The Backstory - Sarah Reichert
Updated: Nov 14
Sometimes it comes down to time and chance. Moments where you may have the time to do a thing, but the chance to do said thing refuses to be given. Or when opportunity knocks but you're too busy to answer the door.
Back when I first started doing interviews, I knew I wanted Sarah Reichert to be a part. Sarah Reichert is an indie author out of Colorado. As such, I felt she would have been a nice addition to my inaugaral interview series, Indie August, which showcased independent writers and authors. But alas, time and chance. Schedules couldn't line up. Life issues would get in the way. Or, in my case, health issues. But finally, time and chance decided to show up to show out for The Backstory.
Ladies and gents, Sarah Reichert.
KD: Okay, I’m gonna start with my intro ice breaker. Who are you?
Sarah Reichert: That’s a pretty deep question for an icebreaker…I don’t know that I’m easily definable. I’m human. Fallible. Disastrous. I make a ton of mistakes, and I don’t always learn from them. I’m a mother, and a teacher. I love kids, I think we’d all be better off if we listened to them more. I’m a writer and a poet even when I’m not physically writing something—there’s always a story or stanza running through my head. I really don’t like talking about myself. Other people are way more interesting.
KD: Oh, I don't know. That all seems interesting to me. I love how we as writers always have some type of story going on upstairs. I will see a squirrel scamper along a tree and mentally start composing a story around it. So how do you relax and unwind?
Sarah Reichert: Anything outside and physical. Hiking is my favorite. Working in the yard. I could sit or walk beside a beach all day. Reading, crosswords, going to the movies. I’d say knitting is relaxing but I’m not very good at it, so…it’s a current frustration.
KD: Remind me to tell you about my Hawaiian experiences one day. If I remember correctly, you're not originally from Colorado. Where were you prior? How does the previous compare to the current?
Sarah Reichert: I grew up in Wyoming and spent some time in California before moving to Colorado. What I love about Wyoming is the vastness and the horizon, and not seeing another human being for miles if you’re on the right stretch of road. I love that there are these really magnificent and beautiful parts that nobody knows about because they’re tucked in between miles of sagebrush. Southern California has the best Mexican food, hands down. Fight me. But other than that, I don’t miss much about that place except for the ocean. Colorado has a little more diversity and open-mindedness than Wyoming and its beautiful. Hiking here is amazing and the weather is kinder than where I came from.
KD: Part of me wants to throw Tex-Mex off in that SoCal fight, but I'm picking my battles here. Where do you land on the introvert/extrovert sliding scale?
Sarah Reichert: I can survive in a crowd if I have to. But I don’t like attention on me and once my social battery runs down, it’s like a light switch shuts off and I NEED to go home. After big events or talking to people I usually need alone time, proportionate to the amount of time I spend in the company of others. Able to socialize, but I’d do great as a hermit.
KD: I can understand and respect that. I'm a deep-seated introvert. I'd be willing to go off the grid in a New York minute. I mean, long as I have indoor plumbing and wi-fi. Okay, no lie, I love this question...what genre of music/movies & shows do you listen to/watch more than others?
Sarah Reichert: I honestly listen to all genres of music dependent on my mood and what I’m working on. I can’t listen to anything with lyrics while I write, but in between times when I’m daydreaming, I try to match my music to the mood of the story I’m working on. I love well-written and poetic lyrics. When I’m angry or frustrated I love Ludacris and DMX and K. Flay. When I’m tired, I love James Taylor and Damien Rice, and when I’m sultry I love Hozier or Chris Stapleton, and when I’m feeling myself, no one but Aretha Franklin and Florence and the Machine will do. When I’m on long drives across Wyoming it’s all about George Strait and Kenny Chesney. Seriously, I’m all over the place. Music is incredibly important to me in my life, and I love it all.
KD: Quite the range. From Luda to James Taylor? Nice. And the other half of the question?
Sarah Reichert: I don’t get to watch much television. When I do, I like mysteries (Only Murders in The Building) and smart comedy (New Girl, Resident Alien). I have teens so I get a lot of coming of age or silly (Adventure time, Heart Stopper—is my new favorite). Epics and apocalyptic (Last of Us, Game of Thrones) are always entertaining, but like I said, I don’t have a lot of time to watch TV.
Movies—I like to escape. So romances, action/adventure, quirky independent films. I don’t really like anything too sad or dramatic. Sorry. I know that cuts out a lot of Oscar contenders, but… Real life is already pretty heavy for me, so I need a little levity and joy when I escape that way.
KD: I still don't know how these Oscar contenders can even be contenders. Like, not how. I know how. More like, why? Speaking of genres, within which do you write in? Wait, let me dial it in a bit. How would you best describe your writing style?
