This weeks Author Interview is with an author I am yet to discover, Sarah Lark. However when I was asked to review her latest novel, Island of a Thousand Springs (released 3rd October, click here to get your copy) I was immediately drawn to her books and she has some fantastic reviews, so naturally I’m really excited about getting stuck in. In the meantime I’ve been chatting to Sarah about what it’s like being such a successful author of historical sagas, what us readers can expect from her novels and asking about her own favourite period of history…
I am Sarah Lark, but my real name is Christiane Gohl – normally I’m called Christina or Chris. My job is to write landscape-novels, but I also like to work with horses. I am living in Spain on a farm with a lot of animals – I am looking after abandoned and mistreated horses and there are also a lot of cats and dogs. To care for them certainly costs a lot of money, so I am glad that my novels are successful all over the world. Thanks to all my readers!
Can you tell us a bit about your latest novel, Island of a Thousand Springs (published 3rd October 2014 by Bastei Entertainment)?
Island of the Thousand Springs takes place in Jamaica in the 18th century. Nora, my protagonist, dreams of leaving England to live in the colonies. She hates the weather in London, and her first love, Simon, shares her fantasies of beaches and sea and sunshine all over the year. But their love story ends tragically: Simon dies and Nora is left alone. But she can’t give up her dreams. At last she marries the owner of a big sugar plantation in Jamaica. She immediately falls in love with the island, but she can’t deal with slavery and she loses respect for her husband when she sees him mistreating the slaves. And there are two men falling in love with her: a black man and a white man…
A big story of love and hate, dreams and disappointments – and certainly a happy ending.
Island of a Thousand Springs is your fourth novel to be published in the UK but is the first book in the Caribbean Saga. What can readers expect from the Caribbean Saga as a whole?
They can expect to come to work tired after reading it – people told me, that they found it a real page-turner and they could not come to sleep after having finished the book.
You’re famed for writing historical sagas, what’s your favourite thing about writing for this genre?
I like to become part of former times, trying to feel like people who lived under completely different circumstances.
Do you have a favourite period of history that you’ve written about or would like to write about?
My first historical novel ‘Indalo’ took place in Andalucia during the time of the reconquista. I really enjoyed finding out everything about this period, especially the society in Muslim Granada.
How do you go about doing the research for your novels?
I normally use the internet. I do the most important research before starting the book, and then, while I am writing, a second computer is always online to answer me the questions, appearing during the process of writing.
Can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication?
I always wanted to write, I wrote my first poem before I knew all the letters of the ABC. At school I wrote satirical texts about my teachers and romantic stories – and I told everybody that I would be a professional writer when I grew up. In the end I studied to be a teacher, but I had no talent for the job. So I gave it up and started to work for a public relations agency. I also wrote for reviews about horses – and that at last helped me to publication! An editor called me and asked me if I could write a riding manual for children. The book was a great success and I was asked to write more, and so I started with fiction and non-fiction for horsey girls, but also non-fiction for adults about looking after horses, breeding them, working with them and so on. I also wrote a biography of Ada Cole, the founder of the ILPH, and I always looked for a publisher for historic novels. The first ones, published under my real name, were not really successful – I was too famous as a ‘horse-expert’. So when we started with landscape-novels we changed my name to ‘Sarah Lark’, and everything went well.
What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t a writer?
Writing is my only talent. So if I couldn’t write novels I would write commercials or work for reviews. Or write speeches for politicians or anything else. If I need to, I can write whatever anybody asks for.
Who are your favourite authors and what kind of books do you enjoy reading?
My favourite authors are Stephen King, Marion Zimmer Bradley and F. Paul Wilson. I also like Deaver and Kellerman. My preferred books are the ones I would not like to write myself – meaning horror and criminal stories.
And finally – can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on at the moment?
At the moment I am writing the third part of another trilogy of novels, set in New Zealand in the 19th century. Again it is a big family-story.
Island of a Thousand Springs, published 3rd October by Bastei Entertainment. Click here to get your copy.
To find out more about Sarah Lark visit her Goodreads page.
A huge thank you to Sophie from ed pr for organising this interview. ♥