Monday, September 10, 2012

Author Spotlight...please welcome Sarah DiCello!

A few months back, I promised you some more information about the truly fantastic new YA author who has taken paranormal YA romance by storm. Well, here she is! Ladies and gentlemen, I'm pleased to introduce you to Sarah DiCello, a wonderful author who is just as sweet as she is talented.

(JLD) Sarah, welcome aboard! Please tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up? What do you do for a living?

(SD) I grew up right outside New York City in a somewhat small town called Kearny, New Jersey (it’s where the Soprano’s is sometimes filmed if that gives you any idea). My family then moved to Pennsylvania – down the street from my grandmother and a mile from my aunt and uncle. We’re a big family and pretty tight. Now I live in the center of PA with my own family.
I’m actually a magazine publisher, mostly for trade publications. Believe me, being a magazine publisher didn’t give me any extra bonus points towards getting my book published. It was hard as hell and took almost two years and many rejections before Taylor Street Publishing gave me the chance and handed me my dream with a contract.

(JLD) What started your writing career?

(SD) I can directly link it back to my family newspaper I created when I was about 9-years-old. My cousin, brother, and I actually interviewed Johnny Depp . . . well, not really, but we pretended to. I’ve always been writing and went to Shippensburg University where I got my B.A. in Communications/Journalism. This fall I’m going back for my Master’s in Publishing at The George Washington University and can’t believe I’m actually excited for it. Terrified, but excited.

(JLD) What is the name of your book and what is it about? What did you want to accomplish when you wrote it?

(SD) My book is called, “As I Close My Eyes.” It is a young adult romance novel with some time-travel/historical twists. It is about a girl who has a rather freak accident. While unconscious, she dreams about a Victorian beach town, but the characters in the dream and the scenery around her seem too real to be a dream. Throughout the beginning of the book, Danielle Grayson (my main character), is trying to piece the puzzle together and figure out why those in her present day life in Georgia look and act like those in her dreams. “As I Close My Eyes,” will make you wonder if those closest to you have been with you forever, spanning all time.

(JLD) Is there a character you identify with? Who is your least favorite character and why?

(SD) I definitely identify with Dani. She is a typical eighteen-year-old and my own personality comes out in her dialogue. My least favorite is probably Brad, her somewhat obnoxious friend.

(JLD) Is your book based on real life or fiction? 

(SD) Some of my life comes through in the book but I’ve never had experiences like Dani has. I’ve always wondered what else is out there that we don’t know. How do we create the valuable relationships we have and why?

I believe in ghosts and the idea that sometimes our dreams are more than just dreams, so I wanted to research and write something that makes me question things. I like reading books that make me second-guess things.

(JLD) What do you want readers to take away after they’ve read your book?

(SD) I want them to just enjoy the story and I hope it makes them think about their own lives. I also want everyone to know that the sequel will be out this Christmas. I’ve gotten some criticism about the end from people who didn’t realize there’d be two. I ended it the way I did for a reason and I’m half way through writing the next one and I can’t wait for everyone to read it. I’ve learned so much through the whole publishing process and I think that’s reflected in the second book so far.

(JLD) Ooh! A sequel! Fabulous!!! Tell me, what is your favorite genre, and do you write in that genre? Will you ever write in a different genre?

(SD) I do love young adult romances with a bit of a mystical twist. I also like chick lit, so I wanted “As I Close My Eyes” to be a beach read but one that made the readers think a bit.

(JLD) What’s the hardest part about being a writer? The easiest part?

(SD) The hardest part would have to be the reviewers. It’s not the one or two stars that I care about; it’s the three stars that really get me. As if I almost had them, but the book just didn’t grab them enough and that kills me. I’m a people-pleaser so that can crush my day.
The easiest part is the excitement I get when coming up with the plot and all of its twists and turns. I have a great group of people around me who I can talk with about all of my ideas.

(JLD) What advice do you have to new writers out there?

(SD) Edit, edit, edit. Get readers who don’t know you or who are in the writing field to read and re-read your book. And don’t tell them the plot. Let them ask you all the right questions when they’re reading to see if the story is taking the path you want it to take.

(JLD) If you could start your writing career over again, would you do anything differently?

(SD) I would have taken my own advice in #9. I sent my book out to agents WAY too early thinking it was polished, but it totally wasn’t. No wonder I got rejection after rejection. It wasn’t ready. Make sure it’s ready and as good as you can get it.

(JLD) Which person, alive or dead, would you like to spend time with? Why?

(SD) I’d love to have lunch with J.K. Rowling and pick her brain about writing and marketing. I think she’s absolutely brilliant.

(JLD) Sarah, thank you so much for stopping by. It's been a real pleasure talking with you, and I hope everyone picks up a copy of your book. It's truly fabulous! 
Let me get some links up here...

Twitter: @sdicello

Sarah has graciously put a kindle copy of As I Close My Eyes up for a giveaway, so in order to enter, here are the rules:

1) tweet this interview
2) post a comment and tell us who you'd like to spend a day with
3) follow this blog

Good luck! The winner will be chosen on Friday, 9/14/12.  


Hannah said...

I'd like to share a day with Jessica Degarmo! xxx

R.R.Jones said...

What a nice person she is!
Great interview Jess, nice one.

George Fripley said...

Excellent interview Jess...Sarah sounds like a lovely person...and she has some great advice to give too.

Mike Church said...

Who is, Reggie? Hannah, Jess or Sarah?

Lovely to know a bit more about the lovely Sarah. I was very interested by her comments on the 3-star reviews. In fact, I've *never* had a 3-star review!!! (Several 1s and 2s, so I'm not bragging!)

Author Jessica L. Degarmo said...

The winner of the free kindle copy of As I close My Eyes is....Hannah! Please send us your email address to degarmo2911 at npacc dot net and we'll get it out to you. Congratulations!!!