About Sara James
Hi, my name is Sara James (aka Sara Sarre). I studied fashion design at St Martin’s School of Art and went on to be a designer for ‘Jigsaw’, a British fashion clothing retailer, and later a fashion journalist. My love of reading and writing led me to do an MA in creative writing at Sussex University and after that I completed a novel writing course at Curtis Brown Creative. I discovered a talent for editing following my involvement in a number of writers’ workshops. After being asked to read more and more novels, I was eventually offered a fee and so I founded BPA (bluepencilagency) in 2015. The editorial consultancy works with both published and unpublished authors providing editorial support, workshops, retreats and writing competitions. Prior to this, I worked as an Interiors journalist for national papers and magazines and have also written a number of short stories that have been published, recorded for radio and shortlisted.
Now, I’m concentrating mostly on women’s commercial fiction under my pen name, Sara James and my first novel, Mothering Sundays, has just been published by Orion in March 2021. I am currently working on me second novel, Christmas Day which is due to be published in November 2021.
In my debut novel, Mothering Sunday, I drew inspiration from the stories of strong women during the 50s and 60s who were forced to give up their children. There are plenty of horror stories but I wanted to believe that out of all that tragedy there was a possibility of a happier resolution. I know a couple of people who were successfully adopted but these are the stories we don’t hear much about. Another influence was my own family history.
My mother temporarily abandoned my sister and brother when they were young, and I didn’t know the true emotional repercussions of that abandonment until many years later. My mother was haunted by her mistake and although she tried to make amends, the initial wounds never quite healed. I believe the effects of abandonment ripple through generations and I hadn’t realised how this affected me until I started writing. As a mother, I can’t imagine having to give up a child, but it happened to many women in the ’50s and ’60 and still does.
My primary interest lies in relationship stories, especial how our relationship with our original family shapes our future relationships. I’m interested in people. We are the stories.
On a personal level. I have four children and live with my photographer partner Alexander James, our Bengal, KitKat, and his friend Margot, the Dachshund, splitting our time between London and Wiltshire. We also spent 10 years living in Spain with our family because we wanted our children to be bi-cultural. For work reasons we returned to live in London but whilst in Spain, I developed a passion for the language and the Spanish people and hope to incorporate both cultures into my novels.
A day in the life
I enjoy writing at my home in Wiltshire where it is more peaceful and split my time between writing in bed first thing while the subconscious mind is still at work, following a night of dreaming. Apparently, I’m not the only writer who likes working in bed. Collette was famous for it but that sounds like I’m making excuses. Mostly it’s to avoid housework, until I have to.
After a late breakfast I take Margot for a walk and then return to writing in my study with a cup of coffee. In my study, the walls and shelves are cluttered with my favourite books and an array of photographs of my family and friends. It feels comforting to have them all around me.
When I’m ‘stuck’ with a particular scene in a chapter, I either take Margot for a walk or go for a run. I find the fresh air and chats with other dog walkers or villagers helps me to relax and my brain to reset.
In the evenings, nothing beats a game of ‘Bananagrams’ with my husband and children when they’re visiting. I’m often inspired by the people that touch my life, the people coming and going, no matter how small a mark they leave. I find people so interesting and the people I know and meet always appear in some form or another in my work. They’re my inspiration.
‘Full of insight and wisdom, Mothering Sunday is an inspirational story with uplifting messages about family love, belonging and second chances, and is the perfect gift for your own special mum.’
– Pam Norfolk – LANCASHIRE POST
Schedule an Event