Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Interview with Sara Curran-Ross, author of The Devil You Know

As those who follow my blog know, I have recently written a review for The Devil You Know, a thrilling novel written by British author Sara Curran-Ross. This was such a fantastic read, I had to get to know Sara more, and so here we are, questions asked, questions answered. Answers that are delightful to read, and really gives a sense of the wonderful mind behind this fascinating book.

*When did you first write something you wanted other people to read, and what was it?
The first book I wrote was a short romance called The Art of Retaliation.  I was in my early twenties.  I did have a couple of attempts in my teenage years but nothing serious.  Nothing happened with The Art of Retaliation until this year when I re wrote the story as a historical romance novella.  I am in the process of editing it and hope to get it published.

*Do you have a favourite author/book?
I love Jane Austen’s books and anything written by Georgette Heyer.  I love her historical romances with humour, especially, Devil’s Cub.  I am re-reading it at the moment and thoroughly enjoying it.  The hero in it is just perfect. :))  The Scarlett Pimpernel by Baroness D’Orcy is another favourite and I quite like reading Christine Feehan’s Dark series.

*I see you were training to be a Legal Executive. Why the shift to writing?
I had always wanted to be a writer but I was much younger at the time and unable to give up work.  I wrote a romance novel in my spare time but I didn’t take it much further because I was working.  I stuck at being a Legal Executive for a while but I became ill with chronic neck pain and severe dizziness that made it difficult to walk or do anything.  I then had no choice but to leave my job.  When I started to feel better I went to University to study my History degree and I started writing full time.  I haven’t stopped since then part from a brief period when I returned to university to do a postgraduate degree in history in 2007/2008.

*I also read that you have a daughter. Being a parent and writer myself, how do you juggle your professional and personal lives? Do you have set hours that you are Sara the author and Sara the mother?
With great difficulty.  You have to learn to multi-task very well.  My daughter comes first but I snatch hours for writing whenever I can.  It’s obviously easier when she is at school but she is on holiday at the moment and some fair amount of juggling is required.  It’s all part of the fun and I actually find that I write better and achieve a lot more when my writing time is forced into short bursts. :)

*What inspired The Devil You Know? Was it a movie/book, or did the story come to you by itself?

The inspiration for The Devil You Know came from a bad experience at work.  I was sexually harassed by a group of men and followed home on a train by a man for several nights.  It was a very scary time for me but I am thankful to say one where I won out in the end.  At the time everything was going on, I went for a massage to ease my stress and was told by the masseur who was obviously psychic that a cloaked figure stood over me!  I was just about a jabbering wreck with all of this going on and trying to keep a calm level head so none of them would win in pushing me out of my job and stop me getting on a train.
Quite a few years later I was still feeling very angry about both episodes and I began to write The Devil You Know to exorcise them.  I wanted to show what a lot of women had to put up with from men.  Great therapy.  It wasn’t until only recently when I started attending a psychic circle that I found out that the male figure who continues to stand over me is there to help and protect me.  A nice happy ending.  LOl.

*Were the characters founded on people you know? How did they develop in to the strong characters they became?
The characters in The Devil You Know were not explicitly based on anyone in particular but bore traits of lots of people.  I don’t always know where my characters come from, they just seem to appear and grow in strength as I write them.  Isabelle’s frustration and fierce anger at the way she is treated definitely came from me.  Her journey in the book was to learn how to believe in herself, allow her confidence to grow and defeat the monster that continued to haunt her and every other woman.
I suppose I could say that Christian was loosely based on a person I knew.  I innocently believed he was a helpful kind friend and decent human being only to find he was quite the opposite.  Hence the title, The Devil You Know.

*Of all the cities in the world that you could have based it in, why Paris and London?
I love Paris.  I would live there if  I could.  The Devil You Know just seemed to fit the mood and surroundings as did London.  I ended the story in the castle because I wanted to create a gothic feel to it.  In the late eighteenth century gothic stories were all the rage detailing ladies in peril from men and supernatural creatures in old ruins, castles and buildings.  They were a comment on marriage at the time and the vulnerability women felt entering a relationship were a man ruled.  I wanted to recreate this feeling for Isabelle.

*When you start a novel, do you have to research particular details get a feel for how the story will go? Are any of the events in your books loosely based on personal experiences?
I tend to research as I go along.  In this case the story was inspired by my sexual harassment episode, a friend’s deception and my experience of being followed on a train as I have already said.  I did have to do some research on the effects of hypothermia and stare at maps of Paris streets for directions.  I also had to study routes on the Paris Metro so I could make sure every detail was correct.
I sometimes have a vague idea of how the story is going to go but usually I get surprised.  The characters and the story appear to take on their own life.  The characters always dictate how the story is going to go.  Everyone tells me that they got a shock at the ending of The Devil You Know.  They never expected it.  Neither did I when I wrote it!  But when I look back through the novel, the clues are there. :))

*Do you have a process you go through to get in the 'zone' to write?
I can’t write without music.  For some reason it helps my writing flow and brings the thoughts and feelings of my characters to life.  I could almost do them all a playlist with songs that fit them best.  When I was writing Knight of Swords I had to listen to 30 Seconds To Mars’s, This Is War album, especially, Hurricane.
If I am feeling stuck with a plot or scene I sometimes for a walk with my family and the dog in the woods.  That always spark off some ideas.  If it’s bad and I am really having trouble I will nip off and have a shower!  I get my best plot ideas in the shower. LOL.

*Do you aim for a certain amount of words per day, or do you just let the creative juices flow as they might?
I wish I could be ordered enough to write a set amount of words per day but it doesn’t work like that for me.  Sometimes I can write a lot and get so in the flow that I forget about having to eat. Lol.  Other days I find I can only write a few words.

*On your site, http://www.saracurranross.com/, I see that you're currently writing a victorian vampire series, The Sword Series. What can we expect in these books?
I have always wanted to write a vampire story but I wanted to make it very different to Twilight.  It is essentially a romance woven between three books but it is very dark and there are many other elements to the series as well such as the Lycans and a powerful evil witch.  The vampires are a special race of people with abilities and a Queen who were cursed as vampires by the Druids in ancient times and run out of their lands in England.  The series details their struggles for survival through the centuries as a race.  The stories have been inspired by tarot cards, the first book being called, Knight of Swords, the second, Ace of Swords & the third, The Hanged Man.  I am still writing the third one but Knight of Swords is available at http://www.hellfirepubl;ishing.com and on Amazon etc as an e-book.  Ace of Swords will be published by Hellfire Publishing on the 15th November 2011.

*Do you have any other books planned after The Swords Series?
I have  a contemporary romantic spin off to The Swords Series planned.  It’s called, Knight of Coins.  I also have another contemporary urban twist on the series that will involve the Taleian vampires and the Lycans.  This one will have a tinge of humour to it.
I have just finished a historical romance novella and a contemporary romance set in the Loire Valley in France called Sleeping Love.  Fingers crossed they will get published. :)

So there you have it. A highly interesting lady, with quite a few things to teach others through her writing. I highly anticipate the Swords Series, and all future writings. Thank you again for your time, and this opportunity Sara, it's been a real pleasure reading your work, and getting to know a bit about you. 

Don't forget to read my review of The Devil You Know, posted a little earlier.  


  1. Excellent interview Casey and it was lovely to get to know more about Sara.

    Thank you for sharing this with everyone.

    *bites n kisses*

  2. Great interview Casey and Sara! It's always interesting to learn where fellow authors get their ideas from. I too had a bad experience at a place I worked and integrated some of the harassment into a few stories - one already published and the other in the works. The Sword Series sound very interesting. I'll be adding these books to my TBR. Hopping over now to read Casey's review of The Devil You Know. Have a good rest of the week!

  3. So glad that everyone is enjoying it, it was a very interesting read I must say.
    Thanks again to Sara for the wonderful opporunities in both reading The Devil You Know, and being able to do this interview. Wonderful learning experience. I really look forward to reviewing The Knight Of Swords once these current 4 are reviewed. Will post giveaway details on here soon, as well as on the event wall on Facebook.