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Friday, July 30, 2010

Welcome Sarah-Jane Lehoux

YGR:  Where do you hail from? What do you love most about your hometown?

Sarah:  I’m from a small Northern Ontario town called Espanola. And when I say small, I mean small. The population is around 6,000. It’s located about an hour from the nearest city and is surrounded by forests. I used to love taking walks around town by myself, usually in the dead of night, which is something I’d never dream of doing now that I’m living in a city. Looking back on my upbringing, I suppose I can count myself lucky that I grew up in a place that was so safe. Although, at the time, you never would have convinced me that I’d ever appreciate growing up in Espanola. I could not wait until I was old enough to go off to university.

YGR:  As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? How has that childhood dream affected your current career?

Sarah:  I wanted to be a pirate. I don’t think that dream has affected my current career, because I can’t remember the last time I keelhauled anyone. But I must admit to fantasizing about it from time to time.

YGR:  What do you do for fun?

Sarah:  I’m extremely introverted, so when I have free time, I prefer to be alone. Reading, writing, taking walks, listening to music…basically anything I can do by myself. I find that I need a certain amount of alone time to re-energize myself.

YGR:  How has your environment / upbringing colored your writing?

Sarah:  Because my hometown was so small, and my upbringing uneventful, I spent a lot of time reading and daydreaming as a means of escape. I believe that’s helped me to strengthen my imagination, as well as teach me about other cultures, other ways of life which help me when I’m developing a story.

YGR:   Tell us about your latest book. Do you have anything new in the works and can you tell us a bit about it?

Sarah:  Thief is about a stubborn, hot tempered girl named Sevy, who has been living on the streets of Eloria since being orphaned by a pirate raid. While attempting to convince her friend, Trena, that they need not resort to prostitution to survive, Sevy picks the wrong pocket and is caught red-handed by Jarro, the leader of an organized gang. Handsome, kind, and strong, Jarro becomes the living embodiment of Sevy’s innermost desires, and she becomes willing to do anything to be able to stay by his side.

Sevy is reckless, ruthless, and obsessive, and when the only bit of happiness she has is ripped away from her, she is sent into a deadly spiral of violence and suicidal ambition. When she gets a chance to reclaim that happiness, there is nothing she won’t resort to. Murder, black magic, necromancy, and demonic pacts are of little consequence to her, but she soon learns that nothing comes without a price and she is forced to choose between her imagined happily ever after and what she knows is right.

YGR:   How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?

Sarah:  The title Thief was originally just a place holder while I wrote the book, and that was decided upon simply because that was Sevy’s profession. I tried to think of a proper name, but after much obsessing, I finally decided that it would remain as Thief. By that point, the theme of the book had become apparent to me, and luckily Thief seemed to work well with it. It touches on the idea of taking something that doesn’t belong to you, flouting moral and social conventions, and ignoring the fact that everything has a price and a consequence.

YGR:   How much of your work is real? How much is fantasy?

Sarah:  My plots are fantastical, but my characters (even the non-human ones) are real. I develop my characters using bits and pieces of myself and people I’ve known. I want them to react to things as realistically as possible, even if I’m throwing them into situations that wouldn’t be possible in real life. Because

YGR:   Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?

Sarah:  Finding the proper time and energy every day to write. I’d love to be able to be a full time writer, but that’s probably not going to happen for a very long time. Unless I happen to hook up with a very rich and very generous patron, which would make life sooo much easier. Anyone know of a nice patron in need of a struggling artist? Patron? Patron? Bueller?

YGR:   What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Sarah:  The very best advice I can give comes from Toni Morrison. She once said, “If there is a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” Write what you want to write, not what you think will sell. Make sure it’s something that you believe in, because you’ll need that commitment when you’re faced with rejection after rejection.

YGR:  Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?

Sarah:  I don’t believe in the concept of writer’s block. To me, writing is just like exercising. Sure, getting on that treadmill can be fun at times, and it does produce results and rewards, but some days I’ll be damned to find the energy to hop up on it. Same goes for my writing. Some days, I just don’t have the energy for it. Other days I’m pumped and ready to go. Most of the time I have to force myself to get started, but once I do, the words start flowing easily enough. It’s all a matter of perspective. I don’t blame my lack of progress on writer’s block. Excusing my laziness doesn’t make me a good writer. Getting off my butt and putting in the necessary effort, even when I don’t feel like it, does.

YGR:   How did you deal with rejection letters?

Sarah:  I cried while reading the first few that I received. Then I sulked for awhile. Nowadays, I swallow the sting, take a breath, and think, “Okay, what’s next?” And I consume vast amounts of chocolate.

YGR:  What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?

Sarah:  A quiet place and something to write on. That’s it. No bells or whistles. Just you and the words.

YGR:  Where do you as an author draw the line on gory descriptions and/or erotic content?

Sarah:  I’m not afraid to get down and dirty in regards to both sex and violence, but there is a line between properly describing a scene and just being explicit for the sake of being explicit.

YGR:  Which is your favorite of the books you have written?

Sarah:  Shades of War, the sequel to Thief. It reaches a level that I wasn’t able to achieve with Thief, and it deals with a lot of issues I was going through while I was writing it: issues of acceptance, what it means to belong, what makes a person “good”, finding faith in yourself, learning to forgive past mistakes. It’s probably the most personal of anything I’ve written to date, which makes me rather nervous for its release (Nov 2010).

YGR:   Where can we find you on the net?

Sarah:  You can visit my website at www.sarah-janelehoux.com. I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and GoodReads. I’d love to hear from anyone interested in reading my stories, or anyone interested in writing in general.

YGR:   Where can we find out more about your books?

Sarah:  Again, please visit my website at www.sarah-janelehoux.com, and click on Novels.

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