Pen Friends ~ We should be just a tad (read super-mega) excited because today we have the lovely YA Author Carlie Sorosiak with us!! Her YA book, If Birds Fly Back, is fast becoming the next bestselling, swoony, STEM-y (that means: nerdy smart stuff), read of the summer!
SP: Hi Carlie! Thanks for being with us. Can you start out by telling us a bit of who you are and when you started writing?
Thank you so much for having me! So, my first novel just published in the US and UK—it’s called If Birds Fly Back, and it’s about family and first love and disappearances. I’ve been writing for a long time. I went to a Montessori elementary school, where we had journal time every day. Besides recess and the hours reading in a beanbag chair, it was my favorite activity. I wrote my first full-length novel between the ages of nine and thirteen, and although I took a little detour into biology and defense studies during university, I’ve ended up exactly where I want to be.
SP: As one who splits her time between two continents, where do you feel most at home? Where do you see yourself in 10 years? You mentioned wanting to achieve an accent like Madonna’s… have you?
The best part about switching between the US and the UK is I get all the hustle and bustle of London, and the quietness of my family home in the North Carolina woods. The worst part is I’m always homesick for somewhere. I’ve gotten to the point where I feel at home equally in both places. Honestly, I have no idea where I’ll be in ten years! But I do have a British lilt to my accent now, so it’s getting there…
SP: Let’s talk about If Birds Fly Back. People are saying nothing but amazing things about this book. How did this idea come about?
Thank you! I’m glad people are responding so well to it! I’m learning that my novels always start with place, and the idea flows from there. I’ve always wanted to write a novel set in a nursing home. I used to volunteer in them when I was younger, and I think the dichotomy between growing up and growing old is perfect for a YA novel. The characters came next.
SP: We hear your second book is already underway, (Congrats!) What was the hardest part about writing your first book compared to your second book? Any tips on how to bypass what you struggled with?
My second book is in copyedits right now, which I absolutely cannot believe! It’s basically done! The whole thing flew by so quickly—although it didn’t seem quick when I was stressing over it. The best and worst part about writing a second book is you know it’ll have an audience; there’s a certainty that’s both comforting and anxiety-inducing. I wrote my first book free of expectations, and the second with a bit of a weight on my shoulders. I don’t think there’s a way to bypass it, honestly; the only way is through. Just remember to always create what you love.
SP: You have awesome tips about querying “here”. Anything else you’d like to add to those of us who are still fighting the dragon-guarded query gate into publishing?
Don’t give up! Sometimes it takes two or three—or in the case of a few New York Times bestsellers, seven or eight projects—to break through. It’s a marathon, but it’s worth it in the end.
SP: The SP is doing a summer reading list challenge, which books are on your TBR list this summer? Any authors/books that particularly inspired you growing up?
I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve never read The Book Thief! That’s been on my reading list for years and years, and I’m finally going to tackle it this summer. Also on the list is The Handmaid’s Tale and young adult book called The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, which looks sensational. Growing up, I was obsessed with The Secret Garden; it might not have inspired my writing, but it might be one of the reasons that I’m now living in England!
SP: What is your biggest distraction while writing and how do you combat it?
I fall down internet holes: YouTube cat videos, mostly. There’s a website called Cold Turkey that blocks out the internet until you’ve reached a certain word count. It’s saved my writing career.
SP: Favorite snack or drink while writing?
Cheesy oatcakes! (This might be a British thing.)
SP: Ultimate life-time writing goal? Any other crazy bucket list goal?
Really, I don’t have a lifetime writing goal. I just want to keep writing as long and as much as I can. (Although, of course, I wouldn’t mind if one of my books hit a bestseller list!) One of my bucket list goals is learning how to become a falconer. I’m taking my first falconry course—with owls, vultures, hawks, and eagles—this August.
SP: Where can we learn more about you and your books?
My website is a good place to start! It’s www.carliesorosiak.com.
SP: Thanks Carlie!!!!
PS: Aspiring Authors, I met Carlie in a writing cabin during Camp Nano Wrimo!! This is a great place to buckle down and break your writing limits, achieve your writing dreams, and build a writing community! Camp Nano is coming up in JULY, FYI.
Nova, Signing off!