1) Why ya books? Did you choose this genre
or were you ‘chosen’ by it?
I like to say that YA chose me. :-) Several
years ago, I was taking a memoir class and
I submitted an essay about some "trouble"
my best friend and I got into in high school.
My instructor loved it and asked me if I'd ever
considered writing for teens; he said I had a
great voice for it.
I hadn't thought about it before then, so I
took his advice and enrolled in a YA workshop,
in which we wrote, critiqued one another, and
read contemporary YA books for discussion.
By the end of the first night of class, I was
like, OH! So THIS is what I was born to write about!
I took the message to heart -- in that workshop,
over several sessions, I wrote my first novel,
Twenty Boy Summer, which went on to be published in 2009.
2) Is there a children's/ya author, living or dead,
who inspired you particularly?
During the YA workshop I mentioned, we read three authors
that really inspired me and made me realize I needed to write
for teens: Deb Caletti, Laurie Halse Anderson, and Sarah Dessen.
I will always be grateful to them for unknowingly setting me on the right path.
The best part about being a YA author myself is that I have since been able
to meet each of them and thank them in person.
3) Please, tell us about your last book and, if you can, about your future projects.
My most recent novel, Bittersweet, was published in January.
It features cupcakes, ice skating, and seriously cute hockey boys,
but here's a better summary :-): Once upon a time, Hudson knew exactly
what her future looked like. Then a betrayal changed her life, and knocked
her dreams to the ground. Now she’s a girl who doesn’t believe in second chances...
a girl who stays under the radar by baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner and obsessing
over what might have been. So when things start looking up and she has
at her dreams, Hudson is equal parts hopeful and terrified. Of course,
this is also
the moment a cute, sweet guy walks into her life... and starts serving up
mixed signals. She’s got a lot on her plate, and for a girl
who’s been burned before, risking it all is easier said than done.
It’s time for Hudson to ask herself what she really wants,
and how much she’s willing to sacrifice to get it.
Because in a place where opportunities are
fleeting, she knows this chance may very well be her last...
My next novel will be published
sometime next spring or summer, and I haven't shared too much about it yet,
but I will tell you that it features a family of four sisters and a cute
motorcycle boy. Yes, I'm into cute boys, what can I say?
4) How was your writing journey? Was it difficult
to find an agent and get published?
It took me four years to complete Twenty Boy Summer, my first novel, but once I did
my journey to publication was relatively quick. The issue before that was that I
to run away from my writing. I was scared it wasn't good enough, convinced that no
want to read it, so I buried my head in the sand. With some encouragement and gentle
nudging from my husband, I finally got unstuck, and then I made an absolute commitment
to my writing.
I buckled down and finished and revised the book, and then I signed with my agent
within about two weeks of starting my query campaign. Once we went out on submission,
we had several offers within just a few days. It still feels like a dream sometimes!
I know I'm extremely fortunate, because the journey can be a lot longer for some
aspiring authors, but I always tell people the same thing: get out of your own way!
Believe in yourself, make your writing a priority, and the universe
will help you. :-) And until it does, do NOT stop writing. Do NOT give up!
5) What’s your opinion about this E-book revolution?
Would you consider the indie route?
It's hard for me to answer this question because I don't have
indie experience yet -- so far, I can only speak to my experience
with traditional publication.
Further, while ebooks do represent a portion of my sales, it's a small percentage
compared to my print books, largely because my audience--teens and pre-teens--have not
yet adopted e-readers at the rate adults have. Traditional publication has been a very
positive experience for me, but I always keep an open mind about the future.
So yes, I would definitely consider the indie route, but at the moment, it's not
something I'm actively seeking. I'm very glad that there are so many options for
authors today to get their work out to readers.
6) Nowadays many publishers expect their authors to use social media a lot
to promote their books. Many authors, on the other hand, would prefer to
write only, without being distracted by digital trivialities:
what are your thoughts?
I'm somewhere in the middle. A lot of times, corporations in general
(whether publishing industry corporations or other businesses) takes the wrong
approach to social media, propagating an attitude of "the more, the better."
Authors who are successful connecting with readers via social media are those
who are genuine online and who focus on the media outlets they enjoy rather
than every single available outlet. Authors who use the online tools to pimp
their books, or who blast a single message across multiple outlets, will quickly
alienate readers and burn themselves out. Personally, I enjoy limited but meaningful
interaction with readers online, meaning I'd rather have a handful of really
dedicated Twitter followers with whom I can chat about books, movies, and life than
to have hundreds of thousands that I'm just Tweeting at with links to buy my books.
And sure, I could probably stand to spend a little more time writing books and
less time on social media, but my audience is primarily teens, and social media
is one of the best ways to connect with them.
Again, it's all about balance and authenticity, and doing what you truly enjoy
(like most things, I suppose!).
Info about the author:
Sarah Ockler is the bestselling author of critically acclaimed young adult novels
Twenty Boy Summer, Fixing Delilah, and Bittersweet.
Her books have been translated into several languages and have
received numerous accolades, including ALA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults,
Girls’ Life Top 100 Must Reads, IndieNext list picks, and more.
Her short fiction and essays will be featured in two upcoming
young adult anthologies: Defy the Dark and Dear Teen Me.
Sarah teaches advanced young adult
fiction writing at Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver.
She’s a champion cupcake eater,
coffee drinker, night person, and bookworm.
When she’s not writing or reading,
Sarah enjoys taking pictures, hugging trees, and road-tripping through the country
with her husband, Alex.
To know more, please visit her website: http://sarahockler.com/
To buy her latest book, simply click on the cover below: