Straight Talk With Sara Daniel

Here’s Sara Daniel, ready for some Straight Talk!

When you are getting ready to start a new book, what’s the first thing you do?

I brainstorm while walking and driving, and I ask myself a lot of what-if questions. Eventually, I sit with a pen and paper and channel these half sentences and random musings onto the page. I write down everything I know about each character’s past, personality and present situation. Then I write what I see as the story conflict. Finally, I start typing up a synopsis. By this time, I’m usually dying to dive into the actual writing of the book, but I’ve found it critical to get my details and plot figured out first (even if I go back and change everything later).

Do you usually begin a book with a character or a plot?

I usually begin with a situation. Like, what if Elle Woods from Legally Blonde went to work for a construction company? This isn’t a plot. I don’t know the story or the conflict well enough to build a plot out of it yet. But I wouldn’t say I begin with a character either. I have to flesh out the situation by adding personality, quirks, motivation, and a conflict the characters must overcome on their road to happily ever after. By the time I do this, I’ve usually found my plot.

How difficult is if for you to come up with a title for your books?

Construction Beauty Queen went through a plethora of titles before I thought of this one. Titles do not come naturally to me. I so admire people who can come up with catchy ones off the top of their heads. But once I did hit on Construction Beauty Queen, I knew I’d found an intriguing combination of humor and conflict.

Who would play your hero/heroine in the tv or film version of your book?

I think I’ve already tipped my hand here! No surprise, I’d cast Reese Witherspoon as Veronica. My hero, Matt, hmm…someone hot, muscled, square jaw. Matthew McConaughey doesn’t exactly fit, even if he does share a name with my hero. I’m going with him, though, because I could totally stare at him all day, and I’d love to see him muscled up and acting macho to play my hero.

What jobs have you had on your way to becoming a writer?

Well, I made a LOT of photocopies working for my parents’ business as a teen. I spent a week (yeah, a whole week!) as a grocery store bagger, back when they still asked “paper or plastic.” Then I got my degree in accounting, since my mother (smart woman) thought I needed business skills. Oh, and I swore I was never, ever going to run my own business like my parents. Now guess what? Yep, I have my own business—as a writer. At least everything is electronic, so I don’t have to make photocopies!

Are you a pantser or a plotter?

Well, I thought I was a pantser for years, writing without any pre-planning, and unfortunately I accumulated quite a collection of under-the-bed manuscripts that way. The truth is I need a road map in order to create a plot that sticks together. I’m reluctant to call myself a plotter though. I still have too many things I don’t know about the plot when I start my story. I think I have it all figured out before I begin, but I discover so many things that I didn’t know once I’m writing. I update my story notes to reflect these changes and bring everything together as a cohesive whole at the end.

Where does the magic happen? Where do you write?

My office is a desk in the corner of my bedroom. I do all my online correspondence and a lot of my writing on the computer here. The magic really happens for me when I take a laptop or my ancient AlphaSmart and leave the distractions of email and the Internet on my desk to simply write. When the weather is nice, I love to write outside, usually on my backyard deck. If I can’t be outside, I definitely need to be near a window. I do a lot of staring while my mind is churning!

Do you prefer print books or eBooks?

Since my book are all in e-format now, I have to go with eBooks. As much as I love print, when I got a Kindle a year ago, I became an instant convert. I am terrible about using a bookmark and keeping my place in a book, but the Kindle remembers where I left off every time I turn it on! Instant gratification is another bonus for me. Those one-click downloads are addicting. I love that I don’t have to leave my house or (gasp!) talk to anyone when I want to buy a new book. My kids still read print books exclusively, and I’m reading the Harry Potter series to my daughter in print, so I certainly haven’t turned my back on it. But I love the convenience and the light weight/small size of my Kindle. I also use it to proof my manuscripts, so I can experience my book as a reader does.


About Construction Beauty Queen:

She’s on the job…and out of his league.

Chicago socialite Veronica Jamison is determined to shake off her sheltered lifestyle and overbearing parents. She heads to her grandfather’s small town of Kortville, ready to roll up her sleeves and work for the family construction business. She’ll prove her worth, even if it means answering to the company’s ruggedly handsome co-owner, Matt.

Matt Shaw just wants to run his business, spend time with the niece he’s raising on his own, and give back to the townspeople who have stood by him. Managing a spoiled-rotten princess he knows he’ll never be good enough for? Not part of his plan. But as he gets to know Veronica, he learns there’s more to her than her beautiful looks and designer clothes. She’s got a heart as rich as her background.

With the quirky townspeople rallying against Veronica inheriting her grandfather’s business, it’s up to Matt to try to drive her out of town. But how can he, when instead she’s driving her way into his heart?

Title: Construction Beauty Queen
Author: Sara Daniel
Genre: Category – Contemporary
Length: 293 pages
ISBN: 978-1-62266-988-3
Release Date: September 2012
Imprint: Bliss

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