Information for School Assignments/ Writing

In which I am interviewed by an eighth grader. :)

This particular set of questions has inspired me to add a category to this blog called, cleverly enough, Information for School Assignments.


What genre of books do you like to read?

All kinds. Really.

Who is your favorite author?

I can’t pick just one.

If you could work with any author who would it be?

Someone who’s really good at coming up with plots. I almost always have characters in mind before I have any idea what happens to them.

Who or what inspired you to write?

Reading. Living. My parents. Certain awesome teachers.

How did you get your first book published?

I was lucky.

Do you have any books that have been made into movies? If so which ones?

If I had, don’t you think I’d have something about it on my website? ;)
In other words: no, not yet.

If you could change one thing about your books, what would it be?

I wouldn’t change the books. I’d change the minds of people who want to remove them from school libraries.

What was your favorite toy as a child?

A tiny plastic elephant.

Do you have any siblings?


Do any of your relatives read your books?

Yes. Also, some of my mom’s friends, which is even more unnerving. Cool, but unnerving.

Did you ever think you’d ever become an author? If not what would you be?


I’m also a librarian.

What do you consider your best accomplishment?

I hope it’s still ahead of me.

What is your daily life like today?

I work as a librarian during the day. I write at night and on the weekends — when I’m not answering questions like this, that is. ;)

As a child did you do a lot of writing? Reading?


If you had all the time in the world, what would you do?

Travel more. Spend more time with my friends. Also, probably take up the violin again.

Have you had any books that you’ve written NOT get published?

I threw one out.

What advice would you give to people who “run out of creativity” when writing?

Here are a few ideas:

Step away and do something else for a while. Sometimes you need a little distance before you can see where your story’s going.

Try bibliomancy: close your eyes, open a book to a random page, and point somewhere on the page. Whatever sentence your finger lands on, apply it to your story.

Ask yourself: what’s the worst thing that could happen to my characters right now? (Aside from, say, having them all die suddenly for no apparent reason. ;))

What is some advice you would give to an aspiring writer?

Pay attention to everything. Keep a notebook and a writing instrument (pen, pencil, marker, whatever) with you at all times. Eavesdrop. Read.

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  • Lorna Weis
    March 26, 2008 at 8:30 am

    That’s funny. I always have a plot unfolding in my head and then I have issues building the character. You’re an inspiration. I enjoy your blogs.

  • Abby and Kelli
    March 26, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    Abby writes: I think you have great advice for “young writers in training”. I am eight years old and plan to be a writer (I am writing a book now.)

    Kelli writes: Sara- I enjoy your blog and am finally writing in. Thanks for the great advice. I just showed it to Abby and she was inspired to write you!

    Thanks again!

  • Sara
    March 27, 2008 at 9:22 am

    Hey, thanks Lorna!

    And hey, Abby and Kelli — so nice to hear from both of you! We have to make it back to your part of the country again one of these days. It’s been way too long.

  • Lilah
    March 29, 2008 at 12:13 am

    Hey, this is a it off topic relating to the post, but oh well.

    I don’t know if you remember me, but I was paired up with a so-called ‘Jack H.’ and we left comments on your posts about Eugene almost a year ago. We have an extraordinary talent of being really annoying together. Here’s a link, in case you don’t remember:

    I read your books about a year ago, and I’ve been thinking about them for a long while now, yet I haven’t been able to re-read them, as I don’t own them. Yesterday, I bought a copy of Empress of the World (at Powell’s, coincidentally), and I’ve been re-reading it.

    I’d jut like to say that your books really … inspire me, I guess. I don’t want to sound like that simpering fan who breaks down wails on about the inspiration they found in the book, or anything. But for lack of a better word, I guess I’ll just say that they inspire me.

    It really is more than that though. “Inspire” is such a two-dimensional word. It’s almost like one of those life-size, cardboard cut-outs of movie stars that you see at the theater. I’m not really quite sure how to explain it though. Your books affect me in a way that no other book does (not even Harry Potter). It’s like I’m not even reading a book; I’m listening to someone speak, or … I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I can relate to the characters so well … but I’m not sure.

    After I read your books, they really made me think differently about things. I was definitely open-minded and a total advocate for gay rights and stuff before, but the books just did something different for me. But I don’t think that it had anything to do with the fact that the main characters were gay. I’m not quite sure what, but … whatever you wanted to accomplish by writing these books, I think that it worked on me. I’m just … kind of confused now.

    But anyway, thanks for listening to my ramble (if you did).