When I asked Saranna DeWylde how I would recognize her at a readers’ convention, she responded, “Look for the tattooed amazon.” I quickly learned the only thing oversized about Saranna is her kindness and smile.
A former corrections officer, airline operations supervisor, and call girl’s assistant (that sounds like an interview all by itself), Saranna’s life road hasn’t been the one most travelled. In writing, she has found her calling and a venue to unleash her passions and innate humor. But sometimes, in order to deal with our past, we need to reveal our past. We’ll get to that in a minute.
I first became aware of the wonderful quality of her work when I purchased a humorous and fanciful romp titled “The Desperate Housewives of Olympus.” It’s a delightfully intriguing story of mythical women seeking to find love in all the wrong places, with all the wrong men, and still, somehow, finding their happy ever afters in the end.
Saranna’s attentiveness to mythology resulted in one of her early works published in the collection “The World of Myth Anthology.” Continuing with this line of interest, her next two devilishly sexy and fun filled novels “How to Lose a Demon in 10 Days” and “How to Marry a Warlock in 10 Days” are set for release this August and September by Kensington Books, and are both currently available for pre-sale purchases.
This November, “Sweet Hell on Fire: A Memoir of the Prison I Worked In and the Prison I Lived In” is scheduled for release, though not under the DeWylde name, but under the name of the real life person who lived it – Sara Lunsford. In Saranna/Sara’s own words: “I was a bad mother, a bad daughter, a bad wife, a bad friend. Boozed out and tired, with no dreams and no future. But I was a good officer.” Sweet Hell is her journey from rock bottom to the fresh air of a life she can breathe in without regret. The story is powerful, moving, and filled with the indomitable hope and vitality I saw in the woman I met.
Q) Where did this wonderfully bawdy sense of humor come from?
A) I think some of it comes from that gallows humor that’s really kind of a coping mechanism for the kinds of jobs I’ve held. Or I’m really just a frat boy trapped in an Amazon’s body. Maybe a little of both.
Q) Your very first story was in the horror genre. What took you to romantic comedy in the mythology and paranormal genres?
A) I’ve always been in love with romance and horror. I could never decide which genre truly had my heart until I worked at the prison. Now, don’t get me wrong, I still love horror. (And fangirl the talented authors who write it.) But I’ve dealt with enough real life boogeymen and seen enough blood that I don’t want that to be my contribution to the world. (But as I said, I still have a mighty appreciation for those that do.) I’ll admit sometimes my stories go to dark places, but there’s always hope, always true love, and always redemption with sacrifice. Those things are the candles in the window to light our way home. And having been lost myself, it seems important to me to tell those stories. If I can make you laugh while I do it, all the better.
Q) You admit to being single-minded and ultra-focused. Which leads me to ask, as a mother, how do you balance your writing with your children?
A) Balance. That’s the tough one. It’s not something that happens every day, or even every week. I think it’s more long term than that. It’s easier now that they’re older. My oldest is starting high school next year. They’re both very independent themselves, I think because they know that if they need me, no matter what I have on my plate I’m there for them. Both of them are just as focused and driven when it comes to something they want, so I’d like to think that it has been a good thing for them to see that with hard work, you can have your dreams.
Q) Okay. You are afraid of cows – fact. Yet, you bought your daughter a rocking cow for her first Christmas. Why?
A) I should have known then, sneaky $&^%! That cow took forever to assemble. Some assembly required really means tour in hell, second ring. But no, the cow phobia didn’t manifest until after the neighbor’s bull broke through the electric fence to chase me half a mile uphill home. I make it a point to drive by him at least once a month eating a hamburger. I’ve even asked the neighbor if I can buy him. He asked what I would do with him and I said eat him, so I can consume his power. I bet you can imagine the look I got. Then he told me that bulls aren’t good eatin’. But I’m still determined.
Ever since then, I’ve noticed the cows across the street watching me. (The bull was from down the street.) Every time I come outside, they stop what they’re doing and just watch. It could be because my little one thought that if she fed them Hershey kisses, she’d make chocolate milk cows and they’re waiting for their next hit, but I don’t know.
A) This is a tough one, too. Kind of like interviewing for a job when they open with: “Tell me about yourself.” That immediately makes my mind go blank. I’m more erudite than “uhhhh,” I promise.
If you haven’t read me yet, be warned. I come with warning labels. First and foremost: Explicit Lyrics. The second, I’ve been told that my romcoms should be read with no food or drink or it will end up all over the book or the screen of your reading device, having been shot out of your nose. That may still be up for debate.
Further, if you do purchase one of my books, thank you. I appreciate every single sale and every reader.
DA Kentner is an author and journalist. www.kevad.net