To finish off our series of interviews with #LoveOzYA authors attending Clunes Booktown Festival this year, we chatted to the lovely Sarah Epstein! Sarah will be appearing on the New Voices and Smart New Writing panel, Writing for the Millennial Mind panel, and the Building the Fictional World for Gripping Crime panel. We’re such a massive fan of Sarah, so it will be wonderful to see her there!
Check out our Q&A!
We’re so excited you’re appearing at Clunes Booktown Festival this year! If the weekend of the festival happened to be the zombie apocalypse, would you choose to team up with some other authors to try and survive (and if so, who would they be?), or would you try and survive on your own?
I would definitely team up with other authors because they’re crafty! They can imagine how each different scenario plays out in any given situation. In particular, I’d seek out thriller and horror writers because the combined knowledge of their gruesome internet search histories would come in handy. And they’d have the stomach to do what needs to be done.
We’re looking forward to seeing you on the ‘New Voices and Smart New Writing’ panel! What’s your best piece of advice for writers who are told they need to find their ‘voice’, and how do they go about doing that?
I’m not sure anyone can be taught how to write ‘voice’ – it’s something that comes instinctively through writing and reading a lot, and even how a writer tells a story in person. You can’t force it, but you can hone it through revision and reading your work aloud. You have to sit down and write the words how you hear them in your head, knowing that you can keep refining them once they’re on the page. Putting your work aside and going back to it with fresh eyes after a few weeks or months will help you identify which parts sound clunky and which parts read smoothly. This constant revision helps define your ‘voice’.
After the success of Small Spaces, everyone is eagerly awaiting your next novel. What draws you to writing creepy, spine-tingling stories, and do you often freak yourself out when you’re writing them?
I’m drawn to writing spine-tingling stories because I see myself as an entertainer. I think about the reader constantly while I’m writing, creating twists and turns to keep them guessing because I want them to be gripped and turning those pages. I’ve always loved darker books, TV shows and movies for this reason – I love a story that sucks me in and doesn’t let go. I do get a bit of a shiver when writing creepy scenes, especially at night. I have to double-check the door locks before I go to bed, and sometimes I peek through my blinds and watch the street for a while to make sure nothing’s lurking outside.
Check out the Clunes Booktown Festival program here!