Thursday, November 18, 2010

Author Interview: Sara B. Larson

Hi all! Today I have a special treat for you! My good friend Sara B. Larson is an upcoming author and she is doing some blog touring! Since she got her agent I was looking forward to the day when I could feature her!

I think this is a rare treat! How often do you get to hear from an up and coming author before thier book is published? Sara is so close it is inevitably happening and I am very excited (having been one of her beta readers for YEARS!).

Here is a little bit about Sara:
I have been writing since I was in second grade, and have the notebooks full of misspelled stories to prove it. Over the intervening years, my love of writing has grown even stronger, and luckily my spelling has improved as well. I almost got a “marketable degree” as a nurse at BYU, but turned back to writing when that didn’t work out. I live in Utah with my husband, two young sons, and a Maltese named Charlie. I've learned to write during naptime and the hours when most people are sleeping. When I'm not writing, getting shot with nerf guns, or tripping over soccer balls, I can be found wakeboarding at the lake, hiking in the mountains, cooking, or working out at the gym. If all else fails, you can probably find me hiding in a bubble bath with a book and some Swedish Fish. I am represented by the fabulous Hannah Brown Gordon at Foundry Literary + Media.

And now for your enjoyment, my Q&A with her!

1) Why did you want to write books for Young Adults?

SBL: It's what I've always written--as a teen I naturally wrote about other teens. Usually ones that were older than me. When I decided to start writing again as an adult, I tried to write a "grown-up" book my mom would be proud of, something deep, and emotional, and more literary. First of all, it wasn't that great (I could have made it better with some good editing), but secondly--I started experiencing some of the scenes in my book in real life. And not the good ones. The crying in the doctor's office, having to call my husband to tell him bad news ones. I decided I was done with "deep, emotional, grown-up books." I decided to write about things that could never ACTUALLY happen in real life, and turned back to my true love--YA, with a fantastical or paranormal element or twist.

2) What is the number one mistake you made in the process of getting published that you want others to learn from?

SBL: Wow, that's a tough question. So, hmmm, my number one mistake? Not getting enough feedback/critiques done from qualified, knowledgeable people when I finished the first I book I started querying. Even with how much editing/work it needed (and trust me, it needed A LOT of work--I just didn't realize it), I got interest from my so-called "top agent." (I was so naive.) She ended up passing on it, and I'm sure that was in large part to so many beginner mistakes I'd made in my writing. The thing is though, I decided to get more help because of that rejection. I am the writer I am today because of the lessons I learned and the writing advice I got after that experience. So I can't really regret it. But yes, I would definitely say to other aspiring authors--find really good CPs and beta readers who will give you honest, accurate, and supportive critiques. No one writes a publishable book by themselves. At least no one I know.

3) What kinds of books do you write?

SBL: Well, as I said before, I write YA, usually with a fantastical or paranormal element. (Remember how it has to not be able to happen in real life!)

4) What books inspire you?

SBL: I know it's cliche, but the books that inspired me to start writing again, with the real intent of getting published were the Harry Potter books. I think Jo Rowling is a genius. As a teen, one of my favorite books was THE POISONWOOD BIBLE by Barbara Kingsolver. It's still one of my favorites today. Especially if you want to learn how to cultivate voice. That book has five different narrators and each one has a completely unique and believable voice. But there are so many others, I don't even know where to start. Anything that can grab my attention, and force me to keep reading is a book that inspires me. I want to write books that will do that for other people. Some of the most recent ones I've read that did that were DELIRIUM, ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, PARANORMALCY, NIGHTSHADE, MATCHED, SECONDHAND CHARM, and wow, this list could just keep going and going and I know I'm forgetting some, so I'll stop.

5) What is the best thing about being an author?

SBL: Doing what I love! I have always loved writing, ever since I was a very young child. Sitting down to create something that you have complete control over, that you can make beautiful or scary or powerful or triumphant or ANYTHING YOU WANT... that is an amazing feeling. If I can ever see or hear of a reader who loved MY book, and is telling someone else about how much they loved it? That would be the most incredible feeling.

6) What is your writing routine like? Do you have a favorite snack you keep on hand when you're writing?

SBL: I have to cue up my music first and foremost, I must have music to write. I can do it without, but not as well. Music inspires me and helps me hone my emotions into my writing. Then I get cracking! I will usually start a few pages back, rereading what I've written, doing a few minor edits, to get back into the emotion of the scene I'm at and then I just go for it! I usually don't snack while I write. I know, I'm weird! I actually often forget to eat at all. My husband will have to make me stop and eat a meal. But I do LOVE Swedish fish for those times that I do want something on hand.

7) What are your goals as an author?

SBL: I kind of answered this already, but to go into more depth, my goal (and hope) is to see my books on the shelves of a bookstore. Not just because I want to have it be my career (which I do), but more importantly because I want to see someone taking it off of a shelf, and telling their friend how much they loved it. I want to hear people talking about my characters as if they're real people. I would love nothing more than to know that readers love my characters as much as I do. That they crush on my guys, and root for my protagonists, and yeah. That will make everything worth it--all the rejection, all the doubt, and hard work, and more rejection. To witness that is my ultimate goal. Is that asking too much? Maybe. We'll see!

Thank you for having me! I love your blog. :)


Sara B. Larson said...

Thanks for having me! It was fun to do my first real "interview." You (and your blog) are awesome.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Aw, Sara, I love you!!!! So good to learn a bit more about you. Aren't Swedish Fish total yum? It's good to have something like that on hand, especially if you're the type to forget to eat!! I used to like Cheetos, but it was really making a mess of my keyboard :P

And it will all be worth it soon! I know it! We'll all be crushing on your protags before you know it. Can't wait!

Great interview! Love the picture of the two of you! So sweet!

Shari said...

Great interview. It was fun to hear more about you, Sara.

Randi said...

Yay! Good luck Sara B. Larsen! Can't wait to see it!