Episode 154: Writing from Your Heart and Soul — Interview with Sarah Dessen

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Hey there word nerds!

Today I am so excited to have bestselling author of contemporary YA, Sarah Dessen on the show!

Sarah has twelve previous novels to her name,several of which have hit the New York Times bestseller list, and discusses with us here her latest teen read Once And For All. Listen in as we chat about the ins and outs of Sarah’s writing process, and how she keeps her momentum going to create characters and stories that resonate with teens.

This episode is brought to you by our amazing word nerd fans and supporters on Patreon. If you’d like to help support this show, hop over to patreon.com/DIYMFA.

In this episode Sarah and I discuss:

  • How to craft a story with a balance of light and dark scenes.
  • What challenges arise after you’ve published multiple books, and why certain books are more challenging to write than others.
  • How to use a “skeleton” to draft a manuscript, and how this technique can let you know a book isn’t working.
  • How to craft realistic and engaging stories that keep teens coming back for more.
  • How to push through the bad writing times and forge ahead.

Plus, Sarah’s #1 tip for writers.

About Sarah Dessen

With more than 10 million copies in print, Sarah Dessen is the undisputed queen of summer romance and her thirteenth novel, ONCE AND FOR might just be her best one yet. Set in the world of wedding planning, ONCE AND FOR ALL is inspired by those momentous occasions in life which can challenge one’s personal resources and ultimately bring out the best in ourselves and the friends and family around us. Sarah Dessen is the author of twelve previous novels, and her first two books, That Summer and Someone Like You, were made into the movie How to Deal, starring Mandy Moore. Dessen’s books are frequently chosen for the Teens’ Top Ten list and the list of Best Fiction for Young Adults.

This past January, Sarah Dessen was awarded the highly coveted 2017 Margaret A. Edwards Award at the American Library Association Youth Media Awards. Each year the American Library Association awards this honor to an author for his or her significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature. As a recipient of this award, Dessen stands alongside past recipients and young adult literature powerhouses S.E. Hinton, Judy Blume, and Laurie Halse Anderson among others.

Sarah Dessen is the author of twelve previous novels, which include the New York Times bestsellers Saint Anything, The Moon and More, What Happened to Goodbye, Along for the Ride, Lock and Key, Just Listen, The Truth About Forever, and This Lullaby. Her books have been translated into twenty-five languages. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, Jay, and their daughter, Sasha Clementine.

To connect more with Sarah, check out her website at www.sarahdessen.com

Once and For All

Is it really better to have loved and lost? Louna’s summer job is to help brides plan their perfect day, even though she stopped believing in happily-ever-after when her first love ended tragically. But charming girl-magnet Ambrose isn’t about to be discouraged now that he’s met the one he really wants. Maybe Louna’s second chance is standing right in front of her. Sarah Dessen’s many fans will adore this latest novel, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story with humor, romance, and an ending that is so much more than happily-ever-after.

If you decide to check out the book, we hope you’ll do so via the Amazon affiliate link below, where if you choose to purchase DIY MFA makes a small commission at no cost to you. We’ve also included affiliate links to some Sarah Dessen’s other books also mentioned in the episode. As always, thank you for supporting DIY MFA!

     Once and For All     |     This Lullaby     |     Just Listen     |     Dreamland

Link to Episode 154

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Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome!

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