Meet author Sarah Hanks
Sarah Hanks wrote fiction on the side until deciding to pursue writing professionally with The Mercy Series. She and her husband have eight children, a couple of whom seem to have inherited their mother’s love for playing with words and crafting stories. Though Sarah dreams of a cabin by the beach, the family of ten lives jammed together in beautiful chaos in St. Charles, Missouri. She buys ear plugs in bulk.
What inspired you to write Mercy’s Song?
When Ferguson started burning, I lived about fifteen minutes away. What the news coverage didn’t show was worship and prayer going on just down the street from the fray. In a tent, believers from various churches and denominations came together to seek the Lord and praise His name in the midst of the chaos. People were saved, healed, and set free. The seed for The Mercy Series dropped into my heart during this time.
How would you describe this book to someone in a 30-second blurb?
DeAndre’s past continues to haunt him, even as he and his new love seek to piece the broken shards of their lives together. Soon, a shocking discovery sends DeAndre reeling and forces him to choose between the woman he loves and his integrity. Will he end up losing everything or can he cling to hope despite it all?
What genre do you focus?
The Mercy Series is timeslip fiction with duel modern day and historical storylines. I enjoy writing both contemporary and historical fiction. Historical is more work but is extra rewarding for me. There’s so much we weren’t taught in school and many echoes from the past still reverberate through the present. If we can learn from the tragedies and triumphs of history, we can create a more just and loving world for those who come after us.
Why do you write?
I write because I love to co-create with God. During the planning and plotting stage, I get up and say “Where are we going with this, Lord?” It’s a blast.
Who is your main character, and how did you choose that name?
Natassa is one of the main characters in The Mercy Series. I used to do mystery shopping for hotels, where I would stay at various hotels and rate their customer service. I had to pay attention to everybody’s names and exactly what they said. One time I forgot a hotel clerk’s name and I needed it to write my report. I knew it was an unusual name, so I went up to the front desk and asked them who had been working earlier that had a unique name. I told them I was a writer and wanted to use the name for one of my characters, so I did! It wasn’t until afterward that I found out the name Natassa means resurrection—a perfect fit for the theme of this series.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing a book?
It’s only been for the past year that I’ve had the privilege of writing full time. I spent years writing during nap times and at night after the children went to bed. Being able to focus on writing is thrilling. Truly a dream come true. After the children go to school, I spend 2-3 hours writing. I aim for between 1-2,000 words a day, depending on my current deadline (5-10k a week). The afternoons are spent critiquing other peoples’ work for a critique group, planning out social media posts, etc., but when my children come home, I’m all in for them.
What is the hardest part of being an author?
Editing. I’m more of a big picture person. Minute details? Who needs them? When I get down to line editing, I’ve been known to drag my feet a bit. I want every sentence to be tight and to sing, but I’d rather do most anything else than make myself sit in front of the computer and work it through.
What’s the best part of your author’s life?
The best part over the past few years has been traveling to various places my novels have taken place in for research. Entering into the world of my characters is an experience like no other.
What’s one unusual fact about you?
I have eight children, all sixteen years old or younger, and we’re in the process of adopting again.
How have you changed or grown as a writer?
I used to be a solid “pantser”, or a writer who wrote from the seat of her pants. That has changed over the years, and I’ve actually come to enjoy plotting. I find that I can avoid blankly staring at the screen when I have a vibrant outline in front of me. Sometimes my characters throw me a curve ball and we end up in an unexpected place, but even then, I don’t often panic because I know where we’re going. There’s a lot of freedom for me in that scaffolding.
What is your favorite pastime?
Reading! It’s horrible, but I hardly ever pick up a paperback and flip through good old-fashioned pages anymore. Most of my “reading” is actually listening to audiobooks, which I can do while driving, cleaning, cooking, and falling asleep. I do miss the feel and smell of a good book. Maybe when my children are older.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently finishing up book 3 of The Mercy Series (Mercy’s Legacy). My next novel will be a historical, but I haven’t landed all the details yet.
Link to book: https://sarah-hanks.com/mercysong/
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