It's author appreciation Thursday, and we have Sarah Skilton here with us on Secret Life! Sarah and I met through the Lucky 13s blog, and I was lucky enough to get an ARC of her book, BRUISED. When I saw how amazing of a writer this lady really is, I just had to know more about her. So without further ado, a glimpse into the intriguing mind of Sarah Skilton.
Can you tell us a little about your writing process?
I like to brainstorm in a notebook by hand first, and jot down anything I'm considering for my new story. I take my time narrowing broad ideas into a basic plot, and then I do research for a while. When I was writing BRUISED, which concerns elements of PTSD, I read psychology textbooks as well as contemporary dramas. "Research" for me also means reading or re-reading books that inspire me. When I was writing my upcoming YA mystery (HIGH AND DRY, Spring 2014 from Amulet Books), I read a lot of crime fiction.
What was the hardest part of writing BRUISED?
Finding a balance between the light and dark moments.
What was your journey to publication like?
BRUISED went on submission the second half of 2010 and sold in January 2011, which sounds fast, but the journey up to that point was about a decade long of trying to make it as a screenwriter and writing novels that were unpublishable (and now live under my bed, rightfully so). :) I felt very lucky with BRUISED because my editor, Maggie Lehrman at Amulet, is a genius who helped me whip the story and characters into shape.
What is your favorite part of the writing/publishing process?
I wish I were one of those people who loves writing first drafts, but I actually find them to be total agony. I much prefer to be revising what I've already written.
What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Don't hesitate to read outside your genre for fresh inspiration, and always write the story that you as a reader would most want to read!
Imogen has always believed that her black belt in Tae Kwon Do made her stronger than everyone else--more responsible, more capable. But when she witnesses a holdup in a diner, she freezes. The gunman is shot and killed by the police. And it's all her fault.
Now she's got to rebuild her life without the talent that made her special and the beliefs that made her strong. If only she could prove herself in a fight--a real fight--she might be able to let go of the guilt and shock. She's drawn to Ricky, another witness to the holdup, both romantically and because she believes he might be able to give her the fight she’s been waiting for.
But when it comes down to it, a fight won’t answer Imogen's big questions: What does it really mean to be stronger than other people? Is there such a thing as a fair fight? And can someone who's beaten and bruised fall in love?
Sarah Skilton lives in California with her magician husband and toddler son. Her debut young adult novel, BRUISED, about a 16-year-old black belt in martial arts who freezes at an armed robbery, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Her second novel, a YA mystery called HIGH AND DRY, comes out next spring from Amulet Books.