Author Interview: Sharon Huss Roat!

Hi everyone! Today on the blog, we have an author interview with Sharon Huss Roat, who wrote BETWEEN THE NOTES and HOW TO DISAPPEAR. She's super sweet and agreed to stop by the blog today to answer a few interview questions! So without further ado, we present Sharon to you! 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sharon Huss Roat

Sharon Huss Roat is the author of Between the Notes and How to Disappear—both from HarperTeen. She grew up in Lancaster County, Pa., and now lives in Delaware with her husband and two children. Sharon co-chairs the annual Festival of Words, a literary event for Delaware secondary students, teachers, and librarians, and also works with the Delaware Division of Libraries on their public education initiatives. In addition to all things books, she loves gardening, musical theatre, and naps. 

Sharon’s website/blog: www.sharonroat.com
Sharon’s Twitter: @sharonwrote
Sharon’s Facebook: @sharonhussroat
Sharon’s Instagram: @sharonhussroat
Vicurious’s Instagram: @vicurious

AUTHOR INTERVIEW!

Welcome! How about you introduce yourself and tell everyone who you are and what you do? :-)

Hi! My name is Sharon Huss Roat and I write YA novels. My debut, Between the Notes, came out in 2015, and my latest, How to Disappear, was released in August 2017—both from HarperTeen. I also work with the Delaware Division of Libraries on their public education campaign, and I co-chair a major YA literary event in Delaware called the Festival of Words. 

How long have you known you wanted to be a writer? How did your dream finally become a reality?

The dream of writing a novel had been in the back of my mind since college, but I didn’t seriously pursue it until I was in my mid-40s. I had my own PR firm at the time and did something I strongly advise against: quit my day job to start writing. It took several years and many revisions of my first manuscript before I got my agent, and writing another manuscript and two more years before we found a publisher. 

What's How to Disappear about?

How to Disappear is about a girl with extreme social anxiety who becomes isolated when her best friend moves away. She deals with it by creating a secret, anonymous Instagram account, @vicurious, where she photoshops herself into other people’s pictures to live (vicariously) the life she wish she had. She soon discovers that she’s not the only one who feels #alone and #unseen.

How did you get the idea for How to Disappear?

I have a friend whose life is very different from my own, and we often mentioned that we were living vicariously through each other. I said I’d write a book someday about a girl who lives vicariously, and she said, “You can call it Vicurious.” Years later, I was following various best-selling authors online and sort of living vicariously through them, wishing I was there at fabulous book festivals with them, and feeling a little left out. All of that mushed together and turned into a story of a girl who feels #invisible in real life, and uses her online persona to reach out to others like her.

As a writer, do you struggle with coming up with names for characters and places? Where do you tend to pull ideas from? 

The struggle is REAL. I sometimes spend days researching names. It’s hard for me to write at all if I don’t have the perfect names in mind, because I hate changing them later. (Identity crisis! Ahhh!) I scan baby name lists, or google “unusual surnames,” and even browse cemeteries. 

In your opinion, what is the hardest part of the writing process and why?

I’m starting a new book right now and struggling to get it rolling, so I’ll say THIS is the hardest part… finding the story, the voice, the characters, and building momentum. Once I get over that hump, writing the first draft can be a lot of fun. Those moments when the characters take over and it feels like I’m watching their story unfold, just typing it up for them… that’s the best. 

Between How to Disappear and Between the Notes, have you noticed any differences in your writing process or style?

Yes! Between the Notes was written before I had an editor and publisher, and How to Disappear was written after… so, BTN took much longer and involved a lot more interaction with my critique partners, and HTD was written on a very short deadline, and my editor was the only one who saw it until copy editing. The first was a more meandering, uncertain experience, and the second was very direct and streamlined. For me, having a deadline definitely changes my process.  

What's your biggest piece of advice for someone looking to get published?

Seek critique! Feedback (from someone outside your family and friend groups) is absolutely essential. Work with other writers who are at a similar stage in their writing journey, so you can learn and grow together. 

Thanks so much for having me!

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We'd like to once again thank Sharon for being so awesome and agreeing to stop by the blog today. You can stay connected with her through her links posted above, and don't forget to add BETWEEN THE NOTES and HOW TO DISAPPEAR to your TBR -- because we know we will! :-)

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