Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Author Interview and Giveaway: Sarah Glenn Marsh

I virtually sat down with author Sarah Glenn Marsh to talk about writing, becoming a published author and her much-anticipated debut YA, Fear the Drowning Deep (Sky Pony, October 11th, 2016). 

I'm also running a giveaway. One lucky winner will receive an ARC (advanced readers copy) of Fear the Drowning Deep! Enter at the bottom of the post below through Rafflecopter. You can enter between 9/22 at 12am through 9/29 at 12am. Get those entries in!  

Sixteen-year-old Bridey Corkill longs to leave her small island and see the world; the farther from the sea, the better. 

When Bridey was young, she witnessed something lure her granddad off a cliff and into a watery grave with a smile on his face. Now, in 1913, those haunting memories are dredged to the surface when a young woman is found drowned on the beach. Bridey suspects that whatever compelled her Granddad to leap has made its return to the Isle of Man.

Soon, people in Bridey’s idyllic village begin vanishing, and she finds an injured boy on the shore—an outsider who can’t remember who he is or where he’s from. Bridey’s family takes him in so he can rest and heal. In exchange for saving his life, he teaches Bridey how to master her fear of the water—stealing her heart in the process.
But something sinister is lurking in the deep, and Bridey must gather her courage to figure out who—or what—is plaguing her village, and find a way to stop it before she loses everyone she loves.
"Haunting—gripping—beautiful. So powerful!" —Tamora Pierce, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Beka Cooper trilogy

"[A]tmospheric historical fantasy . . . evocative setting, memorable characters, and use of obscure folkloric elements all contribute to the novel’s strong sense of place." —Publishers Weekly

"[T]his watery take on “Beauty and the Beast” will be catnip to paranormal-romance readers." —Kirkus Reviews
So, this is your debut YA. What was the process like for you from query to book? What was your favorite part of the process?  It must be exciting that your release date is quickly approaching!
Fear the Drowning Deep had an interesting start, because it wasn’t a book I queried with; I was actually writing it when I was offered rep for another YA project, but it was clear even back then that this book was meant to be my debut!

My favorite part of the process was probably getting the call about the offer of publication; it felt so absolutely life-changing, and I can still remember my energy, excitement, and ultimate exhaustion after sharing the news with my husband, family, and closest friends!

How do you come up with ideas for the books you write?
I come up with ideas in a couple ways; sometimes, like with Fear, I’ll read a book about something and then want to put my own spin on it (prior to writing Fear, I’d been reading a lot of stories with ocean settings, and I wanted to experiment with that atmosphere and lore for myself!). Other times, I’ll take some bit of mythology (for instance, the myth of Orpheus) and brainstorm on how I can use it in a way that’s different from how other authors have interpreted it for their work.

Manx folklore is new to a lot of people. How did you come across it and what about it inspired you to write this book? 
When choosing the setting for Fear, I had only a vague idea for a story in mind ("Girl is afraid of the ocean. She has to save her town from something terrible in the water. Wouldn't it be agony to fear the ocean and be stuck on an island your whole life?"). As I looked up various islands, I came across a map of the Isle of Man, which I'd never heard of before. The first time I saw it in pictures, I thought, "This is a place where magic could happen." What stood out to me is that it's beautiful and rugged enough to be something out of a fantasy land, and the culture there is steeped in centuries of lore. It’s the sort of wild, untamed place where anything seems possible, and the more I read about it, the more I envisioned my story unfolding there on the rocky cliffs, among sea birds and starfish. The Manx culture, landscape, and mythology really helped shape the story in a magical way!

Did you have a playlist or any songs that you liked to listen to while you wrote? What would Bridey’s theme song be?
I do! I have a playlist for Fear the Drowning Deep that I loved to listen to before writing, to set the mood. Here’s a sampling from it:

*You Brought Me Up by Méav
*When It Comes to Us by Frances (ft. Ritual)
*Salt Skin by Ellie Goulding
*Full Fathom Five by Méav
*Runaway by Aurora
*Bow Down by Chvrches

Bridey’s personal theme song would be Wild Child, by Cardiknox!

