A New York native, Sallie has a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice and is currently pursuing a degree in law. A lifelong mystery fan, she has combined her love and passion for writing with her interests in criminal justice, law, and forensic science. Sallie resides in New York with both her human and furry/scaly family members.
Q1. When did you start writing?
I can remember writing stories for all sorts of things back to when I was maybe 4 or 5 years old. It was at about age 13 that I began to seriously pursue writing as something more than just for fun - it was now a passion and a dream that I wanted to become a mystery author. After a few short stories, news articles, and other pieces being published throughout the years, I was thrilled to finally have my first novel accepted by a publisher. My love of writing still burns bright and strong, even after all these years!
Q2. What makes writing your passion?
I love being able to just get lost in the words or the scenes. It's fun to have the characters just take control of my pen and take me along on a journey as they write themselves or the scene.
Q3. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Q4. What was the feeling when you published your first book?
The latter half of 2017, the year my book came out, wasn't the best for my family or me, so it was a wonderful moment that we could all celebrate. A coworker of mine at the time surprised me at work by bringing in sparkling cider and doing a congratulatory toast in celebration of my book being published; everyone who knew me was aware of my love of writing and how much it meant to me that my work was finally being published. Having my book released to the world was one of the achievements I am most proud of in my life.
Q5. What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
The main character in this story, Sam Marlowe, was inspired by a contest prompt. I started piecing together a story for the prompt and, probably one page into the story, I knew I had something special and something I was thoroughly enjoying writing. I finished that initial story, which turned out to be Good Cop Bad Cop, and immediately composed two additional stories featuring Sam, The Gray Area and Second Chances. After that, I knew Sam was going to be a regular character for me to write. His dialogue is just too fun not to!
Q6. What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
Finding the time to write with life going on around me! Between a full time job, law school, family and pets, it can be hard to get a few minutes to get lost in my writing. And, even if I can sneak away for a moment or two, the words just may not come to me or I just may spend too much time trying to refine what I want to say. Time can definitely be a double-edged sword for a writer.
Q7. How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I usually have multiple projects going at a time, some professional, others for fun. If I get stuck on one project, I'll put that one aside and turn to another. I find that putting aside a work for a bit and then returning to it later with fresh eyes can sometimes breathe new life into a story that I had been struggling with.
Q8. We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
Although it may seem cliché, it truly is the love of writing that kept me going. Rejections, although they are always painful to receive, are a part of the process. It's a subjective process; what one agent or publisher likes, another may not. I have learned a lot about the process throughout my journey to publication and I believe that my writing has only improved since I began. You just need to keep writing, refine your craft and your skills, and just keep trying.
Q9. If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
The best thing to say would be to not give up on my passions and to just keep at it. It's going to be a bumpy journey, but you'll get there in the end.
Q10. Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
Q11. What is the feeling when you get a good review?
When someone writes or tells me that they enjoyed my book, it never ceases to make me smile. I write because it it something I am truly passionate about and I enjoy being able to share my love of my craft with others. If you enjoy it, then I know that I have done my job as a writer in bringing you a story that made you smile/cry/think or whatever emotions it invoked in you. I remember one of my former coworkers coming over to my desk and, with a frown, saying that "you killed [character's name]!" That meant a lot to me because the death of this particular character meant enough to her that she brought it up to me at work a few days after she read it.
Q12. Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
For the most part, none of the events have actually happened to me (thank goodness). But, there are numerous little tidbits that are either inside jokes or references to things I like. For example, the name of the restaurant in Victims of Circumstance, Quincy's, is the name of my dog. The cabin described in Monster is based on a cabin that my aunt and uncle took me to for years during the summer, a trip I adored. There's little nuggets like this sprinkled throughout most of my stories, so keep an eye out :)
Q13. Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
Q14. What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
It depends on the author or the book, I suppose. I, personally, enjoy covers that have meaning to them. Perhaps it's an important symbol representing a key point in the book or a collage of things that occur in the book that represent significant struggles to the character or what have you. If it draws your eye and makes you pick up the book, that's usually a good thing in my perspective.
Q15. Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I'm not a very outgoing person, so writing is always preferred but, if you enjoy writing and reading (specifically mysteries), I'm happy to discuss the literary world with anyone. I find that writing is actually an interest of a lot of individuals that I meet and it's something I enjoy discussing with others.
Q16. How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
I am genuinely appreciative of you if you've told me that you've enjoyed my work. My goal as a writer is to craft compelling stories that share my passion with the readers. If one of my stories touch you or stay with you long after you've put the book down or turned off the e-reader, then I've done my job. If my writing inspires you to start writing your own works or fanfiction of my stories, then that makes it all worth it.
Q17. Who is your favorite author? Why?
Hands down, my favorite author is Agatha Christie. She is the Queen of Mystery and I adore her books. I am currently in the process of collecting all of her works, regardless of genre. Her mysteries, in particular, are my favorites. The intricacies of the crimes, the notable characters, the genius of the clues keep the pages turning and that kind of greatness is something I can only aspire to.
Q18. What’s the dream? Who would you like to be as big as?
Q19. Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
Q20. If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
Q21. What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.
As much as I love and rely on the internet, the anonymity of it can also be very negative to people like writers. It's important to remember that, even if you think your comment is funny, there is a real person reading it and those words could hurt them. I personally don't understand why people do that - honestly, what do you gain from it? Instead, be supportive! You don't have to lie and say that you loved something when you really didn't but, instead of tearing down someone because you can, help them improve. That person might come back some time later with an amazing piece of literature that just blows your mind. You never know!
Q22. What would you say to your readers?
I sincerely thank you for taking the time to read my work. I hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I had enjoyed writing it. If you want more stories like that, let me know!
Thank you for sharing! Now, could share something a little more personal!
Q23. Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
I am a New York resident, living with my family. That includes a "zoo" of different animals, including two dogs, two guinea pigs, a robo Dwarf hamster, a Syrian/Teddy Bear hamster, a betta fish and a leopard gecko. Needless to say, we're big animal lovers here.
Q24. What is your day job if you have one?
I currently work in the legal field and am pursuing my law degree to become an attorney.
Q25. What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
I am a big arts and crafts fan. I enjoy crocheting, painting, alpha pattern bracelets/crafts, and other crafts. I also have been participating in martial arts for over fifteen years; I have a second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and am working toward my black belt in Karate. I play video games and read, specifically working my way through various classic novels.
Q26. Did you have a happy childhood?
Absolutely. I am very fortunate to have a supportive and loving family. We are always there for each other and support each other in our endeavors. My family always encouraged my love of writing, always being willing to read my stories (even if it was a draft of one they've previously read that just changed a few words).
Q27. Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
Q28. Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
Yes, I have quite a few in the works. I have additional stories featuring Sam and Dahlia in the works, along with separate stories that feature new characters. In other words, many more murder mysteries forthcoming!
Q29. What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
Q30. If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
Q31. What is your favorite music?
I am a huge rock n' roll fan. My favorite artist is Slash, along with Guns n' Roses, The Struts, the Headstones, the Pretty Reckless, Halestorm and others. I also love Weird Al - his parodies are amazing.
Q32. Share a secret with us 🙂