Hello Beautiful People,
Our next author needs very little introduction. We gush about her books. We talk about her books. We own all of her novels, and will buy the new ones when they hit the shelves. Her characters stay with you, her stories infect your spirit; they lift you up, and give you hope. If we could jump into one of her novels, we would, headfirst.
The Summer Author Interview Series at the Write Teacher, is proud to present our newest interview with the ever so awesome, Sarah Jio.
TWT: Where did the inspiration from The Violets of March and The Bungalow come from?
SJ: Violets was inspired by my love of the 1940s (I grew up watching more black and white movies than modern movies!) and my absolute adoration of Bainbridge Island, which is just a few miles away from where I grew up in Washington State. As for The Bungalow, it was primarily inspired by a trip I took to Tahiti in 2001 with my husband on our honeymoon.
TWT: Flowers seem to play a central role in your novels, is there a specific reasoning behind that?
SJ: Yes! I love flowers and have always found meaning in them. I like to think about how certain flowers and plants might be symbolic and meaningful in the lives of my characters. And ultimately, I find that it’s something many of us can relate to. They also make for really pretty book covers!
SJ: What can readers expect from Blackberry Winter and The Last Camellia?
SJ: Blackberry Winter, like my past novels, mixes history, romance and mystery, and yet it’s different in many ways. It’s a book that grew from my experience of being a mother (I have three boys under the age of 6) and my tearful question to myself: What would I do if I lost a child? As for The Last Camellia (out May 28, 2013), I’ll share one hint: Fans of Downton Abbey should love this book!
TWT: If your novels were to be turned into film, how much input in the screenplay would you want?
SJ: Honestly, I think I would feel OK about letting other artists pick up where I left off. I would want the story to stay true to what I’ve written, but I realize that I am not an expert at screenwriting and have no expertise in the ins and outs of Hollywood, so I think I’d be OK with letting go of some of the creative control. I’d just make sure I could take my mom and my sister with me on the red carpet!
TWT: This may sound silly, but do you have a favorite place and/or time of day to write?
SJ: Nighttime! I love writing at night when my kids are all asleep (they go to bed early) and the house is quiet and my golden retriever, Paisley, is snoozing at my feet. I write in a little office with a window that looks out to the moon. Even better if the window is propped open a bit and the rain is falling outside.
TWT: Do you ever get writers block? If so, how do you work through it?
SJ: Not really true writer’s block, but I definitely have moments when I am tired, burned out, or just need a break. I’ve learned to step away from a draft when I’m feeling this way. But, a bigger lesson I’ve learned is to only pursue new novels that I am truly excited about. If I can’t get excited about my characters or their motivations, then I can’t expect my readers to. The best thing an author can do when starting a new project is to fall in love with her characters and keep the flame alive!
TWT: Do you have a favorite character from your own novels?
SJ: I love Emily and Jack from Violets. And readers will be happy to know that they make a cameo appearance in my new novel, Blackberry Winter!
TWT: Can you give our aspiring writers, journalists, and working mothers any words of wisdom?
SJ: Keep at it! Book deals and bestseller lists don’t happen overnight. Writing careers are built on hard work, and sometimes that means writing when you don’t feel like writing, or writing when your husband is watching a movie on the couch that you really want to watch, or writing when it’s sunny outside and all your friends are at the pool. I’m not saying that you have to be a slave to your computer, but if you’re writing daily and disciplined about it, your hard work will pay off.