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Today, I’m joined by Sarah Tregay, author of the verse novel Love and Leftovers.  I met Sarah at the Highlight’s Foundation

1. When did you start writing?

I started writing novels in fifth grade when I felt that I had read all of the middle grade books in the library. I wrote in pencil in spiral-bound notebooks and never edited or revised my creations. Fortunately, I’ve learned how to type (and revise), both help immensely when you are on the path to publication.
2. Are you a pantser or a planner?

3. Can you give us an idea of your writing process?

I am a panster to the extent that I wrote my novel in verse, LOVE AND LEFTOVERS, out of order. I had an idea of the plot in my head, but I didn’t know exactly how it was going to come together until I put the poems on 3 x 5 cards and shuffled them this way and that to find the story in the poems.
4. Which authors have influenced your work?

I heard Sonya Sones read from WHAT MY MOTHER DOESN’T KNOW at a conference in 2005, and she has been an inspiration for me ever since. I also find myself rereading Tera Elan McVoy, Elieen Spinelli, and Walter Dean Myers, as well as Australian authors, Steven Herrick and Sally Murphy.

5. Why verse?

There’s something irresistible about verse novels—all of those yummy metaphors and delicious turns of phrase. I love reading about each moment, each emotion, and moving on to the next without all the bulky transitions that you find in prose. And because I enjoy reading novels in verse, I thought it would be neat to write one, too.
6. What are you plans/future projects/new releases that we should be aware of?

I have a title scheduled for Summer 2014 called FAN ART. My editor and I are scribbling furiously to get it ready for copyediting this spring. It’s about a high school senior who hijacks his school literary magazine, so I got to sneak poems in between the chapters.
7. Any tips for new writers?

Take time to educate yourself. You don’t have to be an English major, but you do need to learn both the craft of writing and the ins and outs of the publishing (or self-publishing) world. Read lots. Consider joining a forum like Verla Kay’s Blue Boards and/or a professional organization like the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. There’s so much to learn, you certainly won’t get bored.
8. Any tips for old writers?

Writing and publishing can be a roller coaster, and sometimes you feel like you’re at the bottom of a long, steep hill and you can’t get any traction. That’s about how I felt before I started writing LOVE AND LEFTOVERS, but I thought I’d give writing another try.  Instead of writing the same old prose book, I tried something new—writing in verse. So if you get stuck on the roller coaster, I’d suggest trying something new, maybe a different point of view(s), a different genre, or for a different age group. Good luck!

LOVE AND LEFTOVERS, ALA 2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults
Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins