Sarah-Jane Lehoux is a Canadian writer of speculative fiction. She avoids the real world as much as possible and spends her time cluttering her brain with beautiful nonsense.
What kind of books do you write?
• I try to write in a variety of genres, although I admittedly have an almost obsessive fascination with the fantastical, so that’s what my plots usually revolve around. Yet don’t be fooled into thinking all fairy tales are for children. My aesthetic leans very much towards the macabre, and I ground my stories in gritty realism. I tend not to shy away from difficult topics, but I’d also like to think that my books have a degree of humour to them too.
Best writing advice you’ve received?
• Toni Morrison once said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
Best writing compliment you’ve received?
• A teacher once told me that I was morbid. While everyone else used writing assignments to talk about summer break, their best friend, or their favourite sport, I wrote about murder and mayhem. While I’m sure he meant it as an insult, I loved that my imagination was recognized even if it wasn’t exactly appreciated.
More recently, an editor who ultimately ended up rejecting one of my submissions took the time to tell me that her readers “enjoyed this story very much and passed it on to the final level of screening, praising its vivid imagery and originality.” That sure made the rejection sting less.
What is your writing process?
• I spend more time thinking about my stories than I actually do writing them. In the shower, on the bus, lying in bed at night…I’m constantly playing out scenes, and developing characters and plots. When I’m ready to try getting it all down on paper, I use music to shut myself off from the rest of the world as well as set the tone of the scene I’m writing. I usually only write five or so pages at a time and then obsess over those five pages for a good two or three weeks before I write anything else. It’s a combination of procrastination and perfectionism that seems to work well for me.
Any advice for new authors?
• Be persistent. You will get rejected (see above). Be patient. Writing a book takes a lot of work and a lot of time. Getting published takes even longer. Be professional. Nothing turns a potential publisher off like writers behaving badly. Remember, creating a story is art, but getting that story published is all business. Treat it like you would any other career.
Are you going to write more Sevy Series books?
• Yes. There are two more books planned for the Sevy Series. I’ve taken a bit of a break from them to concentrate on other stories, but I still continue to work on them here and there. If you’re a fan of the Sevy Series and want to read more of them, the best thing to do is leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. The more buzz the series has, the more likely I’ll be to prioritize it.