We're back with the lively Sarah Prineas for an intimate interview with this imaginative author. Settle in for your chance to get the 1 on 1 scoop.
2k8: Tell us, Sarah, where do you do most of your writing? Are you a coffee house writer or house hermit?
Sarah: House hermit. My house is pretty small so I don't have a home office. During my "writing days" (days off from my halftime dayjob) I write at the kitchen table. Keeping me company are the cats, Feather and Sparkle (who, by some weird coincidence looks just like Lady, the cat in THE MAGIC THIEF). This is a picture of them looking symmetrical instead of fighting, which they do on a schedule. I write on a black stealth MacBook computer named Sparks. It has a dragon sticker on it. Also keeping me company when I write is a cup of Lady Grey tea with cream and sugar. Check out the mug! One of my best buddies sent it to me after I got the book's cover art.
2k8: What a great gift! So, how did THE MAGIC THIEF come about? What got you started with the story?
Sarah: It was originally supposed to be a story for Cricket magazine. I had the first couple of lines--"A thief is a lot like a wizard…"--in a file on my computer for over a year: but I didn't have a protagonist or a story. But once I saw the letters to the editor in Cricket asking for mores stories with magic and wizards and more two-part stories, Conn's voice and character leaped into being.
2k8: It's amazing how things evolve, isn't it? How did you end up finding a publisher for it? Give us the deets.
Sarah: My publication story is pretty much textbook and boring. About a month after finishing the novel I got an agent through a referral. The agent had me do some revisions. She sent off the manuscript to 10 editors and after a couple of weeks we did the deal with HarperCollins. As my agent said later, "It's the way deals are supposed to work but never do." Except that it did! It took about a year from the day I started writing the book to the day I sold it.
2k8: Very cool! We like it when things go smoothly. Did anything at all catch you off guard when you were writing it?
Sarah: Oh, yeah. I didn't know I was a children's writer! Well, and first I didn't know it was a novel. It was supposed to be a story, but I found Conn's voice so fun to write and the possibilities of the Wellmet world so exciting, that the story turned into a novel manuscript. When my agent sent it to mainstream children's publishers instead of sf/fantasy ones I was surprised. She knew what she was doing, though.
2k8: We love it when all the pieces fall perfectly together. Now what question won't most people know to ask you? And what's your answer?
Sarah: What's your favorite disease? Lyme disease, definitely. Book one was put onto a "crash" publication schedule, so the editing process happened quickly. My editor called at the beginning of June and asked if I could finish edits by the end of the month. Then I caught Lyme disease (stupid tick). All of a sudden, edits needed to be done by the end of the week. And I did them! With a 102 fever and chills from the Lyme disease. The funny part of it is, my hometown is Lyme, Connecticut. Not funny ha-ha, really…
Wow, talk about rough revisions! And you and Meg Cabot now have something in common. Hopefully you'll share some good things too! Thank you so much for your time, Sarah.
Tune back in tomorrow when Sarah will expound on maps!