Sarah Reichert: I write mostly romantic leaning novels. Mixed with something else. Western Romance, Family Saga, Fantasy Romance, Paranormal Romance, Sci-fi-Space Cowboy romance. I like to mix genres…because life is never one genre and I want my writing to reflect enough life that readers connect to it. It’s really hard for me to write a straight up, feel good romance. Because I don’t know any straight-up, feel-good humans. We are all a little messed up, but it doesn’t mean we don’t deserve love and a happy ending once in awhile. So, I like my characters to be a little messy. I like them complicated. I like to write with a small nod to human fallibility and our connection through imperfection. I have a weird sense of humor (my parents raised me on Mel Brooks so…there you go) and it finds its way into my characters. I love real relationships, not just romantic, but developing connections (best friends, siblings, etc) in my books that feel genuine. Some have said my writing borders on poetic, and I’m okay with that. Writing should be beautiful. If you can find a richer way to say something, (not necessarily more complex or wordy) then do that.
KD: I like that. I like all of that. So, what does being a...wait. Gimme a sec. I want to go back to something. Okay, readers...
(One of the reasons why I like asking the question about genres is it not only gives me insight into my guest's tastes and style, it let's me glean shows, movies, music, and books I may have never checked out before and might want to expand my horizon. Okay, we now return to our regularly scheduled interview.)
KD: Okay, sorry, my bad. Anyway, what does being a writer mean to you…for you?
Sarah Reichert: I don’t know what else to be. Even when I’m ‘on break’ from writing, I’m writing in my head. When I’m in my car, I’m telling myself stories. It’s how I move through the world, it’s the lens I filter everything through and it’s the way I communicate. I love to tell stories, and create worlds and I love helping other people do the same. I enjoy teaching writing almost as much as writing itself.
KD: And now the question that gets down to the nitty-gritty. Coffee, tea, or...?
Sarah Reichert: Um…was a time I’d say ‘Bourbon’. But I’m trying to cut back on that. So…coffee in the morning for the safety of the world, and tea in the afternoon. Otherwise, water.
KD: I...well...I mean...
Sarah Reichert: The occasional Diet Coke?
KD: Just...gonna move right along. How would you describe yourself as far as personality?
Sarah Reichert: Uh…that’s a tough one. Huh…I try to live by two rules; be kind and work hard. Probably makes me boring as hell. I like a quiet life. I love my kids and everyone else’s too. I want justice and peace for all humans. I side with compassion and humility whenever possible.
KD: And how do you think your friends would describe you?
Sarah Reichert: I don’t have friends. Hahahahaha. Just kidding. I don’t know. I try not to think too hard about how other people see me. I hope they think I’m helpful and kind. I hope they don’t take my lack of socializing personally.
KD: As a deep-seated introvert who's also borderline antisocial, I hope my friends feel the same. Okay, before I get too far into this, what’s the backstory of how you got into the writing industry to begin with?
Sarah Reichert: I started writing in the 5th grade and haven’t stopped since. I wrote two novels before I’d graduated college but they were terrible and I think they’re, thankfully, lost on floppy disk somewhere. I didn’t really pick it up again until I was staying at home with my kids and needed a mental outlet. I was in the middle of a 200,000-word paranormal romance novel when I realized it should be a series, and went about finishing it. Page at a time. Scene at a time. Somedays, sentence at a time.
Once you know you are capable of one thing, it makes you curious about trying more things. So…I just started dabbling, novellas, poetry, short stories. About three years ago, I decided to commit to my writing as a career and have been published in journals, magazines and picked up by a publisher since that time. That makes it seem like it was easy peasy, but it wasn’t. It was a 15-year journey with a lot of rejections and hiccups and tears…but when you love writing and you realize you’re going to be doing it whether or not you’re ‘successful’, it just becomes a lifestyle and any publishing you do along the way is a little side of ice cream on the cake of already doing what you love.
KD: You had me at cake. Two sentence life advice.
Sarah Reichert: If you can’t change the situation, change the way you react to the situation. Find time, every day, to do something you love, and your days will never feel wasted.
KD: Food for thought. And yes, I'm still thinking about cake. Okay. I have a writing challenge for you. Tell us a story using only five sentences.
Sarah Reichert: My dog, Molly, went to fetch a stick at the beach and came back with a human leg, shoe still on and laces dragging in the sand. It was a quiet morning, so no one heard me retch into my mouth when she dropped it at my feet, ever so proud of her find. White and skinny, I was sure the kid had found himself at the wrong place at the wrong time. Living in New Jersey, where organized crime found places to hide their problems off shore, I knew better than to start off Monday this way. I threw it back into the surf and took Molly back home.
KD: That was...awesome! Okay, what, to you, is the greatest aspect of America?
Sarah Reichert: Diversity. We have so many different, amazing cultures and people here. The potential for what we could do if we listened to one another, and helped each other is endless.
KD: Flipping the coin, what do you feel is the greatest challenge facing America?
Sarah Reichert: Hatred. Blind, unchecked, dehumanizing hatred. It’s tied for first with Corporate Fucking Greed (that all deserves capitalizing but you can leave out the swear if you need to) and income inequality.
KD: Your words, your voice, my friend. What are your other passions outside of writing?
Sarah Reichert: Teaching, martial arts, hiking, amateur naturalist, meditation, lifting, biking, knitting, volunteering, traveling.
