Sara Mosier is a Nebraska author and poet and recent graduate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she received a BA in English. Her writing focus is fiction and poetry of which she enjoys typing out on an old 1950's typewriter. She has had her poetry published in several issues of Laurus Magazine, as well as the titled anthology Cocky Tales, and University of Nebraska Press's 75th Anniversary edition of Voices of the Plains. Her romantic short stories Sparkling Human Conundrum and Summer Dilemma can be found in the anthologies Love Dust and Salty Tales on Amazon. MWS: Good afternoon, Sara. I know you've had some heartbreaking days recently as you've been affected by the flooding in Nebraska. How are things going today? SM: Well, to be honest, I'm pretty exhausted already. It's an up and down thing, sorting through the pieces of your life thinking, "Wow! This was saved!" Then realizing, well, there are also a million other things that aren’t salvageable, so...Emotionally, it’s a teeter-totter. Seeing things like this on TV, when disasters hit other areas, it’s nothing like experiencing this type of mourning I am going through. But, I'm trying to stay positive and remember, everything can be replaced and new memories can be made. The most important thing is that the house itself survived and no one in my family was there when it happened.
MWS: That's good to hear. Hard to deal with, but at least some things were salvaged, and the home is still standing. Before we explore some of your works, tell me what genre you prefer to write?
SM: I always have a hard time defining the genres I like to write. I think I always write stories with strong romantic elements. With that said, I always mix it with other genre elements, such as time
travel, historical; sci-fi, or drama. Recently, in the last three years or so, I've focused mainly on LGBTQ romance. There's always been an untraditional couple in my stories haha.
MWS: Is there a genre you keep away from writing?
SM: I like to dabble in science fiction, but it's far too technical for me and I have gotten overwhelmed very easily in the past. I took a science fiction class once, and we were tasked with writing a story. I struggled with it. In the end, although my teacher gave me an okay grade, I realized sci-fi just isn’t my strongest genre. I really enjoy romances, but not Hallmark movie-type romances. lol They're far too cheesy for me, I need some darkness or meat to a story. When there’s nothing more to a story than 'we have warring cake shops and I hate you!' only for the story to slowly bleed into a predictable 'they're perfect for each other' happily ever after ending, that is just not my cup of tea.
MWS: Do you have a personal preference when it comes to what you read
SM: My personal preferences have changed over the years. I feel like I may be out of the loop when it comes to popular fiction now, unless it's queer romances, which I read because it's what I enjoy writing. But I read a lot older stuff, like Fitzgerald, Woolf, and a lot of the modernist era writers, because I feel like I haven't read everything I should have. I'm currently working my way through all of Fitzgerald's works, ya know, instead of just Gatsby, which everyone reads. When it's not serious stuff like that, I LOVE ghost stories.
MWS: You have a big family, are they all supportive of your writing?
SM: My mom and dad have always been a great support for me, but when it comes to the different styles I write in, they have their favorites. My brothers Caleb and Nathan ALWAYS read and give me feedback on all my short stories, and with my recent publications my younger sister, Jenna, makes sure she always buys a copy. But she is great about giving me feedback before I submit things to anthologies or magazines as wel.
MWS: Those are some amazing siblings! Tell me about your typewriter.
SM: Oh, I love the story of my typewriter. My oldest sister had an elderly next-door neighbor. She was getting rid of some things and found this typewriter—still in beautiful working condition—in its case. So, I bought it for 50 bucks, and got ribbon off the internet for 10. I thought it would be a fun novelty item to have as a writer, but never planned to really use it. I don't know if we just found each other haha, but I sat down and started my very first M/M romance. I ended up writing like 20 pages of
completely wonky-looking text because I wasn't used to how it worked. I worked on that story off and on for a couple weeks, and then I had my Capstone class at my university. We had to create a collection of works, so I ended up sitting down at the typewriter and wrote this mass amount of poetry. It was AMAZING. Now I feel like this typewriter is a conduit for my poetry voice. I don't write my poetry on anything else, now.
MWS: Oh, that sounds fantastic! Maybe that typewriter has a creative history. Great find! Let's get into your work. Which of the stories you have written would you say you had the most difficulty with?
SM: I have two that I have yet to finish that are novel length. One is based in the 1920's, and the other in the 1940's. That is a LOT of research. And I mean a lot. I’m trying to keep everything authentic, down to the
slightest detail. For example, there is a simple scene involving my couple, who are arguing, and one character goes to grab a beer from the fridge. STOP. Okay, fridges were available in the 20's and 30's, but were they only for the rich? Were they easily available in all parts of the country? Were they regularly seen in homes ect lol It's those little details that stop me dead in my tracks and can drag out the writing process. I LOVE writing in different time periods, but it's extremely difficult because you just know there will be a history buff out there that just MIGHT read your work and go 'uh, no, fridges weren't available in the Midwest in the 1940's until the mid-50's.' Also, I'm a stickler for detail so sometimes that’s a problem, haha.
