Catching up with Author Sasha Greene

Today, I am thrilled to welcome author, Sasha Greene.

Sasha Greene

She is a writer and computer programmer who lives in Glasgow, and struggles to stop the books in her house from multiplying mysteriously and overflowing on the bookshelves. (I think many of us can relate to that). Sasha is also an adaptive snowboard instructor, in which she passes on her love of mountains and racing down a hill to people with physical and mental challenges.

I asked Sasha about her debut novel, Something like Happy, and being an author.

Please note that some of the content in this post talks about mental health and suicide.

Tell us what inspired you to write Something Like Happy? 

I’ve always wanted to set a book in Glasgow, because it’s such an amazing city and it tends to get passed over in favour of more glamorous locations. I also really wanted to write a book which touched on the theme of mental health in a positive way, because there is still so much stigma regarding the topic, especially around suicide. There are so many people who seem to be fine at first glance but are actually really struggling with their mental health on a daily basis. All these people inspired me to create my characters, Jade and Nick, who are just doing their best to navigate their way through the issues they’re facing. 

When did you start writing seriously? 

When I was a child, I was very serious about my writing. I wrote fairy tales about witches and talking houses and illustrated them too. I still have copies of them somewhere. I think I was about 15 when I tried to write a historical crime romance story. It wasn’t very good (I know, because I still have a copy of it!) and I think I got a bit disheartened and gave up on writing. I didn’t start writing seriously again until about eight years ago, when I found a course run by Kate Walker on writing romance. She encouraged me to apply to the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme, and the rest is history. 

What do you love most about being an author?

There are so many things it’s hard to pick! Seeing my book and being able to physically turn the pages was so exciting. Getting my first five-star review was exhilarating. But I think the most amazing experience was when someone told me that they had given the book to a friend who never reads books and they loved it and now they want to read more. Knowing that I’ve helped someone to find a joy in reading is something I really treasure.

What are you working on now?

I’m writing a follow-up to Something Like Happy, where one of the supporting characters gets his own story. It’s about two people who have both been through traumatic experiences and need to figure out if they can trust each other. PTSD is quite a challenging topic to write about, so it’s taking a lot of work and research but I’m really excited by how it’s all finally starting to come together. It’s going to be another great story.

What do you hope readers will take away from Something Like Happy?

I really like the title of the book because it’s a good reminder that life will not always be happy, but as long as it’s something like happy, then that’s enough. Most of all, it’s just a good story that I hope people will love reading, but if it also gets people talking about mental health then that would be great. I went through a period where I had some serious issues with my mental health, and reading positive stories was what kept me going. Everyone deserves a happy ending.

You can follow Sasha on her website and on Twitter.

More about the book:


Something Like Happy is an emotional and thought-provoking novel about friendship, love and day-to-day struggles with mental health. Jade is just trying to get by. She doesn’t want to talk about it. She doesn’t want a fuss. But one day she meets Nick and everything changes.

Out of the most difficult of situations, Nick and Jade’s friendship grows into something neither never knew they needed. Jade used to be sure that she was better off alone. But could it be that together, with Nick by her side, she can start to feel something like happy again?

Where can you get it?

Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Kobo | Waterstones | WHSmith | Booktopia | Dymocks | Angus & Robertson


New Year’s Absolutions 2020


It’s that time again! Time to reflect on the year that was and absolve myself from those niggling ‘shoulds’ that I just can’t bring myself to do.

So, in time for the kick-off to the 2020s, I absolve myself of …

Finishing my ‘to be read’ list before buying new books

I LOVE books – as in, I love them so much I should marry them. I once said that if the TBR list on my Kindle was a stack of books on my bedside table and it fell on me in the night, it would crush me and I would die.

That’s still true.

And even though I feel guilty about the ones I haven’t read yet, I won’t stop buying books. It’s because of that moment when I’m contemplating ‘next read’ and I have so many options that I can find exactly what I’m in the mood for.

So, no more guilt. I’ll just keep buying all the books. BUYING. ALL. THE. BOOKS!

Taking up running (again)

I used to be a runner. I ran here, I ran there, I ran all over the darned place. Then I got runner’s arthritis and had foot surgery (it hurt worse than the arthritis for more than a year). And I kept promising myself I’d get back to running, because the truth is (and I know that may change what you think of me), I love to run.


