The Authors' Words: An Interview with Author Sarah Wagner

The Authors' Words: 
Sarah Wagner is a science fiction, fantasy, paranormal romance, and horror author and superfan of all things genre. Raised by a geeky mom on Star Trek, Doctor Who, Star Wars, and craft foam, she comes by her geekiness and her craftiness honestly and takes great joy in passing them along to her own children. When she’s not writing or fan-girling over nearly everything, she runs an autism support group and tries very hard not to forget to water the plants. 

Hi Sarah! Thank you for giving me an interview. I'm so glad we could get together.

First, tell me when you realize you were a storyteller? 
I think I was born that way. I come from one of the best liars I know – and I mean that in the best way possible. My Dad was a professional motivational speaker and he excelled at building a palace of interesting story for every stone of truth. That’s the best bit of writing advice I ever received, even if it was never really put into words – every castle’s worth of story needs a few bricks of truth to stand.

How long have you been writing? 
I’ve been writing all my life. I dictated my first poem when I was three and couldn’t write yet. It isn’t very good but I was three. I’ve always had trouble sleeping and telling myself stories to rival the fairy tales and books I read was the best way for me to fall asleep.

What is your publishing story? 
My first publication was in a tiny literary magazine in Pittsburgh my senior year in high school and absolutely happened because I had a teacher who told me I would never make it as a writer. His response to that first poem and short story was to ask if it paid. I spent a long time working to prove him wrong, but it still took me ten years to get my first book published. Now I’ve got four and a fifth on the way. I did send that first book to that particular teacher, though I never heard whether he enjoyed it or not.
Each book I write has a different journey from idea to published, some certainly had easier roads than others. 
Hardwired Humanity

How much of yourself, if any, is in your characters? 
I’d be lying if I said none, but I do try and separate myself. Each of my heroines has a quality I wish I had or that I had more of. I don’t think you can’t help but put yourself into your stories, your own filter of experience shows through, even if you don’t mean to. Sometimes, your own experience can color your characters responses or actions. Even if you were determined to completely avoid it, I don’t think it’s possible.
I do tend to write about motherless women though and that is likely because I am one. It just sort of bleeds into things in part because I’ve never had that adult/mother relationship and it never really occurs to me to make my characters have mothers. Mother figures, certainly, but not really moms. 

Do you use friends and family or people you have known as characters in your stories? 
I don’t mean to but sometimes personality quirks do find their way into my characters. I don’t know that I’ve ever put a person entirely into a story – with what I write, that might be sort of creepy and voyeuristic. 

Who gave you help and guidance along the way? 
That teacher I mentioned above, I give Mr. Nick some credit for motivation. My grandmother made sure I had books, fueling my imagination probably more than it needed fueling. My Mom was an early supporter, making sure I always had a typewriter and then a computer to create, even though she didn’t get to read any of the work I’m actually proud of but she is one of two adults who ever got to read my first finished book. My Dad spent the last decade of his life being my biggest cheerleader and best fact checker. Even though he never really read anything that wasn’t nonfiction, westerns, or about horse racing, he read my books (which are definitely none of those things) and actually enjoyed them. 

When do you write and how easy is it be distracted from it?
I try to write every day, but it doesn’t always happen. Distractions are plentiful and readily available and I have to adjust to accommodate my health and capabilities some times. I’ve found that setting a schedule helps a lot, even if I’m not always able to keep it. My goal is 1500 words a day but I manage that less often than I’d like. 

Eldercynne Rising 
 Tell us a bit about your latest book? Eldercynne Rising is the story of Reina Cahill, an empath who’s always had some magic but never really understood it or learned to use it. She is also the only survivor of a dormant cult of serial killers. Now, she’s on the run from said killers, thrust into a world of magic, mystery, and politics. She has to stay alive long enough to bring the killers to justice and convince a powerful time traveling witch that she is worthy of her own magic and the magic of her lineage.

Your other books are:  Hardwired Humanity, Guardian of the Gods, Hunter’s Crossing, and Eldercynne Rising. What are they about?
Hardwired Humanity is a short story collection exploring the fine line between human and artificial intelligence and what happens when that line gets blurred. Guardian of the Gods is a heroic fantasy about a godkiller who is trying desperately to save the goddesses of his planet from being killed and keep himself from being used to orchestrate their destruction. Hunter’s Crossing is about a pair of monster hunters, working together to save the world from a terrible fate at the hands of a terrible demon king. Eldercynne Rising is the story of a young empath learning all the things she can really do and all about the hidden, magic places in the world in time to fight for a crown she doesn’t even want but must keep out of the hands of a murderess. 

With your life experience, what advice would you give to your younger self about writing? 
I think I would explain the concept of zero drafting. Writing start to finish, no edits until after typing “The End.” I would likely have gotten at least three more of the books in my head out of my head by now if I hadn’t been so concerned with being perfect – which is unattainable anyway.

Was there any particular book or author who influenced you?  
Hunter’s Crossing
When I was a very little girl, books about strong women and girls were what filled my bookshelves. Some of them were even written by women. As an adult, I’m not the biggest fan of Louisa May Alcott’s writing style myself but there is no doubt that she was my biggest inspiration. She was the one who made me realize that writing is a thing I could do, really do, like as a career. My grandparents had taken me exploring New England for the summer. I was very young, 8 or 9, and here was this woman, writing at a time when women weren’t exactly on equal footing. I realized, standing in her home, staring at walls that could have been anyone’s walls, that if she could do it, so could I. And it was a lot more likely than my and my two left feet ever starring in The Nutcracker.

What do you do to relax?
I like to make things and repurpose things. Sometimes I sell them at craft fairs or on Etsy. I love to cook, watch anime, and, to be perfectly honest, my favorite relaxation is sleeping.

What genres and authors do you read? 
I’ll read nearly anything, but I really love manga, mythology, cyberpunk, and horror. I love Clive Barker, Hieyuki Kikuchi, William Gibson, and JD Robb.

What are your upcoming projects?
I’m currently working on Christmas In Bear Ridge which is, obviously, a Christmas story. It’s got a little magic and a little romance to boot (and a really beautiful copper dragon). I’m also working on the sequel to Hunter’s Crossing, tentatively titled Hunter’s Hell.

Where online can people find you and your books? 
I’m online at my website: or my blog:

Guardian of the Gods

Eldercynne Rising

Hunter’s Crossing

Hardwired Humanity

Great interview, Sarah! Thank you so much!  ~JD

You can also find Sarah Wagner on Twitter (@Shade53), on Instagram (@shadeinink), on Facebook ( and online at her site, . You can find her books on Amazon, Boroughs Publishing Group ( ), and Double Dragon Publishing ( ).

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