September 21st, 2018
I asked Sabrina where she would like to chat:
Laura Mae and I sit in a botanical greenhouse at a quaint dining table on a stone platform underneath a circular sky light. The bright rays of sunlight beam down on us and the frosted glass table between us. Silver domes of plates have been removed revealing platters of fruits, cakes, pastries and scones with cream and jam. The porcelain and silverware in front of us gleams with an opulence I myself could only dream of owning.
The room is a combined balance of humid and fresh, the smell of moisture, soil and
vegetation fill our noses. My eyes dart behind Laura Mae where—three or is it
four?—butterflies dance from plant to plant. The greenhouse is so captivating that it’s easy to forget we are on an airship. A brief shadow passes over them occasionally, reminded them of the presence of other air vessels flying overhead, that and the gentle tremble of the room as they brace against the speed of other faster, smaller aircrafts. We’re dressed in our best in top hats, leather corsets and breathable cotton skirts that fall just above our knees with flattering ankle boots.
There’s a moment of awkward silence between us as our server arrives with the final part to our brunch, one large pot of tea and one large rose gold cafetiere with fresh coffee which is delightfully strong amongst the heavy earthy aroma around them. Laura Mae and I share a bemused look as the (too good-looking for words) pirate regards us suspiciously yet silently with sharp green eyes. He unties a bag from his hip holster and holds it open, jerking his chin at the weapons strapped on our hip holsters. We surrender our firearms quietly and carefully without any sign of hostility. Not that there would be any. The captain had given the crew a firm command to be nice and make an exception whilst we carry out the interview. The pirate backs away with a polite nod and walks down the pathway to the exit, leaving myself and Laura Mae to help ourselves to the bountiful food in front of us, finally grinning wildly.
Laura Mae: Hey Sabrina! How was your day today?
S. R. Severn: My day was so busy! Honestly I’m swamped!
L: Well I am so appreciative you took the time out to talk to me, then! We will make this fun though! What did you do today?
S: I had work today, I’m an administrator so basically I’m the man – or rather woman – behind the curtain making sure everything gets processed and tasks get done on time! Busy job but I do like it! I’m in control of my priorities and I think some workers are even afraid of me haha I’m known to have a dark side behind the bright smile!
L: That sounds like something I would enjoy, actually. Haha! So, you must write in your spare time? How do you find the time with your busy schedule?
S: Honestly, everyday I daydream at work what I should write next and I psyche myself up to write when I get home…but when I get home I unwind and don’t get any writing done until maybe 10pm when my brain shouts “time for writing!” If I do eventually give in to the call then I can be up writing until 2am like a fool…on a weekday. Otherwise, I get to work an hour early and write then. But it’s mainly my weekends where I write the most because then I can stay up for hours until my heart is content!
L: Wow. Very dedicated! Do you have a notebook around when you have ideas or do you try to just remember everything?
S: I have a notebook labelled “JJ tales” which I carry in my backpack at all times haha. I HAVE to have a notebook even though I know I can use my phone to record notes, I still prefer my pen and paper! It’s where my best mindmaps happen!
L: Keeping it classic! Love it. Phones are for texting and Twitter, not note taking! Haha! JJ Tales, if I recall, that is your WIP, correct? What is it about exactly?
S: Yes, you’re absolutely right! The Jackson J Tales is my Fantasy Romance series about a world where humans are divided into classes amongst the existence of gods and their creations…it also has some steampunk elements thrown in there. My series starts off with Kennedy and Viera, a pirate and a Badge/Highborn who have history and now are at tremendous odds because of their status…loads of chemistry, loads of tension and emotion! But as the series progresses readers will be introduced to new couples, not just Ken and Viera. I’ve just recently completed the first draft of my rewrite for book 1 and I’ve already finished book 2.
L: That sounds really awesome and very original! What do you think your inspiration was behind the series?
S: Oooh…well, I love everything about steampunk, I studied Classical Civilization – the study of ancient Greece/Rome – and I adore romance. I suppose I really wanted to create a world with all of these things combined!
L: Awesome! I love ancient Greece and Rome too! I may really enjoy your books. I’ll have to keep an eye out when they re-release! What is your favorite part of writing? For example, mine is the characters.
S: Oh yes, I completely agree with you, I adore my characters, how they interact with one another. They are so bloody frustrating and drive me insane but I love them so so much! Aside from characters, I’d say Setting. Describing the setting is so important to me and so fun. I literally close my eyes and tune out and visualise/imagine smell, sensation, sound and scenery. I want my readers to live the scenes effortlessly – at least, that’s what I aim for.
L: I love that! That’s a great tip! Do you also use music to help you with scenes? What kind of music?
S: Yes definitely. Music is so important. Oh gosh, it varies so much. For action/intense emotional scenes I fall on Epic music…you know the dramatic trailer music you get in awesome movies? That kind. An example would be Hidden Citizens. They feature in my playlist A LOT. In general, any kind of soppy romantic song with seriously tear jerking lyrics – for example, Jacob Lee. My goodness…his songs are fantastic. Oh and Sia! I know I say soppy but I mean driven songs with emotion…Rock and Alternative are other constants for me like Within Temptation, Breaking Benjamin, Evanesence…I could go on, seriously, tell me to stop.
