Spotlight Thursday: Sara Tompkins

It’s Thursday, so there must be another Golden Heart® finalist to meet!

Sara Tompkins Author PhotoI caught Sara Tompkins in the midst of a ballet recital rehearsal and packing up her household. More on that in just a sec.

Welcome, Sara!

Please tell us a bit about your Golden Heart® Inspirational finalist manuscript. Is this your first time entering?

Better Than a Movie features a young legal assistant who aspires to become a litigator. She’s obsessed with movies and has carefully scripted her life to ensure a happy Hollywood ending. Things go off script, though, when her irrepressible teenage niece comes to live with her and she falls for her niece’s shy school counselor. The manuscript is about learning to let God write the script of our lives. This is my first time entering the Golden Heart® contest and the second writing contest I’ve ever entered. I submitted the manuscript on a last minute whim, with no expectation of winning!

Sounds like a fun premise. Now, on to the important question: chocolate or peanut butter?

My friends tell me I am the only woman in America who doesn’t love chocolate. My ten-old-daughter doesn’t either, so maybe it’s a genetic aversion! Peanut butter and apples, though? Yum.

You know, I’ve heard of people who don’t like chocolate but I thought it was an urban myth. What’s your day job?

I’m an attorney and have spent most of my career working with refugees. I’ve done stints at various refugee resettlement organizations and spent a few years at the State Department. I’m really passionate about helping persecuted people, particularly those resettling in the United States. I’m also passionate about my two school-aged kiddos, though, and recently left my busy career to focus on them. It’s hard for a mommy who is scooting off to the Middle East to drive the soccer carpool!

I’ve always loved great escapist fiction, especially after the grim stories of war and displacement I’d face at work. There’s nothing like some yummy chick lit to redeem a hard day. In a flash of insanity, I decided to write my own novel. It turned into a little adventure story I used to affectionately call, Sara Attempts to Write a Book and Wonders Most Days What She Was Thinking. Critiquing a novel is so much easier than actually writing one, isn’t it? Man, has the process been humbling! But I love it.

Wow, your passion comes through! I agree, nothing works like a little chick lit to escape the heaviness of life. Although of course, for most of us, it’s chick lit and chocolate. Winking smile  Tell us a bit about yourself. Family, hobbies, etc.

Right now my life is in transition. My husband just accepted a job at the U.S. Attorney’s office in Los Angeles, and we are moving our two kids and two naughty dachshunds from Washington D.C. to California. Goodbye Capitol Hill, hello Hollywood!

I spent a few days in the D.C. area in September 2011 and wondered how I would have survived an August there with the humidity. I’m betting LA weather will be a lovely revelation for you. Who are your favorite authors? Your go-tos for fiction?

I love a lot of authors and genres, but some books I’ve enjoyed recently are Me Before You, The Husband’s Secret, My Name is Russell Fink, and The Rosie Project.

Oh, I loved The Husband’s Secret, too! Are you coming to San Antonio this summer and what are you looking forward to most? What are you wearing to the awards banquet?

I am coming to San Antonio! I’ve never been to a writing conference in my life, large or small, so it should be an adventure the size of Texas. Just thinking about a dress stresses me out! Did you have to ask about that? Seriously, Carrie, I’m sending you my therapy bill. This conference is in Texas. Aren’t blue jeans permissible? I mentioned to two of my girlfriends who happen to have a style blog — — that I think this is a dress-up affair, and they quickly jumped into gear advising me to “rent the runway” or something of that sort. I’ll let them pick out a dress because goodness knows I have no clue what to choose.

I clicked through and looked at the blog. I think you’re in good hands! What did you do/think when you got “the call” on March 26th?

When I got the call about the Golden Heart® contest I almost hung up on the caller. I thought she was trying to sell me a time share when she said I’d won something. Not kidding. I forgot I even entered. That’s how little I thought of my chances!

Sheesh, the rest of us were sitting by phone like Kim McAfee in Bye Bye Birdie. What are you currently working on?

My husband and I stayed with our two girls and two doggies at a dog-friendly hotel in the Midwest last winter. I thought the location would make a great setting for a novel. I love the idea of a bunch of very different dogs with very different owners all trapped in an Illinois hotel during a snow storm. It’s still in the development stage, but think uptight D.C. girl who dislikes dogs and warm-hearted hotel employee who rescues dogs in his spare time.

Oh, I would totally read that!

Thanks for stopping by, Sara. I look forward to meeting you for real in San Antonio and best of luck to you!

Thanks Carrie!