Tuesday 16 October 2018

Interview: Sarahlyn Bruck

designer-you, sarahlyn-bruck, book, blog-tour

This week's author interview welcomes Sarahlyn Bruck to The Writing Greyhound! Sarahlyn is kindly stopping by the blog for a Q&A in honour of the tour for her novel Designer You. Are you ready to delve into Sarahlyn's world? Keep on reading for the interview!

designer-you, sarahlyn-bruck, book, blog-tour

Firstly, please could you introduce yourself?
Hello! I write contemporary women’s fiction and live in Philadelphia with my husband, daughter, and cockapoo. I teach writing and literature full-time at a local community college and also serve as a book coach for Author Accelerator. Designer You is my first book.
How did you first become interested in writing?
For my whole life, I’ve been interested in telling stories. I started writing longer-form stories in 6th grade when we were provided journals, where we had to write for twenty minutes each school day. I used the accumulated time to concoct these long, winding tales that really made no sense, but went on for dozens of pages. I loved it, though, and discovered a useful way to let my imagination run wild.
Tell me about Designer You.
Pam Wheeler checked every box: Happy marriage? Check. Fantastic kid? Check. Booming career? Check. 
So when her husband dies in a freak accident and their DIY empire goes on life support, Pam must fix the relationship with her troubled and grief-stricken daughter and save the family business. 
Pam and Nate were a couple who just couldn’t get away from each other, sharing not only their bed, but also a successful lifestyle empire as DIY home renovators, bloggers, podcasters, and co-authors. 
When Nate dies in a freak accident, Pam becomes a 44-year-old widow, at once too young and too old—too young to be thrust into widowhood and too old to rejoin the dating pool. 
Now the single mother of a headstrong and grief-stricken teenager, Pam’s life becomes a juggling act between dealing with her loss and learning how to parent by herself. On top of all that she also must reinvent herself or lose the empire that she and Nate had built so carefully.
Now is the time for Pam to seize the opportunity to step up as a mother, come out from behind Nate’s shadow, and rise as the sole face of the Designer You brand, and maybe, possibly, hopefully, find love again.
designer-you, sarahlyn-bruck, book, blog-tour

Why did you decide to write women’s fiction?
Mostly because I love to read women’s fiction. It’s such a large and varied category that includes literary fiction, chick lit, contemporary and historical fiction, book club fiction, commercial fiction, romance, etc. I love all of it and am inspired by it, too.
How did you get inspiration?
Well, clearly reading! But I can find inspiration in almost anything. Art, movies, TV, my family and friends, travel, work, a walk outside, a ride on the bus - you name it, and I bet it’s inspired my writing in one form or another. I always carry around a journal and pencil with me to jot anything down when inspiration strikes.
What’s your writing process?
I’m a plotter, so I do significant research and outlining before starting my first draft. Then I draft and then revise. I get feedback. And revise. I get more feedback. And revise, revise, revise.
Designer You is your debut novel – tell me about your journey to getting published.
I started submitting to small publishers in November of 2017 and within one month, received three offers. Crooked Cat Books impressed me with the look of their book covers, the quality of the novels, and just how darn nice the couple, Laurence and Steph, who head the company, was.
What’s the hardest thing about writing?
The hardest for me is getting into a routine schedule. I draft better in the morning, edit usually better in the afternoon. And I have a full-time job as well as a family and life. So when I’m preparing to start a project after a long period of revision, I need to move my schedule around to accommodate it. As anyone with responsibilities outside of writing can attest, it’s not always a seamless transition.
What do you love most about writing?
You know how when you read a great book, you just fall into that world? Writing can take me to that place as well. I love that feeling when writing just takes over your brain space and you’re living in that story and almost embodying the characters. Writing is a weird, wonderful obsession - I absolutely love it.
Which authors inspire you?
Oh my gosh, this is a difficult question! I read so much and love and admire so many books and authors. My all-time favourites include authors such as Ann Patchett, John Irving, Zora Neale Hurston, and more recently I’ve become huge fans of Angie Thomas, Lianne Moriarty, Roxane Gay, Coleson Whitehead, Maria Semple, Cristina Henriquez, Elena Ferrante, Caroline Kepnes, Amor Towles…this list is getting long! Did I mention I love to read?
designer-you, sarahlyn-bruck, book, blog-tour

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Oh, yes and no. What works for one writer might not for the next, you know? What works for me is consistency. When I draft, I do carve out time to write every single day. I’m very goal-oriented and like checking things off lists and making word counts. When I revise, I comb through my manuscript and set up a plan of attack to whip that book into shape by a particular deadline.
What are you currently working on?
Right now I’m revising a novel I’m really excited about. It’s about a middle-aged actress, Calliope Hart, who’s starred on the same soap opera since she was a teenager. When Callie learns that her show is up for cancellation, she’s left reeling. She’s not ready to give up her creative outlet, her modicum of fame, and her well-padded bank account, or face saying goodbye to a cast and crew that are like second family.  
Further, if Callie’s going to stay relevant as a middle-aged, soap opera actress, she needs to figure out how much risk she’s willing to take and decide whether to fight to save the show and her career as a soap star or face a total reboot. And what will she do about Paul, the show’s head writer and her part-time boyfriend who wishes he could be a permanent fixture in her life? Can their relationship survive if they don’t have a set to go to every day?  
Callie finds herself scrambling to provide for her son and her mother, keep up with her sky-high mortgage payments, and put organic food on the table. But she’s also secretly paying to keep her ex at bay—her son’s biological father, who he doesn’t even know exists. SOAKING IN IT is about whether it’s more important to hold on to what we know or take a risk and start over from scratch.
What are you reading at the moment?
Just finished Jennifer Klepper’s Unbroken Threads and Joshilyn Jackson’s The Almost Sisters, two women’s fiction books I enjoyed immensely!
What’s your all-time favourite book?
Oh man, this is HARD! OK, I guess if I were forced to nail it down, Cider House Rules by John Irving would be my favourite. I read it the first time in the early 1990s when I was in college and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. Great book.
Have any particular books had a big impact on you?
I think for me the books that have had the biggest impact are the children’s books I loved reading as a kid. Like an imprint, you know? All the Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume books. Harriet the Spy. Black Stallion series. Little House Books. Boxcar Children. Nancy Drew. Oh gosh, I just loved them all.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I’d like to get onto a writing/publication path of one book every eighteen months or so. I’m having so much fun writing, revising, and now learning about the marketing side, I’d like to keep it going as long as I can.
What are your interests outside of writing and reading?
Number one is just hanging with my family. I love spending time with my husband, daughter, and our cockapoo. We have wonderful friends. I also enjoy long-distance running and watching movies.
Designer You is available to buy now. For more about Sarahlyn and her writing, check out her website.

Will you be reading the book? Let me know in the comments below!

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