Interview with S. Sadie Burbank
I would like to welcome S. Sadie Burbank to 'The World of Myth' and also congratulate her on the publication of her first book, "Red Hills Green Vines and Dried Monkey Meat for Dinner." Sadie, perhaps you can give our readers just a hint of what your book is about.
Hello everyone. It's the Creature of Myth here and it appears after years of being a part-time fill-in I finally get to have a go at this full-time—wait... what? No. I'm just filling in for now... Well great. Well the show must go on after all. Today I'm with a newcomer to our Interview Booth, S. Sadie Burbank, whose first book which takes a look at her journey to Liberia from a decidedly different perspective, has been recently published.
Creature of Myth:
S. Sadie Burbank: It's about the time I spent in the bush country of Liberia, West Africa in 1971.
Creature of Myth: How was it you decided to write a book about you personal experience in Liberia and as a second part to this question, how was it for you rehashing all those memories from the past?
S. Sadie Burbank:My friend Tina Lucas loved to hear me tell about that time and often said, "You should write a book about that". I'd just laugh off her comment figuring she was just being polite. The real push to take her seriously came when I mentioned the idea to David K. Montoya, you've heard of him, right?
Creature of Myth: Hmmm... I've heard the name before kicked around a couple of times in the office, but I just can't place it. Anyway, please continue.
S. Sadie Burbank:Okay, as I was saying, David Immediately urged me to shelve my current project, a graphic novel and devote my time to writing RED HILLS. I knew he was serious because he'd told me how much he loved what I had done on the graphic novel to that point and that he was anxious to get it published ASAP. So when he redirected my efforts to this book I was certain of his confidence in the project.
Rehashing all those memories, as you say, had an unexpected effect on me. Looking back with the insight gained from living 30 more years gave me a perspective that forced me to reinterpret many of the experiences I'd had; with unanticipated results. In a sort of “forest for the trees” moment I was able to grasp the fact that I had been a victim of abuse at the hands of two very different men. On a lighter note I was also able to relive the happier moments of discovery that I had once felt toward Liberia and her people. Just re-reading my letters that my mother had saved was almost like returning to the bush once again.
Creature of Myth: Now from my understanding, instead of writing a personal introduction to the book you did something completely different. Can you explain to us what you decided to do with your introduction?
S. Sadie Burbank: I had written two pieces intended to be a prequel for possibly later publication. They were titled BEFORE THE RED HILLS 1 and 2. Actually they were really more of an outline for a prequel but at David Montoya's urging I submitted them for publication in The World of Myth's 50th issue. They were well received. A few days later David called to ask me to write a personal introduction for RED HILLS ; something that would introduce the readers to the book and also to the main characters in it. Suddenly it occurred to me that I had already done so. When I suggested we use the prequel outline for the introduction David heartily agreed. After the decision had been made I wondered why it had not occurred to me before. I love serendipity.
Creature of Myth: Congratulations, again, on that publication as well. How has "Red Hills Green Vines and Dried Monkey Meat for Dinner" been received by the public, thus far?
S. Sadie Burbank: So far it seems to have captured the imaginations of everyone from whom I have heard comments. One gentleman said the last couple of sentences of the synopsis grabbed his attention. The last I heard he and his wife were still arguing over custody of the book.
Creature of Myth: And how does your family feel about your writing success?
S. Sadie Burbank: They are very happy that I have been published. However they will not be reading the book. I have given explicit instructions that they are not to read it; at least not in my lifetime. There are many things in it that they simply do not need to know about their mother, grandmother, sister-in-law, or wife, as the case may be.
Creature of Myth: Were there any special authors or other books which early on influenced your own style of writing?
S. Sadie Burbank: Of course. The ones who come to mind are in no particular order of preference. I am a huge fan of the Dirk Pitt character created by Clive Cussler. James Clavell's SHOGUN, GAI-JIN, TAI-PAN and NOBLE HOUSE captivated me with their beauty and realism. Mary Higgins Clark got my attention with her WHILE MY PRETTY ONE SLEEPS. Dean Koontz can thrill me with nearly anything he does. Lastly, I guess it would be honest to say that when I die I want to come back as Stephen King. There have been times when I have thought that being inside his head must be a little like hanging out in a Salvador Dali painting.
Creature of Myth: What else might our readers look forward to reading from you in the future?
S. Sadie Burbank: I am currently working on the graphic novel I mentioned above. It's called THE CONVICT VOLUMES. I have a children's book called YOU DO NOT LIVE HERE ORANGE CAT, GO HOME!!! that I hope to publish soon. And I like to do short stories now and then for The World of Myth. I also have a cookbook on the back burner. Sorry that’s a very bad pun.
Creature of Myth: And what do you do with your spare time when not researching and writing historically true novels?
S. Sadie Burbank: Well, as I indicated above, I like to write. But I suppose you mean other than writing. I am a housewife because I like the life. So that means I get to spend my spare time dusting and mopping and washing and cooking. Frankly, I am not really that much into the housework thing but it's part of the job and I love making a home for my husband and myself. I like to make jewelry, Steampunk style with a lot of chains and such. I am also a big fan of computer games like Angry Birds and Plants vs Zombies. They're totally addictive.
Creature of Myth: If you can find time in your busy schedule to read for simple enjoyment, who are some of your current favorite authors?
S. Sadie Burbank: The late Stieg Larsson who wrote the THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO trilogy was so gifted. I will miss whatever else he might have done with his life as a writer.
Creature of Myth: Where might our readers find out more about you and your books?
S. Sadie Burbank: At WWW.REDHILLS.US
Creature of Myth: If you had one piece of advice to give fledgling writers, what would that be?
S. Sadie Burbank: Firstly, remember to visit both sides of the fence while you're writing, i.e., the side of the author and that of the reader. It is very easy to get caught up in writing, to the point that you can lose your train of thought completely. Stop every now and then and read aloud what you have written. Listen carefully to what you are reading and be sure it is saying what you intended when you wrote it. Secondly, be yourself. You may not be a great writer (how many have there really been in the history of the world), but if you love it you may surprise yourself and turn out to be a good writer and isn't that enough after all? To be a writer of books that are good enough that other people enjoy reading them? What a joy!
Creature of Myth: Is there anything we did not cover about yourself or your work that you would like to convey to our readers?
S. Sadie Burbank: That's probably the hardest question to answer. I am not much for tooting my own horn so I'll just say that I am a person who finds happiness in the smallest things in life. It is a gift that was nurtured in me by my parents and one, I hope, that I have given to my children. It is a way of living that I can heartily recommend.
Creature of Myth: Well Sister, if you're gonna be in this field you better learn to toot your own horn. I mean, I actually have a NINE page interview I conducted with myself and ready to have it posted here at a moment's whim.
S. Sadie Burbank: Okay, yeah...
Creature of Myth: But in all seriousness, I'd like to thank Ms. S. Sadie Burbank for being such a good sport and for sitting down with us today and we wish her continued success with her books. Be sure to let us know when "Convict Volumes" becomes available.
And to all of boys and out there, have a safe and sane Holiday season and best wishes for the New Year from your old friend the Creature of Myth!