Interview with Scarlett Archer, author of '1001 First Lines'

Scarlett Rugers (writing as Scarlett Archer) has just released a book 1001 First Lines which is now available at Amazon! You can purchase a paperback, .lit, .epub, .mobi and PDF versions here:

She has been writing for over fifteen years, completed over eleven novels, and her main drive is in speculative fiction or its contrasting opposite romantic comedic novels. She has a passion for studying the art of story telling and is a grand lover of movies. Her focus in work is book cover designs which enables her to put all her energy in to the area she loves most- literature.

You can visit her website at

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Scarlett.  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

I wanted to write a really good first line. That’s it. One of the best things I learned was if you want to be the best, do world’s best practice. Experience the average, the worst, and the ones that can’t be pigeon holed. That’s how 1001 First Lines came about.

I wanted to compare different genres, not just display the best. Everyone can Google the best, there are multiple sites that’ll give that up. But what if you want to see the norm of your own genre? If you write chic lit, horror, or science fiction- what’s the standard opening line that so many others use?

Did you know chic lit authors love starting in April, in New York, as the woman is fumbling around with something, casually mentioning her luxurious brand-name bag/shoes/outfit? It’s that sort of constant writing echo I like recognizing- and pulling away from.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

Non-Fiction can still be creative. You can write in your own voice and make it edgy and fun.
Reference is tedious. There’s no point at which you can say “Wow yeah now I’m getting in to it!” or “Ah, thank Frank that chapter is over, now I can write what I’ve been dying to.” It’s just data entry, ongoing for months and months. And then more, after you have to revise it and then revise it again.

So my tips? Mini goals. That’s the only way you can do something like this. Stop seeing the end result and just do it every day, working through the tiniest goals to make you feel like you’re making progress.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

I self-published. My graphic design experience put me in that position where I could do the design and layout from front to back. I’m pedantic so it was important to me to have the say on everything. As a book cover designer for self-published authors I get a pretty detailed industry view. As a business woman I felt obliged to take it into my own hands. I never try and miss an opportunity!

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

It was non-fiction which was first. I’ve been writing for over fifteen years and my first publication is non-fiction? I’m happy with it, but it was a surprise.

Q: Can you describe the feeling you had when you saw your published book for the first time?

A: A happy nuclear explosion. The end.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

The first is Oscar & Josephine, a love story about death. A quick fic novella about a brother and sister who, through desperation, end up cursed. They’re forced into immortality in their six-year-old and nineteen-year-old bodies. The story is how they cope through the decades, trying to adapt, doing what they can to kick start their aging once again. This will be published between July-September 2012

The second is a dark retelling of The Wizard of Oz, in a modern environment, which involves organ transplants, dirty alleys and a Guy Richie/Quentin Tarantino-style narrative. I’m aiming for this to be ready for publication by 2014.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

Acknowledge your competition. Learn from the best. Enjoy the smallest, simplest, and powerful element that is the first line.
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

 I’m honoured to be here! I hope my book gives as much insight in to other writers as it has me.

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