According to high school themed TV shows, you’re supposed to spend your high school years getting wasted at Friday night football games, preparing for school dances, and getting caught up in relationships you probably won’t care about in a few years. SARAH HAMILTON, however, decided to follow her own path. The 19-year-old author promised herself when she was young that she would publish a book in high school. And like the trailblazer she is, she did exactly that. Hamilton’s book, The Enchantress, follows Scarlette, a young girl that finds herself living in a twisted fairytale after she makes a wish on her sweet sixteen. Like Scarlette, Hamilton lives in a fairytale world where she doesn’t need a prince or singing mice to make her dream come true. All she ever needed was her soul and some pen and paper.
First of all, I want to say congratulations for publishing a book, especially at such a young age! Do you ever feel like people underestimate you because of your age? If so, why?
SH – Thank you so much! I have been very fortunate to have been surrounded by people who support what I do but to be fair, I feel like a lot of the time, if anything, I am simply underestimating myself. It is so easy – especially when you are young – to feel that you are “too young” or “too inexperienced” to do something. There are all of these social structures around what one can and cannot accomplish due to so many variables. I truly believe that if there is anything that anybody wants to do, they should be able to accomplish that. Believing in oneself and staying determined to keep following dreams and goals is truly such a powerful thing.
Did your peers treat you differently once you got published?
SH – People definitely started to see me differently, I think, after the release of my first book. I remember getting more attention than before, even from people who wouldn’t regularly talk to me. I also got the opportunity to meet other classmates who were also inspired and wanted to accomplish similar goals and that was when I realized that my image had shifted a bit. Of course, I was still the same me, but more people got to see my passions and work ethics. Truly, I think that I got a lot of my confidence today from that.
I really admire how fearlessly multi-faceted you are. At 19, it can really feel like the world is yours, ready to be conquered. However, we all experience bumps in the road along the way. What was your biggest “bump in the road” experience so far?
SH – I would say that my biggest “bump in the road” would definitely be the emotional hurdle I had to face when figuring out college. It was right after the release of The Enchantress (a Royalty Status novel) when I really had to figure out my plans for college, and with my typically dramatic mindset, that time became difficult. I knew where my passions lied and I came to terms that I wanted to go to LA for college, but I had always been someone who loved my life and those within it back in New York. It was difficult to say goodbye to this entire world of mine that I knew and loved. Telling family and friends that I wanted to be on the other side of the country for school was hard especially but as it all turned out, that was the best decision I ever made. Taking the leap from high school in New York to college in California was very emotional but most definitely, one of the most rewarding decisions.
Because you love reading, I think it’s safe to assume you know your Hogwarts House. Are you a Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw… or Slytherin?
SH – Ah yes! I have always believed myself to be a Ravenclaw, but every now and then I seem to be sorted as a Gryffindor from friends and such.
You’ve proved to us all that your love for fiction knows no bounds. Do you like to dabble in any other forms of writing? Poetry, short stories, journalism?
SH – Oh my goodness, yes I do! I have always been writing, both personally and publicly. Other than novels, I really love writing poetry and short stories as well. I am in the works of writing more song lyrics and I also really love journaling too! Since freshman year of high school I have been running a blog, Locker Styler where I write regularly about various things in various ways. Also, as a film and television production major, I have been writing a lot of scripts lately as well! There are so many notebooks, sticky-notes, and napkins filled with writing prompts and ideas too, which I like to consider my “unfinished business”. I am always writing something!
Write a haiku about how it feels to be published for the first time.
New book, new story
A forever dream come true
A whole new chapter
… being published for the first time is such an incredible experience! It’s going to take a whole lot of extra syllables to explain them all.
Most artists love all mediums of art, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that you love writing, filmmaking, photography, and acting. Do you ever feel like people try to put you in a box despite how versatile you are? If so, how do you prove them wrong?
SH – This is definitely something I have been noticing a lot lately, actually. There seems to be split ideas about being great at a wide variety of things or mastering the art of just one – maybe two. Personally, I love being involved with all sorts of art forms because they usually connect in so many ways. For example, I believe that I am a better filmmaker because I act and vice versa. Same applies to writing. That being said, people know me for different things in which I do and sometimes I feel like that does place me in a box. As a writer, people think I am always writing and as a filmmaker, I am thought of to always be on sets and such and making films. I have been in the works of expanding my YouTube channel and really having this debate with myself of how to really bring everything that I love to do together without branding myself as just a writer/filmmaker/actress/etcetera. However, I just try to do the best I can on a regular basis to be involved with as much as I can with all of my interests.
What advice do you have for young artists trying to get their name out there?
SH – My best advice for young artists is most definitely to keep doing whatever it is you love and really create art for yourself first. Sometimes, there may not always be recognition but regardless, if you love what you do and do what you love (as cliche as that may sound), that is truly what matters! In today’s world, we have access to social media and so many creative outlets to share, inspire, and create which is another fantastic way to get yourself out there. Everything takes time, but if you take action with your life and really commit to your art, that’s where the magic happens. It’s true that people are passionate about what you are passionate about!
While we all love fairytales, they can sometimes be a bit outdated. What’s one classic fairytale cliché you think will always be timeless?
SH – I absolutely love fairytales… which is why my first book happens to be one! One classic fairytale cliché though that I love and have most definitely brought into my own novel is the power of hope and belief. Through the ups and downs of life, keeping hope, belief and positivity is probably one of the most important things you could possibly do. In the words of the ABC TV show, Once Upon a Time, “believing in even the possibility of a happy ending is a very powerful thing”.
Behind every writer is another writer that inspired them to write. Who was yours?
SH – I have been writing and reading for as long as I can remember so writing has always just been a natural passion of mine. However, I remember specifically reading a magazine article in third grade about Nancy Yi Fan who wrote and published her first novel by the age of twelve. While I have been inspired by many authors, this was my first encounter with an author closer to my age. This inspired me to not only write and publish a book of my own (which had always been a dream of mine), but also do so before graduating from high school. This has also prompted a lot of my drive to inspire others to follow their passions and dreams without the limitations of being “too young”.
For some of us it’s coffee, for others it’s a nice playlist filled with acoustic tunes. What do you find helps you sit down and write?
SH – I absolutely love coffee, tea and cinematic music to help along my writing! I also love changing locations as well. Sometimes, I want to be writing outside of a cafe on a sunny morning and other times, I am writing in bed late at night. Changing up my location definitely helps my writing and music plays such a big part. With being so involved with filmmaking, I write everything while imagining it like a movie. Finding the right music to listen to while writing keeps me in the right mindset based on mood and tone. Inspiration wise, sometimes I become inspired by reading and writing. Other times, I am simply inspired when walking around, exploring, or just living life.
Because I know you love to inspire others, would you be so kind to end this interview with some inspiring last words for our readers?
SH – My best advice is to do whatever it is that you really enjoy doing, find your passions and then do it! Taking control of your own life and keeping positivity is also key. There are so many incredible opportunities out there and if you believe in yourself and stay dedicated, those dreams really can come true!