A Q&A in Which We (Other Authors) Ask Sarah a Bunch of Questions and She Answers Them (part one)
Q. From your first thoughts about writing Don’t Even Think About It to your last revision, what concept or character changed the most? —SUSANE COLASANTI (Susane is the author of seven teen novels. She is thinking that visits to the nurse’s office aren’t what they used to be.)
A. The most radical change in my book was the point of view. When I outlined the novel, it was all from Olivia’s perspective. But some early readers—hi, Jess Rothenberg!—suggested that the book might be better served by showing multiple points of view. So that’s what I did.
Q. Hi, Sarah! Speaking of point of view, I love how the narrator in Don’t Even Think About It isn’t just one person—it’s everyone! What were some of the biggest challenges you faced in writing from the perspectives of so many characters at once? —JESS ROTHENBERG (Jess is the author of The Catastrophic History of You and Me. She is thinking about how much more fun high school would have been if she could have read everybody’s mind.)
A. The biggest challenge I faced was deciding when and how to jump into various characters’ heads. I had to balance staying true to rules of first person plural with helping the reader care about the individual characters. I also had to choose whose thoughts I showed—and whose I left out.
Q. Should I write a book in first person plural? It seems hard. And I’m lazy. —ROBIN WASSERMAN (Robin is the author of The Waking Dark and The Book of Blood and Shadow. She is thinking about taking a nap.)
A. Since you’ve written over seventy books, I don’t think the word lazy can be applied to you. But yes, it was hard. And yes, you definitely should do it. A book in first person plural by you would be amazing. And likely scary. Oh! Oh! It should be from the perspective of a group of serial killers! Or murder victims! Or decades-old-secret- society members! C’mon, Robin. Everybody’s doing it.
Q. Sarah, there is a character in this book named Courtney. She is not very likable. But you find me likable, don’t you? —COURTNE Y SHEINMEL (Courtney is the author of several books, including Positively and the Stella Batts series for young readers. She is thinking about naming a character in her next book after Sarah.)
It’s December! I love the Christmas atmosphere of this month – we can finally open our advent calendars, put up our Christmas trees and spread the festive spirit! I’m feeling particularly cheery this year and have a few Christmas posts planned for this month, which I’m really looking forward to writing. A very exciting month ahead!
November was as exciting as I’m hoping December will be and I managed to get a lot read. Woo! I’ve been in a reading slump since the start of September so I’m glad that I’ve finally broken it and I’m getting back into the swing of finding time each day to read. I’m trying to set twenty minutes aside each day to read and this has really helped me feel a lot better and also get a lot more read.
The books I read in November were:
The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa, The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken, My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick, The Key to the Golden Firebird by Maureen Johnson, The Isobel Journal by Isobel Harrop, Storm and Stone by Joss Stirling, When It Happens by Susane Colasanti, Severed Heads, Broken Hearts by Robyn Schneider.
Choosing a book of the month is going to be very hard, because all of them were so good!
I’m going to have to choose The Darkest Minds because I was totally hooked, and also The Isobel Journal because it’s a favourite of mine now. They’re both completely different, so it’s nice to see a variation in what I’m reading.
Things of note that happened in November:
– I did NaNoWriMo, and then stopped at 12,000 words! You may think that I failed and I know people have been asking me why I stopped and the reason I did stop was because I didn’t feel like I needed to go on. I wasn’t trying to reach 50,000 words this month, although that would have been amazing. Instead I wanted to get something written. So I don’t think I failed and I’m very proud of myself for writing so much in such a short space of time: I think I wrote it in around 5 days.
– I went ice skating! I went with a few of my friends to an ice rink close to me which has been put up for the holiday season and I had so much fun. I’ve always loved ice skating and actually didn’t fall over! I’m hoping to go a few more times in the coming weeks because I realised just how much I enjoy it. I loved watching Dancing on Ice when I was younger and am in awe of the people who can do all those moves and not fall over! I’m so clumsy!
– I went to laser quest, and I failed. It was my friend’s birthday and thirteen of us went. It was lots of fun, but I came 11th. I obviously didn’t channel my inner Katniss Everdeen enough. Maybe next time!
Books I’m Hoping To Read in December:
Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle – I’m planning to read this a few days before Christmas, and I am so excited. I’ve heard amazing things about it and it certainly looks promising. I can’t wait!
Memory by Christoph Marzi – This is a review book I have and I love the sound of it. I’m not sure if I’ve read anything similar to it before so I’m looking forward to reading something a bit different.
