Monday, September 2, 2013

Connecticut Author Trail: Sarah Darer Littman

We were lucky to have Sarah Darer Littman for our author this year.

She talked about her path to writing, how she always wanted to be a writer, but was told that writing wasn't a career option. She'd never make money with an English Major.

So, she majored in political science instead and worked on Wall Street for a bit. But she couldn't have been further from her real self.

She lived in rural England for 10 years, but then came back to the States. She wanted to challenge herself to do the things she always wanted to do (which she says is her midlife crisis).

At 38, Sarah decided it was time to start writing so she wouldn't have any regrets. She took some writing classes and went on a writer's retreat. In a workshop lead by Paula Danziger, she found herself answering the question what does your character have hidden in your closet - with faith. Growing up Sarah felt like she had mixed messages from her parents on religion - how to be Jewish without being too Jewish.

She started writing her first book and then her second. But she was told that she didn't have a YA voice. The things she wanted to talk about were clearly YA, so Sarah fought back. She stopped showing her work until the book was complete.

She came up with the idea for Purge after looking at a picture of her younger self and a voice appeared in her head about body image. Body image is a universal struggle, but a really important one for teen girls.

In w writing workshop with teens, a mother asked her if she'd consider writing a book about 9/11. Life, After became that book.

Want to Go Private? came out of a fan mail letter from Germany and a talk for her son at school by an FBI agent about internet safety. After talking more to the agent, she realized how important this topic was and how a girl could have feelings for an online predator.  She worked with the FBI and the police department on the getting the haunting details just right. Working on this book made it hard to sleep as the real life tales were so heartbreaking.

Then we chatted over dessert:
Some cookies and chocolate bars

Sarah's the author of these really great books:

Plus, she just announced on twitter her upcoming book:

Sounds great right? If you haven't picked up her books yet, I urge you to do so.

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