>Do You Know Who I Am? Sarah Hoyt — Miss Wednesday

>No, no, don’t panic. That title above is supposed to be cute. Most people don’t know who I am, really. Heck, sometimes – particularly early of a morning, at the end of a novel – I’m not totally sure myself. However, today, I’m almost absolutely sure and I figure I might as well share my knowledge before it vanishes. So sit back, enjoy, and do take notes. There might be a quiz later. (Oh. Never mind. Used to be a teacher. Old habits die hard.)

My name is Sarah A. Hoyt – or in its long form {nods to Pterry’s vampires} Sarah Marques de Almeida Hoyt — which is considerably shortened (not to mention changed) from my birth name (which is on my web page somewhere at the bottom of this.)

I was born a long time ago in a galaxy far away. My father, realizing our world was in peril… um. Never mind. I was born a long time ago in Portugal. I know I have hyper literate readers and that you are not either – almost certainly not – leafing through your Atlases trying to figure out where Portugal is. However, for those people who aren’t my readers or the readers of the rest of the writers here – yes, you, sir, in the back, who just came in to get out of the rain – Portugal is as far west as you can get before falling off the coast of Europe. It’s crammed between Spain and the sea and – as has been said of the Scots – has been locked throughout history in a tragic battle with its traditional enemy, the Portuguese. Of course, not being Scotland, Portugal is more subtle about it. It’s a cold war of attrition and interference, of sabotage and resistence. Each Portuguese is – in his heart – convinced that the country would be a fine place if only all of those other mugs would leave.

Sometime when I was about six I decided they were right, and I was one of the mugs who should leave. Not that I have anything about the country in general (or even in particular. Okay, okay, there was that teacher in ninth grade, but that hardly counts.) It’s rather that it felt like an ill fitting suit of clothes on my mental structures. Of course, being six, there wasn’t much I could do about moving. I tried. I was always very trying. I packed my books, grabbed my siamese cat under one arm and struck out for the nearest train station – regional trains only, the kind that stop at every hole in the wall. Note my practicality and selection of the important things in life. No money, no food, no plan. But I had books and a cat. For some reason, though, this carefully carried out escape failed and I was intercepted before I boarded the train. Again, just as well, as I had a vague idea that I was headed for Denver, which in my mental map was somewhere on the train line and, incidentally, right by the sea. (I said my readers were literate, not me.)
Needing to delay my escape, and having acquired some knowledge of the world – like, that money was needed — To buy a bigger bag, so I could hide the cat in it. I mean, he was at least sixteen pounds. Stuck out like a sore thumb – I turned my mind for what I would do for money.
Here I should explain that at the age of six I was already a failure at the first two professions I’d set my heart on. The first one – probably not unreasonable for the only child in a household of adults – was being a cat. By the age of four or five it had dawned on me I was never going to be a cat, no matter how hard I tried and how much I practiced my purring. (And we won’t go into what Mom said when she caught me licking my arm. Let’s just say a bath was involved.) At this time I turned my ambitions towards being an angel. It seemed like a perfectly reasonable ambition. I’d get the pretty dress, I had a vague idea I’d become a blond and much, much prettier, and I’d float around on soft clouds all day. This was very cool. The fact that I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, much less an harp, was compensated for by having gleaned from movies – and comic books – that I could come to Earth now and then, mess around with innocent mortals and perhaps ring bells. (Never figured out what the bells were all about, but since ringing bells and running away was right at my level of humor at the time, I was cool with that too.)

Giving that one up was much harder and it involved several lectures from mom on the subject of how, if I were an angel, my wings would be black and smell vaguely of sulphur.
If you’ve read this far, you know how practical and rational I can be. So it should not surprise you at all that after my grand failed escape I settled on the perfect profession – I was, by gum, going to be a novelist. Unfortunately by this time I’d also acquired a heavy veneer of stubbornness.