L: No you’re good! Great examples! I love Sia and Evanesence. Let change gears a bit. Whats your favorite book? Why is it your favorite?
S: Oh Laura! How can you ask me that!? I don’t do favourite books! But what I can do is tell you why I will spend the rest of my life recommending this duet series to any querying person. The Ribbon Duet by Pepper Winters. #1 is The Boy and His Ribbon. #2 is The Girl and Her Ren and recently I learnt that a third is coming out called The Son and His Hope. Honestly Laura…no book has every made me cry. And I mean CRY, BAWL, BLUBBER, WEEP, MOURN. This duet tore me into pieces okay? I’m still recovering. It’s brilliantly conveyed, it’s a true coming of age, romance book about true love and I have yet to read a book that comes close to making me cry the way they have. Honestly, my heart still hurts.
L: Aw! What a cute answer! Is that why you write romance now? Seems like a lot to live up too. Haha!
S: Oh no no, I read that book this year! I’ve always been enamored by romance because my first romance book was a Mills & Boon book when I was 10! I was a goner haha since then it’s always been true love and happy endings for me haha I’m so whimsy!
L: That’s awesome, Sabrina. So, since you are re-releasing your novel, I’m guessing you are self-publishing? What was your decision on self-publishing rather than traditionally publishing?
S: Yes, I’m self-published. Traditionally publishing is so hard and honestly, I’m terrified of rejection. With self publishing I find I’m in control and I have an editor I can rely on. But one day I’ll try to traditionally publish – that’s the dream anyway!
L: I’m the same! One day! Haha! Is there anything about self-publishing you wish you knew sooner before you did it?
S: Ahhh, that’s a tough one! When I initially published book 1, I had no real knowledge of formatting and I also had no editor…so you can only imagine the mess of what my book was! I wish I hadn’t been too hasty! This is why I’ve unpublished it and done a full rewrite with my editor. Since then, with help from another fantastic writer I’ve met on Twitter, I’ve learnt about formatting amongst other things!
L: Formatting and editing is very important! lol I’m glad that you were able to find someone to help you! Social media is proved to be very helpful for writers. Especially now a days. So Sabrina, when you’re not writing and working, what else do you like to do in your spare time?
S: I love to read, play Xbox or PS4 or watch a movie or show. Now that I’m taking a bit of a break from writing at the moment I’ve been reading every day and playing the odd game here and there.
L: Nice! What book are you reading?
S: I’m reading First Debt from the Indebeted Series by Pepper Winters. Yes, I know, the same author I mentioned a moment ago haha
L: No shame! You got a favorite and you can rely on them! What about games?
S: Games….sooo Tomb Raider [old and new], Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag/Rogue/Syndicate/Origins, Final Fantasy XV and Injustice.
L: Final Fantasy 15 huh? Is that the one you play online?
S: Oh no no haha I don’t play online. The last time I played any game online [Fortnite and Grand Theft Auto] I was being hunted and killed hahaha it upset me!
L: Haha! Aw, that sounds terrible. Alright, last question, girl. What is the number one thing you can tell other writers to help them out in troubled times?
S: A troubled time? I’d say…it’s okay to take a break when it all gets a bit too much and don’t feel bad about it either! Remember to be kind to yourself!
L: Awesome! Be kind! Well, thank you so much for taking time out to talk to me, Sabrina!
S: Oh it’s no problem! Thank you so much for making time for me also! I’ve really enjoyed our chat!
Sabrina lives in London, UK. The first romance book she read was a Mills & Boon book. Since then she has been helplessly dedicated to happy endings and true love. She loved reading and writing so much that she ended up going to the University of Greenwich where she earned a degree in English Creative Writing. Aside from writing, she is also an avid gamer, compulsive cleaner and recreational baker.
Origin (book 1 of the Jackson J Tales) was published in February 2014 but has recently been unpublished to go through a full rewrite which is still in the works.
She’s the fire…He’s the spark.
Viera Jackson knows how the world works.
Pirates raid lands. Highborns crave power. Slaves want freedom. The gods demand worship. The Sacred desire peace. She also knows what it would cost her to reveal her deepest secret. A secret she’s managed to keep hidden for ten years and plans to take to her grave.
Deadly pirate, Kennedy Jackson J, has one mission. Find the Highborn killers responsible for the death of his own. Nothing could stop him from exacting revenge. That is, until he ends up imprisoned by the captivating Deputy Viera Jackson. She is the only thing standing between his vengeance and freedom. But the complicated part? Ken and Viera have met before; ten years ago.
They both know better than to cross that line but when the burning desire stirs within them, they find it hard to fight the searing attraction that threatens not just their loyalties but also their hearts. With an impending storm on the horizon and guarded secrets still close to their chests, will they be able to stand against the danger together or be forced to stand apart?
**N.B. Currently going through rewrite and has been unpublished so it is not available for purchase.