The Debutante Ball is so excited to have Sarah Pekkanen back for a waltz around the dance floor! Sarah is a 2010 Debutante and is thrilled to be back! Her debut novel, The Opposite of Me, has been published in eight countries and is in a sixth printing. Sarah lives in Maryland with her husband and three young sons.
More on Sarah’s brand new book – Skipping a Beat – and a chance to win a copy after the interview!
Sarah Pekkanen takes the Deb Interview!
Talk about one book that made an impact on you.
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. He showed that non-fiction can be every bit as riveting, graceful, and seamless as fiction, and his masterwork inspired me to write narrative feature stories for newspapers and magazines. For example, after the Columbine school shootings, The Baltimore Sun sent me to Colorado. I ended up writing the story of a boy named Adam Foss who was the class clown – he used humor to hide the fact that he had no idea what he would do after graduation. His twin brother and friends were all applying to college, but not Adam. He was hiding from his own future. When gunshots rang out, Adam was transformed. He led students into a tiny office – running back into a classroom to physically carry in a few students who were frozen in fear – and barricaded the door with his body. When a student had an asthma attack, he broke out ceiling tiles and lifted her up so that she could breathe fresh air. He kept kids calm, and saved lives. At the end of that day, Adam was no longer an aimless boy.
Tell us a secret about the main character in your novel — something that’s not even in your book.
Once I met an unbelievably wealthy woman – someone worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Through a strange set of circumstances, we ended up having a rather tense discussion (I know it sounds odd but I swear it’s true). And midway through our conversation, she uttered the word, “Ain’t.” I didn’t react outwardly, but at that moment, a book idea unfolded in my head like a flower opening its face to the sun: What if a woman from a poor family in West Virginia went on to become fabulously wealthy? What would it be like to feel as if you were an imposter in your own life? The result is Skipping a Beat.
Share something that’s always guaranteed to make you laugh.
My kids! I have three little boys, and they are the funniest people in the world. Recently they made up a holiday jingle: “On the first Day of Christmas, my doctor gave to me… a cup in which to hold my pee!”
What is your advice for aspiring writers?
One page a day. That’s all you need to do. Don’t overthink it. Don’t beat yourself up. Just get those words on paper – they don’t even have to be good words! You can fix them later. Write a page a day, and you’ll have a draft of your book in a year.
What three things would you want with you if stranded on a desert island?
A dog, chocolate, and a tent. If I could only pick one thing, I’d pick a dog. Or David Beckham. Ooh, a chocolate-dipped David Beckham?
Has anyone ever thought a character you wrote was based on them?
Sigh. All the time. It’s sort of strange – my parents are convinced they’re the parents in my first book (they do have in common an intense, bizarre love of Ikea’s low-priced breakfasts, along with a willingness to spend five dollars in gas and an hour in driving time to get to Ikea for said “bargain” breakfast). Even casual aquaintances, like a mom of my kids’ school, have approached me to ask if I based a character on them. (Hey, if I did, I’d never admit it!)
Sarah’s latest novel, Skipping a Beat, is available NOW! Want to know more?
What would you do if your husband suddenly wanted to rewrite the rules of your relationship? Skipping a Beat is “soulful, original and engaging” (NYT bestseller Emily Giffin) “wonderfully compelling” (Library Journal starred review), a “two-hanky weepy” (Kirkus) and “culminates in an ending that will leave readers breathless” (Jen Lancaster, author of Bitter is the New Black). It went into a second printing a month before publication!
Sarah is giving away a copy of Skipping a Beat to one lucky Deb Ball reader – leave a comment below to enter (don’t forget to include your email address!)