Friday, 23 October 2009

Featured on Friday: Sarah Ockler

Sarah Ockler lives in Upstate New York with her husband. Sarah has a degree in communication and studied Creative Writing through Denver’s Lighthouse Writers Workshop. Twenty Boy Summer is her first novel.

1. Is there a specific time or place that you do your best writing in?
I usually write in my home office on the desk that my husband built me. It's customized, shorty-style, just for me. :-) I'm pretty productive in there, but sometimes, my desk gets really messy (hmmm... how did THAT happen?) and then, when there's no non-tipping, non-sliding space to set my laptop, I migrate out to the living room couch. Either way, I'm definitely a late night writer. I just think more creatively once the sun goes down. (Yes, I'm a vampire. Are you listening, Edward Cullen?!)

2. Who were your favourite authors as a teenager? Are they different to your current favourites?
When I was a teen, I really didn't know much about YA literature. I alternated between smuggling home steamy romance novels from the library with my girlfriends and reading the collection of books left on my grandmother's shelves when she passed away. Grandma was really into horror and medical thrillers, so back then, I read a lot of Stephen King, Robin Cook, and V.C. Andrews. Some of my favorite books at that time were the Flowers in the Attic series. Creepy and awesome!

Now, my favorite authors are Jack Kerouac, Anais Nin, Tom Robbins, Sarah Dessen, Melina Marchetta, Laurie Halse Anderson, J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, Libba Bray, Laura Resau... and tons of new authors from the 2009 Debutantes at I love authors! :-)

3. If you were only allowed to take three books to a desert island, what would they be?
This changes sometimes, but currently, I'd pick:
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
And maybe The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

4. What inspired you to write Twenty Boy Summer?
I was inspired to write Twenty Boy Summer while working for the National Donor Family Council (, an organization that supports families whose loved ones died and donated organs or tissues. I wanted to share and honor the stories of the teens I met through the Council's programs and events who'd lost a brother, sister, or friend. Their courage and hope remains with me to this day, even years later. They are never far from my heart.

5. Do you have a place like Zanzibar is for Matt and Frankie that you visited every summer when you were younger ?
No -- I was more like Anna with the family who didn't travel. :-) But I did go to Myrtle Beach two summers in a row with my best friend and her family, and I traveled to places like California, Maine, and Massachusetts later in my life. All of these ocean-view places inspired the setting of Zanzibar Bay

6. Sea glass is an important element of Twenty Boy Summer. Do you collect it yourself? Why do you like it so much?
Yes, I collect it. I've always collected it -- since I was a kid. I've got jars of it all over my office and to this day I can't go to the beach without walking the shore, head down, pockets filling up. I love how each piece is a mystery -- like, what was this thing before it was broken? Who did it belong to? What did it look like? How did it get here? And I also love how sea glass is so unique and beautiful and special, even though it's no longer whole.

7. Anna and Frankie are both very different characters. Which are you most like?
Anna. I am soooo not the big sparkly butterfly type. I'm very introspective and analytical and shy in real life until I get to know someone. Anna and I have the same hair, too. :-)

8. Are you working on anything at the moment? Can you tell us anything about it?
My next novel, Fixing Delilah Hannaford, comes out in Fall 2010.

Here's a quick summary:
Stuck in Vermont all summer with her workaholic mother, a Tarot-card-reading aunt, and a childhood friend who thinks he can fix anything, sixteen-year-old Delilah Hannaford confronts her elusive family history to expose the secrets that have defined and divided the Hannafords for three generations.

Thanks for interviewing me, Sophie! :-)

Thank you very much, Sarah! You can visit Sarah at her website here and read my review of Twenty Boy Summer here.



  1. Fascinating interview - thank you very much! I really want to read this book and it's top of my wishlist. I love the sound of the next book too!
    And I'm a late-night-writer/vampire too. :)

  2. Superb interview! Twenty Boy Summer sounds soooo good. Thanks for the great question and answers. It was interesting to read about the inspiration for the book as well.

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  4. I can't wait to get around to reading Twenty Boy Summer (and Jellicoe Road, seeing as it's always so highly regarded by readers and authors!). Great interview, ladies!


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