Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A2A Chat with Sarah MacLean

Tip of the Day: stick around to find out about more exciting Debut 2009 books!

Our next guest for our Teen Read Week Celebration is Sarah MacLean. When I heard about Sarah's novel THE SEASON that debuts in March 2009, I thought it was tailor made for me. It has Regency London, hot boys with accents and titles, best friends who get along, pretty dresses, balls, espionage, murder, mystery, and a sharp-tongued main character. Sarah had me salivating at one of these, so you can imagine how excited I am to read a book with all of them together. And come to find out Sarah is an extremely fun interviewee as well.

So without further ado please welcome Sarah MacLean.

Thanks for being here this week Sarah!

Tell us about your soon-to-be-released book THE SEASON.
When I started THE SEASON, I set out to write book about girls. I
wanted it to be about the power of female friendship, and to fly in
the face of the (rather disturbing) trend that we've all been seeing
of teen books that highlight the nastiness that can exist between
girlfriends. Lady Alexandra Stafford, the heroine, came to me fully
formed...sharp tongued and strong willed and exactly the OPPOSITE of what a lady should be in Regency London...but that's what I loved so much about her. As if that weren't enough, Alex, along with her BFFs Vivi and Ella get themselves tangled up in a dangerous mystery! The Earl of Blackmoor is mysteriously killed and the girls team up to help his son, the brooding and undeniably handsome Gavin, to uncover the truth about his death. As the mystery unravels, Alex and Gavin grow closer, and Alex finds herself losing her heart. But her girls are there to the end...to make sure everything goes her way.

Emily: can I just say again this book sounds AWESOME!

What special precautions did you have to do in setting a mystery in Regency London?
Honestly, I couldn't imagine writing a book set outside of Regency London...there's something about that time period that I just can't get enough of. Jane Austen, stunning dresses, the ballrooms rich with the scent of wax and perfume, the dreamy men in cravats and leather boots, I mean, is it possible to remain unmoved in the face of the Regency? Not for me.

I spent most of my life reading books either from or about the Regency, so the history came pretty easily for me, but whenever I had a question, thanks to the magic of the Internet and some remarkable nonfiction authors who came long before me, answers were never too far away. I did spend some incredible time in the New York Public Library reading the Times of London from the Spring and Summer of 1815, which turned up WAY more fascinating story ideas than I could ever use...many of which will make an appearance in future books, I hope!

Emily: I love the Regency time as well, Sarah. And you make researching it sound like so much fun. I feel like I want to pull out a magnifying glass and dig through old dusty archives. I might be getting some ideas for a future book...

Can you share about your publication journey? Was THE SEASON your first completed novel? How did it come to be published, etc.
THE SEASON had a somewhat roundabout publication journey...I had been working on an adult romance novel for a while, really more tinkering than actually working...when a friend suggested I try my hand at a YA historical. I ended up submitting a proposal and sample chapters to my fantastic editor at Scholastic...and she called me a few weeks later to tell me they wanted to acquire it! Then, of course, I had to finish the book! And honestly, it was the most fun thing I've ever done in my life. Spending hours and days in the heads of characters you created yourself is a pretty awesome way to spend your free time!

Emily: agreed! Hopefully we'll get to see tons more books from you in the future as well.

What did you do to celebrate when you found out Orchard Books was going to publish your novel?
Well, first I called my mom...which I'm sure most new writers do! Then, I bought my dog a new toy and a giant treat and made my husband take me out to dinner, during which I pinched myself until I bruised. There is NOTHING better than the call. NOTHING. Except maybe a cupcake from Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery on the Lower East Side of New
York City. :)

Emily: I can't wait to get the call. Especially if it's closely related to a cupcake. Yum.

And last, but certainly not least. I see you are a Project Runway fan. Who do you think is going to win this season?
My money's on Kenley. I hate to admit that, because she totally irritates me and I can't bear her silly laugh and her obnoxious comments...but I think she's so talented and I confess, I kindof covet a Kenley wardrobe. Minus the weird hair ornaments. I can't wait for

Emily: very interesting choice. I would not have guessed this. I like Kenley's quirky, yet 50s style, too. However, that flower dress she created screamed "out" to me. My money is on Leanne. But then again, I hardly ever pick the right reality show contestant to win. On any show.

Sarah, thanks again for stopping by and sharing with us. And I wish you tons of success on your book. To everyone else, make sure to check it out in March 2009. And if you want to know more about Sarah, she has a great blog: http://macleanspace.blogspot.com/

--Emily, Miss Awaiting an Agent


Jessica Burkhart said...

Great interview, Em! And isn't Sarah's cover fantastic?! :)

DeenaML said...

The cover alone on this book has me sold!

I want Korto to win PR, but I have a feeling it will be LeeAnn. Kenley's horrible hip hop outfit made me embarassed for her.

Thanks, Sarah!

Kate Fall said...

Seriously, that cover is gorgeous. I love that there are such luscious sounding YA historicals like The Season coming out!

Lisa Schroeder said...

Great interview - the book sounds fabulous!

Saundra Mitchell said...

People are going to fall so in love when they can finally read this book. Your roundabout path to publishing is my favorite part of this story!

Anonymous said...

Sara is awesome and I can't wait to read her book!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to read THE SEASON! Just hearing about Sarah's love for Regency England and the creative way she did her research tells me it's going to be a truly authentic historical. Counting down to 2009!

(And ya, you had me at the cover, too!)

Janet Gurtler said...

Great interview! I love this cover too and can't wait to read the book!

R.J. Anderson said...

Regency books for the win! I am so excited to read Sarah's, I just can't wait. Thanks for a great interview!

Sarah Rees Brennan said...

The definition of a good time = reading the Season on holidays.

The definition of a lucky young minx who had this good time = me.

Jenny Moss said...

I've heard how awesome this book is -- Want to read it *now*.

Great interview, Sarah!

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to read this one! Great interview, Sarah!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to read THE SEASON, and I'm super excited about all those other tales you have waiting in the wings! Yay for old newspapers!

Such a gorgeous cover, too . . . :)

Sarah MacLean said...

i had such a fun time doing the interview, Emily! Thank you so much for thinking of me! And thanks to everyone else for being so sweet and supportive! The YA writing community is the best. seriously!

Aprilynne Pike said...

As someone who managed to get ahold of an ARC of The Season (Thanks Sarah RB!!) let's just say this is a story you don't want to miss about a young woan who does anything but swoon at her moment of distress!! Looking forward to buying my own copy!!