Monday, 26 August 2013

Author Interview ~ Sarah Daltry ~ Forget Me Not

Claire Lamb Hi Sarah, first of all Congratulations on your Forget Me Not,
Please can you tell us a little about yourself and your book?

Sarah Daltry Well, Forget Me Not is a coming of age story. It's college romance and it's actually about adjusting to college.  It has plenty of erotic elements, because Lily has a lot of sex - including some kinky stuff. Since it's part of her process of growing up.
And I'm really not all that interesting. I mostly just write, play Xbox, and complain. 

Claire Lamb oh we are xbox fenatics in my house, and you are interesting because your you and you write fab books with hot men .

Claire Lamb Okay this question is from Heather Grey. What inspired you to start writing?

Sarah Daltry I can’t really think of any particular thing, because I’ve always read and then I just started writing. I love telling stories. The real world is just far less interesting than anything else. I think I am a natural liar. Not in a mean way, but I tend to like making things up.

Claire Lamb Who is your favourite author?

Sarah Daltry Hemingway.

Claire Lamb Why did you choose to write these types of books?

Sarah Daltry I love YA actually, but one thing that strikes me as odd as how it’s taboo to talk about sex in YA – at least in its graphic and fun ways. Plenty of young people have sex. In this case, NA was a perfect mix and this story worked well for me – it was a chance to write erotica but with a story about growing up and embracing sex and learning how to be a different person.

Claire Lamb What Book are you reading at the moment?

Sarah Daltry I’m kind of focused entirely on writing lately. I am lucky and I get to edit Clover by Braxton Cole this week. It's really good so far (I have seen it in bits and pieces) and everyone should read it when it comes out. I also keep staring at Code Name Verity on my desk. It’s haunting me.

Claire Lamb Outside of writing what do you do to relax?

Sarah Daltry Play a lot of Xbox!  Lately it has been Borderlands 2. I just cannot get enough of that game. I already have all the achievements and yet I keep playing.

Claire Lamb Describe your book in three words?

Sarah Daltry Growing up sucks?

Claire Lamb yes it does

Claire Lamb Did you have any muses for your characters?

Sarah Daltry Sort of. I mean… they are based on my own experiences and people I know, I guess. But not officially.

Claire Lamb Does Jack or Lily remind you of anyone in your life?

Sarah Daltry They are both part of me. I am honestly more Jack in most ways, but I was a little like Lily in school. I was so excited to be on my own, but once I was, it was hard to figure out what that meant exactly. Lily was based a lot on my friends and parts of me. Jack was inspired by a couple guys I knew, although his emotions and experiences stem more from my life. There are certain pieces of him that came directly from someone I knew, but I would mostly rather leave it at that.

Claire Lamb Totally understandable

Claire Lamb Why Write about College?

Sarah Daltry There are two reasons I write about college. First, I read and write YA. YA will probably always be my go-to genre, but there are a lot of limitations in YA. In particular, when it comes to sexual themes, because many YA readers are on the younger end of the spectrum. NA has opened up this new area, where sex is a major factor in the stories for many characters, because college is a time of experimentation – with many things. A college setting is ideal for me, because I can blend romance/erotica with YA, making it both sexy and realistic.
The second reason is that I spent a great deal of my life in school. College, grad school twice, and then teaching both high school and college students. So it’s what I know. One of the first things you learn in a writing seminar is to write what you know. For me, that’s college.

Claire Lamb The college and setting are left vague. Is that intentional?

Sarah Daltry Yes. I want readers to be able to see themselves in the story and that’s easier to do if I don’t specify. In Lily of the Valley, it becomes clearer that the college is in New England or at least somewhere with four distinct seasons, but I don’t state where. I also don’t use a college name, because I want people to see their college, not mine. In my head, the layout of the school and the details are all based on my own school, but by leaving it open, readers can make it personal.

Claire Lamb Lily can be really annoying, Why is that?

Sarah Daltry I wanted to address this, because it really pisses me off. Is Lily annoying? I don’t know. At times, I suppose. But she’s nineteen. I have not known a great deal of nineteen year olds who had it together. She’s clingy and moody and whiny because she’s a college freshman who’s never been on her own. But she isn’t mean. She’s genuine and she cares a ton about other people. By minimizing her because she can’t figure herself out, it’s incredibly insulting to the character, me personally, and really all young women. I can’t even tell you how many girls have messaged or emailed me to tell me that Lily was them either recently or when they were younger. She was me, too, in a lot of ways. Growing up can be hard. It’s even harder when people who forget what it was like to be nineteen hate you for being nineteen.

