Sarah Pekkanen gets the Chick Lit spotlight
SheKnows Chick Lit loves all things related to books that appeal to women -- romance, women's fiction, chick lit and more.
And we're showcasing some of the well-known favorites (like New York Times best-selling author Allison Winn Scotch). But we're also kicking up our stilettos and putting the SheKnows spotlight on some up and coming, highly anticipated debut authors like Sarah Pekkanen.
Sarah spoke with SheKnows about her upcoming book The Opposite of Me (published by Atria and in bookstores March 9, 2010), the writing process, her love of chocolate and authors she adores.
A novel debut diva
SheKnows: Congrats on your upcoming new book - tell us a bit about it!
Sarah Pekkanen: The Opposite of Me is a big, juicy book with a lot of humor and heart. It's the story of 29-year-old twin sisters who are absolutely nothing alike -- or so they think.
SheKnows: Sounds juicy! How long did it take you to write it? What was the hardest part? Most fun?
Sarah Pekkanen: It took about nine months, but I had the luxury of six free hours a day to write while my kids were in school. Well, to write and to do laundry, grocery shop, try to write funny Facebook status updates, compulsively check my email...so, um, maybe more like two hours a day. For me the hardest part is the middle, or the muddle, as some writers call it. The beginning is always easy and so is the end. But those three hundred pages in between? They can be a real bey-otch. The most fun for me was diving into the world of sisterhood. For me it was completely imaginary because I only have brothers, but I've always been fascinated by the rich, complex relationships my friends have with their sisters. I wanted to make the relationship of my characters, Lindsey and Alex, as complicated and messy and competitive and loving and funny as possible!
SheKnows: Describe how your characters came to you -- how you named them, what inspired you to write the story?
Sarah Pekkanen: When I was pregnant, I had a long list of boy and girl names. I ended up going through most of my boy names (I have three young sons!) - so I've been using my girl names for my characters. As for getting my ideas, I'm intrigued by the notion of identity. How is it that we get assigned certain roles in our family - like the drama queen, the smart one, the funny one, the pretty one, even if those roles aren't exactly right? I spun that idea around in my head for awhile and it eventually turned into the plot of my book.
SheKnows: Your top three must-read favorite authors right now?
Sarah Pekkanen: Jennifer Weiner is such an amazing storyteller, and I love the humor in her novels. I've been hooked on her since Good In Bed and In Her Shoes. When I learned that Jennifer's editor wanted to buy my book, I nearly fainted! Emily Giffin is also fantastic - just compulsively readable. And Marian Keyes is so hysterically funny, she makes me feel giddy.
SheKnows: If you were locked in a tall tower waiting on your Prince Charming and you could only have one book to read while you waited, what would it be?
Sarah Pekkanen: Such an unfair question! Just one? Really? Hmmm...maybe Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. But since I'm a modern heroine, I'd find a way to rappel down the side of the tower -- then kick the ass of the guy that locked me in there.
SheKnows: Describe your work area?
Sarah Pekkanen: I work anywhere and everywhere - Starbuck's, my bed, the couch, my car, Chuck E. Cheese (seriously! I used to work in a loud newsroom and I can tune out background noise). Whenever I can find a snatch of time to write, I grab it!
SheKnows: How big of a role does music play in your creative process?
Sarah Pekkanen: It depends on what I'm writing, but music can definitely help inspire me. Springsteen tends to get me revved up when I need to write a pivotal scene with a lot of energy.
Up next...Sarah dishes chick lit books-to-films that worked and answers our lightning round!