Thursday, May 20, 2010

Interview: Author Sara Zarr

In a single week, I got not one, but two opportunities to meet Sara Zarr, a young adult author who writes realistic fiction.  She has published three novels: Story of a Girl, Sweethearts, and Once Was Lost.

First, Sara spoke to a group of teachers from my school district.  She was very personable and willing to answer any questions about her books, her life, and her writing/publishing experience.  Sara explained she writes realistic fiction because she believes that the genre allows teens to make connections to the characters in ways that help them adjust to their own adolescent experience.  

The second time I met her was when she signed a book for me at the Children's Book Festival at the Provo Library, an event celebrating reading and Utah children and young adult authors.

Out of the kindness of her heart (and a little bit of Leatherby's ice cream), she agreed to do an interview on my blog!  Check out the interview below:

How would you describe your most recent novel in 140 characters or less?

Fourteen days of youth group, mini-trucks, record heat, local news, and crime in a small town!

What was the hardest part of becoming a published author?

The hardest part on the journey was having patience and faith that it would eventually happen. Once I arrived, the hardest part was realizing there is no such thing as arrival. It's just forging ahead on the same path, passing through different cities and countrysides with different companions... Like a lot of people, I thought being published would change my fundamental identity and writing would magically be easy and I'd never be insecure again. Haha! 
What was the most rewarding part?

Knowing that something I wrote moved other people and mattered to them, that I made a connection. 

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Be patient and diligent. Don't fret over how much talent you may or may not have. Work hard and put your all into making your writing the best it can be. If you're spending more time researching markets and reading agent blogs than you are writing, change that.

If you could have lunch with any author, dead or alive, who would it be?  Why?

Oh, I'm sure my answer would change every minute. There is no ultimate person for me. Right now I'm in a Wallace Stegner phase and would love  to resurrect him for a conversation. He just really seems to understand himself as a writer, and goes deep into that.

*  *  *

Thank you, Sara, for answering my questions!  I will be in her morning workshop at the Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers conference this summer.  Although I'm intimidated to share my own writing with this award-winning author, I can't wait to learn from her!


KM said...

I LOVE the cover of ONCE WAS LOST and SWEETHEARTS. They are minimalist but still beautiful. And good review! Very cool that you got to meet her *twice*.

Palindrome said...

ooh, thank you for introducing me to Sara. I haven't read any of her books but I love realistic teen fiction! I will add her to my list.

link2literacy said...

Excellent interview. May I "ping" back to this on my Link2Literacy blog?

Also, any suggestions where I could post 2 versions of my first chapter of a book I started a year and half ago? - One that is "heavy" with dialect and one without?

Your blogroll lists LOTS of possibilities, but I don't know if all offer that kind of service.

Last question - I can't find Andria's blog. Can you help me out?

Thanks so much, Renae

Kaylie said...

I LOVE Sara Zarr. Kudos to you for interviewing her!

Andria said...

Awesome interview! I can't wait to learn from her as well this summer!

Marcia said...

There is no such thing as arrival -- so true!

#167 Dad said...

"If you're spending more time researching markets and reading agent blogs than you are writing, change that."
Man, ain't that the truth.

Tgoette said...

Great interview. And some really good tips for aspiring writers!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the interview. It was awesome! I'm definitely looking forward to reading a Sara Zarr's novel. :)