If you would like to learn more about Sarah, please visit: www.sarahockler.com.
Firstly, what inspired you to write Twenty Boy Summer?
I was inspired to write Twenty Boy Summer by the teens I met through my work with the National Donor Family Council, an organization that supports families whose loved ones died and donated organs or tissues. My brother is a liver transplant recipient, so this cause is very important to me. When I began work on Twenty Boy Summer, I wanted to tell a story that honored the families I met through the Council while showing a very intimate picture of some of the things teens go through when the suffer such a horrible tragedy. At the same time, just as Anna and Frankie learn in the book, life goes on, whether we want it to or not. I wanted to show that side as well -- all of the "typical" life things that happen between best girlfriends and first loves on a summer vacation.
What do you find is the easiest part of writing? And the hardest?
For me, the easiest part of writing is coming up with new ideas. That part is so refreshing and exciting, full of possibilities. The hardest part is revising, because it's so difficult to know what to keep, what to add, where to expand, how to make it the best story possible. But even though it's challenging, I love revising. That's where the story really comes to life.
Do you have any authors that you were influenced by?
I was influenced early on by some of my favorite YA authors, including Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Laurie Halse Anderson. I was also inspired by adult authors like Jack Kerouac and Anais Nin -- two of my top faves of all time! Now, I find sparks of inspiration in almost anything I read. Writers are great motivators!
Did you always wanted to be an author? If not, what led you to where you are today?
I started writing stories and poems almost as soon as I learned how to read. Back then, I didn't know what to call it, or even that you *could* make a career out of writing in that way. By the time I figured it out, I was knee-deep in corporate life, hating almost every minute of it, writing on my lunch hour and weekends and whenever I could sneak in the time. Somewhere in the middle of writing TWENTY BOY SUMMER, my husband helped me see the truth: that I am a writer, and that becoming an author is my dream, and the only one who can stop me from achieving it is me. Once I figured that part out, everything else happened really quickly. I finished the book. Found an agent. Sold it. And now I'm incredible fortunate to be able to write full time.
Do you have any novels you are working on at the moment or will be releasing soon? If so, can you please give us a brief summary about them?
My next novel, FIXING DELILAH HANNAFORD, comes out in November. Here's a quick summary:
Stuck in Vermont all summer with her workaholic mother, a Tarot-card-reading aunt, and a childhood friend who thinks he can fix anything, sixteen-year-old Delilah Hannaford confronts her elusive family history to expose the secrets that have defined and divided the Hannafords for three generations.
You can learn more about Delilah here:
Also, TWENTY BOY SUMMER will be out in paperback on May 1st this year.
What are your New Year resolutions?
I don't usually make resolutions, but I do try to look back on the last year of my life and my career to see what worked, what didn't work, where I want to spend more time, that sort of thing. This year, I'm trying to simplify things and create more space in my life, both online and off. I actually just did a blog post about this and I'd love to hear how other people make this kind of space in their lives! http://sarahockler.com/2010/01/27/making-space-online-offline-inside-out/
Lastly, please give us an interesting fact about yourself that not many know of!
I feel like since I became a published author, I don't have many secrets left! :-) But here's something that until now, only my husband knew. I have an irrational fear of choking if anyone touches me while I'm eating. My poor husband isn't allowed to kiss me on the cheek or even pat my back as long as I'm chewing! That's probably the dumbest thing you've ever heard, but it's true. So if you ever see me in a restaurant, wait until I'm done chewing before trying to give me a group hug. :-)
Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog, Diana! I hope you and all of your readers are having a wonderful 2010!