Author Feature: Sarah McGuire

Author Feature: Sarah McGuire

Introduction: About You

3 Little Known or Interesting Things About You

1 I’m tall. REALLY tall. 

2 I’ve been on a round-the-world voyage.

3 I love chocolate chip dough

Hogwarts House and Camp Halfblood Cabin

Gryffindor and Athena!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I write mostly dialog at first. It’s hard for me to “see” setting when I first write.

What is the first book that made you cry?

I don’t remember! I think I was less likely to cry as I kid than I am now. I remember crying as an adult at the end of Charlotte’s Web. (I knew what was coming and STILL howled right in the middle of the Barnes and Noble cafe.) Terry Pratchett’s books can make me cry, too. 

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Both! Sometimes it feels like such a slog!!! It’s all I can do to put down the next word. But there are so many good moments, too. I love it when I’m finally able to write what I really meant in the first place. (I think that’s why many writers write. I was always that person who thought of what she should have said three hours after the argument. Finally finding the right words in a manuscript feels as good as having the perfect answer exactly when you need it.)

About Your Books

Why are fairy tales important to read?

For me, fairy tales were a way of being immersed in a world that was bigger and more beautiful and more frightening than my daily life. They were a way for me to imagine that I could be heroic. I think it’s important for all of us to see the world differently and to be heroic, but I also believe that readers may find that in different places and different types of stories than I did. 

Describe your writing journey and how you dealt with obstacles.

I decided that I wanted to become a published author in 2006. My debut novel, Valiant, was published in 2015. There was a lot of work and rejection between 2006 and 2015! I wrote and revised and revised and revised a novel for years. Then I realized I didn’t know how to make it good enough to get published, so I started all. over. again. I wrote another novel. I revised and revised and revised. When I sent that out, two agents offered to represent me. My agent sent the novel to twelve editors. Most said no. Two said maybe . . . then no. One said yes. 

And one yes is enough. 

I think the way to handle obstacles is to give yourself a little time to be disappointed–and then move on. I’d have been silly to say that rejections from editors didn’t hurt. It’s okay to be disappointed.It wouldn’t have been okay is to stop because of the disappointment. 

So I let myself feel sad when things didn’t turn out like I hoped. Then I got back to work. I wouldn’t have admitted it then, but those rejections made me work harder and become a better writer.

Favorite line or quote from one of your books.

“Father used to say there were spaces between heartbeats and breaths, between the smallest moments of time. That those were the places we did most of our living.”

~The Flight of Swans

Describe the character that is most like you. 

Both of my main characters, Saville and Andaryn, look out for their people, whether it’s family or friends or found family. That part of them is most like me. I’m the oldest sister in my family, and I saw myself as everyone’s guardian, especially if there were bullies around. (It sounds noble when I say it like that. My two younger sisters and my younger brother would call it bossiness.) 

Advice

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

It’s really okay to make mistakes. In fact, go for it! The best way to learn is too make lots and lots of mistakes. It works for light bulbs and stories. I’m not saying that you should ignore feedback–it’s one of our best assets! But don’t ever try to make your stories come out perfect in the first draft (or even third!). Don’t be discouraged because it takes a lot of work to make them good. That’s part of writing. 

Leave us with some wise words. What advice would you give the readers of this interview?

Have fun. You get to tell stories! Tell your stories so that the person who hears them or reads them is just as excited about that story as you are. 

What an amazing interview! Thank you Sarah for sharing so many personal stories and words of wisdom for us.

Follow Sarah on her website and Twitter.

Also, hear is a video of Sarah reading the first bit of The Flight of Swans!

I am a middle school English Language Arts and Social Studies teacher.

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