It’s my meditation, it clears my head at the end of a long day, it fuels my creativity, it revs me up at the start of the day, and it does wonders for my legs. Or, it did. It’s been years since I ran regularly. It’s just too painful on that foot – not during the run, but afterwards and sometimes for days.

Still, that niggling promise rears its head from time to time.

So, new promise: no more running. I am, however, contemplating a new spin bike…

Doing keto

Keto is a fantastic way for some people to manage their sugar sensitivity, break their sugar addiction, lose weight, and live a healthy life. (BTW, if you think keto is eating as much bacon as you like, that’s not accurate and it’s worth reading up.)

Yet …

Having tried several stints of keto over the past 18 months, ever since I started learning about the health benefits, I know for sure that it is not for me.

I have a sensitivity to artificial sweeteners and to high fat food, even if it is good fat. I never get to the point where I feel great and have loads of energy. Keto has never once made me feel better, so never again.

However, I do intermittent fasting (intermittently – a couple of times a week) and that works amazingly to make me feel great.

Going 100% digital

My partner, Ben, is something of a tech aficionado and he’s tech savvy to the point of savantness. Thinking back over 2019, I can count the times I’ve seen him put pen to paper on one hand – and they were signing cards or documents.

I, on the other hand, am passionate about all things paper. I write lists, I scribble reminders on Post-its, I muse into notebooks (love me a good notebook), I write my character profiles by hand, and in my day job, I will sketch out plans and ideas on butcher’s paper. A stationery store is the mother ship to me.

So, no matter how many tech tools get designed and made to replicate all these paper-driven activities, I will fiercely hold onto my pen and will wield it to organise, plan, pontificate, create, and remind.

After all, the pen is mightier than the latest piece of software.

That’s all for this year. I wish you all the best for 2020 – may it be filled with grand adventures and lots of what makes you happy.

And remember to add a comment to this post with your absolutions …



Writing with abandon

by larryfire

I have been writing a book for nearly a decade.

When I type out those words it seems impossible that it has been that long, but it is true. Nine years ago I started penning a travel biography about my time in the UK and Europe from ’96 to ’97.  I began this project old-school; I literally wrote the first draft.  By hand. Onto paper. With a pen.

I still have the first draft packed into a box in a friend’s attic in Sydney.  In the book’s first incarnation, chapters either read like journal entries or as essays. It took about 2 months to get everything down on paper.

I then began systematically typing it into a borrowed laptop. Technology was relatively primitive back then so I backed-up my files onto floppies. As I re-drafted over the years, the thumb drive changed my life, and I put the floppies away with the first draft. Then came an external hard-drive, and now my book (a wholly different-looking beast than how it had began) lives in The Cloud.

But I digress…

Once it was input into electronic form, I worked away at my book in spits and spurts. I wrote about the process in a previous post (Write Now!), so I won’t bore you with it again.  The last line of that post says, “Yes, I need to get back to my book.”  And yet, here I sit some 6 months later, and I have managed to squeeze out a paltry 4 chapters.

To change the subject, I saw an old friend last weekend. Well, she is not old, but we have known each other for the better part of 20 years. She, too, loves an American and lives in the U.S. A work trip afforded me the chance to see her and meet her husband (lovely bloke). The fates smiled on me doubly, as I was able to take more away from the reunion than the simple pleasure of catching up.

Larissa (her real name) is a creative type too. We met studying for our respective Bachelor of Arts degrees, both with a major in Theater Arts. She has come full circle after some professional detours and is currently rehearsing a Sam Shepherd play, and is a voice over artist and teacher. I, too, have had some professional detours from the stage, which is why I know I love to write.

I moaned to Larissa that I have no motivation to write my book at the moment. Or any moment, really. I work at a computer eight hours a day, and while I mostly love my job, it does not inspire me to sit at a computer when I am not there. There are many things I would rather do when I am at not at work: reading (Oh, how I love other people’s books!), running, movies, conversation, cleaning, laundry, and a thousand other things that seem more appealing that the thing that I supposedly love to do most.

I also mention to Larissa that I am inspired by something else at the moment.

I want to write the story of how I met Ben, of how we fell in love while living a world apart, and how I ended up packing up my life and moving to another country to live with a man I had yet to spend more than 5 consecutive weeks with. I want to write about that.

But there’s The Book…

How do I abandon one book to start another? Will I ever finish it if I keep finding distractions – literary or otherwise?

Yes. No. Maybe.

