Sarah Tranter is an author with Choc Lit whose latest release is Romancing The Soul, which I recently read. I was fortunate to question her about her career and her writing, and get some very interesting and insightful answers.
Hi Sarah and Welcome to Beauty and Lace, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.
Thank you so much for having me!
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
There’s not a simple answer to that one I’m afraid. I’m inclined to say when I was a teenager although it was very much a romantic notion back then ― along with having an Irish wolf hound and living in a cottage with roses around the door, a wood and a stream at the bottom of the garden. You get the idea. Having said that, I must have taken it pretty seriously at the time as I applied to university to study English Literature and creative writing.
In the event, because of a boy (my now husband) I ended up studying politics at a university near him. They had a space on the course so that’s what I did.
For the next several years I worked as a researcher for an MP, lobbyist and in public relations. My career involved writing daily, but not fiction. Throughout those years, I would intermittently tell myself that one day I’d write a book but never did anything about it. I was happy with life as it was, to be honest.
It wasn’t until I had young children and was involved in a road traffic accident that things changed. There was no conscious decision to become a writer even then. I simply found myself needing to write a scene. It was pretty compulsive. I hadn’t a clue whether I could do it. I’d not written creatively since school but once I started and Nate (whose story it was) developed on the page, there was no turning back. That scene very quickly developed into a book: No Such Thing as Immortality, my debut novel. And I was hooked. Totally and utterly hooked from that point in and had no chance of turning my back on writing. Only then did I know I wanted to be a writer. What it feels to write is like nothing else.
Can you tell us a little about your journey to publication?
When I wrote No Such Thing as Immortality it was for me. It provided escapism at a point in my life when I needed it. I didn’t consciously set out to write a book so publication wasn’t something I ever considered during the process. It wasn’t until the end, when I realized that not only had I written a book, but that I was in love with writing, that the thought tentatively entered my mind. But even then I placed the manuscript on a shelf as I began to write Romancing the Soul.
It was only when I made the decision to get to know other writers that I chose to do anything with it. The writer’s mind can be a complicated thing and I don’t think a non-writer has a hope of understanding us sometimes. The fault is with us, I hasten to add. But that decision to meet other like-minded souls was one of the best I ever made and was pretty monumental in my life. They encouraged me to take writing seriously and as a result I submitted the manuscript to Choc Lit. Not that for a moment I thought I had a hope in hell of them accepting it. I’d read Choc Lit’s books and had been bowled over by the quality of their writers. But what did I have to lose? The rest is history so to speak. I was lucky. Very, very lucky and I constantly count my blessings.
The latest release is ‘Romancing The Soul’, can you tell us a little about it?
It’s an ongoing love story between a couple who were together in a past life. I don’t want to give too much away so the blurb is handy here:
Your Soul Mate is out there! Let a past life lead the way
Rachael Jones hasn’t exactly chosen an average career path. She’s a ‘past-life regressionist’ and is now hoping to help her clients find their Soul Mates through reconnecting them with their past lives. But despite her best intentions, there are problems. Rachael made the mistake of regressing her best friend, Susie Morris, who has since been haunted by events that occurred in her past life.
When Susie meets Hollywood actor, George Silbury in unlikely circumstances, she is completely unprepared for her reactions. There’s an intense mutual attraction that neither can explain nor ignore.
Can George help Susie to overcome the sense of desolation she feels as the result of her past life regression or will history’s habit of repeating itself ruin all chances of her finding happiness?
What inspired you to write about past life regression?
A concept entered my mind ― a ‘what if’, if you like ― that wouldn’t budge. What would happen if two Soul Mates met during a past life regression? It was very persistent and demanded exploration.
How much research was required?
I’m not at all sure as much as I did was required. I think I could have probably got away with desktop research on past life regression. I chose to go above and beyond with this one though.
Are you a believer in reincarnation and Soul Mates?
Ooooh, that’s a telling one! I don’t know, LOL! I can’t help but think there’s something in reincarnation though. It certainly provides an explanation for all that déjà vu stuff and taking an extreme and illogical liking or disliking to people on first meeting. There were a few things my boys said when they were very young, too and then there’s our phobias and fears which seem to lack grounding in this life. It does get you thinking really, which is probably where that concept that wouldn’t budge comes in.
As for Soul Mates? Yes. I believe there is one for us. I’m not sure I’d go as far as describing them as Rachael does in the book ― but I do think there’s a connection there which is above and beyond .
Have you ever been regressed?
Yes. That’s the above and beyond bit in the research question. I didn’t feel I could do the story justice if I didn’t experience it for myself. Three years on I’m still not quite sure what happened that day. I try not to think of it because it was all a little disturbing. I do find my mind wanders back to it on an involuntary basis all too often though. I don’t like using the word, but it’s as if the recollections ‘haunt’ me. I was encouraged to explore two past lives. I was a teenage girl in one and a man in the other. I wasn’t convinced at the time that a genuine regression was taking place but I simply don’t know. I’m unsettled. I do know though that I won’t get past life regressed again. In fact I seem to have been cured of my curiosity on that subject once and for all. I also feel very strongly, that if we were meant to remember, we would. The characters that emerged that day ― products of my imagination or otherwise ― are demanding exploration. I’m not ready for that quite yet, even without past life regression in the equation.
Can you tell us a little about your writing process, are you a plotter or do you let the characters take you where they will?
It’s character led for me. It would be more reassuring to write with something already plotted out but I don’t think I have the imagination for it. I find I need to be in the head of my characters for that to come into play. Letting the characters go with little or no constraints can be such fun, too. I can only admire those that write with everything plotted out before they start. As I mentioned earlier, my process tends to start with a premise or a ‘what if’. For No Such Thing as Immortality, it was an impossible car accident. For Romancing the Soul, two Soul Mates meeting during a past life regression. The characters do the rest.
Do you have a favourite time or place to write?
I do. Through the night and those pre-dawn hours. It’s how I wrote No Such Thing as Immortality. With two boys (now 10 and 7) it’s not practical or sustainable though. As for place? I write at the kitchen table. A long way from ideal but needs must. Like so many writers, I love the idea of a shed. For me it would be in the middle of a wood and be somewhere only I could find. Again though, not practical.
Is there something new you are working on that you can tell us about?
I’m working on the No Such Thing sequels. I get to spend more time with Nate (Nathaniel Gray, b. 1782, Earl of Ridings. Vampire. Hot) whose story it is. I’m lucky enough to call such interaction with Nate, work.
What does being a woman mean to you?
Mummy, wife, sister, daughter, friend, peacemaker, CEO, shoulder, chocolate. Boots.
Thanks so much for your time Sarah, some of those answers were very interesting….