Monday, July 6, 2009

Adventures in Debsland: Sarah Quigley

Today's interview is with the fabulous Sarah Quigley, author of TMI, a book I absolutely adored. You can read my review of TMI here.

So without further ado, here's how Sarah got here (she got here in a supa interesting way):

Did you always want to be a writer?

Pretty much. When I was in first grade, a group of fourth graders came to my class and read us stories that they had written and illustrated themselves. I thought that was cool, so I went home and wrote my first book. Actually, it turned into a series of books about two best friends named Rocker and Mary. My mom still has them somewhere.

What was the most difficult part about writing TMI?

Ay-yai-yai, there were so many difficult parts! I love creating characters and adding details to make them quirky and lovable. That part comes easily to me. But then when I have to give them things to do (that is, make a story), I get stuck a lot. Plotting is tough for me. I also struggled with juggling all the character’s voices in my head and making sure that all the voices were clear and distinct.

What is something that helped in you actually finish writing your story?

My daughter was the biggest help. I was pregnant with her when I worked on the final drafts of the book, and I really wanted to finish before she was born. My editor was understanding about this and worked hard to accommodate me. The last round of edits were completed about two weeks before her birthday.

Did you also want to write for young adults, or did you just get lucky it turned out that way? ;)

I definitely got lucky although one of my best friends is a children’s librarian, and she kept sending me young adult novels with little notes attached saying, “You could write something like this.” I think she knew I was destined to become a YA author before I knew it myself.

You have a smart friend there. Can you describe your road to getting agent and publication?

I don’t have an agent! Here’s why: a few years ago, an editor at Dutton Children’s Books came across my blog. She emailed me to say that she thought my writing style would be perfect in a YA novel and asked me if I had any ideas for stories. After I peeled myself off the floor from the shock of it all, I gave her a call. She thought it would be cool to have a book about a blogger. I spent a few months working up a proposal and plot outline for TMI. She gave me feedback, and I reworked the story a few times. Finally, about six months after she contacted me, she showed the proposal to the publisher. I signed a contract soon after to write the rest of the book.

That's a very awesome pub story. What was your reaction when you first heard you got an agent/publisher?

Ecstatic! I couldn’t believe my stroke of luck. Even now that the book is out, I am still reeling from the way all of this happened. I’m a published author who has never received a rejection letter. It’s crazy cool.

I bet many other authors wishe they never received a rejection letter. You are SUPA SPECIAL. How has the blogging community and fellow authors helped you in your journey?

Oh, people have been fabulous. Lots of teen bloggers have been interested in reviewing TMI and helping me promote it. I’ve been really touched by their enthusiasm and efforts. One of them ( told me about a Livejournal community for new YA authors called the 2009 Debutantes. Being part of the Debs has been such a blessing. They’ve give me so much support and good information. I’ve even had a chance to meet other authors. In fact, I’m doing a signing with Cheryl Herbsman and C. Lee McKenzie in San Francisco on May 14 (see for details).


And because I asked, here's what Sarah's next book is a little about:

I keep changing my mind about the plot of the new book, but the premise is loosely based on my experiences waitressing at a schwanky resort in northern Wisconsin for two summers when I was in college. I lived and worked with twenty other girls. There was a lot of drama.


That sounds like quite an experience, Sarah. o.o I can't wait to read the book! :D

Thanks so much for answering the questions, Sarah! You (and your book) are wonderful.

Here's what TMI is about, in case you didn't know:

Friends call Becca the Overshare Queen, but her tendency for TMI never seemed like a problem to her until she blabs about her sweet band-geek boyfriend’s sloppy kisses—and gets dumped! Realizing it may be better to resist the temptation to overshare face-to-face, Becca decides to blog anonymously about everything instead. On her blog, Too Much Information, Becca unleashes her alter ego, Bella. Bella tells it like it is . . . though perhaps with a bit more drama. After all, no one’s going to read it, right???

Links: Sarah's website/blog



  1. Go Sarah! I loooooved that fact that it was set in Minnesota because I live there. There were some inside-joke-ish things if you did live in MN. I thought that made the book even better then it already was.

    I can't wait for your next book!

  2. Thanks for the interview - it was very interesting.

  3. I really want to read that book! It looks so funny :)


  4. Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!