Sarah Northwood is an author with many talents. She is also a dreamer and a believer, unicorns really do exist, she has seen them with her own eyes. So it is not surprising to see unicorns are appearing in her children’s books as well as in her poetry books.
This is how I met Sarah in different Facebook Author groups. The unicorns were always nearby. ‘The Legend of the Unicorn’, a nice story with a bit of magic was a great read. Sarah Northwood is not only a Multi Award Winning Author, she is also very supportive of other authors. I must say I love this extraordinary experience that lives in these groups between Indie Authors, a world of friendship, exchanging valuable tips, inspire, giving support and advice to each other. And Sarah Northwood is a very active member of these groups.
Thanks to this interview I know a bit more about her, where her believe in unicorns come from, how she came to write… And that she not only writes children’s books and poetry but also thrillers and horror. Always with strong women’s characters. I’m happy to present you Sarah Northwood!
- Can you introduce yourself, what’s your name, where are you from… ?
Hello Lieve, thank you so much for this interview! For those who don’t know me, my name is Sarah Northwood and I’m a UK based Fiction Author for both Adults and Children. I live in a small village in Cheshire and grew up close by. I originally thought that I would go into physiotherapy as a career. When I was still in Secondary School I had the misfortune of being hit by a car. The physiotherapists who looked after me were amazing and really inspired me! I decided to pursue studies in Science and Health studies with that goal in mind, but I ultimately ended up working in scientific research for a pharmaceutical company, after I got an apprenticeship which allowed me to study part-time. I stayed for almost twenty years!
2. Tell us something unexpected about yourself!
Tell you something unexpected, that’s a tricky one as I’m such a straightforward and boring person! Here’s something that some people may not know, when I was younger I was a keen horse rider. At one point our family owned and loved three horses. I think perhaps that is where my mild obsession with unicorns may have come from.
3. Give 2 things about yourself that you think matter the most?
You like to ask some challenging questions! The first and foremost thing that matters deeply to me is how much I love my family. I am a wife and mum and without their love I would not be the person I am. The other thing that matters to me most, is that even though I’m not a confident person and more recently this has been mixed with anxiety, I channel this into my writing and self-expression. It’s important because it provides not only therapy but stops anxiety from defining me.
- Identity Card
5. Do you remember the first book you read?
I can’t recall the first book I ever read but I know I had quite a few favourites. The Faraway Tree was one and I loved all the Famous Five books. I still remember reading Black Beauty and crying!
6. What makes you laugh/cry?
I laugh the most when I’m being crazy with my girls. Children have such brilliant imaginations. Just recently we started doing these little videos with their teddies where we make up characters and stories. I’ve even tried to do some voices/accents. H’angry, one of the characters makes us all laugh so much! I don’t cry often really, tending to be more the type that bubbles away on the inside but if my girls are having a hard time at School then that can set me off. I do also love a good ‘weepy’ film, when I need to have a good cry. It’s therapeutic to get it out!
7. In which genre do you write?
As I mentioned I like to write in multiple genres. So far this has included, psychological and horror thrillers, poetry for adults and children, fantasy for children, my most recent release is a young adult story based on magical realism.
8. What makes your book special, how is it different from other books in your genre?
I’m certainly not unique in the genres that I write in and often face heavy competition. I hope it’s not arrogant to say that I like to think what makes my books special is me, I always put pieces of my own heart inside them. I like to make my stories unique and write characters in such a way that it might change people’s perceptions. I often write with an emphasis on girls finding their power or winning through adversity. I feel my voice is distinctive and powerful.
9. How do you feel when you write, do you have a special ritual?
My writing rituals…Well, first I draw a pentagram on the floor and offer up a sacrifice. No, I’m just joking! My ritual is simple really, a peaceful environment. My laptop and alone time work best. I’m one of those who often finds writing frustrating, but it can also be the most satisfying thing in the world. When you’ve been searching for the perfect sentence or way to describe something and you put it down, there is no feeling like it!
10. What inspired you to write your first book?
I was inspired to write my first book after discovering poetry. Writing really found me, I was in a bad place at the time and suddenly this creative outlet appeared. I’ve never looked back, or once regretted my choice to become an author. Currently I have ten published books on Amazon.
11. How did you come up with the title?
I’ve removed the first book I published, which was called Inner Voice because I didn’t feel it met my standards any longer. It was hard to pull something I had put so much time and energy into, but it felt like the right decision. The title was based around those feelings we all have telling us we’re not good enough to do things, when really, we can.
12. If you could be any famous book character, who would you be and why?
My mind always goes completely blank when I get asked these questions. I’d like to choose someone the opposite of me, confident and powerful. How about Galadriel from Lord of the Rings? I confess though I’ve only seen the films and not read the book.
