Today the lovely Sarah L. Wallace is a guest on my blog. She is here to answer a few of my questions and to talk about her work.
Hi Sarah, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions of mine. I’d like to start with some personal ones to get to know the woman behind the author a bit. Is that okay?
Sure! What would you like to know?
You have a family name that sounds familiar. Why do I think I have heard it before?
Although Wallace is my pen name, William Wallace was an ancestor of mine. If you’ve seen the film, Braveheart, you may recognize the name. He fought for Scottish independence from England at the turn of the 14th century and is often thought of as one of Scotland’s greatest heroes. Here is a brief biography for anyone who is interested in learning more: http://www.biography.com/people/william-wallace-9522479
I know you are a Montessori teacher–I am a great supporter of the idea and even had my son enrolled in a school based on the same ideas in his early years–but can you explain why you chose this education system over what is generally seen as the ‘normal’ one?
I earned my degree as a public schoolteacher and spent my first two years teaching English classes and reading in a traditional middle school. Then we moved to Chicago. That is where I first toured a Montessori school. The child-centered approach to learning drew me in, so I took a huge pay cut to switch from being a traditional teacher to being an assistant in a Montessori classroom. After spending two years working as an assistant, I earned my Montessori degree.
Many people think that all teaching is child-centered, but that’s simply not true. In most traditional classrooms, the teacher is the main focus. In Montessori classrooms, the children are the main focus. The main components of the Montessori philosophy are hands-on materials, which allow even the youngest of children to learn abstract concepts; multi-age classrooms so that children at the same stage of learning can learn from each other as well as the adults in their environment; and a child-centered approach in which the teacher has been trained to observe each child as an individual, take them where they are, and propel them to ever higher levels of understanding.
I’m really glad to have you on my blog and explaining this great educational system to the readers.
Would you as a reader after doing a bit of research opt to enrol your child on a Montessori school?
Now we’d like to hear about your writing!
First, what is the title of the book you would like to talk about?
Let’s talk about Retrospection.
Did you have difficulty coming up with the title?
Yes, did I ever! I even posted a poll on Facebook as well as on my website. I took suggestions from everyone, even some of my students got in on the fun. In fact, Retrospection is dedicated to one of my students: And for Monet, because history is about so much more than names, dates and wars.
If you would have to change the genre in order to be able to publish it, what would it be then? i.e. would you conform to the market?
No, I don’t think my book conforms to any particular genre. Even though the dedication makes it clear that it contains some historical fiction. The first part of my dedication is to my grandmother; it gives us a different glimpse into the genre of this book: For my Grandma Gert, who always loved the strange and unexplained. I think of Retrospection as a paranormal historical fiction, but that category simply doesn’t seem to exist. It is not a paranormal romance.
Can you tell me how you celebrate finally getting that tricky chapter (or para) right?
First, I feel satiated. I’ll sit back and just enjoy the feeling of accomplishment. Later, I’ll remember that chapter and share my tale with anyone who cares to listen. For example, in Canvas Skies (the second book in my dystopian trilogy), there is a chapter where Guy takes Keira to a formal dinner at his parents’ home. The conversation there is upsetting to both Guy and Keira, who are members of the Resistance. When I first wrote that chapter, I was very unsatisfied with it. It just fell flat to me, but I couldn’t figure out why. So I set aside my writing for a few days and just let it simmer in the back of my mind. Eventually, I realized the problem. I had no idea how his parents would react if they ever learned their son was a main player in the Resistance, a movement they are strongly against. Once I figured this out, I was able to imagine these more minor characters and really bring them to life in my mind. Then I scrapped the entire chapter and rewrote it. It is now one of my favorite chapters from any of my books.
What don’t you like about writing?
I love everything about writing, from the planning, to the writing, to the editing. I don’t even mind formatting most of the time. What I don’t like and don’t have the time for is putting the energy into a marketing campaign. With teaching full time, fitting in writing when I can, and spending time with family and friends, I simply have no energy left to market.
What do you do marketing wise and what do you think generates the most attention to your books?
Sadly, my books don’t get much attention. The one that has been the most successful is my free book, Price of a Bounty. It’s the first of my trilogy. Pricing it for free has allowed many people who would not have otherwise noticed my books to become aware of my other books, especially the rest of my trilogy. I think some people also discover my books due to my Twitter posts.
Is there any food or beverage that is a constant factor in either your books or life?
In my books, Keira enjoys drinking wine, and at one point the gang has a lasagna dinner. Oh, and Guy makes Keira an amazing omelet. But no, there’s no constant food or beverage factor in my books. As for me, I consume a lot of caffeine.
What is your favourite dish and can you give me the recipe?
My favorite dish is a pasta recipe I learned about in college. My roommate’s fiance worked at an Italian restaurant, and he taught me how to make it. Way back when, he asked me not to share it, so he wouldn’t get in trouble for giving out company secrets. But I think enough time has passed. Don’t you?
To 10 ounces of cooked pasta, add 2 teaspoons parsley, 1 teaspoon basil, 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup olive oil, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. I like to serve it with chicken.
Would you be able to come up with a credible excuse why you haven’t written a whole day? Remember, I have to believe it!
This one’s easy! And it happens all the time.
I woke up bright and early at 5:30 A.M. on a weekday morning. I spent about 20 minutes tweeting and checking my messages, then I got ready for work. I tried to let my daughter sleep as late as possible, so I took the dog out for a quick walk around the block. When I got home, I had just enough time to wake my daughter, help her get ready for the day and pop a frozen waffle into the toaster. After she put on her coat, I got us into the car and handed her the toasted waffle to eat on the drive to school. At 8:00, I dropped her off at early arrival and headed back to my classroom. My work day was filled with teaching lessons, mentoring children, supervising during lunch and recess, and using my prep time to plan tomorrow’s lessons. By 3:30, I was ready to relax, but no such luck because we had a staff meeting that ran until 4:30. After that, I returned to my classroom and prepared the environment by posting the next day’s lessons on the whiteboard and setting out materials. At 5:00, I was in my car heading home. I had dinner with my family, then took my dog and daughter outside to play for awhile before it got dark. When we came inside, my daughter wanted to draw for a while, so I hopped on the computer hoping to accomplish something, anything. But my daughter saw what I was doing and asked to chat with my friend on FB. A half hour later, it was time to get her ready for bed, and I was exhausted. So I sat in bed and read for a little while before turning the lights off and getting some much needed sleep.
Okay now that we have the mandatory questions out of the way, shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want to blab about. But please, no cats, dogs, or children. Make me laugh, or cry, or even envious. Tell me something no one has ever heard before from you. hehehe, love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂
This isn’t a dirty little secret, but it’s a dream of mine that not many people are aware of. I’ve always wanted to learn to fly. I love the feeling of being high above the ground, just sailing along on the wind itself. Looking down upon the land, from such heights, gives you a panoramic view of a patchwork quilt, filled with the greens and yellows of farmland. Why is it that human activities leave a geometric imprint on the world, when geometric designs are inherently a part of nature? Still, from such elevations, it’s the natural world of lakes, streams, and rivers that interrupt the orderly patterns of humans. My uncle once took me flying in a very small plane. There was room for only four people: my uncle and dad sat up front by the controls, while my aunt and I sat just behind them. Four tiny humans in such a big wide world. And then we flew over the devastation of a tornado. So much destruction, another blotch on that patchwork quilt. Even so, I was hooked from the moment we rose into the air.
That is a great anecdote Sarah! Thanks for sharing so much of you with us. The only thing left for me to tell the readers is where they can find you and your books.
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