You can listen to the above mentioned songs and other music that inspired Fear the Drowning Deep with this handy playlist on YouTube:

How do you come up with your characters? I’ve heard some writers will dream about their characters or hear them in their head begging them to write their story! 
 I’ve never dreamt about my characters, but they’re definitely the first element I need to establish when I’m starting a new book! They usually come to me when I’m jotting down the bare bones of a story idea, and I’ll hear them in my head, then develop them before moving on to any other parts of the plot or world building!

What was your favorite scene to write and why? 
I loved writing the scene where Bridey finds Fynn on the beach, half-dead! I loved writing it because it was so full of tension—she’s wondering at first if he’s dead, and she’s hesitant to even approach—and because there’s this innocence about the way she approaches a naked boy that’s almost comical and also endearing. And writing their interaction when he wakes up had me giggling the whole way through!

Was there ever a point where you were stuck wondering where to take the story next? What did you do to break the writer’s block?
My trick for writer’s block is one I’d heard a few times before, but was skeptical of until I tried it for myself: take a shower! Whenever I was (or am) stuck in a draft, taking a break for a hot shower always helps me brainstorm; there’s something about relaxing your mind that lets the best ideas float to the surface. In fact, I keep a waterproof notepad in the shower because it’s where the majority of my ideas hit me!

Are there any upcoming book events you’re excited for?
I’m especially excited for an event I’m doing with fellow authors Martina Boone, Jodi Meadows, Lisa Maxwell, and Victoria Scott at One More Page Books in Arlington, VA on October 25th. So many authors in one adorable bookstore should make for an awesome party! We’ll be celebrating the book birthday for Illusion, the conclusion to Martina’s Southern Gothic YA trilogy!

And of course, I’m really excited to have the launch party for Fear the Drowning Deep at Books of Wonder in NYC on October 14th!

From an agent’s side of things, I can say that people who work in children’s publishing are really nice and just plain awesome. How has it been connecting with other authors? 
Connecting with other authors has been nothing short of amazing. I’m constantly impressed by everyone’s generosity—from donating critiques for various auctions to just going out of their way to help fellow authors. I’ve made so many wonderful friends, both online and in person, as a result of joining the YA community, and I’m grateful for them all!

What’s your favorite (s) recent YA that has come out or is coming out? Did you have a favorite book growing up?
Asking about books is dangerous—I could go on for hours! But, I’ll try to keep this brief.

As for favorite YAs coming out soon, there’s one I blurbed that I’m really excited about! It’s fellow Sky Pony author Jill MacKenzie’s Spin the Sky, a heart-wrenching contemporary YA about family and hardships and a dance competition. Another YA I loved earlier this year was Shannon Parker’s The Girl Who Fell. I sat down on my couch with it, thinking I’d try a few chapters, and wound up reading the whole dark and twisty story in one sitting!

My favorite book series growing up was Harry Potter, since I grew up alongside Harry! In my later teens, my favorite series became The Lord of the Rings.

My newest favorite book doesn’t fall into the YA category, but it’s worth a mention all the same: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. It’s a sci-fi that I keep recommending it to everyone because the characters are so well-done, and it’s beautifully diverse!

So you write picture books too. How is the process different between the two?
The interesting thing about picture books is how you have to convey so much with very few words; in YA, you of course have far more space to get your ideas across. In picture books, too, you have to be mindful that illustrations should tell part of the story, while in YA, you’re trying to paint a picture for your readers without any visuals at all!

Follow Sarah on Twitter @SG_Marsh and visit her website:

You can pre-order Fear the Drowning Deep now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  • Please enter your email address in the Rafflecopter form and not the comments.


  1. Thanks for this fabulous interview, Sarah and Christa! I have been looking forward to reading FTDD for months--not much longer to go!

  2. I love the historical aspects of this. Great concept. Very excited to read. Congrats!

  3. The synopsis makes me want to read this book. I didn't see a spot to enter my email address in the form, so just in case (fingers and toes crossed!): dhammelef(at)yahoo(dot)com

  4. I live on a remote island off Canada's west coast and find Fear the Drowning Deep compelling. Wishing you both continued success.

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