Sara Zarr's Blog, page 2

December 24, 2013

It’s official, the for-fun back-burner project that Tara Altebrando and I started years ago is a book! It’s also Christmas Eve but really who cares about that? Okay, I do, I care about Christmas a lot. But having a book out makes it extra special. I mean, Jesus + books amiright?? Publishers Weekly gave ROOMIES a starred review, and said:


“Zarr and Altebrando give both protagonists their own, independent stories with drifting best friends, boyfriends dropped, romances sparked, and family problems that reminds readers that not all adults are finished growing up, either. The authors give the story big doses of humor, sensitivity, and sweetness, along with a complex and realistic cast; EB and Lauren’s stories amount to two great novels in one.”


Thanks, PW! Kirkus said it had “tremendous appeal for any teenager coping with change,” and Booklist called it “authentic and drama filled.” It’s a Winter Indie Next pick, and Amazon’s best YA book of December, and is soon to be a major motion picture starring Mark Ruffalo as Lauren’s dad. Okay one of those things is a lie.


Other fun ROOMIES-related stuff if you’ve missed it:


Tara and I talk on the PW KidsCast podcast about our collaboration


Tara’s appearance on the very first episode of This Creative Life, when I was trying to use theme music and, apparently, talking through a wet sock.


Tara’s most recent YA novel, THE BEST NIGHT OF YOUR (PATHETIC) LIFE, which I adore.


And! We’re taking this book on the road! It’s a small tour, mostly hitting up our home towns. We will both be at all the below events, and hope to see you.


January 12, 2014 – McNally Jackson – NYC – 6 p.m. 


January 15, 2014 – The King’s English – SLC – 7 p.m. 


January 16, 2014 – Provo City Library – Provo, UT – 7 p.m. 


February 4, 2014 – Books Inc, Opera Plaza – San Francisco – 7 p.m. 


February 5, 2014 – Copperfield’s Books – Petaluma – 7 p.m. 


Meeaaaanwhile, I am working away on GEM & DIXIE, getting ready for a teaching residency, and tending to a problematic ulnar nerve. I’ve gotten myself an assistant to take care of most of my Internet stuff while I do those things. I hope to be back at it myself in February. Merry Christmas and happy holidays, thanks, as always, for your support. See you back here in 2014!

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Published on December 24, 2013 15:33 • 52 views

December 19, 2013

It’s a This Creative Life first! My guests are two authors who are still a year out or more from the publication of their first books. I’ve been eager to do a show like this to remind us all that working writers don’t spring up overnight from nowhere. Not that you thought that, but it’s one of those things that can be easy to forget when you plop down into someone’s career midstream and it seems like they were born with the highly-coveted and often misunderstood “published author” credentials.


Kate Bassett (Words and Their Meanings, Flux, Fall 2014) and Bryan Bliss (title-to-come YA, Greenwillow/HarperCollins, Winter 2015) talk candidly about their paths to publication, their fears and anxieties, and the good and bad surprises post-book-contract.




http://www.sarazarr.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Bryan-Bliss-Kate-Bassett-TCL-Ep-31.m4a


Click to listen, subscribe in iTunes to easily get it onto all your devices automatically, or find it on the Stitcher app. Thank you for listening, for tweeting, liking, and sharing! Feel free to leave comments or questions here, or contact me about the podcast. (Having trouble listening from the site? Make sure the speaker button on the right of the embedded player is toggled on.)


Dear listener! As I explain at the end of this episode, the podcast will be on hiatus until sometime in February.  I’ve got one book (or half a book) coming out and its little tour (stops in NYC, SLC, San Francisco, Petaluma – details to come), a teaching gig, and a bunch of writing to get done, so it’s a lot of off-the-gridness for me in the coming weeks. I’ll miss you!


Show Notes! Notes of Show!


Bryan Bliss on Twitter


Kate Bassett on Twitter | Kate’s web site


The MFA program Bryan is completing at Seattle Pacific

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Published on December 19, 2013 11:41 • 43 views

December 12, 2013



http://www.sarazarr.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Roomies.mp4

 


Adorable little ROOMIES trailer to help whip you all into a frenzy of book-buying (or book-requesting-at-library) come release day, which is December 24. Little, Brown will also be giving away of bunch of ARCs next week; if you follow me on twitter (@sarazarr) you will get the whole scoop. (Tara is @taraaltebrando, and our publisher is @lbkids.)


In other news, I recently got an email from Stitcher announcing its podcast awards. Now, this seemed like an exciting idea until I clicked the link and discovered it’s all tangled up with Facebook, and for reasons too complicated to explain, I wasn’t able to get in there and actually see how this process works and what the categories are and all that. But if you are a Facebook user and a fan of This Creative Life, feel free to check this out and show your support. Though, honestly, your notes here and on twitter and elsewhere are support enough! And stay tuned for the next episode later this month, which will feature debut authors whose books aren’t even out yet, because I wanted to get some early-career perspectives from people who are just getting into publishing lives now, and what that looks like.


 



 

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Published on December 12, 2013 07:46 • 33 views

December 4, 2013

David McGlynn is the author of the Utah Book Award winning story collection The End of the Straight and Narrow; the riveting memoir about faith and swimming and loss, A Door in the Ocean; and numerous stories and essays published in places like Alaska Quarterly Review, Image, and Shenandoah, and work selected for Best American Sports Writing and Best American Essays. I had the great pleasure of meeting him this past summer and, shortly thereafter, of reading his work and quickly becoming a devoted fan. In this episode we talk about the differences between writing nonfiction and fiction, and how everything he writes “in one way or another comes from back to personal and lived experience.” Also the oddness of swimmers and the awesome/challenging two-word piece of advice he gleaned from Patricia Hampl.


Though we talked for a good hour or so, I somehow managed not to be recording one of my favorite moments–David likening writing a short story to trying to wrestle down a greased pig. As soon as you lunge at it, it slips away. Nonetheless, I think we captured some great stuff here, and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.




http://www.sarazarr.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/David-McGlynn-TCL-Ep-30.m4a


Click to listen, subscribe in iTunes to easily get it onto all your devices automatically, or find it on the Stitcher app. Thank you for listening, for tweeting, liking, and sharing! Feel free to leave comments or questions here, or contact me about the podcast. (Having trouble listening from the site? Make sure the speaker button on the right of the embedded player is toggled on.)



Show Notes! Notes of Show!


David’s web site


Buy David’s books


David’s author page on Facebook (where he seems about as enthusiastic about FB as I am, but in case that’s where you get your author news, here you go!)


Stuff we talked about in the podcast: Shot in the Heart by Mikal Gilmore, Milton’s “When I Consider How My Light Is Spent”, Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home


What is this magnificent thing we call the Glen Workshop, where lifelong friendships with other creative people are initiated?


This Creative Life episode 22 with Aaron Hartzler talking about his memoir, and parents and memoir

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Published on December 04, 2013 17:00 • 37 views

November 25, 2013

Probably by now you’ve heard of this great idea from friend and champion of booksellers and readers, Sherman Alexie, that will turn authors into booksellers (we always kind of are, but more literally) on November 30 – also known as Small Business Saturday. Can you imagine walking into your local independent book store and then, like, Curtis Sittenfeld helps you find a cookbook for your Aunt Jean? Or Matt de la Pena tells you what your nephew might actually read? Over 1,000 authors around the country are getting in on this. Myself included!


I’ll be handselling books at Weller Book Works in Trolley Square, from 10 am to noon, on Saturday the 30th. Come out and ask me what to buy. You’ll be doing a great thing for local business and the book business and your shopping list. Gift-wrapping available! Not by me, though, because I’m terrible at it.


Some recent and semi-recent news if missed it around other places on the internets:


The Lucy Variations has been named a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2013. Thanks, PW! Read more about Lucy‘s reviews and other honors thus far (maybe you’ll want to add it to your holiday shopping list!).


Roomies is just a month out from publication now, and that’s getting pretty exciting!


- Read more about it and the latest reviews here.


- Listen to Tara and me talk about our collaboration on the PW Kids Cast.


- Check out an excerpt in Justine Magazine


- Subscribe to One Teen Story to read Tara’s “Soundproof Your Life,” which I absolutely love. I’m so lucky to have written a book with this her!


- If you’re in the NYC area, get this on your calendar! January 12, 2014 – McNally Jackson – NYC – 6 p.m. with Tara Altebrando


Lastly: This came in the mail yesterday, and at first I assumed it was a Sweethearts foreign edition. But no, it’s How to Save a Life in Lithuanian!



 

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Published on November 25, 2013 08:10 • 94 views

November 18, 2013

In this episode, the lovely and talented Jo Knowles talks with me about emotional truth vs. “what really happened,” The Chocolate War, when we will start to feel like real authors, and the tragic decline and fall of roller discos. Jo is the author of five novels, her most recent being Living with Jackie Chan, a companion novel to her YALSA Top Ten Quick Pick, Jumping Off Swings.




http://www.sarazarr.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Jo-Knowles-TCL-Ep-29.m4a


Click to listen, subscribe in iTunes to easily get it onto all your devices automatically, or find it on the Stitcher app. Thank you for listening, for tweeting, liking, and sharing! Feel free to leave comments or questions here, or contact me about the podcast. (Having trouble listening from the site? Make sure the speaker button on the right of the embedded player is toggled on.)


Show Notes! Notes of Show!


Jo’s web site  |  Jo on twitter


Jo’s posts at Inside a Dog


The Books – Read one soon!



Fred



 

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Published on November 18, 2013 15:06 • 58 views

November 1, 2013

Steve Brezenoff started his career with dozens of writer-for-hire chapter books, and never though he’d wind up writing young adult realism. He says he “did it all wrong,” and YA just seemed to be what was in him wanting to come out. In this episode, Steve takes us through his scene-based process for the forthcoming Guy In Real Life (G.I.R.L.), and talks about why he’s now writing longhand. We also revisit the age-old (for me, anyway) question of selling a finished book vs. selling on proposal, and the challenge of fearlessness.


