Monday, November 5, 2012

Sarah Crossan Author Interview

Photo Content from Sarah Crossan

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.
Inhale. Exhale.
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?

Praise for BREATHE

“An amazing story! Sit down. Inhale. Now, while you still can.” Kathleen Duey, author of National Book Award finalist Skin Hunger

“This joins the ranks of Roth’s Divergent and Wells’ Partials as a provocative, character-driven, and action-packed dystopian series opener to watch out for.” Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Short cliff-hanger chapters alternate between the three teens’ points of view and build to an ending that will leave fans breathless for the next one.” ALA Booklist

“Sci-fi fans with an environmental bent will find this book particularly engaging.” Horn Book Magazine

Sarah Crossan’s Breathe is a remarkable story about a futuristic world where oxygen is scarce. Set in a plant-deprived world, the people are limited with choices on where to live except for the Pod which supplies clean and breathable oxygen. The rich is able to purchase extra oxygen for pleasure while everyday people’s oxygen is heavily controlled. When Bea and her best friend Quinn come to an opportunity to go camping outside of the Pod, they jump at the chance. This could also be the chance Bea has been waiting for to get Quinn to finally notice her. Everything seems to be going as planned until a Resistance member causes them to go off course into treacherous and unknown grounds.

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.

You can purchase Breathe at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you SARAH CROSSAN for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Breathe by Sarah Crossan.


  1. Reading the summary & review has definitely got me fascinated with the concept of a future that may or can happen. I am absolutely intrigued and afraid that sci-fi is becoming sci-fact. It can happen... and with the advancement of technology, it either has happened or is in the works of happening. Thank you Sarah and Jean for this awesome giveaway!

  2. oh my god!!!
    She dreamed THAT???
    I'd be crying still if I ever were to have a nightmare like that!!!

    Thanks for the giveaway.

  3. I want this :) thanks for the giveaway

  4. OMG!! Thank you soo much for this giveaway :) I want this book so bad!
    Little Book Star

  5. Great interview!! Thanks to Jean & Sarah for her generosity. I hope be the lucky one :P *fingers cross*

  6. Thanks Sarah for the awesome donation I am so excited to read your book!

  7. Thank you Sarah for this amazing donation!

  8. Thanks so much for the giveaway!! I want to read this one sooo bad :]

  9. Thanks so much for the donation and giveaway!

  10. What a great giveaway!

    Julie K