Thursday, March 28, 2013

What's Fresh with Sarah Skilton's BRUISED...Giveaway!

16-year-old Imogen is a confident high school black belt who freezes up at an armed robbery. When the image you have of yourself is shattered, how do you make it whole again?

We welcome author Sarah Skilton to YA Fresh today, to talk about her debut release, BRUISED.  Sarah and I met a couple years ago at the Romantic Times Conference's Teen Day, and it's a pleasure to introduce her and her novel to our readers.

Hello, Sarah.  Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale? 

Sarah:  I studied TV/Film/Radio in college, and my background in screenwriting was helpful in writing Young Adult novels, as they share a similar sense of pacing, plus an emphasis on dialogue and character voice. I started BRUISED in 2009, and spent about a year and a half writing and revising it. It went on submission in the second part of 2010, sold in January of 2011 to Abrams/Amulet Books, and came out March 2013! Whee!

Readers and writers often like to get a behind the scenes peek of an author's writing routine. It would be great if you could please share your typical writing day schedule. 

Sarah:  I've got a 14-month-old son and a day job, so writing days are actually writing nights. When I'm not staggeringly tired, I write between 8 and 10pm and I tend to track my progress by pages, not word count. I also have a habit of waking in the middle of the night and speaking into my iPhone's recorder for turns of phrase or ideas that I don't want to forget. (When I listen to my notes later, I'm always disturbed by how my voice sounds.) Glamorous, eh?

Please tell us about your novel, BRUISED, and what we can expect from your characters.

Sarah:  16-year-old Imogen Malley has spent most of her life in the shadow of her popular older brother, but there is one area in which she excels: martial arts. As the youngest black belt at her dojang, Imogen loves assistant-teaching more than anything in the world, and she plans to open her own martial arts studio one day. Per the Tae Kwon Do student creed, she's come to think of herself as a potential hero, a defender of the weak, and a champion of justice. Her confidence disappears when she freezes up at an armed robbery that leaves another person dead. Guilt-stricken and numb, Imogen is left to wonder if martial arts failed her, or she failed it. Estranged from her family and friends, who don't understand why she's still beating herself up for failing to act, she struggles to get by on her own, and decides to prove herself by teaching another student how to fight – no holds barred, no protective gear, no rules.  

With this book, I wanted to explore the question: when you're not who you thought you were, then who are you? 

Nice!  What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.
Sarah: Yes! My next Young Adult book is called HIGH AND DRY (Amulet Books, 2014). It's a mystery about a high school soccer player, a boy this time, who finds himself in a metaphorical quicksand of never-ending trouble. He's framed for a stranger's near-fatal overdose at a party, blackmailed into finding a missing flashdrive that everyone at school seems anxious to suppress, and pressured to throw a big soccer match, all while trying to win back the girl of his dreams and escape a past that may be responsible for all his current problems.  
Sounds terrific.  Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Sarah:  In screenwriting classes, we memorized the phrase, "Enter the scene late; get out early," meaning, write only the most important moments. But for books, I think it's a good idea to have downtime between scenes of excitement so your reader can catch his or her breath! 

Great advice, and thank you for visiting with us!

Now, our giveaway.  To be entered to win a signed, hardcover copy of BRUISED, simply tell us a sport or after-school activity that you participated in while in high school (past or present).   

Check back on Monday, April 1st to learn the winner's name.   

6 fresh comments:

Shelver506 said...

I played soccer through my freshman year of high school. I had to stop because it conflicted with the local Christmas play I was in. (Rehearsals went from September thru November, prime soccer season.) So for the rest of high school, I was in the play, and I also participated in a state-wide talent competition in drama and writing divisions.

Sydney said...

Well, I'm not a fantastically coordinated person so my high school activities were orchestra, orchestra, and orchestra. Pretty exciting. I'm trying to learn kickboxing now. Does that count?

Super-Nerd said...

My high school's sports never appealed to me. If fencing had been an option, I would have gladly joined. But alas, it was not. So, I contented myself with theater and choir. I played sports vicariously through fictional characters. Exhausting, I know.

tammy216 said...

The only sport I ever played in high school was tennis. I wasn't very good but I enjoyed it and most of my friends were on the team.

Jill the OWL said...

I was in danceline in HS. We performed at half-time of basketball games :)

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