This episode also includes your answers about what being “at home in your work” means to you, and I ask another question at the end about NaNoWriMo.




http://www.sarazarr.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Author-Steve-Brezenoff-TCL-ep-28.m4a


Click to listen, subscribe in iTunes to easily get it onto all your devices automatically, or find it on the Stitcher app. Thank you for listening, for tweeting, liking, and sharing! Feel free to leave comments or questions here, or contact me about the podcast. (Having trouble listening from the site? Make sure the speaker button on the right of the embedded player is toggled on.)


Show Notes! Notes of Show!


Steve’s web site  | blog  | twitter


Steve’s current favorite pen


SCBWI

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Published on November 01, 2013 12:07 • 49 views

October 15, 2013

Does she really need an introduction? Okay, just in case: Sarah Dessen is a Good Morning America superfan, tweeter extraordinaire, deviled egg aficionado and, oh yeah, the author of eleven bestselling novels. She and I recently met on the cybernets to talk about her writing life and career. We discussed how publishing has changed since her first book came out in 1996 (before we all had cell phones! before we all had internet!), her steady-as-she-goes process (which I envy), and where to find the Lost Sarah Dessen Novel.


I felt especially inspired by this episode because Sarah has been in it for the long haul in an ever-changing business. She says, “I’m just going to keep putting one foot in front of the other and hope for good things.” That sounds doable!




http://www.sarazarr.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Sarah-Dessen-TCL-Ep-27.m4a


Click to listen, right click to download, or subscribe in iTunes to easily get it onto all your devices automatically, or find it on the Stitcher app. Thank you for listening, for tweeting, liking, and sharing! Feel free to leave comments or questions here, or contact me about the podcast. (And I expect this episode will break my feed and may go temporarily down while I dig up some more bandwidth! Thanks for your patience!)


At the end of this episode, I put out a call to listeners to write to me about what being “at home in your work” looks like to you. I hope to hear from you via email, Facebook, twitter, or the comments!


Show Notes


Sarah Dessen official web site


Sarah on twitter


Watch Sarah’s GMA dream come true! (and briefly view her chickens)

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Published on October 15, 2013 08:24 • 87 views

October 4, 2013

Happy October! It’s my favorite month of the year. The leaves are turning, it’s finally hoodie weather, and apples are at their crispiest. Also, October happens to be a great month for book events because many new and exciting books come into the world in fall! There are a couple of things coming up next week for local folks:


Tuesday, October 8 – James Dashner of MAZE RUNNER fame is starting a new series, and THE EYE OF MINDS comes first! And yours truly will be hosting the local launch with the King’s English. Which more or less means I’ll be there to give James a hard time and/or keep him in line as the situation requires, ask him some questions, and field the audience’s. This will all go down at 7 p.m., at Rowland Hall, 843 Lincoln Street.


Thursday, October 10 – Gayle Foreman is in town for her JUST ONE YEAR tour, and she generously invited me to join her at her event. We are calling it “All The Feels: Emotion On and Off The Page,” and we’ll be talking about our books and writing about feeeeeeeelings. This will be at 7 p.m., at the King’s English


I’d love to see you at one or both of those events.


Hey. Are you interested in writing YA? Are you already writing YA but not sure about the whole agenting/publishing thing works? Are you just a curious bystander who might some day maybe write YA? I am co-running a weekend Young Adult Boot Camp, sponsored by the King’s English and the University of Utah Department of English. You can find out a bit more and register through TKE’s site here. The faculty includes me, my fabulous agent Michael Bourret, U of U professor and author Anne Jamison, editor Jennifer Adams, author Ann Cannon, and TKE booksellers. To give you a little more detail: there will be a Friday night reception and panel discussion, then Saturday we’ll kind of go through the life of a book from, you know, writing it, to how the bookselling and marketing works, and everything in between (like querying agents, working with editors, protecting your writing life, etc.) Space is limited so register early if you’re interested! Also feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. That is happening November 8 & 9.


I hope your fall is off to a good start. And if it isn’t, remember that every day and every minute are potential new beginnings.

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Published on October 04, 2013 08:47 • 48 views

October 1, 2013

My guest this episode is Nina LaCour, author of HOLD STILL and THE DISENCHANTMENTS, and producer/writer/director of the forthcoming movie, HOLD STILL, based on her novel (as you may have guessed). Listen in to Nina and I talking about how and why she Kickstarted the movie, our experiences as novelists figuring out how to write screenplays, and what Nina learned during the Eternal Waiting for her first book to reach publication.




http://www.sarazarr.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Nina-LaCour-TCL-Ep-26.m4a


Click to listen, right click to download, or subscribe in iTunes to easily get it onto all your devices automatically, or find it on the Stitcher app. Thank you for listening, for tweeting, liking, and sharing! Feel free to leave comments or questions here, or contact me about the podcast. Be back around 10/15 with a new episode. (If all goes according to plan, 10/15 will feature one of the YA world’s most favoritest people!)


Show Notes:


Nina LaCour’s web site


Hold Still the movie at IMdB


Nina on Twitter


The Hold Still book trailer



 

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Published on October 01, 2013 08:13 • 35 views

Sara Zarr's Blog

Sara Zarr
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