It’s not really anything new for me to say I am super excited to sit and chat with an author of a book I have adored, but this particular author is always going to hold a special place in my heart for the incredible experience I had with her. Sarah was the author who had the BEA Giveaway for the trip to New York in May, which I was beyond excited (and it still kind of takes my breath away to think of it) to win. *Squeee*
Sarah was a delight to meet in New York and spent time with her at Simon and Schuster, and also at the Book Blogger Reception. I am honored and delighted to have her here today, so with no further ado, please welcome Sarah Pekkanen.
Sarah, before we get to chatting – how do you take your coffee?
Sarah: With lots of cream and sugar – like a dessert!
You know I have been on cloud nine since I had the wonderful opportunity to meet and hang out with you a bit in New York during BEA. Could you please share with me a little bit about the idea behind the BEA contest you had?
Sarah: Absolutely! I came up with the idea because before my book came out, I learned how difficult it was for debut novels to get noticed. People aren’t reading so much anymore, I kept hearing. Then I began reading book blogs, and I realized how much bloggers are doing to support the publishing industry. They’re getting folks excited about books again. As more and more newspapers fold and authors lose the chance to have their books reviewed in print, bloggers are stepping into the breach, reviewing books, chatting them up, and generally keeping all of us authors afloat! My novel got such a warm welcome from book bloggers, who reviewed it and let me hold giveaways on their sites, that I wanted to say thank you in some small way.
I was planning on attending BEA/BCC and when Trish Collins of heylady.net told me the organizers of BBC were collecting prizes for a raffle, I came up with the idea of paying for one blogger’s trip to the convention. I mentioned it to my editor, and asked if I could bring the winner blogger along with another raffle winner to Atria Books for a tour, and she loved the idea. Trust me, publishers are just as appreciative of book bloggers as we authors are!
Sarah, what would you consider to be one of your all time favorite books and why?
Sarah: Oh, just one? So hard to pick! I’d have to say In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner. It’s funny, poignant, captivating… and it’s the kind of book I want to write.
Which of course brings me to your book, The Opposite Of Me. I really enjoyed the read and I seen Kathy (Bermuda Onion) really did as well. How did the idea of this book come to be and was it the original idea or was it tweaked along the way?
Sarah: Originally I had four sisters woven through my plot, but during the writing process, my original idea was reshaped and refined. I’d say the basic structure of my original idea remained intact, but during the rewriting process, lots of smaller changes popped up.
In The Opposite of Me we have two fraternal twins, Alex and Lindsey. When developing these characters, is there one you favored more over the other? Do these characters represent anyone – or pieces of anyone, in your life?
Sarah: I think I felt a bit more sympathy for Lindsey, because she feels like the underdog. Although there are bits and pieces of people I know in the characters – maybe a gesture or a funny line of dialogue – they are truly fictional.
Sarah, I too had a heart for Lindsey, you wrote her well. I told you that I had cried at the acknowledgment in the back of your book. I thought it was so touching. Would you share a little bit about how that was to write?
Sarah: The acknowledgments were surprisingly easy – I just wrote what was in my heart. Seeing a book published is a bit like having a baby born – you just feel so emotional and teary and happy, all at once. And thank you for those kind words!
So Sarah, I am just dying to know – what is coming out next? I know there is a book, I seen it pre published. What will this one be about?
Sarah: Skipping a Beat, my second book is the story of high school sweethearts named Michael and Julia who flee their small, poor hometown in West Virginia and move to Washington, D.C. Now in their mid-thirties, they’re living a rarified life in their multi-million dollar home. But then one day, Michael collapses in his office. For four minutes and eight seconds – until he is revived with a portable defibrillator – he is clinically dead. And when he wakes up, he’s a totally different man. My main character, Julia, has three weeks to decide if she wants to stay with her husband or leave him.
Ooh! That sounds wonderful! When can we expect to see this book on the shelves?
Sarah: It’s already up on amazon.com with a publication date of Feb. 22 – which seems so soon!
What is happening now in your life?
Sarah: I have a contract for another book which is due May 1, so as soon as I wrap up a few smaller projects, I’ll be diving into that manuscript. I’m really looking forward to immersing myself in a new plot.
Sarah, please share with me and my readers one little known fact about yourself. It’s kind of tradition around here.
Sarah: I was rejected as a contestant on Wheel of Fortune! It’s so unfair, because I’m actually really good at solving puzzles. Sometimes I can even do it with no letters showing. Come to think of it, maybe that’s why I was rejected?
Thank you Sarah so much for your time! I really enjoyed chatting with you and will be watching for your upcoming book!
Sarah: It was a pleasure, Sheila, and I hope to see you again soon! I’d love it if any readers would like to friend me on Facebook or visit my website at www.sarahpekkanen.com, where I hold giveaways every month for a new book.
Be sure to sign up for a chance to win a signed copy of Sarah’s book – Opposite Of Me