Friday, June 25, 2010

Find Out Friday: Sarah Ockler

What inspired you to write a novel for young adults?

I think my writing style always had a young adult quality, but it
wasn't until I started taking a YA novel class through Lighthouse
Writers Workshop in Denver that I really found my true calling as an
author. We read and discussed books by Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti,
Laurie Halse Anderson, and other contemporary YA authors, and reading
those stories and learning more about the craft, I just felt such a
connection. It was like, yes!! This is exactly what I'm supposed to
do! :-)

Personally, what's your favorite YA book?

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. So complex and awesome.

Is there a specific author you look up to?

Sarah Dessen. She was one of the first contemporary YA authors I read
for that YA class through Lighthouse, and I fell in love with her
writing immediately.

What's one place in the world you would love to visit?

I've always wanted to visit Egypt and hope to have the chance in the
coming years.

How do you come up with character names?

A lot of times the characters just sort of come to me with their first
names, kind of like when you look at a person and think, "Oh yeah, she
totally looks like a Jenny." Last names are a little trickier, though.
I often use the phone book, the cemetery, or movie credits. It's
important to find names that fit together stylistically and that
aren't too similar to other character names. Sometimes I'll even
change last names midway through a project. First names are usually
permanent, though -- once I have them, they stay!

Is the final cover of Twenty Boy Summer what you imagined it looking like?

I always imagined and hoped the final cover of Twenty Boy Summer would
include sea glass since it's so symbolic in the story, but other than
that, I didn't know what to expect. The publisher went through a
number of different concepts before finally deciding on a photo shoot
for the final image. When I saw the cover comps, I literally cried.
That's how much I loved it! I can't imagine a more perfect cover for
the story.

What part of yourself or people you know did you put into Anna and Frankie?

Ha, everyone who knows me thinks they see themselves in the
characters, or they see me in Anna. :-) I do draw from memories from
my own teen years, but not directly. It's more like using the
emotional essence of those memories than rewriting actual events or
people. I remember falling in love at that age, and experiencing the
incredible ups and downs of best friendship, summer vacations, boys,
fights, and everything that goes along with being a teen. So I
definitely look for inspiration there, but nothing *too* real. :-)

Can you give any hints about what to expect from Fixing Delilah Hannaford?

Fixing Delilah Hannaford portrays the struggles between mothers and
daughters and the secrets that can both break and bind a family.
There's so much pain and distance between Delilah and her mom when the
book opens, and throughout their unexpected summer together, Delilah
must confront issues from her own life and her family's difficult
past. It's emotional in a different way than Twenty Boy Summer,
showing more of the painful undercurrents of life rather than a big
sudden tragedy. And, for readers who enjoyed the romantic elements in
Twenty Boy Summer, you'll definitely like the romance that unfolds in
Fixing Delilah Hannaford! I mean, emotional or not, what's a summer
story without a little romance, right? :-)

Thanks for hosting me, Kelsey, and happy reading to all!


Thanks so much, Sarah!

Click here to visit Sarah's website!


  1. YAY, Sarah Ockler! I've never read anything by her (ALWAYS wanted to read Twenty Boy Summer so badly though) but she seems pretty awesome!

  2. Absolutely LOVE Twenty Boy Summer. One of my top reads of the year. It's a beautiful story. Great interview and looking forward to Ms. Ockler's next book!


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