We are JUST SO delighted to showcase Notable19 member Sara Shacter, author of JUST SO WILLOW!
Notable 19s: From the cover, Willow looks to be the cutest polar bear...friendly enough to be a pet, which leads us to ask: did you have a pet growing up, and has it made its way into any of your stories?
Sara: My only pet was a goldfish named Marilyn, after Marilyn Monroe. The name was my mom’s idea – Marilyn Monroe had very expressive lips, and my mom likened them to a fish’s mouth opening and closing. I know. A bit of a stretch.
Sadly, Marilyn was rather mean-spirited. When I bought her a friend, she ate it. Yet what she lacked in manners, she made up for in fortitude. I was a terrible pet owner. I wouldn’t clean her tank until the water became somewhat opaque. Occasionally I forgot to feed her. But she lived for 13 years.
Marilyn has not appeared in any of my stories, but (spoiler alert…) I thought of her while reading Ryan T. Higgins’ We Don’t Eat Our Classmates. That book is hilarious.
Notable19s: Cannibal fish and being eaten by classmates sound like the stuff of nightmares and would make a person have trouble falling asleep. LOL! What do you think about when you have trouble falling asleep?
Sara: For better or for worse, I often think about my Work In Progress. The peace and quiet lets me ponder plot points and turn phrases in my head. On the upside, I often get inspired and scribble deep thoughts on the notepad that resides on my nightstand. On the downside, I get so involved in my thoughts that I don’t fall asleep! Bit of a vicious cycle.
Notable19s: Warm milk might help with falling asleep; sadly, the tryptophan in turkey does not help with sleep. Now that we’ve got everyone hungry, what is a food you could not live without?
Sara: Bread. Warm, crusty bread with buttery deliciousness melting on top. My husband calls me “Gluten Girl.” I’d make a good medieval prisoner at the top of a crumbling castle tower, eating nothing but bread and water. But it would have to be high-quality bread. No mass marketed white bread for me.
Notable19s: Now that we know what your favorite food is, how about your favorite TV show as a kid?
Sara: I didn’t really have a favorite, but I watched a ridiculous amount of The Brady Bunch. (This may reveal my approximate age…) I logged so many hours that my mom could be in different room, hear the introductory lines of dialogue, and yell, “Isn’t this the one where Marcia gets hit in the nose with a football?” I should really apologize to my mom.
Notable19s: Too funny! One final question for you, so we will ask about the craft. What is the hardest for you about writing? The easiest?
I’m not sure the words “hardest” and “easiest” really apply. When an aspect of craft is difficult, it’s also challenging and exciting. When an aspect of craft seems “easy,” I think it’s more a matter of it feeling joyful than actually being “easy.”
That said, what I struggle with most is the blank page. There are SO many ways to tell a story! I’m a tad type-A, so it can feel overwhelming to seek the “right” beginning. I try to remind myself that none of my words are etched into anyone’s soul. Revision is good! In fact, that is what I enjoy most – revising. Shaping a draft until it sings is incredibly gratifying.
Notable19s: There certainly are many ways to tell a story, and we’re so glad you told yours!
Please be sure to follow Sara on Twitter or Facebook and visit her website for updates and be the first to find out when JUST SO WILLOW is available for preorder!
We are a group of writers and illustrators who have debut books (actual debuts , debuts as author-illustrators, or debuts with medium/large publishers) forthcoming in 2019. Thank you for joining us on our exciting journey!