Monday, February 8, 2010

Author Interview: Sarah Ockler

Happy Monday Readers! It's time for another great author interview. Today I have Sarah Ockler, author of Twenty Boy Summer and coming this Fall, Fixing Delilah Hannaford.

And away we go....

1.Tell us a little about yourself.

Thanks for hosting me on Want My YA! I was born to write stories about
young adults, even though I hated high school and pretty much
everything about being a teen. I love guacamole and Indian food
(though not at the same time). I work from home with my husband, and
together we stay up all night watching movies, eating, debating,
plotting, and generally causing trouble. We also move around a lot
because we love seeing and experiencing new places and people (and
writing about them, of course).

2.What got you
started writing? What brought you to YA?

I've been writing silly little poems and stories since I learned how
to read, but I didn't think about writing fiction about teens until a
few years ago when, at the suggestion of an awesome instructor at
Denver's Lighthouse Writers Workshop, I signed up for a young adult
novel course. At the time, I was just starting to take my writing self
seriously, and I was experimenting with journals and personal essays
and stories from my own teen years. I didn't really know where I'd end
up, but as soon as I stepped into that YA class and started reading
authors like Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Laurie Halse Anderson, it
was like the light finally shined right on down, and I just KNEW I was
meant to be there, writing YA literature.

3.Tell us about your most recent/ upcoming release?

Fixing Delilah Hannaford is a story about confronting painful family
secrets, understanding the complicated bond between mothers and
daughters, finding unexpected new love, and holding fast to the hope
that sometimes, somehow, even the most shattered relationships can be
pieced back together. The book isn't out until November 1, but readers
can learn more about Delilah at

We're also releasing Twenty Boy Summer in paperback this year on May 1!

4.Do you plot out in advance, or just start writing and see where things go from there?

My writing approach changes with every book! With Twenty Boy Summer, I just started writing, adding and rearranging and cutting as I went, but I never stopped to outline or plot it out. I didn't even know the ending until I was basically finished, and then it changed a few more
times. With my second book, Fixing Delilah Hannaford, I started with an outline, and though it quickly disintegrated as the plot took on its own life, it still helped me get to know the characters and set them on their ultimate paths. The third book is turning out to be a
combination of both approaches. Overall, I think outlining can help organize initial ideas, but for me, a lot of the magic of writing lies in watching the characters duke it out on the page and allowing them to take me on their own crazy journeys.

5.Many authors have told me their characters talk to them, and sometimes even have different ideas of where the story should go than the author. Do you hear your characters?

As much as I try to tune them out, yes, sometimes I hear my
characters. The problem is that they're never clear. Sure, they stop
listening to me partway through, or they just stop working altogether,
leaving me with a general sense that something just isn't right. But
they never give me any hints about what *exactly* isn't working or how
*exactly* I could fix it. It's more like, "Yeah, it's not you. It's
me. I hope we can still be friends." Delilah Hannaford was the most
stubborn of all of them. She was pretty headstrong about where her
story needed to go, but she didn't let me in on the details until the
very end. :-)

6.Who is your favorite character (of your own)?

Like Mom always said about us kids, they're all my favorite. :-) But
lately I've been thinking a lot about Delilah from the new book,
Fixing Delilah Hannaford. I guess it's because I just spent the last
two years of my life with her, and now that her story is over, I keep
hoping that I've done right by her. Anna from Twenty Boy Summer has
been out in the world for months now. She's fine. Delilah's still home
with me. She's the baby of the family. :-)

7.What hobbies do you have when you're not writing?

I love photography -- it's just a different way of storytelling,
especially at weddings and with children where there is so much love
and emotion. I also love hiking, camping, and eating Indian food. I'm
not sure if that last one qualifies as a hobby, but I'm *really* good
at it, so...

8.If you had not become a writer what would you have done instead?

I would still be a writer, even if I didn't get paid to do it. I tried
to outrun that destiny long ago, but my fingers kept finding their way
back to the keyboard. If I didn't write for a living, I'd probably
turn my photography business into a full time gig, but I'd still be
writing during all of my lunch breaks, just like I did when I had a
corporate job. I don't know how to NOT write.

9.Where can readers find you online?

Readers can visit me online at, at
, and at

10.Your turn. What question do you have for readers of Want My YA?

Yay! Well, reading and writing often go hand in hand. So I'd love to
know how many Want My YA book-lovin' readers out there are also
aspiring writers? What kinds of things do you like to write?

Thanks so much for being here today Sarah! And yeah you caught me, I'm an aspiring writer too. :) How many more of ya are there? Be sure to leave a comment and let us know.

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