So despite several rational – and a few irrational – people pointing out that writing is for those who know grammar, have a passing acquaintance with the real world or even an understanding of what people might want to read, I stuck it out. I stuck it out even when mom pointed out that all writers starved in the gutter, except for those who drowned in the gutter while drunk, and even though dad went all gray and stoic and pointed out they still had my brother, after all.
In fact I stuck it out through (by that time, frankly, I really wasn’t planning on it) moving to another country (my husband didn’t speak Portuguese. I spoke English. And also, Portugal was full of these bewildering people, the Portuguese) learning idiomatic English (yes, I’m sure my first submissions had the editors rolling on the floor. Laughing or crying or looking for a dictionary or something.) And then I stuck it out through several hundreds rejections – including the one where I got the rejection before I submitted to that house. (I have the greatest respect for that house. The sleuthing abilities involved, alone, ought to astound. I wonder if they send these in advance to anyone they suspect might be trying to write, or if they identified me as a unique peril. In either case, they were, of course, entirely justified.)

More difficult, I stuck it out through the realization that I had clue zero clue how to write a novel, and that my degree in modern languages and literatures was in fact an hindrance and I had to unlearn everything I thought I knew about what made great literature.
In movies or books this would mean I would by now be a mega bestseller, a household name and known – and possibly feared – in every corner – and some rounded parts – of the world.
Alas, though I keep pointing this out to the air at large, speaking in a stage whisper, with the vague hope that it might be taken note of – in his heart of hearts, every writer knows that G-d is an author – I have yet to see any difference. (Yes, I mean You, up there, at the eternal computer. The plucky character gets rewarded! Trust me. Would I lie to You?)
Not that I’m complaining exactly (of course I am. Yes, You, do You know the expression ‘covered in gold’? I’d really like to try that, in a non-literal sense) after all, I’ve now sold – counts on fingers and toes – eighteen novels all but four of which have now been delivered. Of those four, two – the first one in a new mystery series centering around furniture refinishing and DarkShip Thieves, my first space opera are now on the point of delivery (well, in a week or so, once I’ve beaten them into submission. Some characters are more refractory than others.) And I make a reasonable amount of money, though the last time I tried to spend it, the store told me they didn’t take that kind of money and no, I couldn’t buy Park Place at that store.

My most recent novels out are Soul of Fire – the second one in an alternate-history fantasy set in a British Empire that never was, where magicians and proscribed were-creatures control and change the fate of humanity – and Gentleman Takes A Chance – the second one in my Baen series about shape shifters who gather at a diner called The George and save the world from itself. (I like diners. Diners are inherently cool. If you are, say, running away from home at six in the morning, with a bag of books and a cat, you can always get food at a diner and usually for the change you can find your pocket. If there had been diners in Portugal, I’d still have been caught, but I probably would have had pancakes first.)

Next month the third one in the Alternate British Empire series – Heart and Soul – comes out. Coming out in December is Dying By The Sword, the fifth in my Three Musketeer Mysteries series. (I do NOT keep ghost writers chained in the basement. They couldn’t type while chained. I just have a really good lock on the door. – actually, the sad truth is I really like writing, so I do a lot of it. As you can tell by this introduction of my meager accomplishments.)
Oh, as a final note and ironically, I now live as close to Denver as makes no difference. Which goes to show that the Author might not have an understanding that The Plucky Character ALWAYS Gets Rewarded but He DOES have a sense of humor. And yes, I’m surprised anew every morning that it is not in fact by the sea.

Without further ado, you can read samples of my work at http://sarahahoyt.com/ and this will probably be posted late, due to technical difficulties (most of them residing between chair and Keyboard.)

And that’s it – I am Sarah A. Hoyt, your Miss Wednesday at Mad Genius Club, writers division. Now sit back, buy a drink and don’t throw peanuts at the performers.

4 comments

  1. >I’ll have a rum and coke, please…If there had been diners in Portugal, I’d still have been caught, but I probably would have had pancakes first.I do some of my best scribbling in diners.

  2. >You’re just chronologically adrift — there was an ocean there a while ago, and we misplaced it. Left a little dab up in Utah, but emptied the middle and dried it out considerable.

  3. >Sarah, you made me laugh…a lot. You have the best monologue on record. :-DAnd yes, I’d have had pancakes before going home, too. In fact I can feel a Sunday morning visit to Tiggers Diner in East Greenwich coming on real soon now… :-DJust back from Bouchercon mystery convention and have posted a marathon blog report on my Muse du Jour. I didn’t embarrass myself too much at all! Just forgot to pack extra business cards…Gotta talk more soon… :-DHugs,Marianne

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