KD: Those all make for well-rounded interests. Name something you wish you would have known or learned way earlier than you did?
Sarah Reichert: You’re the only person who gets to live your life, you’re the one that makes the choices for it, who determines where it goes, and if you’re not changing something you don’t like, then you are choosing it. No matter what you think about love or soul mates, yours is the only heart you’ll have for the rest of your life so take care of it (emotionally and physically). You can only control your own emotions, you are not responsible for other peoples’.
KD: Working on the interview, I took a pause to ponder that statement. Actually made me reflect on a few things. Okay, what are some pet peeves of yours?
Sarah Reichert: Misogyny and mansplaining. Governments telling women what they can and can’t do with their uteruses. People who forget they’re part of a community and have a responsibility to the whole, not just themselves. One-uppers (those that always have to ‘out do’ everyone). Unsolicited advice especially from people who don’t know your situation. Tailgaters, people who call instead of text (except my mom), people who don’t follow through on their word, anyone who criticizes someone who’s in the trenches trying something new or different. Group projects.
KD: I agree wholeheartedly about the calling instead of texting. After three minutes on the phone I'm trying to think of an exit strategy. Like, I have a pot of water burning in the oven or somesuch. But wait, how is a group project considered a pet...nevermind. Your words, your voice. Now, from a writer’s perspective, what is your holy grail? For example, your book becoming a bestseller, landing an agent, having your book become a movie, etc.
Sarah Reichert: I mean a lot of those things would be great…but I can’t imagine anything feeling as good as when one person comes up to me, or writes me and says, "I loved your book! It’s one of my favorites.” That’s…that’s it. To share a story that resonates with someone, to write something that is loved and helps people escape out of their day? That’s honestly good enough for me.
KD: The little things and the simple pleasures, huh? Can you tell me about a "wow" moment you experienced?
Sarah Reichert: Getting a chance to publish my books with a publishing house was amazing. Being able to do a short interview on television (introvert’s nightmare) about small publishing houses and independent publishers was strange and charming, hearing a novella of mine as an audiocast blew my mind and humbled me. There were a few ‘wow’ moments. Even just finishing a book, or reaching a goal that seemed unattainable marks a ‘wow’ for me. Never take for granted those little victories and opportunities. I’m always in awe and thankful.
KD: What was your biggest accomplishment of 2023 thus far? A goal you have for 2024?
Sarah Reichert: Wow, well, I wrote three new novels this year, and I edited, published and promoted 5 books through my first publisher…so that’s been my biggest writing accomplishment. My biggest personal achievement was finally leaving an abusive work environment, after years of being subjected to sexual harassment, misogyny, and disrespect. Taking myself to therapy and getting sober followed leaving that horrible dojo. It’s been really tough, but I’m doing good work for myself and people who care about me. I’d like to try to get an agent this year. Finish at least four books that are in progress, get 100
rejections, and hopefully teach more classes on writing. I have plans to keep pursuing my 3rd
degree black belt training, independently and with trusted, female practitioners.
KD: That all speaks to your strength of character and resilience. Quite admirable. What's an unpopular opinion you stand by?
Sarah Reichert: Americans can’t be trusted with guns. Not even sorry. When I was a kid and hit my brother with a wiffle ball bat, my mom took the bat away from us all. If you don’t behave with your toys, nobody gets to play with them. I’m not sure why we’re even discussing this anymore after so much loss of life and the statistics to prove what the problem is and how to solve it. I come from a hunting family (for food not sport). I’ve been trained to shoot multiple types of firearms; I was raised around guns and gun safety and even my dad says that it’s not worth the human life it has cost us.
KD: What are things that you wouldn't mind others knowing about you and your world?
Sarah Reichert: I don’t want anyone to know any more about me, I’ve already said too much up there. Probably going to end up with some confederate flag waving asshole on my lawn waiving his AR-15 and screaming that he’s got rights…
KD: Okay, now you got me wondering if confederate flag types read my interviews. Oh lord, I hope not. If peeps wanted to reach out and connect, what would be a preferred method?
Sarah Reichert: You can find me on Facebook under my pen name S.E. Reichert, or on Instagram @sereichert. My author website is: www.sarahreichertauthor.com.
KD: Anything you'd like to promote while the floor is yours?
Sarah Reichert: No big promotions but I will be donating a portion of my book sales and setting up a donation page for the Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault in collaboration with the release of my final novel in the Sweet Valley series. Details are on my website and will have links on my social pages as we get closer to the release date (November 14th , through 5 Prince Publishing).
My thanks to Sarah Reichert for being a part of The Backstory series. You can tell by her answers to my questions that this is truly a writer. Speaking of...immediately after The Backstory series is done, I will be doing another series focusing on writers and authors. So if you're reading this and you're a writer, let's chat! You can find me on Facebook or Twitter. I'd say Instagram, but I still don't know what to do with my Instagram account.
Of course, thank you, the reader, for making each interview series worth it.
Take a break from your world...visit for a while in mine. Come often. Stay for a spell.