Friday, October 23, 2009

An Interview with Sara Zarr

Sara Zarr is the author of Story of a Girl, Sweethearts, and Once was Lost. Story of Girl was a 2007 National Book Award finalist. Sweethearts was a 2008 Cybil Award Finalist. All three books are brilliant and you should check them out. Sara lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband.

1. What do you find hard about writing about faith? Did growing up in religious family help you shape Once was Lost and Samara?
My own experience with faith definitely shaped the book. Without it, I doubt I would have written this particular story. The hardest part was figuring out how to be specific enough about Sam's faith to keep it feeling real, but not so specific or overloaded that it would be off-putting to people who don't have that kind of faith experience. I wanted to find that balance so it would be a book for all my usual readers as well as maybe draw in some readers who are interested in the faith aspects.

2. You have been doing vlogs during your tour. What do you like and dislike about being on tour? Also, what inspired you to do vlogs?
Favorite things about being on tour: meeting fans and potential fans, seeing parts of the country I never would have seen otherwise, and room service breakfast. Least favorite parts: planes, trains, and automobiles, packing, and hotel insomnia. The vlogs are fun for me---they're a totally different creative outlet from writing, and give me a chance to attempt comedy (something I don't do in my books) and offer my blog readers a change of pace and the chance to see a different side of me. I've always had a fantasy about going to film school, so the vlogs are a way to appease my inner director.

3. You make such wonder realistic characters. What advice do you have to aspiring writers? What were your inspirations for you to start writing?
My advice to aspiring writers is to write! There's a huge difference between sitting around thinking about being a writer or thinking about a story you'd like to write and writing it. Once you start putting things into words, it's very likely you'll freak out and think it's terrible. That's totally normal so don't let it stop you. I even know some New York Times bestselling authors who freak out and think their writing is terrible when they first start something new. So you push through. If you can find one or two friends who are also writing or interested in writing, that's good, too. You can exchange work and give each other helpful feedback. Emphasis on the "helpful"! I was inspired to write by all the incredible books I read growing up, from Frog and Toad and Ramona to the books of Robert Cormier and ME Kerr.

4. What are your favorite books that you read this year?
Oooh, tough one. WHEN YOU REACH ME by Rebecca Stead is very special and reminded me so much of my childhood. And, I finally read E. Lockhart's THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS, which I thought was brilliant.

5. What do you like to do, when you aren't doing your author duties?
Lazy things. Like spending too much time online, shopping, going out to lunch with friends, and watching movies. I'm a slug!


  1. Hi Sarah :)
    Thank you for the great interview with Sara Zarr, and thanks to Sara for sharing. I liked Sara's advice to aspiring writers. :)
    All the best,

  2. Great interview! :) I adore Sara Zarr, she's fantastic.


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