Author Interview: Rhema Sayers

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome author Wind Out Of Time, Rhema Sayers, from Atmosphere Press, for an author interview with The Reading Bud.

About The Author

Rhema Sayers is a retired physician who started in Family Practice on the Mexican border and then switched to Emergency Medicine after ten years. She loved the ER and spent the rest of her career being an adrenaline junkie. Her husband and she adopted three little girls from China in 1998-99. The girls are young women now, off living their own lives. Rhema took up writing when she retired and has had nearly one hundred articles and short stories published. Living in Arizona near Tucson, she and her husband and her dogs love the desert, the mountains, and the climate.

You can connect with author Rhema Sayers here:
Author Website


Interview

Welcome to TRB! Please give our readers a brief introduction about yourself before we begin. 

I have wanted to be a doctor since I was about 5 years old. One night our family dog chased a car and unfortunately caught it. Badly injured, we brought him inside. Upstairs from us lived a family whose daughter was my best friend and whose father was a surgical resident. The young doctor worked on that dog for hours. I stayed with surgeon and dog well through my bedtime, fascinated by what he was doing. Finally my parents retrieved me and put me to bed. During the night, Shiner died. But that did not dampen the flame the incident kindled within me. I was going to become a doctor.

After college, I applied to several med schools and was placed on waiting lists, eventually to be rejected. Then I met the love of my life. We were married within 7 weeks. We moved to the Boston area so that he could finish at MIT. Meanwhile, I once again started applying to med schools. University of Connecticut School of Medicine placed me on a waiting list and I got my acceptance letter in June. 

We ended up in Arizona on the Mexican border after med school and a family practice residency in Pennsylvania. A decade in, family practice was enough for me. I discovered that I hated office practice and loved the ER. I switched to emergency medicine and spent the next two decades in ERs, until I was no longer able to keep up the pace. Then I did urgent care for a few years and retired.

I have also always wanted to write and that was my plan for retirement. I thought I was pretty hot stuff as a writer. Then I started taking writing classes and discovered that I had a lot to learn. After several years, I have indeed learned a lot. I love writing, although procrastination is also a favorite pastime.

Since retiring, I have had over 90 short stories, historical and other articles, and even a couple of poems published. With that foundation, I approached the massive project of writing a novel.

Please tell us something about your book other than what we have read in the blurb?

I had a wonderful childhood with parents who loved all three of their children. I got a good education and never went to bed hungry. Basically, I did not have the background to write the ‘Great American Novel’. I was happy and had no major psychological scars. I wanted to write a novel that would entertain people, that would take them elsewhere for a few hours, that would make them laugh and possibly cry but would not make them feel uncomfortable. I wanted to write something beguiling but not dark and gloomy. The result is Wind out of Time.

What is that one message that you’re trying to get across to the readers in this book?

A strong woman can do whatever she needs to do. And when you find yourself in an untenable situation, you do not stand around wringing your hands and sobbing. You do whatever it is that you have to in order to resolve the problem.

Who is your favourite character in this book and why?

Actually I really love Denim, the blue roan stallion with a wicked sense of humor. But I like Andrea a lot, too. She is smart, not easily daunted, has a good sense of humor, and loves animals. I’m afraid I based her on my idealized concept of me. Obviously I need to get my self-esteem under control. But I don’t cook and she has a passion for it that I just don’t understand.

What inspired you to write this book? An idea, some anecdote, a dream or something else?

I have always been so annoyed by the Arthurian legends. Everyone is so noble and so damnably stupid. They always, always do the wrong thing. So I brought in a moderator, someone who knows that the wrong path will lead to disaster. She steers the characters down the ‘right’ paths gently – or with a cattle prod if needed.

How long did it take you to write this particular book?

Three years. But I’m about ¼ through the second book now.

What are your writing ambitions? Where do you see yourself 5 years from today? 

I hope to have written another 3 or 4 books, along with a large number of short stories and articles. I just had an article come out in The Desert Leaf, a local upscale magazine. The article is about Gleeson, Arizona, a ghost town in Cochise County near Tombstone. It was a boom town in the late 1800s with mines producing silver, gold, and lead. I write a lot about the history of southern Arizona and have gained enough knowledge to become a lecturer on the subject.

My favorite stories have a lot of action. Right now I have about seven stories sent out to magazines with hopes of getting them published.

