Writing SURPRISINGLY SARAH was not-so-surprisingly refreshing. I had really wanted to break away from the formula I use for this series. I’d only done it once; in BECOMING BRIANNA, there is just one main character (as opposed to my traditional two), and instead of the chapters switching between the characters’ POVs, the timeline switches between past and present.
In SARAH, I also broke the mold — this time by manipulating the plotline. I created a “what if” situation. That is, I present two different responses to an event and the reader sees how each one unfolds. More details here.
It wasn’t easy to pull off. I had to make sure the story wouldn’t be confusing — especially since those two scenarios happen to one character (Sarah) but are presented by two different characters (Sarah and her best friend, Leo). Yikes!
I also made up brand new characters, Leo and Ben. Creating new kids from scratch is always a challenge…although a fun one. Luckily their personalities came together well. In fact, I absolutely fell in love with Leo — what a quirky, funny, loyal kid! I kinda liken his relationship with his best friend Sarah to that of Duckie and Andie from “Pretty in Pink” (kids, ask your parents…or your grandparents).
I really had to pay attention and make sure I was attributing the right details to the correct plotline. I went over everything with a fine tooth comb, as did my editors. Can’t be too careful. Add in all the art, and double that fine tooth combing!
But how I loved writing this. First, because I got to really delve into sweet Sarah’s life, which I’ve wanted to do for a long time. And second, because I grew to enjoy her evolving relationship with Leo. A wonderful by-product of writing is watching your characters’ personalities emerge before your eyes — sometimes with little effort. Such was the case with both Sarah and Leo. I remember when creating TRULY TYLER, I had such a tough time writing from a boy’s POV at first. Once I got over that stumbling block and everything clicked, it felt so natural to write for Tyler, which in turn, paved the way for Leo. I’ll always be grateful to Tyler for that.
In a nutshell, writing SARAH was challenging AND creatively freeing. In other words, everything an author wants. For the most part, it’s been this way with the entire series, which is one of the reasons I continue to write these books. That, and incredible reader response, which is ALWAYS rewarding.
I hope you choose to pick up a copy of SURPRISINGLY SARAH. Better yet, I hope you love reading it as much as I loved writing it. To order SARAH, click here.
As always, happy reading!