Book Nerd Interview
Sarah Crossan is Irish. She graduated with a degree in Philosophy and Literature before training as an English and Drama teacher at Cambridge University and worked to promote creative writing in schools before leaving teaching to write full time.
She completed her Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Warwick in 2003 and in 2010 received an Edward Albee Fellowship for writing.
She currently lives in NYC.
Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
Not really. I’ve always loved writing, partly because I’m not altogether fluent when I speak! But I went to a school where teachers always gave us amazing books, and from a young age I believed in the power of language to transform.
What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
My first published novel was a children’s novel written in verse, which came out in the UK earlier this year. (It’s out in the US in 2013.)
What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
I was never the shining star at school, or someone anyone noticed particularly, but I ended up getting good grades and going to a great university. I learned to believe in myself and not rely on outside praise to motivate me. (That isn’t to say I didn’t have wonderful teachers—I did—they just didn’t necessarily coo over me!)
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
The novelist Maureen Freely, who is a novelist and translator, simply told me to keep writing because she thought I would get an agent and book deal if I did. It took ten years, but I managed it!
For those who are unfamiliar with your novel; Breathe, how would you introduce it?
Breathe is a post-apocalyptic novel set at a time when oxygen levels on earth have plummeted due to human folly. It’s a scary place and a place, dare I say it, that’s possible.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in Alina?
Alina doesn’t really know how to be a friend.
For those who are unfamiliar with Quinn, how would you introduce him?
He’s sort of clueless and self-involved, but learns to grow when he is forced into difficult situations. He has the heart of a puppy underneath it all, too!
You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
It’s rare to meet a person you like immediately. It’s the same with characters from books: give them a chance to grow on you, even with their flaws.
If you could introduce Bea to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Cool question! Bea could do with a few females friends. Perhaps Elizabeth Darcy from Pride and Prejudice would be up her street. Sansfrilly collars, of course!
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
Oh, come on, like I’d tell!
What's the worst summer job you've ever had?
I’ve had a range of difficult jobs. I’ve worked in supermarkets, movie theatres, a shoe shop. I was a cleaner for a whole summer, and part of that involved scrapping metal from a floor for a whole three weeks… in a basement—that was pretty bad. But the worst was when I interned for a PR company and they asked me to attend a conference dressed as a giant hedgehog. I sweated all day long and was rewarded with a bottle of champagne—pah!
Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?
My husband; he’s a fantastic listener. My mother is another person I always go to.
When was the last time you told someone you loved them?
A few minutes ago. I tell my family I love them whenever I see them.
Do you remember your favorite teacher?
Of course! She encouraged me to read and unlike all the others, imagined I could go on to do something interesting. We are back in touch now, which is nice.
When was the last time you cried?
Yesterday. I was overwhelmed. I won’t say why though. Agh!
Most horrifying dream you have ever had?
I dreamt my niece was talking to me in this weird scratchy voice and saying, “I have the devil inside me!” I will never forget it.
Where can readers stalk you?
Oh, I love a good stalking!
My website www.sarahcrossan.com
Breathe . . .
The world is dead.
The survivors live under the protection of Breathe, the corporation that found a way to manufacture oxygen-rich air.
has been stealing for a long time. She's a little jittery, but not terrified. All she knows is that she's never been caught before. If she's careful, it'll be easy. If she's careful.
should be worried about Alina and a bit afraid for himself, too, but even though this is dangerous, it's also the most interesting thing to happen to him in ages. It isn't every day that the girl of your dreams asks you to rescue her.
wants to tell him that none of this is fair; they'd planned a trip together, the two of them, and she'd hoped he'd discover her out here, not another girl.
And as they walk into the Outlands with two days' worth of oxygen in their tanks, everything they believe will be shattered. Will they be able to make it back? Will they want to?
The story line is absolutely gripping. Although it may be a little hard to believe, author Sarah’s concept of an oxygen-deprived Earth is terrifyingly tangible. It makes the reader to think about the one simple thing that we do every day and how we take it for granted. Once that is taken away, the world that we know is permanently changed. The experiences that Bea, Quin, and Alina go through are amazingly described through Sarah’s skillful writing style. With each chapter’s pass, the plot progresses quite well and solely aims at impressing. The character development is done with precise care and thought and fit just well with a dystopian book. Just like the characters are craving to breathe, Breathe will have readers wanting more of this highly captivating story.