Getting to Know Your Readers with Sara Letourneau

Welcome to #FriendFriday, an interview-style guest post series every 1st and 3rd Friday of the month. Want to be the next interviewee? Send me an email!

Happy Friday, my friends! This week, I'm happy to welcome Sara Letourneau, a writer, blogger and poet. She's one of my Twitter friends, and I'm so thrilled that she carved out some time in her busy schedule to talk about getting to know your readers today.

Let's get acquainted, shall we?

HERE’S YOUR INTRO QUESTION. TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF IN LESS THAN 70 WORDS.

Eek! Well, currently I'm revising a YA fantasy novel called The Keeper's Curse. I also review tea at A Bibliophile's Reverie (http://bibliophilesreverie.com/) and lead the Theme: A Story's Soul column at DIY MFA (http://diymfa.com/). I'm also a published poet, a former music journalist, and a blogger who hops between all of those topics. It sounds scatter-brained, but I love exploring and sharing what I learn, and what I do reflects that "philosophy."

You're a blogger, writer and poet. Tell us how you got started.

The writing came first. I've been writing ever since I was 7 years old. I remember sitting at the kitchen table with crayons and lined paper, making up stories about talking animals and strange places, and drawing pictures to go with them. Writing has stuck with me ever since then, and in many different ways. But novel writing has always been the one constant I've come back to.

Poetry was a way of expressing emotions and ideas I struggled to express verbally. The inspirations have come from everywhere: nature, relationships, current events, even the impact that creativity has had on my life. I haven't written as much poetry lately because I've been focusing on my novel, but I'm sure I'll return to it one day and I still enjoy reading it. As for blogging, it's a fun way to reach out to other like-minded people who you might not otherwise meet offline.

Let's put you to the test. What would you tell future writers about how to connect with their future readers?

When you're just starting out, take the time to get to know your audience.

Reply to your readers' comments on your articles, then visit their blogs and comment on one of their pieces. End your posts with questions in bold that grab the reader's attention and get the wheels turning in their heads. Your audience will appreciate the effort - and they'll keep coming back. This is also a good way of developing relationships with other bloggers who share your interests.

Also, don't feel obligated to be on every social media outlet. I'm only on Facebook and Twitter in addition to my blog, and I'm fine with that. It's all I can do, since I also have a full-time job and don't want to cut into my writing time too much. So, my advice here would be to do only what you have the time and energy for. Your readers will understand.

If you could be the author of any novel in history, which novel would that be and why?

This was tough. I love so many books for so many reasons that I'd probably pick a different book each time I answer this question. ;)

Today I'll pick 

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder. It's an upper-end YA fantasy about a girl who trains to become a poison taster and then becomes entangled in a plot to overthrown her country's government. I love character-driven stories where the protagonist changes and grows from their experience, and

Poison Study is a perfect example. Yelena has to learn to overcome a brutal, terrifying past in order to save the people she cares about - and herself. I was so absorbed by her story that I read it in three days, and I still find myself re-reading certain scenes from time to time. If the stories I write can have the same impact on my readers, my heart would sing.

And finally, before we let you go, what's the best advice you've received and how did it get you here today?

This was more or less encouragement than advice... But during the last week of my senior year of college, one of my favorite professors - who taught writing and literature, of course - told me, "You need to get your work published!" I was already considering submitting my poetry to literary journals anyways, but his enthusiasm was like a match to kerosene. It took 5 years of writing, editing, waiting, and going back to square one before my work was finally published somewhere. But it taught me persistence, patience, and the power of positive thinking in the face of disappointment.

Thanks to Sara for spending some time with us! If you’re interested in being interviewed for the next #FriendFriday, send me an email