And we’re going to launch this book complete with her family and friends. If family reunions…or long interviews are not your cup of tea…but winning A FREE BOOK is, scroll down to the bottom and make a comment!
Question: So, did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
Judy Aronson (Mom): Are you kidding me? I had to pay Sarah a penny a page to read. She was a terrible student. She hated reading. Every time I turned around, that child was sitting in front of the TV.
Sarah: That’s not entirely true. I did like some books. Like Harriet the Spy. And Blubber. And Oliver Twist. The scene where Bill Sykes chases Nancy still scares me a lot. And of course, I liked Shakespeare.
Rebecca and Elliot (Sarah’s kids): Drama queen.
Rich Aronson (Dad): (sighing for effect) For a while, she was a physical therapist. Now that was a practical job. With a regular paycheck.
Sarah (mourning the regular pay check, too): My writing life began in 2000, when I decided to leave physical therapy (a long story). I needed to do something else, but I didn’t know what. I looked through Dartmouth College’s employment page. There were plenty of offices that needed help. I hesitated. Maybe I could run for school board. I loved politics.
Rich Aronson: She was never the most practical child.
Miriam and Anne Aronson (sisters): She was the bad sister!
Sarah: After very little thought, I decided to write. I was a good mom. I had a sense of humor. Really, what else did you need? ( insert laugh track)
Question: What inspired you to write Beyond Lucky? What’s the story behind the story?
Judy Aronson: me.
Rich Aronson: No! It was me.
Michael (Sarah’s husband): Not me. (Darling, I hope I’m not in that book!) She likes sports.
Sarah: The truth is, this book came in waves. At first, I wanted to write a story about a town of quirky people. I wanted to write like John Irving.
Tanya and Tami, dear friends: You are so not John Irving. But honestly, that version wasn’t so bad. You just needed to learn a little more.
Sarah: It was the best I could do at the time. Then I wanted to write about a soccer team. I LOVE sports. I love watching sports. I like thinking about the concept of team. My son, Elliot, used to play rec soccer. He was the team’s daisy picker.
Elliot: please don’t embarrass me. It just wasn’t my sport.
Sarah: So after a bunch of rejections and the realization that there was something I wasn’t quite getting about writing, I put that novel away. I went to Vermont College and earned an MFA. I learned about craft. And I read a lot. In my third semester, I realized that the book needed to be more about family–a Jewish family. A good one. With problems. (Not like ours, Mom!!) I submitted that version (complete with three crazy aunts) to my advisor, Margaret Bechard.
Margaret: That would be in your fifth packet. The last packet. The whole novel. I will never forget it. How many pages did you send me that semester?
Sarah: (guilty, ignoring honored advisor) Again, I put it away. Until 2008. This time, I had tools. And I had some new ideas. And a plot!! My lucky break? Before I revised, I took the BRAVE step to delete what I had. I changed the POV. I turned Parker, one of the players, into a girl. That definitely amped up the tension. Now I had a story. Still, something was missing.
Elliot and Rebecca: It was the presidents!
Sarah: The presidents definitely helped me find Ari’s voice. And a theme—heroism. That led to Sam, Ari’s older brother. (At one point, he was almost a dead sister!)
Elliot: Calvin Coolidge said, “Heroism is not only in the man, but in the occasion.”
Rebecca: My mom will some day write a book full of dead sisters. Mom, why don’t you insert the trailer???
Question: Are you normally a lucky person?
Sarah: Not really. The truth is, I’ve never won anything except a negative Bingo game—I won because I was the last person whose number was called. And I have always been a little bit superstitious. So when things started to go my way, I knew this book needed my attention. Of course, when it comes to luck, I also agree with Thomas Jefferson.
Elliot: He was one of the smartest presidents ever. He said, “I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”
Sarah: It’s true. I did work hard, but that’s because I had a lot of support from my family and friends. I got great feedback from my agent, Sarah Davies. And I was really lucky to work with my amazing editor, Liz Waniewski.
Star Wars lettering and soccer? Can anything be better?
(Passing stranger): I would buy this book!
Question: Anything else to add? Any advice to share?
Rebecca and Elliot: You want to know if she has advice? She ALWAYS has advice.
Sarah (smiling): If you are reluctant about reading: don’t give up! There are tons of great books out there.
If you are a writer, you can’t give up either. My advice: try everything. Be fearless. Don’t worry if it doesn’t work—it’s only a draft! You can change it.
Last, never forget: every time something good happens, celebrate!
Judy Aronson: Tell them about the reviews! So we can go celebrate!
PW says: Aronson skillfully dodges the predictability of sports-themed books by creating multilayered characters and an intriguing whodunit involving a valuable missing rookie card. . . . (Her) graceful storytelling will keep even nonsoccer buffs turning pages.
And Jewish Book World gave Beyond Lucky a STARRED REVIEW!
If You want to know more about Sarah or Beyond Lucky, check her website, www.saraharonson.com. Or click LIKE on her new and growing Facebook page. There you can find more reviews and free downloadable activity guides! More important, if you want to win a free book, leave a comment. You could be lucky! We’ll announce a winner on July 2!