Sara Lunsford was a segregation officer at an all male maximum security facility and promoted to the rank of sergeant before leaving corrections to pursue a full time writing career. Sara’s fiction has been published under pseudonyms in magazines, anthologies and novel length work. She is currently working on other nonfiction projects.
I already have an audience as Saranna and have continued using my romance name to advertise and promote the memoir.
What books are you currently reading?
Killer Elite by Ranulph Fiennes
By the Blood of Heroes by Joseph Nassise
No Mercy by Jenna McCormick
What are your favorite books?
That's like asking me to only eat one chip. It's too hard to choose. I love so many different books and read across genre. There's too many to name, but I'll try to list a few.
Phantom by Susan Kay
No Mercy by Jenna McCormick
Dracula by Bram Stoker
IAD series by Kresley Cole
Ravenous by Ray Garton
The Collection by Bentley Little
The Truth About Beauty by Kat James
What books would you recommend to your readers?
The Truth About Beauty by Kat James.
Any message to your readers?
You can choose to be happy.
What is your book about? Please provide a description.
This project chronicles a year in the life of a female officer behind the walls of a maximum security male facility, with a special focus on segregation (solitary) where the author had daily contact with serial killers some so charismatic officers were only allowed to interact with him in pairs and on camera. The memoir explores the male/female dynamic in this environment, as well as issues facing female officers not only from inmates but from other staff.
But the exposition doesn’t stop at the gate as if one could shrug off the world with the uniform—this is an uncensored look at the job and the effects it had on the whole of this officer’s life from personal relationships, her mother’s cancer, dealing with rape, to chemical dependence and the anti-social, sociopathic tendencies that emerge as defense and coping mechanisms. It runs the gamut of what the best and worst humanity has to offer in both staff and inmates told with the “gallows humor” that’s a mainstay of the environment.
How long have you been at work on this book?
Two years, off and on. I rewrote the entire book.
How did the idea originate?
People were always asking me for more prison stories, so I thought there would be a market for the book. The first draft was more like a Girl's Guide to Prison, but after talking to my agent and she asked me about the overreaching story arc, I knew I had to dig deeper. I knew it had to be more about me. So I decided to do it, to tell everything. It was both hard and easy at the same time. Easy because I came through it and I know there are other people in dark places like the place where I was. People who have no voice. But it was hard because I knew everyone would see all my weaknesses. The flaws I'm okay with sharing, because I see them and I accept them. Weakness has always made my stomach turn, so to see that in myself and show it to everyone else, that was the hardest part.
Did the book entail any unusual writing habits or places?
Yes. Bawling while I typed. I'm not the kind of woman who cries. I had both of my children sans epidural, have set broken and dislocated bones without uttering a sound, but writing this made me cry like a little girl. So that was very unusual for me.