We are pleased to welcome Sarah Anne Crouch, whose debut novel, A Summer in Shady Springs, just released August 10th!
Give us a quick one paragraph summary of your latest release.
The last place Madeleine Mullins wants to be is back in Shady Springs, Arkansas—the town where her whole world fell apart. But when her beloved Aunt Clara begs her for help, Madeleine reluctantly takes a job painting a mural at her aunt’s church. Her plan is to finish quickly and leave her bad memories behind. But the more time she spends with the handsome youth minister and the more she reads her Bible, the more she wonders if she’s been wrong about God and the Church all along.
Is this book part of a series, or a stand-alone?
Currently, the book is a stand-alone, although I want to write more about Shady Springs. I really fell in love with the place.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in Texas and Arkansas and went to college at Harding University where I met my husband. We’ve lived in Malibu, CA; Fayetteville, AR; Nashville, TN; and now Searcy, AR. I’ve worked as an administrative assistant and a 5th grade teacher, and I’ve also got a master’s degree in library science, but now I stay at home with my three kids.
Becoming an author has always been a dream of mine, and I am beyond thrilled to have published my first book!
What does your writing process look like?
I’ve evolved a little bit with each short story and novel I’ve written. I usually start with a core idea, then add the primary conflict and character motivation, and then spiral out from there. (Two of my favorite books are How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method and Story Genius.)
Every day while my youngest naps, I get a little writing time in. Once I’m done with a first draft, I let the story sit in quarantine for a bit, then I read over and edit. I have an awesome circle of friends who usually help me with another couple rounds of edits before I send the story off into the world.
What authors have inspired you to write?
My very favorite author growing up was Madeleine L’Engle. I also love Jane Austen and C.S. Lewis. But I feel like I glean a little nugget of wisdom from everything I read, not just the classics.
Growing up in a university town allowed me to meet and hear some fantastic authors such as Lois Lowry, Jacquiline Woodsen, and Erik Larson, to name a few. I always left those talks feeling inspired. When you realize that all authors (even the great Lois Lowry) are just regular people, you feel a little more confident that you can be an author, too.
But more than any of these, the author who truly inspired me the most was a good friend and fellow Anaiah author, Amy Anguish. She encouraged me to finish my first manuscript and has helped every step of the way since then!
What’s more important: characters or plot?
Characters are more important to me. You can have an exciting, action-packed plot, but if there’s no character development, no one will remember the story. It’s the human element of a book or movie that sticks with us long-term.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I have three children ages 2, 4, and 6, so … that’s what I do 98% of the time. They’re very cute but kind of a handful.
Are you working on anything new? Tease us a little bit!
I have a novella coming out September 2022 as part of a collection. The collection is called Love in Any Season, and my story is “A Sweet Dream Come True.” It’s a delicious romance about an ice cream man and a chocolatier.
Where can readers find you online?