I want to make Wind out of Time a trilogy and am writing the second book now. I also have a novel in the back of my head about an emergency department woman physician in Tucson who finds a body in the desert when she’s running with her dogs. She’s already becoming attracted to a TPD homicide detective. I plan to follow it from two points of view: the doctor and the killer.

Are you working on any other stories presently?

Oh, yes. A number of them. I am researching a story about the Mountain View Hotel in Tucson, a highly popular hotel whose clientele included Buffalo Bill Cody, senators, and other politicians, run by William and Annie Neal, a black couple who defied the color barriers in the early 1900s. I am also writing a science fiction story, a story of a dog and a young man who find each other, and a story about a sparrow. 

My stories tend to be eclectic. I wander around through the genres. I don’t do erotica, but I have written a horror story that I’m trying to sell. I write whatever occurs to me at the moment. The first story I sold was about a man who was so boring and so bored with his life that one day he sat down on the bench at the subway station and evaporated. The kid who stole his clothes found it really weird.

Why have you chosen this genre? Or do you write in multiple genres?

I write murder mysteries, dog stories, bird stories, fantasies, horror stories, medical stories, and some stories that are just plain odd. I let my imagination run wild. Unfortunately, sometimes it comes to an abrupt halt and refuses to go any farther. I have a dozen stories tucked away, looking for an ending, because my imagination refused to go any farther.

When did you decide to become a writer? Was it easy for you follow your passion or did you have to make some sacrifices along the way?

I discovered that I could spin tales when I was just becoming a teenager. I found my own imagination rather fascinating even though that sounds sort of egotistical. But I wrote stories and some very bad poems in high school. In college I took enough creative writing courses and literature courses that I ended up minoring in English lit. But then I met my love, married, and started med school. I kept a diary intermittently while I was a doctor, but it turned out to be very intermittent. It wasn’t until I retired that I had the time to write.

As far as sacrifices are concerned, the most I’ve given up for a story is lunch. I read voraciously and listen to books in the car, hoping some of the brilliance of the authors will rub off on me.

What is your writing ritual? How do you do it?

I sit down at the computer, play a few games, then go to whatever I’m working on. I write a few sentences or pages, sometimes play a few more games, depending on whether I have any idea of where I’m going with the story. As I said, I’m very good at procrastination.

How do you prefer to write – computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I love my PC. On rare occasions, I may take a notebook with me to an appointment and spend the downtime writing. Usually something new, whatever pops into my head.

What are your 5 favourite books? (You can share 5 favourite authors too.)

  1. The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien
  2. The Witches of Karres – James Schmitz
  3. The entire Honor Harrington series and the Safehold series – David Weber
  4. Wasp – Eric Frank Russell
  5. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

While I wouldn’t rank any of his books with these five, I absolutely love John Sandford, especially the Prey series. Also Craig Johnson and Walt Longmire, David Rosenfelt and Andy Carpenter.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

Basically I ignore it. If I can’t write, I can do housework, wash dogs, take a nap, pay bills, or engage in any number of other thrilling activities. Eventually I go back to the computer.

What advice would you give to aspiring non-fiction writers?

Write. Every day. Your first work will usually be poor. You’re a newb. What do you expect? Keep on writing. Take courses in creative writing at your local college or junior college or on-line.

Remember – the more you write, the better you’ll get. 

And then rewrite. Not once or twice, but ten, fifteen, twenty times. 

That’s all – write and rewrite. Every day. 

Also – remember that you will never be published if you don’t submit your work to editors who will criticize what you’ve done. 

That’s their job. You need to learn to roll with the punches. 

Good luck.

Thank you, author Sayers, for your insightful answers!

About the Book

Wind Out Of Time

FBI Special Agent Andrea Schilling is chasing a terrorist around the world when they both are forced to go through a time portal. To her horror, Andrea finds herself in the 5th century in King Arthur’s court. Seriously?
When she can’t return home, she takes over the kitchen, becoming chief cook for King Arthur. But this king is named Ardur, and resides in a falling down castle where the knights are lecherous drunks. Andrea finds the situation untenable. So, with the help of a perplexed king, two huge dogs, a bad tempered stallion, the servants, and Guinevere, Andrea transforms the kingdom of Camdhur to Camelot. Well, almost.  
The ancient legend is turned on its head as a strong woman, organized, smart, trained to fight, takes the kingdom apart and puts it back together again, along with the king’s heart.


You can find Wind Out Of Time here:
Amazon | Goodreads | Atmosphere Press

If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author featured on TRB, then please get in touch directly by e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

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