Della says: OMG! by Keris Stainton – Eeeep! I’m a huge fan of Keris’ books and this is the only one I haven’t read. It sounds fab!
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff – I’m super nervous about starting this because there’s so much hype, and there’s even more now that it has been translated onto the big screen. I’m really looking forward to it, though.
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold – I thought it was finally time I gave this a go. I’ve read the first chapter or two and I enjoyed it, so hopefully the rest will be just as good.
Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian – My friend recently read this so I thought I’d give it a go too and it sounds absolutely amazing. Can’t wait!
The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes – This has been likened to Ally Carter’s books, which I loved, so I feel super excited to start it. It sounds so kick ass! It’s also a review book, so expect a review sometime soon!
The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher – I was at the launch in October and really enjoyed the part that Lucy read out, so I can’t wait to read the whole book. Another review book!
This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales – One that I’ve heard amazing things about and I know I’ll completely adore it, because I don’t think I know of anyone who hasn’t. Yay! Another review book!
Legend by Marie Lu – This sounds awesome and I have a gorgeous hardback copy which just adds to the reading experience. I’ve heard amazing things about it and so I’m keeping my fingers crossed I enjoy it.
Allegiant by Veronica Roth – I decided that if I didn’t read it now I would just keep putting it off, so here we are! I have no idea what I’ll think of it, but lets hope I think positive things!
– I’m hoping to get a lot of posts out this month because I’ve been neglecting the blog a lot lately. I have loads of ideas so I just need to get on and write the posts now!
– Enjoy myself! This is something I really need to focus on because I’ve been feeling like blogging is a huge pressure for ages now. I just want to relax and have fun.
How was your November? Have you set yourself any goals for December? Let me know!
Letterbox Love is a UK based feature where book bloggers showcase the books that they received that week, be they e-books, paperbacks, hardbacks or any other format. It is hosted by Lynsey from Narratively Speaking.
I have a two week long haul to share with you all this week. I’ve been a very naughty girl!
This week it has been Book Week in Scotland and Hive.co.uk were running a competition on Twitter where you could put someone forward to win a paperback and I won this! Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys is one of Stacey’s favourite books of the year and nominated me to win a copy, and win I did! I am so excited to read it because we were only talking about it the other week and I know lots of people who loved it, too. Thank you, Hive.co.uk and Stacey!
These two were sent to me for review by Hot Key Books, one of my favourite publishers ever. The first book I got was Leopold Blue by Rosie Rowell which is a historical fiction novel set in South Africa during the 1990’s. I had to study a poem during the time last year in class, so I’m really looking forward to delving into this one. The second novel is Boys Don’t Knit by T.S. Eaton which sounds hilarious and I can’t wait to start it. Thank you, Hot Key!
I went into my local Waterstones branch last week and bought The Maze Runner by James Dashner because the film comes out next year and I want to read it beforehand. There’s a lot of hype surrounding it so I’m a little nervous but I have high hopes I’ll enjoy it. The other book I got was When It Happens by Susane Colasanti , which I’ve already read. It was a good book, but it didn’t have the ‘wow factor’ I wanted and expected from it.
I found Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen in a charity shop and picked it up because I’m going to be trying to read more classics next year. I’m really looking forward to reading it.
I stopped by Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath a few weeks ago and couldn’t resist going a bit wild and buying these three lovelies. I’ve been looking for a copy of How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff for ages but I wasn’t too keen on the movie tie-in cover and so I was very pleased with myself when I spotted the gorgeous Penguin classic edition. I’m very excited to start it. I also got Vivan Versus the Apocalypse by Katie Coyle which I’ve already started and am enjoying greatly. It’s very different to many books on the market currently and I’m going to be recommending it a lot. The final book I got was Heap House by Edward Carey which is also illustrated by him. They have a display of the books in the shop and I couldn’t say no to buying it (not that I wanted to).
I also visited Waterstones in Bath which has a brilliant YA section and I got Severed Heads, Broken Hearts by Robyn Schneider which I loved. It was such an amazing book and I should be posting a review sometime in the next few weeks. The next book was Soulmates by Holly Bourne which I’ve been wanting to read for ages now and I can’t wait to start it. I’ve been going into my local Waterstones and it hasn’t been in there so I was glad to finally find it. The last book I got was The Isobel Journal by Isobel Harrop which was the only book I went in to get. I read it in one afternoon and fell completely in love. Review coming soon!
I won the keyring and badges from the Hot Key Tumblr page and it came with the postcard too. I was so excited when I opened the package because of how much I loved The Isobel Journal and I’m going to be wearing them everywhere now. Thank you, Hot Key!