Sunday Surprise

And it’s the author of the month at the Smashwords Authors group on Goodreads! She lives in one of my favorite American towns! And she still writes longhand like me, yay! And look at those covers… Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Sabrina Flynn!

cover_single-copyWhere do you live and write from?
I live and write in California. More specifically, in the San Francisco East Bay area.

When did you start writing?
I’ve always loved to write. It is just something that I’ve always done. I still have little stories from when I was in Kindergarten!

What genre(s) do you write?
I write High Fantasy and Historical Mystery. Currently, I alternate between the two series. The fantasy series is called the Legends of Fyrsta and the first book in that is A Thread in the Tangle.

“In a shattered realm where gods breathe and battle, sixteen-year-old Isiilde must find her feet among people who both despise and crave her kind. She trembles on a precipice, caught between the lust of men, the greed of kings, and an eternal struggle for dominance. As three powerful kingdoms vie to own
her, the fire in her blood awakens, sparking a cataclysm of events that spiral into disaster. A barbarian, a madman, and a timid nymph are all who stand between light and oblivion.”

The Historical Mystery, the Ravenwood Detective Agency series, is set in turn of the century San Francisco. Much of it takes place in the infamous Barbary Coast, which isn’t much different from a port town that you might find in a fantasy setting. The first book is called From the Ashes.

“Atticus Riot is an ex-gambler turned detective, but after twenty years of roaming the Barbary Coast, he’s about to toss the game for good. After his
partner Ravenwood is savagely murdered, he wants nothing more than to rid himself of his dead partner’s legacy and retire. But man plans and God
laughs: the young wife of a prosperous businessman is abducted. Two separate ransom notes are sent to two different relations, leaving the
police baffled. Reluctantly, as a final favor to an old friend, Riot takes on the case, feeling half a man without the brilliant Ravenwood.”
One day I’d like to venture into Scifi with a Steampunk series set in an alternate London-esque type city.

sunset-final-free-domainWhere do you find your inspiration?
Inspiration is all around us, I think. Just living life is inspiration for me. It’s important for a writer to be amazed and curious of the world around. Ask questions, explore, and most of all, observe—people, places, animals, the sunset, you name it. And then it’s a matter of letting your mind run free.
I have always been an active person, and I find that the more I walk and the more I swim or any activity (even cleaning the house) is a wonderful chance for my mind to wander.
Something might trigger a thought, too. Anything really. The entire idea of my fantasy world of Fyrsta was sparked by a split second glimpse of a movie preview. Even though it was nearly 22 years ago, I still remember the moment. The preview was for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, when Dracula, who is decked out in his crimson armor that looks like muscle and sinew, flashes onto screen. From there, my mind kept churning over that image, and kept adding more fuel to the image until a world sprang to life.

Do you put yourself in your stories?
Not directly, no. But I think that all writers have a well of experience that they draw from when they write. Things they’ve collected, learned, and experienced. I draw heavily from this well, and reach all the way to the bottom to dredge up the unpleasant and the dark and mix it all up so to speak.

Do you have a specific writing routine?
I always have a notebook with me. When I was a teenager, I got into the habit of writing a first draft in longhand. Later on, this habit allowed me to write when I was working full-time, on vacation camping, or when I took my kids to the park. As a mother, I had to squeeze in every spare moment I could, and then late at night, when the kids were sleeping, I’d transfer what I’d written. Now that my kids are in school, I have more freedom, and am trying to train myself to write the first draft on a computer. Although for tough parts, ones where I need to feel my way through, I’ll revert back to longhand. It’s easier for me to work out tricky scenes that way.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?
Definitely an improvisor! I’m an organic writer. I let a story grow as I go along. I sort of let the characters and setting have free rein. The story takes on a life of its own and that way its not constricted by my idea of what should happen.
I don’t really know if I’m a fast writer or a slow one. Never really compared myself to another writer. I started writing the first draft to From the Ashes in January and it was edited and published by May. My latest book, King’s Folly, is about 134,000 words and took me 3-4 months.

1600x2500pxTell us about your latest book
King’s Folly is in the last edit stage right now. It’s book two of my Legends of Fyrsta series. It’s so close to being published. The editing process is just something that you don’t rush. Hopefully it will be published in the next few weeks. You can read the first two chapters here.

Battered and broken, Marsais, Oenghus, and Isiilde have risked an unknown Gateway to flee a traitorous madman. The Portal spews the three, along with a trio of devout paladins, into a vast wilderness of lurking death. Isiilde soon discovers how inhospitable the realms truly are. The courageous nymph can only follow her guardian Oenghus and her Bonded through horrors unimagined, as she tries to navigate the darkness creeping over her own heart.

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?
I think it depends on the individual writer. The industry seems to be moving towards a mixture of both, even from traditionally published authors, which is great.
I never really planned on publishing any of my books, but a professional editor read some of my fanfiction on a forum I frequented, and asked me if I had any books of my own. I did. She read A Thread in the Tangle and loved it, and pitched it to the head of her major publishing company. After hearing the synopsis, without even opening the manuscript or glancing at the writing, he flat out refused it and said, ’Nymphs won’t sell. People think of Lolita when they hear the word nymph.’
I thought this was odd. I think any writer is willing to be told that their book won’t sell because the writing isn’t up to par, but for something to be rejected because of what is currently popular is pretty disheartening. How are new books and genres going to be found with this attitude? This is the reason that I love self-publishing. Instead of having these big publishing houses determine what they want readers to read… readers get to determine what they want to read.
Shortly after, I entered and won a writing contest hosted by Annelie Wendeberg, award-winning author of The Devil’s Grin, and she motivated me to self-publish by shoving me in the right direction. I taught myself how to use art programs, format, and am having fun trying to navigate the marketing end of things. I like self-publishing because the entire process, from first draft to final product, stays in my hands. It’s really just an extension of the creative writing process.

Any other projects in the pipeline?
I’m going to start researching my next Ravenwood Detective Agency Mystery. I like alternating between series because it gives me a break from the characters and gives me some distance while ideas brew in the back of my mind.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?
To write for myself, and have fun doing it. If people like what I write, then that’s cool too.

About Sabrina Flynn:
Sabrina lives in perpetual fog and sunshine with a rock troll and two crazy imps. She spent her youth trailing after insanity, jumping off bridges, climbing towers, and riding down waterfalls in barrels. After spending fifteen years wrestling giant hounds and battling pint-sized tigers, she now travels everywhere via watery portals leading to anywhere.
Author Website:

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