13. Is there a message in your book that you hope the readers will grasp?
Because I write in different genres this is a harder question to answer, so, I’ll talk generally. I don’t specifically set out to write stories that have a message in them, rather I pour my emotions and reactions into the scenarios I write about. I hope readers might grasp that my stories are about how the small acts of kindness can change the world, adversity comes to us all and it is our choices that define us. I write about strong female characters who makes these kinds of decisions.
14. What are your top 3 books of all time?
You know, I don’t have a top three list of my favourite books. I love reading so many different things and I’m not good at choosing favourites! I will say that I am thrilled to be friends with authors who I am fans of though. How awesome is that?!
15. How important is marketing and social media for you?
Marketing and social media? Social media is extremely important to me. Without it I would never have met my wonderful author friends and missed out on the wealth of knowledge that can be gained. If you have a question or need to know something the indieverse is there! I’ve had amazing opportunities by networking in groups, won book awards through social media and met friends and fans of my work. I’ve discovered so many great reads this way and of course, I run my own author page and street team on Facebook. Marketing is also important, it’s an opportunity to let readers know about your work and show them why they might be interested in reading your books. I do wish I had more business acumen when it comes to this side of things as I feel I could do better.
16. Is it important for you to get book reviews?
Yes, and yes. I’m a person who needs and thrives off feedback, so reviews are important. It’s often the first opportunity to discover if readers have enjoyed your stories. It also gives potential customers advice on your product and lets them know if it might be something they want to read. I take the time to read every review, looking for areas to improve on and delighting in a positive one. I make sure I always review every book that I personally read. The only exception to this is the stories I read with my children to support their school work, as I often don’t read the whole book.
17. What advice do you have for other writers?
The advice I would give to other writers is to have tenacity and determination because there will be plenty of times you’ll need. Make friends with other writer’s, these are invaluable. Finally, if you find yourself stuck, the best advice I can offer is to read. I always find it helps me to get reinvigorated.
18. Can you give your book information: blurb, link, genre (for children’s book, please tell for what age)
The Westwood Witches
Blurb: Aero trembled as she held the box sealed inside black paper. The dilemma was a difficult one – her mum had told her the box contained secrets she might not be ready for. Once she opened it, there would be no going back…
Aero has always felt like a misfit and an outsider. Thankfully, having a best friend like Lilly, along with a grandma like Joanna, makes life worth living. But a terrible event tears her world apart, and Aero Westwood is about to discover that her family has more secrets than most.
Genre: YA Fiction
Legend of the Night Unicorn
Blurb: Martha is excited about her trip on the steam train up Mystic Mountain. She finds out from a kind old man how the train got its name. Legend has it there’s a night unicorn who lives on the mountain.
After Martha arrives at the top of the mountain peak, she has one burning question. All she wants to do is find out if the legend is true.
Are unicorns real?
Genre: Short Children’s Story (4-8yrs)
Aerwyn, The Girl Who Dreams
Blurb: Once upon a time, there was a young girl called Aerwyn. Her eyes sparkled the colour of blue sapphires in the sunlight, and her golden hair flowed down over her shoulders, ending with a small but perfect curl. Aerwyn had a secret, but in every other way, she was a perfectly normal seven-year-old girl. Meet Aerwyn, the girl who dreams. Every night Aerwyn and her imaginary friend, Katie, go on magical adventures. The only problem is ‘how can she keep this secret from her best friend? And what would happen if she told her?’
Genre: Short Children’s Story (4-8yrs)
Blurb: This is a poem book especially for you, where Unicorns are real and dreams do come true. With goggle woggle spiders whizzing on skates and food that is rude when it is put on a plate. With bottoms that snore and a fun dinosaur, also mermaids and fairies, so it’s never a bore. So settle down cosy when it starts to get late, fluff up your pillow, get your blankets straight. Each poem is magic, each poem is new and each one was made especially for you.
Genre: Short Children’s Poetry (4-8 yrs)
Hook: Poems that inspire a touch of magic, imagination and fantasy. Uplifting and light to read.
Genre: Children’s Poetry
Sarah Northwood’s other books are:
- POP QUIZ
Snow or sun: SUN! (I need the bright days)
Soccer or (ice) hockey: ?
Dogs or cats: Dogs, I’m allergic to cats
Ice-cream or fruit: Ice-cream
Fact or fiction: Fiction
Music or silence: For writing silence, otherwise music
Sport or reading: Reading
Sea or mountains: Sea
Groundhogs or squirrels: Squirrels
Books or movies: Both
E-book or print: Both
20. Is there anything more you want to tell your readers?
I’d just add one more thing as I’m thrilled about this recent news. I am now an honorary member of the World Nations Writers Union and an honorary member of the “World Higher Literary Academic Council.” I will also be the Chairperson for the Jury Board and English Jury Chief of their contest, Worlds Best Poet-World Best Writer.