Autumn 2011 issue of The Battered Suitcase.
Sara, when did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
In ninth grade, I began to write really awful poetry. At that point, I thought I was a writer. Now I know better.
Why do you write?
The reason has evolved over the years. I remember saying “revenge” when I was 19 or 20. Now I write because I absolutely need to get the words out. I love telling stories.
Is being a writer/poet anything like you imagined it would be?
It’s not as romantic or glamorous. And people are always asking me what I do with an MFA in creative writing, as if the answer isn’t obvious? I tell them I’m going to be a unicorn trainer one day.
What do you think makes a good story?
A compelling voice and an interesting plot are most important to me.
What's your favorite genre to read?
Not sure of a genre. I like anything that keeps me interested. I’m more of a comedy than a tragedy type of gal.
Who is your favorite author or poet?
I really like Jodi Picoult, even though she stole my thunder and produced a commercially sold book about lesbians. I also really enjoy Lorrie Moore, Mary Gaitskill, Susan Shapiro, Lydia Davis, David Levithan, Jennifer Weiner, and Chuck Klosterman.
What books or stories have most influenced you the most as a writer?
The Giving Tree. Since I was young, that book has made me cry every time I read it. I want to be able to do that to people.
What books or stories have most influenced you as a person?
Probably all the books I read as a child, honestly. It’s so important for parents to make sure kids read.
Where/how do you find the most inspiration?
I write nonfiction, so real life.
What does your family think of your writing?
It’s a mixed bag because of the topics. I think at the end of the day, they’re very proud of my accomplishments.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I don’t have a schedule. I know a lot of people do, but I can’t do that. When it comes to me, I sit down and bang out a bunch of pages at a time. Sometimes, though, I go months without writing a thing. It’s difficult because I write for a living – I do social media and copywriting for a few different companies. It’s tiring trying to write my own stuff at the end of the day.
Do you have any writing quirks or rituals?
No, but I wish I did.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Doing it, period. Also, making sure characters are whole. Since the people I write about are people I actually know, it is tricky to convey them to other people sometimes.
What are your current projects?
I’m actually trying to write a children’s book right now.
What are you planning for future projects?
Well I’m planning on moving out of New York. That in of itself is a project. As far as writing goes, I’d like to expand the memoir I wrote for my thesis into a full-length thing.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Keep on submitting. I’ve submitted to over 100 places and have gotten 6 acceptances. You have to take the rejections with a big grain of salt and move on.
Where else can we find your work?
I have two short stories published through Untreed Reads. You can get them anywhere ebooks are sold. I also have two personal essays in the New York Press. I am part of the world’s largest exquisite corpse in The Nashville Review. And a chapter from my memoir is in Narrative Magazine as of July.