Author Chat with Sara Zarr (Goodbye From Nowhere), Plus Giveaway! ~ (US Only)
Today we're excited to chat with Sara Zarr author of
Goodbye From Nowhere.
Read on for more about Sara and her book, plus an giveaway.
Meet Sara Zarr!
Sara Zarr is the acclaimed author of six novels for young adults, most recently Gem & Dixie, which received three starred reviews. She's a National Book Award finalist and two-time Utah Book Award winner. Her novels have been variously named to annual best books lists of the American Library Association, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, the Guardian, the New York Public Library, and the Los Angeles Public Library and have been translated into many languages. She is a MacDowell Colony Fellow and has served as a judge for the National Book Awards. Sara lives in Salt Lake City with her husband and online at www.sarazarr.com.
Meet Goodbye From Nowhere!
Kyle Baker thought his family was happy. Happy enough, anyway. That’s why, when Kyle learns that his mother has been having an affair and his father has been living with the secret, his reality is altered. He quits baseball, ghosts his girlfriend, and generally checks out of life as he’s known it. With his older sisters out of the house and friends who don’t get it, the only person he can talk to is his cousin Emily—who is always there on the other end of his texts but still has her own life, hours away.
Kyle’s parents want him to keep the secret of his mother’s affair from the rest of the family until after what might be their last big summer reunion. As Kyle watches the effects of his parents’ choices ripple out over friends, family, and strangers, and he feels the walls of his relationships closing in, he has to decide what his obligations are to everyone he cares for—including himself.
National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr returns with an intimate, exquisitely crafted novel of anxiety and identity, of the ways that secrets keep us together and pull us apart, and of the courage it takes to see those we love for who they are.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
My last novel, Gem & Dixie, is a very close portrait of a small family, and really more of a small family within a family as I followed these two sisters. When I was done with that, I knew I wanted to write about a BIG family just crawling with cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents. Meanwhile, I was on a retreat and a writer I know was telling me about this "cousin camp" she does every summer with her young grandkids on her land in CA. My mind started reeling with possibilities. What if these cousins were teens instead of little kids, what if they came to this land every summer, what if one of the cousins' parents were in the middle of a divorce or something, what if what if what if? "What if" is always where stories start. It grew from there.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel! Titles are usually soooo hard for me and give me no end of grief. My working title was The Last Summer of the Baker Cousins, but there are so many "last summer of" or "summer of" titles out there that we wanted something a bit more distinct. I have friends with a farm called Nowhere Else farm, so I borrowed part of that to call the family farm Nowhere Farm, and that gave us more to work with as far as title ideas.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
One that comes to mind is a scene with just Kyle and his dad eating pizza in their kitchen, and they've kind of had it with each other, and Kyle is both thinking back to previous meals in that kitchen in better times for their family and also realizing that everything has changed in an irrevocable way. It's one of those moments that involves nostalgia as well as moving forward--kind of the essence of growing up as an older teen. I like how it turned out.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I love everything about this cove! For one thing, the colors. The book is set in California, and considering the perpetual drought and the frequent wildfires and the stretches along the freeways of scrub grass and weeds--those orange tones capture a particular CA feeling. I'm also a fan of how tiny the white truck looks in context of a big world. I think that's how Kyle is feeling for a lot of the book...that life is happening around him in ways he can't control and he is just trying to get through it and get somewhere at the end.
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2020?
As for YA, right now I'm thinking about Siobhan Vivian's We Are the Wildcats, Thoughts and Prayers by Bryan Bliss, and All the Things We Never Knew by Liara Tamani--pitched as Eleanor & Park meets Love & Basketball, both of which I love! In adult, I've got Jenn Shapland's memoir, My Autobiography of Carson McCullers on deck and Ottessa Moshfegh's novel, Death In Her Hands. I've read all of Moshfegh's books and her stories are wonderfully strange.
YABC: What was your favorite book in 2019?
It's hard to pick a favorite, but both Catch & Kill by Ronan Farrow and She Said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey really captured the #MeToo moment. I didn't read much YA in 2019. That sometimes happens when I've been deep in writing it! I tend to read a lot of nonfiction during busy writing seasons.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I'm actually working on a middle grade novel that's loosely based on my 11th year when my parents got divorced and my mother remarried and we moved to a new town all in the span of about twelve months. MG isn't a form I've written before now, and I'm finding myself remembering so much about that time of my life in ways I didn't expect.
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
Kyle's mom is a tough character in Goodbye from Nowhere. She's making some incredibly selfish choices that are deeply affecting Kyle, but at the same time she still loves him and cares for him and wants them to have a relationship. Writing her as someone being selfish right now but also not a monster or bad person was important to me, and a fine line to walk.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
I would say I enjoy them differently, vs more or less. Drafting can be so magical when it's going well, and absolutely excruciating when it's not. You're conjuring something from nothing and there's nothing like it when it's working. Revising doesn't involve so many extremes--it's more like solving a puzzle. That can be an absorbing task or it can be a nightmare but at least there's something on the page to start with!
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
Right now in the midst of our pandemic, I'm thinking so much about the small businesses that make any given town feel like home--coffee shops, indie book stores, indie movie theaters, local radio, restaurants, etc. I don't want to live in a world that's only Amazon and chain retail. So I'm really focusing in on how to support local businesses and the people who work for them, and my local nonprofits. Also, food banks are crucial all the time, but perhaps now more than ever with the unemployment rate shooting up. I'm sure anyone reading this knows what the businesses and nonprofits are that make their towns and cities home and is figuring out ways to help.
Goodbye From Nowhere
By: Sara Zarr
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: April 7th, 2020
Two winners will each receive a copy of Goodbye From Nowhere (Sara Zarrs) ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*
The cover really gives off a sense of loneliness and isolation. What a unique synopsis! An affair from the child’s perspective...