Sunday, June 28, 2020

Interview with novelist and screenwriter Sarah Stonich

Today’s special author guest is writer Sarah Stonich. She’s chatting with me about her new women’s fiction comedy, Fishing!

Sarah Stonich is a novelist and screenwriter. Her first book, These Granite Islands was a Barnes and Noble Great New Writers pick and was translated into eleven languages. Her second, The Ice Chorus, was also widely translated and won several honors. Her memoir Shelter: Off The Grid In The Mostly Magnetic North won a Northeast Minnesota Book Award. Sarah is best known for her Northern Trilogy, beginning with Vacationland, recently chosen by USA Today as the definitive Minnesota book for their ‘50 States: 50 Books’ feature. Second in the trilogy, Laurentian Divide, won the 2019 Minnesota Book Award and the NEMBA winner as well as a National Reading Group Month selection by National Women’s Book Association. Wisconsin Public Radios longest running program, Chapter A Day chose Laurentian Divide to be read on air by Jim Fleming. Along with Vacationland, it has been chosen as a community read in three dozen midwestern and Canadian cities.

FISHING! is the first book in her Fishing With RayAnne trilogy, to be followed in March of 2021 by Reeling. She is currently adapting these novels to a television series. Sarah has been awarded fellowships at a dozen residency programs here and abroad, including the Tyrone Guthrie Center in Ireland; Gibraltor Center, Toronto; Hawthornden, Scotland; Art Omi, New York, and Chicago’s Ragdale Foundation, Sarah lives on the Mississippi River in a renovated flour mill with her musician husband recently acquired rescue cat, Dr. Fauci. Of her literary talents Colum McCann says, “One of the joys of reading is coming across books in which language is perfectly wedded to story.” Richard Russo calls Laurentian Divide: ‘Hilarious, smart, moving and kind, ‘Laurentian Divide’ is good for the soul – at least is was good for mine.’

Welcome, Sarah. Please tell us about your current release.
Having fled the testosterone-soaked world of pro-sport fishing, thirty-something RayAnne Dahl takes a consulting job with the first all-women fishing-talk show on public television (one viewer calls it ‘Oprah in a boat’) After the original host bails, RayAnne lands at the helm until a ‘real’ host can be found. Camera shy and out of her depth - RayAnne has her doubts, and enough on her plate with her demanding family just off-stage. Just when things look manageable and she understands the shows potential for good - that it might uplift women, her own life nearly capsizes.

What inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to write a book that was entertaining but ultimately meaningful. I was inspired by the influences of older generations of women and the ongoing battle for equality, unbelievably still a battle in 2020. I wanted to write an entertaining story that would speak to young professional women while including fantastic older role models.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Reeling. It’s the second in the trilogy, in which the show is renewed for a second season and goes on the road to New Zealand, providing adventures for RayAnne and Cassi that open their eyes in the way only travel and immersion in another culture can.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
It was one thing to hold my first book, These Granite Islands in my hand, and see it on a store shelf and a library shelf. That all felt a bit unreal. But when I got a heartfelt letter from a reader telling me how she’d related to a character and that the book actually helped her make sense of something she was going through, I was floored. And so grateful to be reminded why books matter. Tip to readers: writers LOVE to hear from you - it reminds us why we do this.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Nearly full time. It’s my primary job so I treat it like one by setting expectations, hours, page counts. I try to make deadlines; visit book clubs (which I love); do speaking engagements, etc. I used to have a few paying gigs (pre-covid) and my husband has good insurance, so for now I can still write (fingers crossed).

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
That I’m dyslexic - so naturally chose to become a writer! My methods and process are pretty messy and disjointed. I write all over the place, from the middle to the end to the beginning and back and in circles. It’s a bit like making hot dogs - not pretty!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An artist. Many of my characters are creative and good with their hands, and a few are even the sort of talented painters I imagined I’d one day be , so safe to say I’m living vicariously through them. My characters include painters, a milliner, a seamstress, a filmmaker.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I guess to remind them that online reviews and word-of-mouth is the most effective way to spread the word about books we love - readers have more power than they know - more than the publisher or booksellers. If you love a book, shout if from the rooftops (and anywhere online where you review and rate books!).


To learn more about Sarah and her writing, visit her other tour stops:

June 8th @ The Muffin
What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Visit WOW's blog The Muffin today and celebrate the launch of Sarah Stonich's book Fishing! by reading an interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book.

June 10th @ Madeline Sharples' Blog
Visit Madeline's blog today and you can read a guest post by Sarah Stonich about inviting authors to your book group.

June 12th @ Tongue Tied Magazine
Come by Tongue Tied Magazine today and you can read Sean's review of Sarah Stonich's book Fishing!.

June 13th @ Boots, Shoes & Fashion
Visit Linda's blog today and you can read her fascinating interview with author Sarah Stonich, author of the book Fishing!

June 15th @ Michelle Cornish's Blog
You can visit Michelle's blog and read a guest post by Sarah Stonich about how reader reviews support authors - and help authors write better books.

June 16th @ Bookapotamus
Visit Kate's blog and you can read her review of Sarah Stonich's book Fishing!.

June 17th @ The New England Book Critic
Visit Victoria's blog today and you can read her review of Sarah Stonich's book Fishing!

June 20th @ Coffee with Lacey
Visit Lacey's blog today and read her review of Sarah Stonich's book Fishing!.

June 22nd @ Beverley A. Baird's Blog
Visit Beverley's blog today and read her review of Sarah Stonich's book Fishing!.

June 24th @ Literary Quicksand
Visit Jolissa's blog today and read her review of Sarah Stonich's book Fishing!

June 25th @ The Frugalista Mom
Stop by Rozelyn's blog today and you can read her review of Sarah Stonich's book Fishing! You can also enter to win a copy of the book too!

June 26th @ Lady Unemployed
Visit Nicole's blog today and read author Sarah Stonich's guest post about feminists we adore.

(Today) June 28th @ Reviews and Interviews
Join Lisa as she interviews author Sarah Stonich about her book Fishing!.

June 29th @ Beverley A. Baird's Blog
Stop by Beverley's blog again today and you can read Sarah Stonich's guest post about what fictional heroines can teach us.

July 1st @ It's Alanna Jean
Visit Alanna Jean's blog today and you can read a guest post by author Sarah Stonich featuring 10 books every girl and woman should read.

July 3rd @ The World of My Imagination
Author Romalyn Tilghman will be reviewing Sarah Stonich's book Fishing! as a guest reviewer at Nicole's blog.

July 5th @ Jill Sheet's Blog
Visit Jill's blog today and you can read her Sarah Stonich's inspiring guest post about change starts on the page.

July 7th @ Michelle Cornish's Blog
Visit Michelle's blog and read her review of Sarah Stonich's book Fishing!

July 8th @ Chapters Through Life
Visit Danielle's blog today and you can read her review of Sarah Stonich's book Fishing!

July 9th @ Journalling Joy on Sahar's Blog
Visit Sahar's blog and read her review of Sarah Stonich's book Fishing!.

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