Sarah Pekkanen: In Her Own Words

Sarah Pekkanen: In Her Own Words

Debutante Sarah Pekkanen — of The Debutante Ball — becomes a novelist next Tuesday, Mach 9, 2010, with the launch of The Opposite of Me.

To celebrate this first-time event, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Weiner is offering a free, autographed copy of one of her books to anyone who pre-orders The Opposite of Me today – Wednesday, March 3! Please check Jen’s March 1, 2010 post for details (which are simple to follow).

And Sarah has put together a raffle with cool prizes like a camcorder and MAC cosmetics for the same folks who pre-order today. To recap: Buy a copy of the book today, get a free, signed Jen Weiner blockbuster book AND a chance to win a cool raffle prize. Details about the raffle are on Sarah’s March 1, 2010 post.

Having read The Opposite of Me, this Fairy Godmother highly recommends pre-ordering a book that you’ll want to read because — among other reasons — this early praise:

“Fresh, appealing… the story is by turns funny and poignant.”- Booklist

“Pekkanen’s involving debut… is an honest examination of the limits we place on ourselves, with well-drawn female characters.”- Kirkus

“Fresh and funny and satisfying. A terrific book about sisters that actually made me laugh out loud.”- Jennifer Weiner, #1 New York Times bestselling author

And now here is Sarah.

When Thoughts Become a Novel

I’m a big fan of The Divining Wand, so I’m thrilled to be guest posting today to talk about my debut novel, The Opposite of Me. It’s the story of twin sisters who are complete opposites – or so they think. When people learn the premise, the first thing they ask me is whether I’m a twin. Nope; in fact, I don’t even have a sister. But I’ve always been intrigued by the complex relationships my friends have with their sisters, so I tried to make the relationship of my main characters, Lindsey and Alex, as juicy and competitive and loving and tangled as possible.

I’ve heard about twins who are so close that they create their own language, and can feel each other’s pain from miles away – but I wondered what would happen to twins who were completely different. What if two sisters had nothing in common, but were constantly being compared? How would that shape their relationship?

I also think it’s very common in families for children to get certain labels, either spoken or unspoken – like the “pretty sister,” the “smart one,” the “drama queen,” or the “peacemaker.” I’ve always been curious about how those labels are formed – are they really a true reflection of who we are inside? It’s interesting to me that we can go out into the world and re-invent oursevles as adults, yet when we go home to visit our families, they still see us through the lens our childhood roles. And sometimes, despite our best efforts, we get dragged kicking and screaming back into those roles!
So I took both of those notions and spun them around in my mind for a while before they turned into the premise of my novel. The intersection of those themes – sisterhood and identity – is the heart of my novel. And the funny thing is, in writing it, I developed a new identity of my own: novelist.

When I started my book, I was a stay-at-home Mom, spending my days cutting the crusts off sandwiches and chaperoning school field trips. But I’ve always dreamed of writing a novel, so I began bringing my laptop with me whenever I went. I even wrote some of The Opposite of Me at Chuck E. Cheese (I used to work in loud newsrooms so I find background noise oddly comforting). It was my own secret project – the little bit of “me”- that wasn’t consumed by taking care of my family.

Next Tuesday is my debut day, and I’m going to go into a bookstore to find my novel on the shelf and just stare at it. In my purse, I’m going to carry the letter I wrote on Raggedy Ann stationery to a New York publisher long ago, asking when my book called “Miscellaneous Tales and Poems” would be published. It’s my favorite reminder that dreams really do come true.


Please visit next Monday for The Divining Wand’s presentation/review of The Opposite of Me and do Pre-order now!

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