Six questions with Sarah Lashbrook

I met Sarah back in the summer at a book signing in the local Chapters. I immediately approached her about doing an interview, and of course, I bought her book!

The book signing at Chapters (Sarah’s on the left, chatting up some friends)

Without further ado:

Sarah Lashbrook has been writing since the early age of 12, when she wrote her first letter to the star of Days of Our Lives, inquiring about a writing career on the popular Soap Opera. Inspired by television, Sarah continued to pursue a life of writing, gaining her first recognition when she graduated high school with top English marks and won a National scholarship worth $15,000, from Global Television. Sarah chose the Journalism Program at Humber College, and after the three year course ended she furthered her education with a post-grad course in Writing, Directing, and Producing, for Television.

WG: You state that you started writing at the age of 12 with a letter to Days of Our Lives. Writing for television was clearly your inspiration, but what was it about television that drew you to writing?

SL: Hmmm good question. The idea of entertaining people always appealed to me. The thought that with a simple twist here and there to the English language – you could cause a reaction in someone that is very deep and personal. Whether it be laughter, tears, anger, or total joy…the appeal of causing the reaction was always one I wanted to be able to provoke. Back as a child, I had more access to television than books, so that is probably why my love started with that medium.

WG: What was your first published/aired piece and what did you learn from the experience?

SL: My first published piece – well I had two in one paper – the first was a newspaper profile article on Margaret Atwood, and the Second was an interview with Bobby Hull on fighting in the NHL. Both were in our school newspaper. My first aired piece was with CTV – I had written, filmed, and edited 6 family stories for the Easter Seals Telethon. Both times thrilled me to bits. I must admit – I still get quite giddy when I see my name attached to anything written – in print or on aired. It is a rush.

WG: How have your degree and experience in journalism contributed to writing Where the Stream and the Creek Collide?

SL: Well, I guess the quick answer is it helped me to formulate what I wanted to say in smaller doses. Which helps you be concise and to the point when needed. I can break down a large sentence into mere words if I need to. Besides that – it has helped me greatly in knowing how to research a topic. I am comfortable in searching for printed information as well as reading stats, which are two very handy skills to have. It also has helped me in regards to being able to find the people I need to interview, asking them the tough questions, and deciphering the information they give me. I have room for improvement on these skills of course but would not be as strong at them as I am now – if it weren’t for my background in journalism.

WG: Your protagonist, Sadie Coleman, is a paraplegic but her story seems very different from yours. Why did you decide to write a paraplegic protagonist, and what of your experience contributed to who Sadie is?

SL: I always wanted to write a book or books where my main character had a disability but the story wasn’t necessarily about that. I didn’t want it to be a service piece for those who aren’t in wheelchairs. I just wanted a related character for those who seem to lack just that in literary works. I know I have never read a fiction piece where a good main character was in a wheelchair…only non-fiction. I started out with a main character being paraplegic because that is what I know. I am paraplegic…I thought for this first book – I should make it a bit easier on myself.

Sadie has a lot of my qualities and experiences even though our stories are quite different. Those qualities and experiences though are mine. Maybe someday I will share but for now – they stay my secret with Sadie. I will tell you though – that after I wrote the book – I did find out that the name Sadie is a form of the name Sarah. Very strange coincidence.

WG: When you were ready to publish, did you query or seek an agent? What was that process like, and how did you end up with Spire Publishing?

SL: I did think about approaching an agent but from everything I read and from experiences of other writers around me – I decided that that wasn’t an approach I wanted to take at this time. It was advised to me to just get published. That once the first book was out there and published – all sorts of new doors would open up. And it was true.

Spire Publishing was the third place I approached. I felt strongly at first about staying true to my Northern Ontario roots and so approached a publisher in the Sault first – they said they would consider it with a few changes. I was too stubborn at the time to make those changes…and am still confortable with that decision.

The second place I approached was a publisher here in Sudbury – but unfortunately I sent it right when Canada Post had its strike – and I never heard back from them – only by email saying that they were not getting any posts. By the time the strike ended – I had already chosen Spire and was in the publishing process. I am very happy with my choice. Philip and his team have been fantastic to work with.

WG: What’s next for Sarah Lashbrook, author?

SL: Wow…what is next? A few things actually. I am working on my next novel – working title is Missing Link. It is a story of love, betrayal, pain, and happiness between two women but has a nice little organized crime twist – quite fun to write.

Also, very recently, I was approached by the fabulous director Shirley Cheechoo, who read my book, and asked if I would write a screenplay off of Where The Stream And Creek Collide. She said she would like to direct it as a film. I am so blown away and honoured with this. I have chills. So, before I finish my novel, I will be writing a screenplay from the last book.

Thanks for a fabulous interview, Sarah!  Break a pencil in your future writing endeavours!

Where the Stream and the Creek Collide

Where the Stream and the Creek Collide

For 23 year old Sadie Coleman, the last year of college will be anything but kind. Not long after arriving at College to begin her last year as a Resident Assistant, Sadie finds out that she will be spending the entire employment with the assiduous task of monitoring last year’s rogue, Jack DeGraff. But Jack may not be Sadie’s only problem. She may also be forced to come to terms with her past. Six years prior, Sadie was involved in a terrible attack that killed her mother and left her a paraplegic. When Jack’s antics become too much to handle, her endless efforts to set up her father fail, her boyfriend bails, and her friend and boss become a little too close to her and the situation, things start to unravel. Sadie realizes just how damaged she is. That she has injury far beyond the physical.