Claire Lamb I know for me personally I was off the rails annoying and rebelling against everything and anyone I still do, I don't know any 19 yr old teenager who was perfect either.

Claire Lamb Jack’s background is dark, why?

Sarah Daltry I took elements of things that have happened to me, things that have happened to other people, and just general crap that happens and I gave Jack a reason for his behavior. As I’m writing Lily of the Valley, I’ve been digging even deeper into it. I have personal experience with depression, drugs, and suicide – as well as experience in the mental health profession. I wanted to show that sometimes the things we think about other people are wrong and that assumptions can be dangerous. I also wanted to give a sense of realism to the book. I appreciate that romance is escapism, but for me, all stories need to be grounded in truth. I’m a big fan of Hemingway. He said about writing: “To get started, write one true sentence.” I didn’t listen to him at first. I started writing Forget Me Not to expand on Derek and Lily’s story because the short story, “Her Brother’s Best Friend” sold well. However, I couldn’t write the book. I just couldn’t come up with anything. And then I wrote Jack. I don’t remember what sentence it was exactly, but after playing with the story, suddenly I knew what the book was really about. And then it was easy. Lily of the Valley is going to be longer, because it’s more honest than anything I have ever written. And that kind of scares me, if we’re being totally truthful.

Claire Lamb You know I can totally see where you come from on that view and I am sincerely looking forward to reading Jacks POV, I have people in my family with mental disabilities and it's nice to see them incorporated into stories wether fact or fiction, it makes me feel less alone in the world so honestly Sarah well done you!

Claire Lamb This question comes from Michelle Byrant, are we going to find out more about Jack’s Mum and Dad and why and how she got into drugs?

Sarah Daltry A little, but he never really knows. At least not at this stage in his life. We learn a little about his grandfather – her father – and that addiction runs in the family. But we don’t learn much because as far as Jack is concerned, it happened. And he isn’t looking for answers to why. He just wants to be more than it.

Claire Lamb You have kinda already answered this above but in your book can you relate to any of the circumstances the characters go through, are there any of your own experiences or total fiction?

Sarah Daltry Definitely. I can relate to the way that Lily feels like something is wrong with her because she has everything she always thought she wanted, yet she is not satisfied. Growing up, I always felt pressure to be a certain way, to be the person my parents and friends expected me to be. When I was on my own, I had a hard time coming to terms with being myself. On the other hand, Lily handles it far more gracefully. I know some people think she’s whiny and crazy, but hell, I was a million times worse. I handled most of my confusion more like Jack handles his problems – by trying to destroy myself. I can also relate to Jack a lot. We don’t see a lot of his story yet, not until it’s his voice, but he has a lot of trouble too. I definitely know where that comes from.

Claire Lamb Are the names of characters in your novel important to you?

Sarah Daltry Yes and no. They don’t have a ton of meaning necessarily. Lily because the series is about “flowering,” blossoming into yourself. Both Forget Me Not and Lily of the Valley are flowers – obviously and her name fits. Jack and Derek are just named that. I very much subscribe to the idea that characters are real people and that they tell their own stories. I could never change their names, because it would be like adopting someone at 15 and changing his or her name. They are who they are.

Sarah Daltry At my age? Or if I was his age? If I was still in college, I think I would probably do exactly what Lily does!  Now? I would just talk to him. Because he desperately needs someone to see him. Not physically, but to see the person he is.

Claire Lamb Does your family support you with your writing?

Sarah Daltry Not really. My husband does, although he thinks the genre is stupid. He still supports it, though. My parents know I write but they don’t ask questions and they think it’s impractical. Everything I do is impractical. I came to terms with that a long time ago. I am used to it. I am never going to be the person they want me to be. It's why Lily is the way she is. I totally get how she feels by the end of FMN. I had to make the same choices.

Claire Lamb What is your least favourite part in the writing progress?

Sarah Daltry For me, the worst part is sharing my work. The more honest my stories are, the harder it is to share them. I can write a smutty short story and people can like it or not. But when I give a part of myself to a book or a character, it hurts like hell when someone misses the point. And my upcoming book is extremely personal. Jack and I lead very parallel lives.

