We were excited to interview Sarah Turner, freelance writer and Sunday Times bestselling author. Her first book, The Unmumsy Mum, has its roots in her parenting blog by the same name, which documents the good, the bad and the ugly bits of motherhood. Sarah lives in Devon with her husband and their two boys.
How did you get into blogging?
In all honesty I kind of fell into it! I knew that I wanted to start documenting my experience of motherhood and blogging seemed to be the modern ‘done thing’ if you had something you wanted to share with the world. I’m so glad I talked myself into setting up online as a ‘blogger’ and submitting that very first post. It has proved to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Tell us about the book you released in February.
Well, loosely based on my blog by the same name, The Unmumsy Mum is an extended account of going from zero to two children in the space of three years. It’s a proper ‘warts and all’ adventure following the humorous aspects of daily life with kids alongside some of the more poignant and serious moments.
What are your current favourite blogs to follow?
I follow a wide variety of other blogs, too many to mention, but I actually refrain from reading almost all other blog posts, unless I need to, for as long as I am book-writing (I am now working on my second book). The reason for this is that I have a deep-rooted fear that I might unintentionally absorb something I’ve read and regurgitate it when I’m penning book chapters. I would hate that. Inevitably parenting blogs cover the same topics time and again but if I haven’t read it, I can’t copy it!
What do you consider the key to blogging?
Honesty. I don’t just mean being honest about life in general, but also being honest about the style of writing (or vlogging, if that’s your cup of tea) and the overall vibe that you’re going for. If you’re somebody who loves baking or crafts or make-up tutorials then these might be the most natural things for you to blog/vlog about. If these things are ‘not you’ it kind of seems pointless, in my opinion, to try and morph yourself into somebody who looks comfortable doing these things. I have read so many blogs where it seems like the author is trying to match a certain formula they deem to be successful and somewhere along the line it just feels forced. ‘Be yourself’ is an age-old clichÃ© but when it comes to blogging I think it’s probably the best advice.
What’s your favourite family recipe?
I’m not much of a cook but a firm favourite for us is a Jamie Oliver Tandoori Salmon recipe (with cucumber yoghurt served on naan breads) that we’ve been rustling up for years. It’s quick, easy and yum.
You don’t come across as the typical mum blogger, how do you think you differ?
That’s a difficult question – I’m not so sure there is such a thing as the ‘typical mum blogger’ anymore. Above all, the aforementioned honesty has served me well and at times I think this has set me apart from other bloggers. That’s not to say that there aren’t other honest blogs around (there are) but when I first launched the Facebook page it did seem that people started following because they trusted they would get a snapshot of the reality of life with small children (and not the glossy airbrushed version they had witnessed elsewhere).
For the budding authors out there, have you any top tips for writing a book?
Yes. Don’t expect to feel at all satisfied with the first draft! I had so many crises of confidence writing the first book that at one stage it was very difficult to envisage that it would ever be printed. It’s all about the creative process (apparently).
Tell us a bit about BISS ‘Because I Said So’, your new blogging platform. It looks like a group of awesome mamas.
I was so keen to get involved with BISS, not just because it allows me to break my own rule about blog-reading (and read some posts that are possibly from brand new bloggers) but also because judging these posts adds a whole new dynamic to what I do. It’s an absolute privilege to be considered worthy of being a judge.
Have you got anything exciting in the works or coming up?
I have but I’m not allowed to talk about some of it. That sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Honestly though, I could start yapping and get myself into trouble so I’ll just say watch this space…
How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
Friendly, with the tendency to over-think everything.