FACETIME- No lie: Honenberger's career takes off

Sarah Honenberger appears to be on the way up as a writer, despite having just started in 2001 after leaving her job in family law. She still administers a couple of trusts and dabbles in the occasional real estate deal, but her most creative pursuit is the one that has her chasing down the elusive perfect paragraph. After taking second place in the Hook's annual fiction contest in 2002, she worked her way up to first place by 2004 and is currently celebrating the release of her first novel.

White Lies, released by Cedar Creek Publishing December 1, will get filed under fiction– just like her award-winning short stories– but actually that's slightly disingenuous. It's actually nonfiction all dressed up for the prom, relating the story of a character based on a once-local mother who fights ghosts planted by an infant vaccination gone horribly wrong.

"White Lies is Erin Brokovich meets Lorenzo's Oil," says Honenberger. "I think most people who read nowadays want to learn something. They don't want to be lectured to, but I think that's why nonfiction sells so well."

And she can be forgiven for adding a little Jerry Bruckheimer along the way if it gets the book into the hands of a reading public that may not think twice about pumping their kids full of creepy-crawlies.

"I'm not against vaccines," she says. "It's just that unknowing, willy-nilly use of vaccines is crazy. 

"It's a bigger story than it was a year ago when they declared the autism incidence an epidemic. That's a major shift," she continues, "and now there's lots of legislation that the parents are driving in Congress."

But despite her aptitude as an educator and an entertainer, the 53-year-old Honenberger says that her real talent lies in editing. "I'm dangerous with a red pen," she says. "I can really hurt people's feelings."

Bonnie Holmberg has subjected herself to a healthy dose of that as a member of Honenberger's writing critique group, but she doesn't seem to hold a grudge.  

"She really gives great critiques," Holmberg says. "She can spot a cliché a mile away. She doesn't let us get away with any cheap shots."  

That's because Honenberger has bigger literary fish to fry. "There should be two layers to the story: a story that's happening on the surface, but underneath that there has to be a resonance," she says. "Why do men fight wars? How far will a mother go? If your story doesn't have that resonance, people aren't going to read it ten years from now."

Whoops. Good thing the Hook's a weekly!

Sarah Honenberger


1 comment

Thank you to the HooK. Books are available at New Dominion, and more about the vaccine story can be found at www.readwhitelies.com.