Feb 11, 2013

Author Interview: Sarah Skilton

Today I have debut author Sarah Skilton here for an interview to talk about her upcoming novel, Bruised, which already garnering critical acclaim:
"Offering psychological drama and an introduction to martial-arts code of behavior, the book has a meaningful message about power, control, and the internal bruises carried by victims."
—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Her story is compelling, and readers will stick with her as new insights bring about a believable shift in her behavior…This distinctive debut will be appreciated by fans of contemporary fiction."
—Kirkus Reviews

I am a huge fan of this novel, as you can tell by my review:

I can assure the author is just as fabulous as the work she created. Here is my interview with Sarah Skilton:

1.    Tell us about Bruised in 20 words or less.
A teenage girl skilled in martial arts freezes up at an armed robbery.

2.    Why a book about martial arts?
I've studied a few different types of martial arts, and, like Imogen, I'm a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. In my younger years, I loved the butt-kicking ladies of X-men, but at the end of the day, they had super powers that enabled them to fight. I wanted to write about a "regular" girl in the real world who could fight because she'd trained for years to learn how.

3.    Where did you get the idea for Bruised?
Sometimes when people find out I'm a black belt, they want to know what I'd do against a gun. (The answer is run, but what if you can't run? What if there's nowhere to go?) The idea for Bruised came about by asking myself a series of What Ifs. What if having a black belt doesn't mean you're protected? What if there is no such thing as "fair fight"? What if you never prepared for the possibility of a gun? Or what if you did prepare, but still froze up when it actually happened? How would you recover? How would your view of yourself change, and is there anything you could do to make things right? These are a few of the questions I attempt to answer in the book.

4.    Did you need to do any research about Tae Kwon Do before starting Bruised?
Not in the traditional sense, because I had lots of notebooks and handouts from when I was studying the art in high school, college, and post-college. It was fun digging out and re-reading my old binders, diagrams, calendars, and diaries!

5.    What’s your writing process like? Are there certain things (like drinks, music, etc.) you need to have?
If I'm writing in the morning, it's coffee (big shocker, right?) But now that I've got a young son, I write when he's asleep at night, so I'll occasionally have a glass of wine to signal to my brain that we're shifting gears. I used to listen to music while I wrote, but now I prefer silence.

6.    What books are you excited about in 2013?
Too many YA books to name! If you go to the Lucky 13s blog you'll see most of 'em, but offhand I'm looking forward to Cat Winters' In the Shadow of Blackbirds, which is a ghost story set in 1918; Rachele Alpine's Canary, a contemporary YA told in prose and verse; and Kristen Kittscher's The Wig in the Window, a hilarious middle-grade mystery. I also love non-fiction of all stripes, and I may dig into Stephen King's Joyland in June.

7.    If you could give one book to everyone (other than your own), which would it be?
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. It's got it all.

8. Tell us about your next writing project and when we can expect it to be out!
My next Young Adult book is called High and Dry. It's a mystery about a high school soccer player 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. I'm really excited for it.  High and Dry comes out in 2014 from Abrams/Amulet Books!

Thank you, Sarah!!!!!
Thanks so much for having me!


  1. You sold me on this book with your review Hannah, I cannot wait to read it! I'm the type of person that has to write in silence too (even though I only write reviews). If there's music or a tv on, I focus on that and my thoughts never quite make it to the paper the way I want them too. High and Dry sounds like it's going to be AWESOME, I'm adding it to my list now even though it won't be out for a while. Thanks for the interview ladies!

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