Friday, February 25, 2011

Fiction Friday: Sarah Pekkanen Interview

I often counsel new writers who ask me for advice to read great writers in their genre. For me, ABA (Christian publishing is classified as CBA, and everyone else goes under the ABA umbrella) author Sarah Pekkanen is just such an example. She burst onto the scene last year when prolific and acclaimed novelist Jennifer Weiner enthusiastically promoted her debut novel. That got my attention and I ordered a copy of the book. I wasn't disappointed and have looked forward to her newest book with great anticipation. That book came out this week! I posted my review yesterday so if you missed it, scroll down to see it. Today I have the double treat of an interview with Sarah!

Sarah,I loved your first novel about twins yet you are not a twin. This time you delve into a marriage. Did you mine your own marriage for the emotions and experiences in this novel?

Thank you! I'm thrilled you enjoyed The Opposite of Me and hope you like Skipping a Beat every bit as much. Neither book is autobiographical, but emotions like love, jealousy, anger, joy, and hope are universal, so of course I've felt them many times. Bits and pieces of the story of my own marriage, as well as of the marriages of my friends, have made it into my novel - though they've been fed through a kaleidoscope and reshaped into something completely new. I think women are amazing at sharing and supporting each other thorough times both tough and wonderful - it's one of the things I treasure most in my relationships with my girlfriends - and many conversations I've had with women over bottles of wine started me thinking, "What if....?"

What inspired you to write this novel?

I wanted to write about a woman who woke up one day and discovered her husband had turned into a completely different person. That was my starting point, but other details for this novel - like my main character Julia's love of opera, the dog that swims underwater, and Noah the math genius - didn't form immediately. I've described writing like cooking soup: sometimes you throw in a bunch of ingredients and let them simmer and then check out the result!

Share how you balance writing and motherhood? Do you have an especially good tip you've learned along the way?

My kids come first. Always. But I know writing makes me a happier Mom, so I make time for it whenever I can. I wrote part of The Opposite of Me at Chuck E. Cheese. I had this little system down where I'd buy a bunch of tokens, settle into a table in the middle of the play area, and keep the tokens on my table. My kids had to come up and check in every time they needed one. In the meantime, I'd be typing away frantically!

What is your writing routine? Do you even have one? I try to have one... but life keeps changing and, therefore, so does my "routine."

Oh, I hear you! I try too, but we Moms know that when something has to give, it's usually the time we've set aside for ourselves, right? Now that I have a book contract, I do have a babysitter who comes for several hours a day, but often that time is eaten up by school conferences or doctor's appointments or school holidays... Plus promoting a book takes an enormous amount of time. I do try to write in the mornings, when I'm fresh, and I love it when I wake up early and it's just me and the dog sharing the couch. I can usually get in a few pages that way.

And finally just a random question, what would you choose for your last meal?

Something amazingly decadent! I'd probably go to Restaurant Nora in downtown D.C. It's a fancy organic restaurant with vegetarian entrees, and I've always dreamed of eating there. I'd start with something comforting - maybe a roasted tomato and garlic soup - and finish the meal with chocolate mousse. Good wine would have to be involved, too!

Thanks for joining us and sharing a peek into your life, Sarah. I know my readers have enjoyed meeting you today.

Thank you so much and I'd love it if your readers wanted to find me on Facebook or swing by my website at, where I do giveaways for books and Godivas!
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1 comment:

Zibilee said...

I loved this interview and also love the fact that she wrote a lot of her book at Chuck E Cheese. I have been there with my kids, and I admire anyone who can get anything done in that kind of atmosphere!