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Sarah Bromley: TINDERBOX

We have a lot of fantastic authors at OneFour KidLit and are excited to introduce them all to you. One author, four questions.  Today we’re talking to Sarah Bromley, author of TINDERBOX.  Here we go!

Hey, you’re getting published!  How’d that happen?

I’m not going to lie. It’s been a long process. I began writing fiction in grade school and knew by high school that I wanted to be a YA novelist. I’d gotten an agent as a minor, but that person didn’t sell anything for me and thankfully quit the business. I kept writing throughout college and had a requested revise & resubmit with a great publishing house, but two things derailed me: losing my mother, who was my biggest supporter, and enduring a horrid case of post-partum depression after my daughter was born not long after. I was burned out. Then in November 2008, I began writing TINDERBOX. It wasn’t until I wrote the next book that I signed with my agent, Miriam Kriss of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency. While the book was on submission, I told Miriam about TINDERBOX. I rewrote it and put it on sub in April 2011. With a heck of a lot of persistence and belief that story needed to find a home, TINDERBOX was acquired by Month9Books, LLC in November 2012, almost four years to the day after I began writing it! The day I got the THE CALL that TINDERBOX sold was the same day I adopted my dog Isabella from a shelter in the middle of nowhere, so I had no cell phone reception and actually missed the call. It was the day before Thanksgiving, so it was a very, very long weekend before I got to talk to Miriam.

What’s your debut book about?  Can you share any cool details with us?

Here’s the short blurb:

16-year-old Vayda Silver has secrets: who her family really is, why she prays every night no one will find them, and what her empathic abilities do to those she loves. Keeping her secrets is almost impossible when her twin brother Jonah flaunts his powers where anyone can see. Vayda trusts only Ward, the misfit son of a has-been rockstar, who swears he doesn’t scare easily, but maybe that’s because he doesn’t know what Vayda is doing to him. Over the course of a cold, dark winter, Vayda must face her family’s past while hoping that Ward, the one person who makes her feel safe, won’t destroy her future.

Vayda’s an empath, and when she absorbs too much emotion from other people, the energy comes out of her in bad ways: shattering light bulbs, frying computers, and worse. With Ward, I kept picturing what if someone like Kurt Cobain and continued to struggle with drugs while raising a son–what would that boy be like, how he’d be so closed off, and what someone like Vayda would do to him. Also, I love Gothic fiction and wanted to set a novel with a Gothic sensibility in the north during a brutal, cold winter. There are double identities, secret meetings in the woods, and a family scandal where the sins of the mother are passed down to the daughter.

What do you do in your daily life outside of writing?

Most of my time is spent being Mom to my daughter, age seven, and two sons, five and twenty months. My dad died when I was seventeen and my mom when I was twenty-three, so family time is important to me. Life is short and unpredictable, so you had better spend your time doing what truly makes you happy. For me, that means family game night where we sit around and play Clue or watch Scooby-Doo movies, and I also volunteer at a therapeutic riding stable where I work with horses and disabled riders of all ages. Animals are my other great passion apart from writing, and you will rarely find me without my pug Hazel or chug Isabella curled up beside me. (Isabella is staring me down right now, matter of fact.)

What cool facts might readers not know about you?

I am technically a Little Person. I am 4’10” inches tall, and Husband is 6’1″. He spends a lot of time getting things off shelves for me.

I’ve known Husband since I was a baby and have a photograph of my mother-in-law holding me as a newborn with Husband, then two years old, grinning at me. I married him when I was still a teenager and promptly moved 300 miles away from home to a place where I knew no one, and that was the scariest thing I’d ever done.

My family owned a funeral home and had quite a few morticians in the bloodline. My dad bucked the trend and became a musician. I guess that’s why my mortician great-aunt was so horrified with me when I told her I wanted to be a writer. “That’s not a real job! Be something sensible.” To be fair, I entertained becoming a hospice nurse.

I wrote the first 200 pages of TINDERBOX by hand in one weekend. Even though I’m ambidextrous, my hands have never been the same since!

Sarah Bromley likes the quiet time at dawn when she can drink coffee while staring into the woods behind her house and wondering what monsters live there. She lives near St. Louis with husband, children, and dogs, and volunteers at a horse stable for disabled riders when she isn’t writing. Her debut novel, TINDERBOX (Month9Books, LLC) will be released in Fall 2014.