Scarlett Savage was born and raised in Maine. She began her writing career at age 5 after reading LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS. When she finished the book, she announced to her family that she would become an author. She began to write stories but soon turned her attention to the theater, which led her to explore playwriting. By the time she was in high school, she was writing for professional stage companies in Maine. She received a full scholarship to the University of Maine at Orono, where she won her first major writing awards. Her play, DEAR DADDY, LOVE CASSIE, won several awards and raised money for both national and regional sexual assault support centers. Scarlett moved to Los Angeles in 2009 and made her L.A. theater debut with her latest play, SHE F*&KING HATES ME: A LOVE STORY. She lives in Santa Monica with the love of her life, Mike Biggie, who designed the cover of NARCOTIC NATION.
Thank you for this interview, Scarlett. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
Since I was five years old…December 25, 1979. (How do I remember? Because in the first week of December that year, I’d read my first book without pictures, Little House in the Big Woods…and after a page or two, I realized the words made pictures inside your head, which I thought was the coolest thing in the whole wide world. That Christmas, after announcing to my family, “I can do that!!” I got a briefcase and pens and pencils and a journal and some folders and a little stamper with my name on it with an inkpad…I began writing before my sisters had finished opening their presents!)
I’m a triple Leo, which tells you a lot about me; I do everything huge, and I do it loud, and I try to do it brilliantly. I’m a hard worker, a read-o-saurus; passionate about travelling, good literature (be it teen novels, the classics, plays, or good film dialogue), American history, and women who’ve rocked this country. I’m the mother of two incredible girls, and my man is the most supportive, loving, incredible man that ever was.
Can you tell us briefly what your book is about?
Entitled, “Narcotic Nation”, published by Taylor Street Books, it’s about an alternative America in which all drugs were legalized fifteen years ago. A band, Dues Ex Machina, who have recently won an Idol-type contest (who represent a microcosm of the country’s varied and fluctuating moods over the Legalization), have to live and learn to deal with each other on a bus travelling across the country.
Why did you choose your particular genre?
I feel in love with juvenile adventure fiction when I was a pre-teen and never got over it; I can still read teen novels I read when I was twelve and still enjoy them.
What was your greatest challenge writing this book?
Well, I wrote the first draft in college, and that was nearly twenty years ago…twenty years ago, we didn’t have laptops or cell phones or social media, so I had to go back and put all that stuff in! I also had to do a lot of research…I interviewed a ton of politicians, sociologists, and economists (who, I might add, while all weren’t crazy about the idea, agreed that it would save this country’s financial straits in one fell swoop; one went so far as to say we’d have no hunger, all would be insured, and anyone who wanted a job would have one…)
Are you published by a traditional house, small press or are you self-published?
I have two books with two houses: my juvenile adventure fiction book, “Narcotic Nation”, is being published by Taylor Street Books; and my chick lit book is being published by SkyHorse Publishing.
Was it the right choice for you?
Oh, yes. Self-publishing is such a shot in the dark. There are literally millions of writers out there, hawking their work. It’s a 24-hr-a-day job. I have a professional publicist, and two houses publishing my stuff…and I’m STILL online constantly, to make sure that when my books come out, they do well!!
How are you promoting your book thus far?
Both my publishers have great publicity departments, and I also hired Charlie Barrett, one of the most lauded literary publicists in the country. And there’s tons of social media out there!
How is that going for you?
I’ll let you know!!
Can you tell us one thing you have done that actually resulted in one or more sales?
LinkedIn,for me, has been invaluable. That’s where I found both my publishers and my manager, Ginger Liu.
Do you have another job besides writing?
Are you kidding?? I barely have time to feed my children and breathe after I’m done writing and promoting!!!
If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?
Hire a publicist. It’ll cost you some money, but find some friends to invest in you. These are people who have spent years if not decades developing contacts to let the right people know about your work. Without a publicist, your book literally has a lottery winner’s chance of catching fire.
Also…ENOUGH WITH THE VAMPIRES!! IT’S BEEN DONE!! If I see ONE more book about vampires, I’ll puke through my nose, I swear to GOD…there are plenty of other supernatural creatures that AREN’T vampires!!!
What’s next for you?
Selling the film rights to my works, which my management team is already on. I have a pilot in development, called “Thinking With Your Ring Finger”; I’m working on a y/a fantasy series, the first of which is called “Tale the First of the Village Mage and the Mysterious Girl who Sleeps in the Heather. I’m working on sequels for both “She F*&king Hates Me: A Love Story” and “Narcotic Nation”. And finally, a web series based on my play, “I AM A GIRL!!” about the fact that every woman who ever rocked this world did so by making up her mind she wouldn’t quit… and all any young has to do is the same.
Can you tell us where we can find you on the web?
www.scarlettsavage.com; FaceBook Scarlett Savage, Santa Monica; Twitter, ScarlettSavage6