Sarah: I wanted to write a novel celebrating the rich, nurturing bonds of female friendships for a few reasons: First, it seemed like the natural progression in my books, since all of my novels focus on the important relationships in a woman’s life. My first book, The Opposite of Me, is about sisterhood. My second, Skipping a Beat, is about marriage. These Girls, my third novel, is about female friendships – and because friends are so important to me personally, I was eager to plunge into the creation of three very different women who become roommates in New York City and form an incredible friendship. My novel is told from alternating points of view of my main characters – Cate, Renee, and Abby – and each of these women is carrying a painful secret. They end up finding the emotional lifelines they need in each other.
I also love books that give readers insight into their own lives and relationships, but not in a heavy-handed way. I also loves books that make me laugh. So writing books that delve into painful topics – which all of my characters in These Girls face – but don’t feel heavy or depressing is my way of trying to blend what I like most to read into my own novels. I also shy away from endings where everything is neatly wrapped up. I like uplifting endings, but not ones that are unrealistically perfect, because life never follows that script, as much as we’d like for it to.
Sarah: I wish I had some elegant, impressive story about my glamorous writing life, but the truth is, I have three young boys and I write on the fly. I’ve piled up pages in the orthodontist’s waiting room, in the carpool pick up line, at the movie Kung Fu Panda – anywhere and everywhere I can find a little pocket of time. But now that I’m on a book-a-year schedule, I find that getting in a few big chunks of writing time really helps me meet my deadlines. Luckily I speak at book festivals every couple months, so train or plane trips, combined with a night in a hotel room, allow me not only an uninterrupted night’s sleep, but the chance to wake up early, order a pot of coffee, and write for hours. It’s blissful!
Sarah: Writers like Jennifer Weiner and Emily Giffin, who delve into serious topics with a light, relatable touch. I aim to do the same in my novels.
Sarah: I love this question, because I just signed with a film/TV agent so who knows? It could happen! How about Emma Stone as Abby, and Jennifer Lawrence as Kate, and let’s give an unknown a chance to be Renee. A real, curvy woman – not a skinny Hollywood actress who puts on a few pounds for the role!
Sarah: I’m so excited that I just turned in my fourth novel, which Atria Books will publish next spring. I’m waiting to hear back from editor right now with her thoughts! And then I have a contract for books 5 and 6, too which is thrilling. My books are also starting to appear in foreign countries. We just signed a contract with a Russian publisher, which means my novels will be in ten countries total. It’s thrilling!
Sarah Pekkanen is born in New York City, arriving so quickly that doctors have no time to give her mother painkillers. This is the last time Sarah ever arrives for anything earlier than expected. Her mother still harbors a slight grudge.
Sarah’s family moves to Bethesda, Maryland, where Sarah, along with a co-author, writes a book entitled “Miscellaneous Tales and Poems.” Shockingly, publishers do not leap upon this literary masterpiece. Sarah sends a sternly-worded letter to publishers asking them to respond to her manuscript. Sarah no longer favors Raggedy Ann stationery, although she is sure it impressed top New York publishers.
To read more about Sarah and her books, please visit her website at http://www.sarahpekkanen.com.
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