Sara Farizan and Scott Blagden will be joining us for a Round table discussion about Sex, Drugs, and Violence in YA literature on Tuesday, October 15 at 7 pm. The event will take place at Highfield Hall. Here’s your chance to get to know Scott and Sara a little before the event.
Q: Are there any books or authors who inspired you?
Sara: My mentor Chris Lynch is my Obi Wan Kenobi and he taught me a great deal, though I don’t think I am anywhere near being a Jedi master as of yet. I always loved J. D. Salinger as a teenager. Marjane Satrapi, John Irving, Richard Russo, Adam Langer, David Sedaris, Gish Jen, Walter Mosley, and Firoozeh Dumas are all kinds of awesome. And I would one day like to write a book as wonderful as The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.
Scott: I hate answering this question because there are so many authors I LOVE, but I will say that Adam Rapp is an inspiration, especially with regard to edgy fiction with honest, authentic voices.
Q: What’s your writing routine?
Scott: I do my best writing early in the morning, but I write anywhere and everywhere. Sometimes I go to the Cape Cod Canal with a folding chair and a notebook when I’m working on first draft stuff or just brainstorming.
Sara: I write whenever I can, wherever I can. I like to be alone whether in my room, a bagel shop, or library and listen to music. The music depends on what kind of scene I am writing. Fiona Apple has gotten me through many scenes over the years.
Q: Is there one particular character in your new book whom you relate to the most? Why?
Sara: I think all of the characters are much braver than I am. But I understand Sahar in her wanting to be with someone she just can’t be with. I think that’s a universal feeling for all young adults.
Scott: In Dear Life, You Suck, I definitely relate to Cricket. His questioning and critical attitude, his inappropriate humor, his disgust with hypocrisy, his curiosity about religion, God, and other philosophical inquiries.
Q: Cats or dogs?
Scott: No and no. I grew up with Doberman Pinschers, but I don’t want to be tied down by the responsibility at this point in my life.
Sara: I’m allergic. I wish both cats and dogs well, but I am not a pet person. I know that makes me seem like Lord Voldemort and very un-American, but there you have it.
Q: What is your secret superpower?
Sara: I am an incredible lip-syncher.
Scott: Tenacity. Rejection letters are like fuel on the fire for me. Say ‘no’ to me or tell me I can’t do something and I’ll only work harder to prove you wrong. FYI – a very necessary superpower for writers who want to get published.
The discussion on Tuesday will be open to audience members, so bring your questions about writing, teens, and touchy topics in YA lit. See you there!
Thanks to Scott, Sara, and Algonquin Books for Young Readers for help with this post.