as yet unpublished novel, Bite Somebody: A Bloodsucker’s Diary. Ian is a sexy ex-surfer who is totally okay with his girlfriend being a vampire. He basically floats through life on a wave of joy, and I wish I was more like him: more happy-go-lucky, more innocent, more compassionate. He thinks it’s weird if someone doesn’t like cheese. It is weird if someone doesn’t like cheese.
Again, feel free to link: http://www.wattpad.com/user/saradobiebauer
If you were a literary character who would you be and why?
Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter series. She’s a witch, which means she has awesome powers. (I would really like to ride a broomstick.) She has a perpetual smile on her face, even when being chased by Death Eaters. She didn’t lose half as much as Harry throughout the series, but she got to be his brave, weird friend. I like the idea of being a brave, weird friend, but I also want a magic wand.
If you could invite a group of writers (living or dead) to dinner, whom would you invite?
Neil Gaiman (for his British wit)
Christopher Moore (for his sense of humor)
Scott Fitzgerald (for his party presence)
Edgar Allan Poe (for his demons)
Lord Byron (for his sex appeal)
Note: An orgy would obviously follow dinner.
If you could invite a group of characters out for drinks, whom would you invite?
Jay Gatsby (for his rose-tinted glasses)
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (for his excessive party mentality)
Tyler Durden (for his attitude)
Dracula (for his monstrosity)
Note: An orgy would obviously follow drinks.
What draws you to write about the supernatural and the erotic?
Supernatural: The world can be a really boring place without a bit of magic. Why not believe in the unbelievable?
Erotic: Sex is good. Sex is great. Everyone needs to be turned on, preferably every day; I like to assist in the process.
Additional links to use at will:
Forever Dead Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ForeverDeadSaraDobieBauer
Forever Dead Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24291054-forever-dead
Forever Dead Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00RQWJ9GG