Q&A with Sarah Bennett, author of Sunrise at Butterfly Cove.

A year of taking chances…

After a nightmare year, Mia Sutherland is hoping for a fresh start! She’s putting the past behind her and pouring all her savings into renovating a crumbling guesthouse in peaceful Butterfly Cove. Nothing will distract her from achieving her dreams!

That is, until her very first guest, Daniel Fitzwilliam arrives – quite possibly, the most gorgeous man she’s ever seen. He’s only here for a week, but already Daniel has turned her world upside-down. And as the tide turns, it’s clear that Butterfly Cove has more than one surprise in store for Mia…

Hello gorgeous readers! Today, I'm utterly delighted to be welcoming Sarah Bennett, HQ Digital UK debut author, to Hummingbird Reviews for a Q&A with me. Sarah's beautiful debut Sunrise at Butterfly Cove is released today with HQ Digital UK, so I'll be sure to leave a couple of helpful links at the bottom of this post, so you can easily find your way to this delightful story which I'm sure will be gracing the e-readers of many! Before we get started, I also like to take a moment to wish Sarah Bennett a wonderfully happy publication day. There's nothing like setting your book free into the big wide world, and I wish every success for Sarah Bennett on such a special day.

- Please introduce yourself. Where are you from? What do you do? And what's your shoe size?
My name is Sarah Bennett. I am a military spouse so we move around a lot. I'm currently living just outside Brussels in Belgium. I write full-time from my office (spare bedroom!) and I'm a size 7.

- Tell us Sarah, what is Sunrise at Butterfly Cove about?
It’s about a young widow who bites off more than she can chew while trying to renovate an old property and turn it into a guest house. A washed-up celebrity photographer lands on her doorstep and together they rebuild the property and each other.

- How do you expect readers to feel while reading it?
A bit of everything. Mia and Daniel ride a bit of an emotional rollercoaster and I hope readers will be drawn into their story enough to experience similar emotions.

- If you were to describe this book in the same way you'd describe the weather, what would you say?
There's a storm brewing on the horizon, but the long-range forecast is for brighter fresher conditions.

- When did you begin writing? What was your first book about?
I began writing in Nov 2014 when my husband was deployed to Afghanistan. It was a hobby to keep me occupied in the evenings and at weekends. Sunrise at Butterfly Cove is actually that very first story I wrote. Circumstances took my writing in another direction in 2015/16 and I have some other works published under a different pen name. It was wonderful to revisit Mia and Daniel and bring their story to life.

- Whether that was a while back or just recently, did you or do you have any goals for your writing?
I would like to earn enough to contribute to our household so I can stick to writing full-time. Moving around a lot, it's hard to build a meaningful career and writing is something I can take with me wherever we go.

- Which authors inspire you?
So many. Marian Keyes for her brutal honesty about her life; Nora Roberts for her ability to write so many fantastic stories - she really is the Queen of romance. I also love all the indie authors out there carving a niche for themselves in a tough market.

- If you had to describe your writing style in only three words, which would they be?
Warm, family, sagas.

- What themes do you usually focus on within your writing?
It really depends on the characters and the bits and pieces they choose to reveal to me as I build their stories.

- Once you've an idea firmly in place, what is usually the next step for you?
I sketch an outline for the story, no more than a page of notes and then I just start tapping on the keyboard.

- Do you have a favourite part of the writing process?
The start and the end. Everything else is bloody painful.

- Are there any techniques/methods you use when it comes to plotting?
I'm not a big plotter. I find if I plot too deeply then my mind thinks we've already written the story and wants to move on. I have maybe 4 or 5 key moments in my head, but how I get there and whether they actually happen as I expect is a surprise.

- Have you ever come face to face with writer's block? If so, how did you overcome it?
Yes. The end of 2016 was low for me. External influences were depressing and I had some career issues which took a real shine off writing for me. I basically didn't write for most of December. I stopped feeling guilty about it and accepted I needed a break and immersed myself in reading.

- Where do you normally find inspiration?
I find a character first. They come to see me and then I dig around until they reveal their story.

- What does a typical day in your life look like?
I try to write early, if I don't then I can find a million excuses not to hit my word-count. I work during the day and keep my evenings and weekends free to spend time with my husband.

- What part of the writing process do you find most difficult?
All of it. It's a real job like everything else and it takes time, effort and discipline.

- How do you usually come up with your titles?
They normally come as part of the outlining process.

- When it comes to creating your characters, what is the first step you take?
A name. Although sometimes that changes during the story, I need a name and then I can picture them. Knowing their past is key to me, finding out how they've got to the point where their story starts is the most revealing thing.

- Have you ever taken a research trip? If so, where did you go?
We travel a lot. My husband and I love to go on cruises so we have been all over the world. We also move around a lot so I've lived in plenty of different places. Maybe that's why my stories are about finding and building a home, because we don't really have one.

- Do you set yourself word-count goals?
Yes. It's the only way I ever get anything done.

- What is your definition of success?
Intellectual satisfaction combined with enough income to support the lifestyle we want.

- What is your definition of happiness?
Understanding and accepting who you are as a person. Once you define your moral character and set boundaries to enhance it, it becomes easier to let go of the things (and the people) who stand in the way of being your best self.

- Which do you find the hardest? The beginning or the end?
Everything in between those two.

- What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
Not everyone will like you, and that's okay.

- What one piece of advice would you pass on to another writer?
Find what works for you. There is lots of great advice and techniques available, but anyone who tells you that you have to follow exact rules to write successfully is lying.

- Tell us an author who is on your auto-buy list?
Thea Harrison.

- If you were to write in a genre entirely new, which would you pick and why?
Ooh, I've written in a few already. I'd love to tackle historical one day, but I'm not sure I'd have the confidence in my own research to get it right. There's nothing worse than a glaring error in a period piece.

- What are you working on at the moment?
Wedding Bells at Butterfly Cove which will be out this summer.

Now for some quick-fire questions!

Coffee or tea? Tea. Coffee is the devil's brew.
Summer or winter? Winter.
Bath or shower? Shower.
Sweet or savoury? Savoury.
Holiday in the city or the countryside? Cruise!
Text or call? Call.
Facebook or Twitter? Facebook.
Sunrise or sunset? Sunrise.
TV programmes or movies? I love a TV box-set.
Wine or beer? Wine.
Cats or dogs? Dogs.
Chinese or Indian food? Chinese.
Pasta or cheese? Impossible to choose.

Author Bio.

Sarah Bennett has been reading for as long as she can remember. Raised in a family of bookworms, her love affair with books of all genres has culminated in the ultimate Happy Ever After - getting to write her own stories to share with others.

Born and raised in a military family, she is happily married to her own Officer (who is sometimes even A Gentleman). Home is wherever he lays his hat, and life has taught them both that the best family is the one you create from friends as well as relatives.

When not reading or writing, Sarah is a devotee of afternoon naps and sailing the high seas, but only on vessels large enough to accommodate a casino and a choice of restaurants. 

You can find Sarah Bennett on Twitter.
You can find Sunrise at Butterfly Cove on Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US.

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