What has your experience as a debut author been like so far? What has been the best part of the publishing process for you? the worst?
My experience as a debut author has been … brief. Most authors have to wait well over a year from the time their books sell to the time of publication, but my deal was announced in February of this year! I honestly have to say that my focus has remained where it was before—on writing the next thing. In fact, that’s how I cope with the worst part of the publishing process: the waiting. It’s also how I experience the best part: the feeling of actually becoming a better writer as I get feedback from my agent and editors. That’s both humbling and exciting. As is, of course, hearing from people who’ve read advance copies of Sanctum. I’m so intrigued by their reactions, whether positive or critical. It’s an honor that anyone wants to read something I’ve written.
You’re both a child psychologist and a young adult author. How does knowing child psychology affect how you write, and vice versa?
It took me eight years after college to become a psychologist, and at some point, I lost sight of what part of me was “psychologist” vs. just “the way Sarah thinks about things.” I’ve always been interested in how people construct their own “real,” how no one really has cornered the market on objective reality. We all just do the best we can, but everything we believe to be “truth” is filtered through our own biases and hopes and desires. Yet somehow, we reach each other, and we change each other. I don’t know. I’m interested in what goes on inside of people and between people, and that’s what I write about, too, even in stories where there’s intense action.
Where did your ideas for Sanctum come from?
I was interested in the idea that death doesn’t constitute an end to one’s emotional journey—I wanted to explore the idea that even the dead have to deal with their issues. But … in the Shadowlands, the afterlife in Sanctum, the “issues” are much more tangible. They—disappointments, wants, fantasies—are manifested in a very palpable, concrete way in that afterlife. They have smells and textures, and they can fit in a pocket or rise a hundred stories into the sky. It was tremendously fun to use that idea as a foundation and take it as far as I could. The dark city in Sanctum is the product of that.
What is the most interesting thing you learned while writing Sanctum? (This can be about yourself, about writing, or anything at all).
I learned that some books just have to be written a certain way. Believe it or not, I originally wrote this entire book in third person, all 400-or-so pages of it. And then … I realized it was too distant from Lela, who’s the heart of this story. The reader needed to be inside her head, and the voice of the story needed to be hers. So I went back and rewrote the WHOLE thing in first person. I’m so glad I did. It changed everything.
What is the most rewarding part about being a young adult author?
Hands down, when teens read the book and find it genuine and real—and entertaining.
If there was one thing you could change about Sanctum, what would it be?
Honestly? I’m a better writer now that I was when I wrote Sanctum. I think that’s true for most debut authors. It’s a truly developmental process, and there’s always room for improvement.
What are you working on next?
I am editing several projects that will be coming out over the next few years, including Book Two in this series. The next project I’ll be working on is the third installment. It’s going to be INTENSE.
(1) lucky winner will receive Sanctum by Sarah Fine
courtesy of AuthorsOnTheWeb
- US/Canadian mailing addresses only.
- Contest ends 11/01/12, at 9 p.m. EST.