TV Remotes and Stephen King: An Interview with Sarah Henry

Sarah Henry is a high school teacher who made her NiTH debut a few weeks ago with Batteries, a Dystopian Science Fiction story in a bleak, climate wrecked future. I reached out to Sarah to chat about her motivations for writing, and how to keep a good writing habit.

Batteries remains a popular story. What prompted the idea, initially?

I never seem to have fresh batteries for my TV remote, it’s really annoying actually, I end up shouting at the remote and hitting it against the palm of my hand to try to get a bit more life out of the dying batteries fuelling it. Seriously though, I thought it would be interesting to create a world that was disintegrating due to the misuse of our environment while people are still seriously, sometimes fatally, concerned with the little things they think they need for survival. I like the tension between the casual acceptance of our loss of natural environment, and even our natural bodies, with our obsession with man made commodities.

Do you have a writing process?

I have been trying to write at least 15 minutes every day. I’m a high school teacher, so I have summers off and can spend as much time as I want writing. Contests and prompts help guide my writing and act as motivation to keep up a daily practice.

What are the main factors that contribute to your writing habit?

Time and energy. I think we only have so much creative energy available to us at a time and teaching does take a lot of the creativity and energy I would use for writing. On the other hand, it provides a nice balance because it keeps me out of my head – writing all day can make me feel crazy.

What are you reading at the moment?

Right now I’m reading Doctor Sleep by Stephen King – it’s the sequel to The Shining, and not as creepy but certainly interesting. I admire the way King has been able to be such a prolific and popular writer.

Are there any stories on NiTH you’ve found pretty good? What about fav authors?

I’m a sucker for stories that crackle when you read them – ones that are witty and smart. NiTH seems to attract plenty of writers who produce stories like this. My favorite authors are Gabriel Garcia Marquez because I love magical realism and he does it well, and Milan Kundera, whose writing is not only philosophical but challenges the traditional roles of author and reader – I like authors that can “meta” their role in the text – The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles is another good one for that.

Where can we find more of your writing?

I have had two short-listed stories on Mash Stories – “Phyllis” and “Violet and Gray Teeth.” “Violet and Gray Teeth” was narrated by Lorelei King in the podcast version of the story – she picked it out of the short-listed stories because she said she liked how darkly funny it was. I still feel completely honored and star-struck by that compliment!

That’s Incredible. On that note, thanks for taking the time to chat with us.