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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Author Interview: Sarah Ockler (Twenty Boy Summer)

Today, let's all welcome the talented and amazing author, Sarah Ockler. Thank you so much for doing this interview! She has written Twenty Boy Summer and will soon be releasing her latest YA, Fixing Delilah in November. I seriously cannot wait to read it!

Sarah Ockler wrote and illustrated her first book at age six-an adaptation of Steven Spielberg’s E.T. When she approached her parents about publishing it, they taught her a new phrase-copyright infringement-and encouraged her to pursue original works. Sarah heeded their advice, legitimizing her writing career with the publication of her first short story, “The Crazy Mixed-Up Candy Cane Machine,” in the elementary school paper. Still recovering from her own adolescence, Sarah now writes for young adults. While nomadic at heart, she and her husband Alex currently live in Upstate New York with an ever-expanding collection of sea glass (hers) and dinosaurs (his).

For more info on Sarah, visit her site(s):

Books by Sarah:
Twenty Boy Summer
Fixing Delilah (Coming out on November 2, 2010)

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 304

"Don't worry, Anna. I'll tell her, okay?
Just let me think about the best way to do it."
"Promise me? Promise you won't say anything?"
"Don't worry." I laughed. "It's our secret, right?"

According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in ZanzibarBay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy ever day, there's a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there's something she hasn't told Frankie---she's already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie's older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago. Beautifully written and emotionally honest, this is a debut novel that explores what it truly means to love someone and what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every single moment this world has to offer.

Available in Bookstores Now!

Author Interview:

1) Sarah, when was the first moment you knew you wanted to become a writer?

SO: I've been writing since I was about 5 years old. I don't know that there was ever a specific moment where I knew I wanted to be a writer -- looking back, it just feels like it's always been part of who I am. I knew a few years ago that I wanted to make it my career, but even if I wasn't able to publish and write for a living, I'd still consider myself a writer. I like to think that writing chose me rather than me choosing writing!

2) What inspired you to write Twenty Boy Summer?

SO: I was inspired to write the story by my work with the National Donor Family Council, an organization that supports families whose loved ones have died and donated organs or tissues. Through the Council's programs and events, I met a lot of grieving teens who'd suffered the death of a brother, sister, or friend, and now, even years later, their courage and hope has always stayed with me. When I set out to write my first YA novel, I knew that I wanted to share a little bit of their stories.

3) Are the characters in the book based on someone you know?

SO: Not specifically, but as a writer, I can't help but pull different characteristics, personality traits, physical descriptions, sayings, and mannerisms from the people I've known throughout my life. So the main character Anna and her best friend Frankie might reflect some aspects of the friendships I had as a teen, and the parents in the book might have some qualities that feel a bit like my own mom and dad. But then I kind of mix it all in and make the rest up to create three-dimensional characters that readers can hopefully understand and connect with. The funny thing is that everyone I know now thinks they see themselves in the characters, no matter how much I tell them it's just fiction!

4) What was the hardest part of writing Twenty Boy Summer?

SO: The most difficult thing about writing Twenty Boy Summer was dealing with the death of Matt and how his sister, best friend, and parents reacted to such a horrible tragedy. Because I was inspired by real families who'd endured this kind of loss, I wanted to be very careful to treat the death and the emotional aftermath realistically and sensitively. To do that, I had to go deep into the dark places of my own life, thinking about losses and death and difficulties, while at the same time keeping the story ultimately hopeful and uplifting. It was a challenging but very rewarding project.

5) Just like in your book, did you ever have a Summer fling that you wish didn't end?

SO: No, just a winter one. Then I married him, so it didn't have to end. :-)

6) Do you have any other ideas that your working for another book?

SO: My second book, Fixing Delilah, is complete and will be out in November 2010. 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.

I'm also working on a third novel featuring cupcakes and hockey boys. ;-)

7) Are there any new authors that have sparked your interest?

SO: In addition to my fellow debutantes at, I am really in love with Melina Marchetta and Laura Resau these days. Melina and Laura have been writing for a few years now, but I just discovered their work last year and am so inspired and challenged by it. There are so many wonderful young adult authors and books out there today -- it's a great time to be a reader!

8) What book are you currently reading?

SO: I just finished up the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare and I'm just starting The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan. I'm also looking forward to pickup up Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I'm in a spooky dark fantasy phase right now!

9) Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

SO: Just that I'm so grateful for the outpouring of support and love you've all given Twenty Boy Summer! I love hearing from readers and I continue to be humbled every day that I get to tell teen stories for a living. Thank you so much for reading!

10) Tell us something about yourself that no one knows about.

SO: I don't know if I have any real secrets left since I started blogging :-) , but I will say that most people don't know that I'm pretty shy and sensitive. I try to push through it so that I can put myself out there and meet readers and librarians and teachers -- which I love to do -- but it's extremely difficult for me. I'm much better behind the screen, typing away. But still, I wouldn't trade it for anything!


Miss Remmers said...

I love hockey boys! Great interview!

Jackie Noel said...

I loved Twenty Boy Summer! What a fun interview! Can't wait for her next novel!

Amy Holder said...

Great interview!

Robby said...

I'll add Fixing Delilah to my TR List! 20 Boy Summer has been climbing it for MONTHS. Great interview. :]

Anonymous said...

Great interview. I loved Twenty Boy Summer and I've got Fixing Delilah on my TBR pile!

LoonyMoonyy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LoonyMoonyy said...

Linked to the wrong place lol:
I awarded you the versatile Blogger award:

Kate said...

Oooh, great interview! I really should read Twenty Boy Summer!

Chas @ LLL Reviews said...

great review!!=) I just bought this one the other week!!=)

Mary not so Contrary said...

Great interview!

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