Sara Zarr is my pal and one of the best YA authors around. I especially love Story of a Girl, which was a National Book Award finalist, but Sweethearts is awesome too and I am very psyched to read How to Save A Life, which is about teen pregnancy, family, jealousy, joy -- LIFE. It's told in two narrators, and Zarr (or THE ZARR, as I like to call her) is amazing at getting the specific rhythms of people's speech.
I interviewed her, below, with shortie questions and shortie answers that reveal a lot, I think! But if you want a more in-depth interview, check out this one at Forever Young Adult.
Okay, Zarr. Shortie answers, one sentence!!
1. You live in Utah. Give me a bit of local slang. (I am a fan of local slang)
"What the crap?" (When confounded. Favorite use: when a previously undiscovered species of fish was discovered in a nearby lake, the fish and game guy who was interviewed for the local news said, "I saw it, and I was like, what the crap?!")
2. Favorite snack while writing?
In my dreams: M&Ms. In reality: Raw almonds.
3. Favorite swear word?
Crap. (I HAVE been in Utah eleven years...)
4. Tell me a book that gave you nightmares, or a recommendation for All Hallows Read.
I read THE AMITYVILLE HORROR when I was in junior high, I think. Terrible idea.
5. Give me a sentence from How to Save a Life.
"It's fairly easy to stalk someone when you've dated him for almost two years."
6. A great teen book you read recently.
TIGHTER by Adele Griffin.
7. A word of wisdom about family, or the families we make for ourselves, which is the topic of your book.
We're all in this together and mostly doing the best we can. So have some compassion, including for yourself.
8. You were just on the Smart Chicks book tour with Melissa Marr and Jennifer Lynn Barnes, among others. Describe them each in a word.
I would like to describe them both in two words:
1) Hair 2) Brains
9. What made you laugh this week?
My husband said, "There's not one Paul McCartney song you can throw at me that I can't sing in Carol Channing's voice." And, he was right.
10. Can you give me the movie pitch version of How to Save a Life? Camp it up, if you like, or do it straight.
Juno meets Steel Magnolias, with no dying at the end. And also not in the South. So actually not that much like Steel Magnolias except there are a bunch of awesome women, and one of them has some pretty big hair.