Thursday, April 5, 2012

Catching Up with Sarah about These Girls, Writing, and Life

Sarah is visiting us with her new release These Girls.  Sarah we are so glad to have you back with us again at Writer’s Corner.  I have really enjoyed your newest book These Girls.  I think it might be my favorite so far.

Wow - thank you! I'm thrilled to hear that.

What inspired you to write These Girls?

My female friends are so important to me personally, so I really wanted to celebrate the rich, nurturing bonds that women share.  My main characters are three very different women who become roommates in New York City (of course they live in a shoebox sized apartment, because it's New York, after all!) and they form an incredible friendship. My novel is told from alternating points of view of my main characters - Cate, Renee, and Abby - and each of these women is carrying a painful secret that is rooted in their past. But they end up healing one another through the course of the novel.

What specific theme did you want to explore in this novel?
We don't get to choose our families, but we can choose our family of friends. I think that some families can be damaging - my character Abby came from one - and in order to survive, we need to seek out bonds with the people who nurture and uplift us. Even when a family is loving and positive, friendships are vital!

How much research did you have to do about working at a magazine or did you use personal experience?

Both! I interned at a magazine years ago, so I knew a bit about it, but I also convinced a staff writer for one of the big, glossy women's magazines in New York to sneak me into the offices early one morning, when it was deserted. It was so interesting to hear what really happens every day behind the scenes!

What has been the biggest honor you received for your writing?

The news that my first book, The Opposite of Me, went back for an 8th printing recently was incredible! But I think the starred review I received from Library Journal was the biggest honor, because it's a publication written by and for librarians, so that review meant quite a lot. 

What place would you like to travel to for a setting in a future book?

Australia would be an absolute dream. It's one of my top five places to visit someday. My books are all selling there, and I keep hoping to get the chance to visit and, ah, do "research"! Yes, I must go in the name of research! 

How do you manage your time while writing and having family life?

The trick is, I've learned to write anywhere and everywhere. I'm like the fox in the Dr. Suess book - I can do it on a train and in a car and in a park. After dark and in the carpool pick up-line and in the waiting room of the orthodontist's office. If I wait for the perfect circumstances - the charming coffeeshop with great music and a big open stretch of time in which to write - I'd miss all of my deadlines.  

What recipe would you like to share with us?

I'm not a big cook, but I have one quick go-to dish that I always bring when we're going to a friend's house: guacamole! The trick is to buy the avocados and tomato a few days early so they have a chance to become nice and ripe. Here's what you need:

2 avocados
1 tomato, chopped
small bunch of leeks
2 limes 
1small jalapeno pepper, diced (optional)
salt to taste

Mash the avocados with a fork, and add the tomato. Slice the whites and some of the green parts of the leeks and add. Squeeze in the juice of two limes and, if you like it spicy, some or all of the jalapeno. Add salt to taste and serve! 

What is your next project?

I'm so relieved and thrilled that I just finished writing my fourth book and it is currently in the hands of my editor! This is the point in the process where I tend to pace a lot, and bite my nails, until I get a call from her. I also have a contract for books 5 and 6, which is a dream, so once I go through the editing process for my fourth novel, I'll begin writing the fifth!

Are you excited to participate in a signing with Nora Roberts?
Completely excited and a bit star-struck. I've never met her, and was so flattered when I was invited to participate in a signing with her. She's a legend! I'll probably get all tongue-tied and just stare at her, and she'll politely ask security to have me removed. (Kidding! Nora, let me stay!) 

What are three things that you are excited about in this year?

I'm thrilled I've finished my fourth book before my deadline, because that means the summer will be a bit quieter and I can spend a lot of time with my three boys while they're home from school. I can't wait to begin touring for These Girls, and go to some cities I love, like Chicago and New York. And I'm really excited to have signed with a film agent who is going to start shopping my books to Hollywood... it's a long-shot, but then again, I thought seeing my books on shelves at a store was an impossible dream years ago, so I figure it can't hurt to aim high! 

Thanks so much for having me here today - and if any of your readers wants to connect on Facebook or Twitter, I'd love to keep chatting there!

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