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Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have debut author Sara Faring here to share about her YA psychological thriller THE TENTH GIRL. It sounds like a page-turner that is also creepy. That’s my kind of book!

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads

Simmering in Patagonian myth, The Tenth Girl is a gothic psychological thriller with a haunting twist.

At the very southern tip of South America looms an isolated finishing school. Legend has it that the land will curse those who settle there. But for Mavi—a bold Buenos Aires native fleeing the military regime that took her mother—it offers an escape to a new life as a young teacher to Argentina’s elite girls.

Mavi tries to embrace the strangeness of the imposing house—despite warnings not to roam at night, threats from an enigmatic young man, and rumors of mysterious Others. But one of Mavi’s ten students is missing, and when students and teachers alike begin to behave as if possessed, the forces haunting this unholy cliff will no longer be ignored.

One of these spirits holds a secret that could unravel Mavi's existence. In order to survive she must solve a cosmic mystery—and then fight for her life.

Hi Sara! Thanks so much for joining us!

1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.
It all started for me when I was in my single-digits: after devouring my dozenth mystery book, I sat down to write my own. Sadly, it was plotless (and essentially a list of inventions). I abandoned the manuscript after “inventing” a 3D printer that could print out pizza and feeling too hungry to continue.

2. Where did you get the idea for THE TENTH GIRL?
Growing up, my grandmother told me the most magical (and, frankly, ghastliest) stories from her home country of Argentina. I knew I wanted to weave them into my own spooky tales one day. I only wish I could have fit in the story about the poisoned tomatoes, but that one will have to wait for my next book.*

*(Haunted pizza?)

3. That's awesome that you got the idea from your grandmother's stories to you. Your story is a psychological thriller and sounds like a page-turner. How did you plot it out? What advice do you have to other writers who want to write a psychological thriller?

Experimentation and rumination! Let your mind run wild with the terrifying scenarios that exist for your protagonist and capture the MOST (insert adjective—I pick “heinous”) of them on the page.

4. Share a challenge you had in writing THE TENTH GIRL. How did you overcome it?

On various occasions, I woke up in the middle of the night and decided I had no option but to completely rewrite THE TENTH GIRL in order to shift the tone (be it because I am a perfectionist or because I was trying to torture myself). I read the writing book Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and that helped me through it. To quote the brilliant Anne: "Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he'd had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said, 'Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'" [SF exhales serenely]
5. Your agent is Sarah Bedingfield. How did she become your agent and what was your road to publication like?

While researching agents, I came upon my agent’s list of favorite books and thought I must be dreaming: the gloomy, the moody, the atmospheric, the sublime! I loved her list of favorite books immediately, and I am so fortunate her list loved THE TENTH GIRL back. My advice: don’t throw queries out like spaghetti at a wall, even if you’re awfully tired and canned spaghetti sounds just fine.
With google’s help, find the agents whose taste aligns with yours, and carefully craft your queries accordingly. Don’t give up—please don’t—and know that eventually you will find an ally. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve almost given up on this journey (truly, I can’t, because I’m still a sensitive and soft baby author who believes it could all disappear if I turn around too fast).

6. That's great advice about querying. One of your former jobs was at Random House. Did that experience help you at all in writing or marketing your book? How?

I gained access to a wide range of manuscripts while working there, and at the urging of my very well-read colleagues, I began to read outside of my literary comfort zone. There is no better way to learn how to write well than to read widely. When I was a child, I would read everything and anything. As I got older, I became pickier because I “didn’t want to waste time” on a book that didn’t appear to be up my alley. I’m so glad I broke that bad habit, because I’ve gained so much from reading across genres and tastes. That’s partly why I adore genre-bending books that feel so surprising and fresh.

7. I saw that you have agents for film/TV rights? Are you actively pursuing this and at what stage are you at?

I’m afraid I’ll have to lean on an old Dad joke here: I’d love to tell you all about it, but I’d have to
kill you, etc. (did I bungle that?). I will say this: even though I grew up near Hollywood, it was a surprise to learn you can’t just lob your book into the backyard of Tilda Swinton’s holiday home, cross your fingers, and call it a day. Happily, my agents, Michelle Kroes and Michelle Weiner, are superb at what they do.

8. How are you planning to market your book? Why did you choose this marketing plan?
My team at Imprint (one of the wittiest imprints at Macmillan, but don’t tell anyone I said that) is full of marketing geniuses. It has been such a privilege to defer to them in every way. I will suggest, to debut authors looking for advice, that you take some time to seek out and get to know other debut authors (there are Facebook groups, Twitter groups, Instagram groups, in-person (!) groups), because it is a special pleasure to read and excitedly shout about each other’s debut work.

9. What are you working on now?

At the moment, I am polishing a secret project for my editor that we hope to announce very soon. It’s set on a mysterious volcanic island, and it follows two sisters who are drawn into an intricate web of the darkest lies. I’m practically levitating with excitement over it.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Sara. You can find Sara at www.sarafaring.com or www.instagram.com/sarafaring or www.twitter.com/sarafaring

Sara has generously offered an ARC of THE TENTH GIRL for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through September 21st. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter either contest.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. This giveaway is international. 