MWS: Ah, yes, the dreaded research. Difficult, but so worth it in the end result. You are in the Salty Tales anthology. Can you tell the readers what your short story is about?
SM: It's one of my favorite stories that I've written. I feel like there is a lack of bisexual representation in fiction, so I started the story with that in mind. I wanted a love triangle, but not for the typical reasons, and I am not gonna lie, I was going for a kind of romcom feel with this story. My main characters, two best friends, Micah and Lark, who are from Pratt, Kansas, are going to school on the east coast. They work at the same beach as life guards, while off school for the summer. As in many instances in romcoms, enter the 'cute guy', named Archer. The two friends start a competition to see who can figure him out first—and also who can GET him first. Lark is the outgoing flirt and Micah is the 'try and be smooth and fail' type, but he is endearing none-the-less. I usually write dark themed stories, no matter the genre, so this lighthearted plot was fun to play with.
MWS: Was there something specific that inspired it?
SM: One of my fellow writers, Cait, had a prompt and basically sent it to me and said, "Please write this!"
I sat down, wrote it out in one night, sent it to her and she loved it. LOL I love when that happens. MWS: It feel so good when inspiration hits and allows you to complete a piece easily! Too bad it doesn't happen more often! Lol. Do you have any other stories in anthologies?
SM: I know you're familiar with Love Dust, I have a short story called Sparkly Human Conundrum published in that and it's definitely one of my favorite babies.It's a story of a merman that comes onto land for the first time and falls in love with a human. A bit of a twist from typical mer stories, he can shift into human form at will. No Little Mermaid copies here lol
MWS: Oh yes! Another good one! You also have poetry in Cocky Tales correct?
SM: Oh, yes, I have three poems in Cocky Tales. That was so much fun to write for.
MWS: Do you prefer writing short stories over novels? SM: It's a funny relationship with novels and short stories. Novels allow you to expand on your story, and you have all the room in the world to include details and plot twists. The word count itself can be so daunting, but, I like that there is NO limit. However, with short stories you're given a small window to paint your world into, and that can be challenging. Until I got into college, I never wrote short stories because the first couple I wrote, I was like, 'this is too hard!' So I suppose my answer to that question is novels, because there are no restrictions. Even though some of my favorite plots and characters have come from short stories.
MWS: What about poetry? Do you find inspiration comes more easily for those than with novels?
SM: Oh, absolutely. Like I said earlier, with my typewriter, if I'm given just the simplest of prompts, I can sit down and write a book's worth. I sit down with poetry and there is little thinking involved, just feeling. I just go with it, and yes, there is editing afterwards, but more often than not the finished product is what I initially sat down and typed out. I like to ask friends for three words, just any three words, then from there I write out poems. I've had some of my best work published in literary magazines because of those prompts!
MWS: That's amazing! Do you think you will publish a book of poetry in the future?
SM: Yes, I would love to put out a book of poetry. I have hundreds of poems that are all dear to me. It is definitely on the to-do list!
MWS: What book have you read that has the most memories attached to it?
SM: From my childhood, The Chronicles of Narnia. I remember being in 3rd grade as we discussed the book, thinking "I want to know more about Mr. Tumnus" and I think that was one of the first times I thought about writing, because I created my own thoughts on his backstory in my mind. Whenever I create fantasy-type stories, I always keep that book and its characters in mind. It has always been something cozy that I re-read from time to time.
MWS: What book have you read recently that you would recommend to others?
SM: I recently finished two books by Nicola Haken, a LGBTQ fiction writer. One is ‘Broken’ and the other is ‘Counting Daisies’. Both narratives deal with mental illness and its struggles in a real and honest way, which I think is currently lacking in all genres of fiction.
MWS: That is true. I love when authors talk about dark issues that need to be brought to light. I will have to check those out. Lastly, what is something you have learned now as a writer that you wish you had known in the beginning?
SM: I wish I would have known that it's alright to write badly and know that everyone DOES write badly. First drafts are just a blip. Being 'published' doesn't make you a writer. Putting the work down, getting it on the page, that is first and foremost your goal.
Also, that whole attitude of 'well that idea has already been written'—hold the phone, young Sara. It may have already been written in some form, but no one has read it the way YOU see it, the way YOU perceive it. And to finish up with that thought, there’s the old self-doubt issue of 'I'll never make it as a writer'. Well, 50 Shades of Grey somehow made it, so what’s stopping you?
MWS: Preach it! Yes! You aren't writing if you aren't writing badly first! lol. Thank you so much, Sara! I enjoyed talking with you!
SM: And it was a joy talking to you as well, this was fun. Now that I've graduated, I don't get to have these kinds of literary talks much, lol. Thanks for taking the time to speak with me!