Friday, December 17, 2010

Author Interview + Contest: Sarah Ockler (Blog Tour Stop)

Popping in today is Sarah Ockler, author of the recent release Fixing Delilah. If you haven't picked this one up, make sure you do. It's emotional and beautiful, and a fantastic read. You can even win a copy of the book today, plus a few other goodies, after the interview.

If you were in Delilah's situation and found out the depth of the family secrets that had been kept from you, how do you think your teenage self would have reacted?

Stage 5 code red complete and utter meltdown -- that pretty much sums up how I'd react if I uncovered family dirt like Delilah's. I think anyone would freak out, but I really struggled with family relationships as a teen -- particularly with my parents -- and that kind of secrecy would've sent me right over the edge. I don't know if I would be able to forgive them.

Of all the characters you've created between Twenty Boy Summer and Fixing Delilah, which has been the most interesting? The most difficult?

I think Frankie Perino in Twenty Boy Summer was the most difficult character to create, because on the surface, she's not very likable. She's bossy, materialistic, impatient, shallow, and a pretty crappy friend to Anna. But underneath all of that, she's a deeply wounded girl who just doesn't know how to accept the fact that her big brother is gone. It was a real challenge to try to present her realistically without turning off readers. Some readers really understand her and love her, while others hate her. Just as it is in life, I suppose!

Delilah Hannaford in Fixing Delilah was the most interesting. She's got a lot of layers, and her experience is colored completely by the fact that her closest living relative is her mother, and she's been pretty much shut off from the rest of her family. Things between Delilah's mother and her Aunt Rachel are tense, making it hard for Delilah to have a full relationship with Rachel. There are so many secrets and lies in that family -- enough to turn any girl into a resentful shell of a person -- but at the same time, the Hannaford women care deeply for one another, and Delilah has to see and eventually accept that. I loved crafting the layers of her personality, everything that leads her to her current state when the story opens, and everything that helps her grow and change throughout the book.

If you were to pair Delilah and Patrick with any character from any book, who would you match them with?

I wouldn't. One of the things that works so well for Patrick and Delilah is that they have this shared childhood history that, despite the time and distance that passed between them, bonds them in an almost unbreakable way. Developing their relationship was one of my favorite parts about writing Fixing Delilah, and I just can't imagine matching them up with anyone else. Friend-wise, though, I think they'd have a blast hanging out with Anna and Sam from Twenty Boy Summer! Smart, introspective girls and sweet, sensitive boys for the win! ;-)

What is the most private thing you're willing to share here?

Ever since I started blogging and tweeting, I don't think I have too many secrets left to share! But here's a private glimpse into my own crazy family history... that part in Fixing Delilah about the grandmother mixing her cremated ashes with those of her dead St. Bernard? Totally true story. Read into that as you will! :-)

What kind of cake/confection would you describe yourself as?

Hmm... German Chocolate. Sweet and classic with a surprisingly crunchy twist. :-p Ah, maybe I'm just saying that because I love German Chocolate cake!

Thanks for hosting me today, Kari! And thanks to everyone for giving Fixing Delilah a chance!

You are more than welcome, and thank you for stopping by!

Now for your chance to win a Fixing Delilah prize pack (includes a signed copy of Fixing Delilah and some maple and Vermont themed goodies to go with it), fill out THIS form. Contest is US only and ends January 31.


  1. Yum...I love German chocolate cake! I actually made delicious cupcakes for my seniors to eat today while we watched a movie. They loved them.

    And, I can't wait to read about the mixing of the ashes. Weird + funny all at the same time!

  2. I don't think the mixing of the ashes is too crazy. I would want to be close to my dog if I died. I dunno maybe I'm just weird too!

  3. Awesome blog! We have a lot in common in terms of our favorite books - go Harry, Percy and Clary! Anyway, just dropping by to say hi. I'd love to know when your book comes out.

  4. Can't remember if I entered...
    Thanks for the giveaway! Never heard of German Chocolate Cake, but it sounds yum!