Here's what's coming up:

Monday, September 16th I have an agent spotlight interview and query critique giveaway with Marlo Berliner

Monday, September 23rd I have a guest post by Martin Cavannagh from Reedsy

Monday, October 2nd I have a guest post by debut author Rosaria Munda and her agent Danielle Burby with an ARC giveaway of  Rosaria's YA fantasy FIREBORNE and a query critique by Danielle and my IWSG post

Monday, October 7th I have an interview with debut author Sharon Mayhew and a giveaway of her MG historical KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON

Monday, October 14th I have a guest post debut author Jennifer Camiccia and her agent Stacey Glick and giveaway of Jennifer's MG THE MEMORY KEEPER and a query critique by Stacey

Hope to see you on Monday, September 16th!


nashvillecats2 said...

A wonderful interview Natalie. Sara must have a great imagination to write what appears to be a great book.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Bird by bird - I'm going to remember that!
Congratulations, Sara.

lostinimaginaryworlds.blogspot.com said...

A marvellous opportunity working for Random a House, and love the tale about the pizza! Good luck with your next endeavour 🌹

Suzanne Warr said...

Such a wonderful interview, and I'm going to apply the bird by bird approach to my current writing project. Thank you Natalie and Sara!

I have so little YA reading time I'll let someone else win a copy, even though The Tenth Girl sounds delightful!

Nick Wilford said...

Great interview and advice. "Heinous scenarios" - yep, we like to put our characters through them but it's only to see what they're made of. Congrats, Sara.

Jemi Fraser said...

Take it bird by bird - great advice!

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Congratulations to Sara! She sounds like lots of fun, and her story sounds amazing! I'll make sure to check back to see if we find those poisoned tomatoes.

Kimberly Gabriel said...

Sara!! Great interview, and I just love Sara's premise (and cover!!)

Angie Quantrell said...

Ooooh! Sounds so very spooky and something that would keep me awake at night! Congratulations!

Chelly Writes said...

Sounds fabulous. I love the premise.

Vanessa said...

I'm so excited for this book. Everything about it sounds really cool!

Danielle H. said...

Thank you for the interview! This book is already on my TBR. I shared on tumblr: https://yesreaderwriterpoetmusician.tumblr.com/post/187625897847/sara-faring-interview-and-the-tenth-girl-giveaway

Kristin Lenz said...

Congrats and thanks for the ARC giveaway, Sara! And thanks for the Anne Lamott reminder - it's been many years since I read Bird by Bird.

DMS said...

What a wonderful cover! It made me want to pick up the book right away. And the description sounds great too! Very intriguing. I think it's awesome that the idea for the book was sparked by Sara's grandmother's stories. :) Thanks for the chance to win too. :) Best of luck, Sara!

tracikenworth said...

Exciting! I wish her luck!

Rosi said...

This one sounds so spooky! Thanks for the interview. Always interesting.

Mattea Orr said...

This sounds perfect for fall as Halloween approacheth, and I'd love to win a copy. Wonderful interview and can't wait to read it.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Noe I've got to read this book. Adding it to my list. Great interview ladies. Enjoyed it.

Angela Brown said...

This was a wonderful interview. Thank you, Sara, for sharing your advice. I especially like your mention about addressing a daunting task bird by bird...like the best way to deal with the adage of "eating an elephant"... it's best done one bite at a time.

Wishing you the best with your book!

Tonja Drecker said...

This one sounds so good! I'm adding it to my TBR list.
Good luck with it!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Bird by Bird was an awesome book.

I agree, Natalie, sounds like a winner of a story!

Emily said...

This sounds like a wonderful story. I am adding it to my TBR list along with Bird by Bird. I am always looking for new writing craft material, and this was a great tidbit for me to look into.

Debra Branigan said...

Great interview which I enjoyed reading! The book sounds like a perfect read for me. Best wishes on the new release and thanks for the chance. I also shared on twitter (https://twitter.com/BraniganDebra/status/1172237766123556865?s=20). dbranigan27 (at) gmail (dot) com.

Morgan said...

Just added to my TBR shelf on Goodreads. Sounds intriguing!

email: pet16008@byui.edu

MorganeG. said...

I'm so excited to read this!

Patsy said...

How nice to weave your grandmother's stories into your own. Now your books are a part of the family history, past, present and no doubt a long way into the future.

Natasha said...

The Tenth Girl sounds like an amazing read!!
Thanks for the chance to win!
natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

Megan said...

Thank you so much for the amazing giveaway Sara! I'm so excited to read your book!
GFC: Megan S.
I tweeted here: https://twitter.com/WordsThatStay1/status/1172856826066538497
Email: megan(dot)clarsach(at)gmail(dot)com

Cathrina Constantine said...

Wonderful Interview. Sara's book sounds amazing!