Despite the lack of posts the last couple weeks, I have been working a lot on super awesome posts for the future! For example, today’s post is the VERY FIRST interview with the author of the book, “Life as we Note It, Tales of a Sevie“. I got the amazing opportunity to interview Sara Rose Salih and ask her some questions…
1. What is your book about?
Hi Sarah, thank you so much for having me! My book, “Tales of a Sevie”, is a lighthearted story about the highs and lows of junior high school. The book follows the lives of four best friends who release their concerns and insecurities to each other through a series of handwritten notes throughout their first year of middle school. The girls struggle with hard classes, strict teachers, boys they date, mean girls, and peer pressure.
2. What inspired you to write this book?
A few years ago I found a box of my own old notes from friends in junior high. They were hysterical. I couldn’t stop reading them. In one hour I went through maybe fifty of them without stopping and thought to myself, “there just might be something here.” I wanted to capture an unfiltered version of the preteen female mind as best I could, not what girls tell their parents, teachers, or even boys at that time. I wanted to capture what they tell each other and more importantly, how they tell it. I figured if it doesn’t work out as a book, at least I will have hopefully created something mildly entertaining that was a blast to write.
3. Why and how did you become an author?
I’ve always been a writer, ever since I was a young child. In my free time in high school I worked on novels, song lyrics, and poetry. Throughout college I continued writing regularly and majored in English and Creative Writing. After I finished school, writing a “real” book and becoming an author just seemed like the next natural step to take in my life.
4. What do you think was the hardest part of the publishing process?
Researching publishing companies is no party, but it is truly worth your time. I wish I had dedicated more time to this. The hardest part of the publishing process however, would absolutely be the waiting. There are long periods of time where you are doing nothing but waiting while another company has full control over the next stages of your book. It can be extremely stressful.
5. Who is the main character and what do they face as a conflict through the story?
The main character of “Tales of a Sevie” is Summer. It’s a bit ironic that she is the main character because the readers actually never get to hear from Summer. She is the best friend all the characters write notes to. We end up learning all about Summer strictly through what her peers have to say about and to her. Like the rest of the girls, Summer has her shared obstacles during her first year of junior high, but the biggest theme for her character is learning how to stick up for herself.
6. Are any of the characters or story based on real life people or experiences?
I’d like to call this work a piece of “fictional nonfiction”. It’s not based strictly on my life, or any real people, but it is fair to say my own life experience inspired many situations in this book. There are many things that I, my friends, or my family have actually experienced that appear one way or another in this book, but they are all portrayed fictitiously.
7. What is your favorite part of the story?
I enjoyed writing and still enjoy reading the second half a bit more than the first half. Towards the end of the book everything really comes together for the girls.
8. How do you go about writing a book?
Many authors have very specific outlines and checklists for writing books. I can’t say I have one specific method that works one hundred percent of the time for me. If you want to write a book, you have to write when inspiration strikes, no matter how odd the hours may be. That being said, you also have to discipline yourself to write when you don’t feel inspired.
9. What is your writing style and what do you think about it?
For this first book, “Tales of a Sevie”, my writing style is very unique. I wrote through the point of view of five characters, and as I mentioned, all told through the style of handwritten notes. This was a technique I hadn’t tried before and honestly wasn’t sure if it was going to work or not. It was a challenge, but a very fun one!
10. Do you intend to write another book? Would it be a sequel? New type?
Absolutely! I’m so glad you asked 😀 . Book 2 of the series is already in the works. I plan to write six books total in the Life As We Note It series.
11. How long did it take to plan, write, edit, and publish?
For this book, my planning and writing were a bit interchangeable. It took a little under a year to write the first “decent” draft. Then the editing process went on for about another year, up until almost the day I published. Publishing took around 9 months, which is quite a long time if you’re self publishing, which I was. Overall, the entire process took a little less than two years.
12. Who is your biggest inspiration as an author?
I love anything by S.E. Hinton, George Eliot, Reinaldo Arenas, Kate Chopin, Virginia Woolf and Bob Nelson.
13. How did the story evolve?
Basically by trial and error. Setting the book aside for a few weeks really helped at times too so I could return with a fresh perspective and see exactly what was or wasn’t working. Overtime as I got more comfortable with my characters the stories and plots began to write themselves. It’s definitely a day by day process.
14. What would you say to inspiring authors of any age?
Write what you love, and what you know. For a long time I didn’t understand the beauty of fictionalizing nonfiction events in one’s life. You don’t have to have a crazy imagination and live in lands filled with dragons and elves to be a great fiction writer. Write about whatever interests you, or whatever you’re going through. It’s very therapeutic and often makes for a great read!
Author Sara Rose Salih was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. She attended college at the University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of North Texas in Denton, majoring in English and Creative Writing. Sara also spent a summer abroad at the University of London studying British Literature.
This November Sara is celebrating the release of her first book, “Tales of a Sevie”. “Tales of a Sevie” is the first book in her teenage fiction series; Life As We Note It. Life As We Note It, is a lighthearted series about the highs and lows of junior high school. Each book follows the lives of a group of four best friends through their handwritten notes passed to one another. Discover the laughs, cries, and heartaches of the hysterical Christina, scattered Daisy, and self-conscious Mallory as they confide in their BFF Summer to share their true feelings about what’s going on in the teenage world around them.
So thank you so much for the interview, Sara! Feel free to go get her book, follow her on twitter, and check out her blog!