Claire Lamb E reader or Paperback?

Sarah Daltry Both? I read faster on an ereader, but I like actual books. Although I prefer the old hardcovers. The older the better in fact. I collect Victorian volumes.

Claire Lamb Who does your cover Art?

Sarah Daltry Braxton Cole finalized these. I usually find the images and have fonts/colors in mind and she makes it look like I want it to.

Claire Lamb If you could pick another author to co-write with who would it be and why?

Sarah Daltry Honestly? Probably no one. I’m a very introverted person and writing is a really personal experience for me. I feel like it would be too intimate to share.

Claire Lamb Do you do anything when writing? (eg. listen to music, sit on floor ect)?

Sarah Daltry Nothing in particular. I write where I am and when I am inspired. Although I just created a playlist for Lily of the Valley. Confession time. I have never had a playlist during writing before. I made my last few playlists during editing (Bitter Fruits) and randomly for a blog tour packet (FMN) but didn't listen to them while writing. I was stuck on LotV though and was making media kits. I made the playlist and have listened to it nonstop for three days - and wrote 16k words. So playlists are a good thing is what I guess I'm saying.

Claire Lamb If you wrote a book about your life....what name would you call yourself and what 3 words would you use to describe your personality?

Sarah Daltry I’d probably go with Sarah, because it’s easier and I’m lazy. I’m sarcastic, intelligent, and emotional.

Claire Lamb Ok easy one top five book boyfriends?

Sarah Daltry Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye, Jake Barnes from The Sun Also Rises, Will from Infernal Devices, St. Clair from Anna and the French Kiss, and Ian from The Host.

Claire Lamb Has there been a review that has stood out the most for you?

Sarah Daltry There were several. The most significant thing for me is when someone says “Lily was just like me” because it means that someone understands. Because I see Lily as a fairly normal college girl.  and like I said, truth is very important to me in writing.

Claire Lamb Which book - by another author - are you looking forward to the most?

Sarah Daltry No question. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. And it keeps being pushed back. One of the disadvantages of traditional publishing!

Claire Lamb Is there any traditions you do after finishing a book ?

Sarah Daltry No, not really. I used to go on GR immediately to rate and review. Or do you mean finishing writing? I take a day off and waste my life for 24 hours.

Claire Lamb yeah as in do you go get drunk or go dancing or run around naked lol

Sarah Daltry Okay, I swear I'm not an alcoholic, but yes. Drinking is definitely in order. And when Lily of the Valley comes out, given how much I am putting into it, I am going to need the biggest bottle ever.

Claire Lamb lol make it something strong 

Claire Lamb Do you prefer Vanilla or Kinkery Fuckery lol ? sorry I ask everyone this lol.

Sarah Daltry Definitely kinky. Lily’s sexual experiences are definitely not fictional. I can say that! 

Claire Lamb Favourite Colour?

Sarah Daltry Black. And if that’s too emo, purple or silver.

Claire Lamb Favourite Food?

Sarah Daltry Pizza. And crème brulee at the Sofitel.

Claire Lamb Night or Day?

Sarah Daltry Night. 100%. If I could, I would sleep from 8 am until 3 pm.  (Because I technically should be in the UK. Even my body knows it)

Claire Lamb Favourite movie?

Sarah Daltry It changes a lot, but I love Pieces of April. It’s like my life as a movie.

Claire Lamb Favourite actor/actress?

Sarah Daltry Paul Rudd, Christian Bale, or Ryan Gosling for actors. For actresses, Aubrey Plaza, Rebel Wilson, Emma Stone, and Michelle Williams. Oh and Melissa McCarthy is really funny.

Claire Lamb Bed made or unmade?

Sarah Daltry Made. Although I am lazy, my mom told me spiders would get into my bed if I didn’t make it when I was a kid. So I still try to throw the comforter over the bed at least to keep the spiders out. And yes, I am well aware that the spiders can crawl UNDER a comforter.

Claire Lamb Haha too funny but it's amazing how many things we still do because it got drilled into our little heads.

Claire Lamb Sarah, Thank you so much for being here today. You have been awesome and a pleasure to interview. We wish you all the very best and are so looking forward to Lily of the Valley x

Sarah Daltry Thank you!  It was fun!

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