Indie Author Interviews: RUE SPARKS


Hey everyone! Today's blog begins a new series of interviews with fellow indie authors, which will be interspersed with my own personal posts over the span of the next several months. To kick us off, I'd like to introduce you to Rue Sparks, a self-published author of speculative fiction. Read on for my chat with Rue!


Talli: Hello, Rue! To start, go ahead and introduce yourself. What do you write? What's your day job? And where's your go-to spot to write? 

Rue: I write primarily speculative fiction and magical realism with a side of mystery. I play a lot with what is real and what is metaphor. I would describe my stories as modern fables for adults. I’m disabled so I don’t really have a day job, but I do artwork on the side as I’m physically capable. I used to be an illustrator and graphic designer in advertising agencies before my illness. I usually write at my desk so I have the back support I need, but occasionally when I’m struggling I spend some time in my recliner writing. Always on a laptop, I can’t hand write unfortunately.

Talli: Fantastic! I love magical realism. So Daylight Chasers is your most recent publication, right? What sparked the idea for that book, and what made you stick with it?

Rue: The initial idea for Daylight Chasers came from the thought that you could gain hours in a day if you could travel west fast enough to go through different time zones. I was also inspired by the book They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera, where they are informed the day they are going to die. Similarly, in Daylight Chasers, when someone says the phrase, "I wish this day would never end," they are contacted by Daylight Chasers and given the opportunity to extend the day in the time-zone-hopping manner, in travel blog format complete with activities. The idea is that they celebrate where they are in life and enjoy the day, but for Isabella, who is very different than Keenan's usual clientele, it takes on a different purpose. I actually started Daylight Chasers as a reward for my Patrons on Patreon, with the idea of releasing a novella four times a year. But the second novel, The Fable of Wren, took on a life of its own and became a full book, so that plan fell by the wayside. I am releasing The Fable of Wren in October as a full release, but it certainly took longer than expected!

Talli: Omg, I love this! I grabbed Daylight Chasers on Kindle the other day but haven't had a chance to start it yet –– now I super want to! Okay, so be honest: Do you have a favorite character in your book? One that you particularly love writing above the others?

Rue: In Daylight Chasers, I think the way I wrote it was probably the best decision, because I liked writing about Isabella through Keenan's eyes. I relate to Keenan, but I admire Isabella. I see in her how I wish I could have handled things, and a sense of joy and wonderment I think we can all aspire to. Keenan, on the other hand, is the realist, anxious mess that I relate to. 

If we're talking overall, my favorite character to write is Wren in The Fable of Wren. They're non-binary, no-holds-barred, knows who they are, don't take anything from anyone. And yet they're faced with a situation where their life is turned on its end, where they feel like everything is taken from them. They find themselves struggling to deal with emotions they don't want to feel, and that struggle is so very human. Through connection and community they find relief, but it doesn't come naturally to them. I find their struggles very relatable, even heightened because of their personality, which makes them someone that is both a joy and difficult to write. It's a challenge but one I enjoy to get into their head. Plus, everyone has to love a badass!

Talli: We sure do love a badass! All of these characters sound wonderful. And it sounds like you have a really solid grasp of their personalities and goals, too, which is not as easy to do as some people think! So what would you say has been the most challenging aspect of self publishing for you?

Rue: I'm sure a lot of authors say this, but marketing is difficult. And I say this as someone with over a decade experience in marketing! I have a handle on the technical aspects of book cover design, asset creation, ad creation, formatting, etc., but it's very difficult to approach your own work objectively as far as strategy. This is why having an outside opinion, preferably from another author, is paramount. It helps me get perspective on the strengths of my work and my brand, but also where the weaknesses where I can improve. I think community is the key here.

Talli: I can definitely agree with that! Trying to get the word out there about your book while also being casual about it is a big challenge. And you're right, community is the key! So in the spirit of spreading the word about your work, what's on the horizon for you? Any upcoming releases you can tease? If not, what're you working on next? 

Rue: Absolutely! I have a speculative fiction and magical realism short story collection, The Stars Will Guide Us Back, coming out June 22nd. There will be a release party on June 27th that you can register on Eventbrite, where I will be with my co-hosts V.M. Fuentes and Rory Michaelson talking about speculative fiction, answering audience questions, and even doing a Flash Fiction Slam with guest submission. It's free to register! October 5th I will be releasing the contemporary mystery novel, The Fable of Wren. It's about a town with a community of birdwatchers, who are wracked with grief when first Wren's uncle passes away, followed by the strange death of a long-time citizen. In trying to uncover the mystery, Wren re-connects with the world and a newcomer to the town, but finds there's more to the town's dark history than they would expect.

Talli: Ooh awesome! I will definitely keep all of this on my radar. That's so exciting! That was the last question, so I just want to say thanks so much for chatting!

Rue: Thank you so much for the opportunity!


If you're interested in checking out any of Rue's works, you can find everything here, on their website. And if you want to learn more about their release party, the link to register for that is here. You can find Rue Sparks on Twitter as @sparks_writes.

At the time I chatted with Rue, I had not yet started Daylight Chasers, but now as I write this blog I'm about halfway through it and I'm really enjoying it so far! It definitely gives me Adam Silvera vibes, which is both exciting and nerve-wracking because I've had my heart shattered by Adam Silvera books and I'm apprehensive to see just how much tragic inspiration Rue has taken from his work! At any rate, Rue is an excellent writer, and I'm very much looking forward to more of their books in the future.

Thanks for reading, and I'll see y'all next week!

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