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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

An Interview with Sara Bennett Wealer

Today, I'm continuing this week of inspirational interviews with debut author Sara Bennett Wealer. Her young adult novel, Rival, will be available in 2011.

Tell us about your Book.
RIVAL is a high-stakes duet between two seniors--once friends, now enemies--who are preparing to go up against each other in a major singing competition. To Brooke, winning means escaping the in-crowd for life as a professional musician. Kathryn, meanwhile, sees victory as the key to a much-needed college scholarship. As the big day nears, each girl must face her fears about the future, her scars from the past, and the fact that the person she hates most might just be the best friend she ever had.

RIVAL will be released in Jan/Feb 2011 by HarperTeen.

Can you tell us a little bit about your road to publication?
When I started querying agents (for a book I wrote before RIVAL), I actually landed the first one I ever contacted. But it turned out we weren't the right fit, which proves what everybody always says about taking your time and making sure you partner with the agent who's right for you. I know that folks who feel stuck in the query trenches right now are reading that going, "Easy for you to say! You're agented and have a book deal!" I know how it feels to be so desperate you think you'll take anybody who comes along with an offer, because my second agent search took a lot longer than the first one did. But I still ended up turning a couple of agents down because I'd learned my lesson the first time. When I finally hooked up with Holly (Root at Waxman Literary), I'd done my research and knew she'd be a great advocate for my work, and I was right!

Was there ever a time you felt like giving up? Why didn't you?
I felt like giving up several times! Even after I'd landed an agent. Because getting a good agent doesn't automatically mean you'll get a book deal. Holly and I did a lot of work to get me to this point, and there were never any guarantees that all of the revisions and submissons were going to lead anywhere in the end. The urge to give up was even worse during those long, dark days when I was checking my email every half hour and either getting rejections or no responses, all the while struggling to keep myself motivated to write something new. When you're working toward publication, you have tons of opportunities to walk away. You're the one who sets your schedule (work on the book tonight or watch Dancing with the Stars?) and let's face it - if you let the dream fizzle out, nobody else really cares. You're only letting yourself down. So you have to talk yourself into continuing to move forward. In my case, I figured I'd come too far to give up. I believed in my books and in myself as a writer, and I'd read enough in my genre to know my work could stand up to most of what was out there. I tell people it's like banging your head against a brick wall. You get to a certain point where the next blow could be the one that knocks it down, so you tell yourself you're either going to end up with brain damage or you're going to make it to the other side. But either way, you are NOT going to stop.

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and telling us about Rival and your publication journey, Sara!

For more information about Sara and her book, check out the links below:
Sara Bennett Wealer's website
Sara Bennett Wealer's blog
RIVAL on Goodreads

Also, don't forget to read the other inspirational author interviews going on this week at the blog links located here.

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Blogger Bish Denham said...

Good information on not giving up! Thanks Sara! And thank you Amy for doing these interviews.

March 30, 2010 at 7:15 AM  
Blogger Linda G. said...

RIVAL sounds like a great read! And, btw, gorgeous pic. :)

March 30, 2010 at 9:48 AM  
Anonymous Kathy McCullough said...

Sara's book sounds fantastic, and I don't say that just because my name is Kathryn. ;) Sara's story of not giving up is a great one. When you're in the middle of it -- all the rejections, the setbacks -- you don't think it will ever end. It's only the belief in yourself that keeps you going. A great post. Thank you!

March 30, 2010 at 10:42 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

Hey, Amy! Thanks so much for including me in your series!!

<3 Sara BW

March 30, 2010 at 11:15 AM  
Blogger Iva said...

WOW!! such a great interview!! and she is so pretty!! Have a great day!

March 30, 2010 at 11:49 AM  
Blogger Elana Johnson said...

Such true words: "You are NOT going to stop." Great interview and I can't wait to read that book this winter. Yay you!

March 30, 2010 at 1:04 PM  
Blogger gae polisner said...


nice to read. I had a mixed experience with my first agent - some of it amazing, some of it disappointing, and some of that my own fault for not asking questions, and knowing what the real situation was. But of course, it's so hard to get there, and we're so grateful for someone who believes in our words. It is so important to have an agent who is not only a good fit, but truly up for the task of shopping your work and knowing exactly what your work is and isn't. I have that now, and it's wonderful. But sometimes, i think it takes trial and error (and the luck of circumstances to get there...) Congrats on your book. It sounds great!

March 30, 2010 at 1:16 PM  
Blogger ~Jamie said...

I am LOVING these interviews all over the place. They are SO fun!

Your cover is freakin' fabulous, by the way. :)

March 30, 2010 at 3:05 PM  
Blogger Kim Harrington said...

RIVAL sounds like Glee on steroids. I love it.

March 30, 2010 at 3:41 PM  
Blogger Tiffany Schmidt said...

RIVAL sounds fabulous -- I can't wait to read it. It sounds like you had quite the journey. Reading through these interviews this week, I'm amazed how many people are no longer with their first agent... your advice about taking your time and choosing the right one is so important!

March 30, 2010 at 6:09 PM  
Blogger Lisa and Laura said...

I was excited when I saw this deal announced and I'm excited now! Can't wait to read this one--great interview ladies!

March 30, 2010 at 9:27 PM  
Blogger Amy Holder said...

Thanks to everyone who commented! And thank you so much for this interview, Sara!

March 30, 2010 at 11:59 PM  
Blogger said...

Hi, Sara! When the story is the right one it's worth all the work isn't it? And this story is the right one, for sure. RIVAL is going to fascinate us all. And, dang it, I already don't know who to root for!

Amy, that's my delete above. I mistyped a couple words, sorry.

April 1, 2010 at 8:58 AM  

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