Which brings me back to my conversation with Larissa.  “You are not abandoning your book. You are putting it away so that you can follow inspiration. You can always come back to it later.”

She said this while we were walking through Whole Foods looking for the ingredients for my Quinoa/Wild Rice Salad. Suddenly, right there next to the bulk bins, it made sense. I needed to give myself permission to abandon my book, so that I can follow what inspires me now.

On the flight home I scribbled furiously into a scribbler pad. I filled 20 or so pages and there is (much) more to come. A lot of the content has already been written and will come from travel journals, emails,and accounts that I wrote for us after our trips together.

In the car on the way home from the airport, I recounted my epiphany (thanks, Larissa) to Ben. He recalled that a favorite author of his said, and I am paraphrasing, “Some of my best work happens when I am procrastinating from the work that I am supposed to be doing.”

I have asked Ben’s permission to be candid. He has given it. I think. For weeks now the first lines have been bouncing around inside my head. “It seems a little ‘hokey’ to say that I dreamed about Ben before I met him. But I did.” Since deciding to abandon my book, those words are on paper now.

Oh, and recipe for the salad to follow. It is incredible – no, really!

Write now!

I want to get back to writing my book.  Let me qualify that: I need to get back to writing my book.

My book starts as a series of journal entries (both personal and travel) and letters in 1996 and ‘97, long before I know I will write a book.

In 2001, I start writing chapters, by hand.  The chapters flesh out story snippets and descriptions of people and places.  The chapters expound on inner turmoil, extreme loneliness and a budding thirst for a less-ordinary life.

By the end of 2001, I am typing these chapters into a computer, adding more details, more perspective and more poetry to my word count.

I print out what I consider the second draft and edit onto the pages.  Like the cliché that I am, I carry dog-eared pages with me everywhere, reading and re-reading the story of me.  My book, a travel biography, begins to take shape and I move chapters, fool around with format and finally settle on a 3-part tome.

Part One. Narrative. Documenting the end of life as I know it.  My alone-ness.  My fear of drowning.  My knowledge that doing something, anything, is better than doing nothing.  Not knowing what ‘something’ to do.

Part Two. Narrative.  A journey in a wide circle.  Defeat.  Triumph.  Forging relationships.  Learning that I don’t know everything.  Learning that I know a lot.  Drinking in facts and places and more people.

Part Three.  Episodic.  The circles continue, concentric, overlapping, my life a Venn diagram.  Hating myself.  Loving myself.  Losing myself to excess and pretended celebrity.  Stillness.  Silence.  Sleep and a momentum that ultimately forces a new trajectory.

Years pass.

I occasionally dust off a printed copy.  What draft is this?  Eight?  Eleven?  I lose track.

“I am in love with this,” says a friend.  “But it should be a novel.  It should be in the third-person.”  I disagree, and re-write chapter one for the fifty-millionth time.  Each time I re-write it I love it more.

“It’s wonderful, Sweetie,” says my mother.  “She has to say that,” I think.  But she actually does love it.

I feed it in cruel increments to willing and select friends.  I want critics, not sycophants to read it.  Only that will make it better.  I write in sporadic and manic phases.  I accomplish much, then nothing for months, years.

In 2009, I sit in modest, yet well-decorated apartment in a foreign city, and I read chapter one.  “This should be a novel, in the third-person,” I think and I smile.  It has taken me years to get to this point.  I tell my friend, herself a writer, a successful one.  She is pleased.

I dig out the letters and journals from a decade before, all brought from my homeland for this very purpose, and I read.  I remember a girl I once knew, one who loved passionately and had her hopes crippled.  I think of her fondly as I might think of a distant relative I was once close to.  She saddens and angers me, yet I know I will always be protective of her.  She is, after all, me.

I return to the keyboard, and I start at the beginning, a very good place to start.

Chapter one.

I write the story of a young woman called Sarah.  She has a whole life, most of which I have yet to discover and some of which echoes my own life.  I love her, as fiercely as I love the girl in the journals and hand-written lengthy letters collected by loving parents and returned years afterwards.

I feed it to a new friend in meaty chunks.  She wants more.

It flows out of me, like a mother’s milk.  Chapter one.  Two.  Three.  Six.  And then, nothing.

Months later I return to the pages I wrote and do not recognize the words.  “Who wrote this?” I wonder and then remind myself that I did.  These words are mine.  And they are good.

Yes, I need to get back to my book.