Author Sarah Weathersby certainly fits the definition of a Front Porch Diva. She is living the second half of her life on her terms.
Sarah Gordon Weathersby is a graduate of Drew University in Madison, NJ. She holds an MBA from Meredith College in Raleigh, NC. She is a retired Information Technology professional. Sarah lives in Raleigh with her husband, when they are not traveling from Agadir to Maui, riding camels or bicycles.
I write about the things that keep me awake at night, as well as the things that bring me joy. If you follow my blog, the topics can be the trivial how to work my new camera or the gut-wrenching mental breakdown of a family member. I started writing poems as a little girl when my oldest brother went off to the Korean War.
I have written two memoirs, one is the total truth with some names changed (Motherless Child – stories from a life), the other is semi-fictional (Adventures in Blackface). I have written one romance, Tell Them I Died, which falls in the Boomer-Lit genre, as all the main characters are over fifty years old.
Below is our interview with the busy Sarah!
Do you use your life experiences to influence your writing? In what way?
Yes, I do. My first published work is a memoir, Motherless Child – stories from a life, a true story of some of the critical and painful parts of my life. Then I published Tell Them I Died, a romance loosely based on a true story about friends who meet on a small social media website, and the owner/operator who dies. In this story, I decided to switch the script, and didn’t let my friend die, but live on through a romance with the man she always loved. The other main characters were based on my husband and me, and our travels around the world. I had a lot of fun with plot twists, and visiting landmarks through the story.
How do you create or select the characters for your books?
I often base my characters on people I know. They can sometimes be composites of more than one person. And sometimes I create characters based on the story requirement and I let the character drive the story. In Tell Them I Died, I needed a scoundrel of a boyfriend for my main character, and she later needed a bodyguard who played a big part in the story. He may show up in a sequel.
What is a normal day for you?
I don’t have normal days. I am retired. My youngest son has a diagnosis of Paranoid Schizophrenia, and lives on his own. I spend a lot of time as his caregiver. I am a member of the Board of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Wake County, North Carolina, and I am active in that organization. My next book is about a family situation with an adult son with mental illness.
In between my charity work, I work out three to four times a week. I do Step Aerobics, Muscle, and Zumba classes. I am also a member of three book clubs, one online on Goodreads.com, and two in-person groups.
I am currently working on my next novel, while learning to use Scrivner.
Do you think it’s important to build a relationship with your readers? How do you stay in contact with your readers?
I have been active on social media since 1998, and have a good following of friends on various web sites. My readers became my readers before I had completed a book. I blogged about my journey of writing, and they followed my blogs. I first blogged on Yahoo 360, now defunct after Yahoo couldn’t find a way to make money from it. Now I blog on Blogger, and stay in touch with my readers on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
I’m a voracious reader, and often write reviews of the books I enjoy.
Do you believe that authors have a responsibility to impact their communities or society? If so, in what way?
I do believe that authors have a responsibility to teach, and sort out those issues that impact us all. As a mother of an adult child with a serious mental illness, I spend time fighting the stigma that keeps people with mental illness from being all they can be. I will be walking in a NAMI Walks event in May in Raleigh, to support my son’s cause. I am also the team leader for Sharing Hope, a NAMI National initiative designed for the African American faith communities. Black people, especially black church people don’t like to talk about mental illness, or they think mental illness can be prayed away. Through Sharing Hope, we allow people with a mental illness, or family members and friends to tell their story about mental illness. This breaks down the stigma, and helps others to understand what the person has been through, and what it means to reach recovery.
I pray for my son daily. I pray that he takes his medications, and stays away from those forces in the community who will lead him into trouble.
What do you like the most about being an author? What do you find a challenge?
I like writing stories that entertain and challenge. Writing gives me the opportunity to take a real life scenario and flip the script, creating a whole new story.
My challenge is devoting the time away from my other life, in order to finish a book in a reasonable time. A book can sometimes take me four or more years to complete. And then there is the challenge of promoting the book. As a part-time author, I don’t always have the resources to invest in a major promotion.
How can our readers follow and or get in touch with you? (Website, email, blog, etc.)
Connect with Sarah:
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1Oa5nSA
Purchase Links http://amzn.to/1Oa5nSA
Synopsis of Motherless Child – stories from a life:
Imagine you gave a baby up for adoption forty years ago, and after years of trying to find her, she finds you. Now come the hard questions. She’s healthy, beautiful, and successful, but she wants to know why you gave her away and why you didn’t marry her father. And there is also the unspoken question of “What kind of black woman gives her baby away?” How do you explain to her that giving her away was the best gift you could offer? This is Sarah Weathersby’s first published work, a coming-of-age-in-the-sixties-single-black-pregnant and on the way to Germany, memoir.
Synopsis of Tell Them I Died:
Tell Them I Died is a romantic adventure that centers on the loves and lives of Angela and “Bodine” Beaudoin and their friends on the social networking site, Blaq-Kawfee.com. Angela and Bodine are retired and live in Raleigh, North Carolina. Every day they interact with friends all over the world on Blaq-Kawfee.com until Angela receives a phone call from Carlton telling her that his mother, A1QTEE, the owner/operator of Blaq-Kawfee died a month ago. Instantly, Angela smells foul play and finds herself working overtime, much to the chagrin of Bodine, to figure out what happened to her dear friend.
Tell Them I Died is loosely based on a true story about friends who meet on a small social media website, and the owner/operator who dies.
Adventures in Blackface – and other shorts:
Adventures in Blackface is a short story and one of a selection of “shorts” retrieved from the cutting room floor. The short story centers on a black college freshman, Ruth, one of six black students in an otherwise white university in the 1960’s. Ruth faces the challenge of the romantic advances of a white male student, and the racism of white faculty.