Sarah Jio took the literary world by storm last year with her dazzling debut novel The Violets of March, and her recently released second book, The Bungalow. This year, she’ll publish her third, and in 2013, her fourth. And did we mention in between writing novels, freelance writing for magazines and blogging for Glamour.com, she’s also a mother to three young sons under the age of five?
Jio chats with SheKnows Book Lounge about how she gets it all done, gives us a glimpse into her writing world and spills secrets to her successful time management (she writes every day without fail and takes a daily jog).
SheKnows: You’re very active on Twitter @SarahJio. Tweet us a blurb on your latest novel, The Bungalow, in 140 characters or less, of course.
Sarah Jio: I love this question! And, what a challenge. Here goes: “At the end of her life, a woman confronts the tragedy and love — and the Bora Bora beach bungalow — that have haunted her for a lifetime.”
SK: Describe the area where you write. What are five things on your desk?
SJ: I have a little office that I adore. It used to be the laundry room, but when we bought our house in Seattle, we thought, “Why waste such a great little room on laundry?!” So we converted an upstairs closet to make a new laundry room, and made this space my office! It has wood flooring and a great window with a view of the neighbor’s ivy-covered fence and the sky. I stare out at the moon at night when I’m searching for inspiration and the right wording for a sentence.
Five things on my desk? Here goes: 1.) A cup of coffee, which is now lukewarm. 2.) A stack of bookplates I need to get into envelopes and send out to readers who have requested them. 3.) A pack of anti-stress gum I’m testing out for Glamour 4.) My iPod, which is charging up for my afternoon jog 5.) A stack of party invitations for my sons’ combined birthdays (they’re turning three and five!) that I must get in the mail or else this will be a mega mom fail!
SK: What can you reveal about your next novel, Blackberry Winter?
SJ: Thank you for asking! Blackberry Winter is a story that is tremendously special to me. It will be published on Sept. 27, 2012. I wrote the majority of it shortly before I delivered my third baby boy and finished it when he was an infant sitting in a bouncer seat in my office. So, it’s very much a story from the heart of a mother. This book and its characters absolutely stole my heart. It’s about a little boy who went missing in a late season snowstorm that hit Seattle in 1933. And when a similar storm hits the city again on the very same day in 2010, my heroine, a newspaper writer in Seattle, stumbles upon the story of the missing boy and pieces together a mystery that has the power to change history, and her own life, forever.
SK: You had two books published in 2011 (The Violets of March and The Bungalow), you have another being released in 2012 (Blackberry Winter) and yet another in 2013 (The Last Camelia). Oh, and you’re also a freelance magazine writer and blogger for Glamour.com. In a word, you are a machine! As a wife and mother of three young sons, how do you find the time to write so many things?
SJ: My secret is a combo of three things: 1.) Early bedtimes for kids (all three of my boys are snoozing by 7:30) so that I can write every night (even with a sitter, I can’t focus on fiction during the day, so I’m a p.m. novel writer these days). 2.) An incredibly supportive husband who helps with the child wrangling so I can write and 3.) Little TV time. While I will admit to having a mild addiction to The Bachelor and Bachelorette shows (promise to still like me?), I try to work on my novels every night, which means not much couch time.
SK; What are your favorite children’s books to read to your sons?
SJ: Oh, we have so many children’s books in this house (you should see the bookcase — it’s overflowing!). Current favorites are: Smash Crash (all the books), The Pout Pout Fish and anything about garbage trucks. I also have a soft spot in my heart for Santa Mouse this time of the year!
SK: If you could have an entire day to yourself, what would you do?
SJ: I would make coffee, then write for hours on end without interruption (I have three kids under the age of five, so I dream of luxury work time like this!). Then I’d go to yoga class for an hour, and then to the spa, where I’d get a massage, facial and mani-pedi. And a haircut, too!
SK: What’s on your must-list for 2012?
- Survive my first book tour (in January — and I’m bringing my baby! Wish me luck!).
- Finish writing my fourth novel, which is due this spring!
- Take my kids to Disneyland for the first time and not think about work the entire time.
- Compete in a race with my dad! We both love to run and have dreams of signing up for a 10K together.
- Go on more date nights with my husband.
- Read more.
- Write more.
- Stress less.