If you’ve been getting some YA fatigue recently, let us introduce you to Sara Holland – author of ‘EVERLESS’.
Thanks for taking the time to speak to us! First up, ‘EVERLESS’ is your debut release, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your journey into becoming a published author?
Thanks so much for having me! I’m one of those people who always knew they wanted to be a writer. I grew up in a small town outside of Minneapolis, in a house full of books and stories, and my parents have pictures of me showing off the “books” I wrote and illustrated at 5 or 6. I wrote on and off growing up, and in college majored in English and political science (for a practical backup plan that really wasn’t all that practical). By then I had latched onto the idea of working in publishing as well as writing, so I moved to New York and was lucky enough to land a job as an assistant. Meanwhile, I started writing what would become ‘EVERLESS’ by night, and here we are!
Can you describe what your typical writing day looks like?
Weekdays are structured around my day job—I work at a literary agency, so it’s all books, all the time, which I love! I usually try to get up early and squeeze in an hour or two of writing before work, since I’m usually tired at night. And then on weekends, I like to meet up with writer friends and write together at coffee shops. It’s almost like having a social life.
Within your writing, you create a beautiful, yet horrifying world. Where do you draw your inspirations from?
To a certain extent, reality–I always say that the phrase time is money is abstractly true in our society, so most of my worldbuilding was just taking real conditions and stretching them to their logical conclusions. I was also inspired by a lot of amazing recent fantasy and dystopian books–think ‘Red Queen’, ‘Legend’, ‘The Winner’s Curse’—the settings of which combine beauty and brutality.
If you had to bring one thing from your fantasy world into our world here today, what would it be and why?
The country of Sempera, where ‘EVERLESS’ takes place, traditionally is ruled by a Queen. While the particular one on the throne in this book isn’t necessarily a great leader, I would love to see the real world led by women at the very top.
Jules is an important female lead in the book – can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind her? Is she based on anyone you know?
She’s not based on any one person, but I can definitely trace her attributes back to several inspirational people in my life. Her pragmatism, her curiosity, her fierce love for her friends and family—all these were shaped by the people I admire, and from the fictional heroines I grew up reading.
‘EVERLESS’ runs on the terrifying premise of running out of time, what one thing do you always make sure you have enough time for in your every day life?
Every writer will tell you about the importance of reading widely and often, but I’ve been guilty of letting that slide when I don’t deliberately make time for it. However, when that’s happened, I’ve always slid into writer’s block shortly after. I think V.E. Schwab pointed out that since creative output takes a toll, you need to compensate with creative input. So now I try to read at least a chapter or two of a published book every day.
The cover for ‘EVERLESS’ is absolutely stunning, were you involved in the design process?
Not at all–I have no visual talent whatsoever! But Harper’s (US Publisher) talented designer, Jenna Stempel, and the amazing illustrator Billelis collaborated to create the incredible piece of art that is the cover.
What one book could you read over and over again?
Oh, so many! But one that I go back to whenever I can is Phillip Pullman’s ‘The Golden Compass’.
Lastly, what advice would you give to people looking to write their own novels?
Everyone has a different process–morning or night writing, plotting or pantsing, caffeinating or exercising, and so on. I think the most important thing is to find a way to write that works for you and stick to it, so that writing becomes a routine and then second nature.
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