Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Operation Awesome #20Questions in #2020 of #NewBook Debut Author Sarah Allen

Operation Awesome #20Questions in #2020 of #NewBook Debut Author posted by @JLenniDorner of @OpAwesome6

What Stars Are Made Of by Sarah Allen

1- Assuming that your story isn't about hot gas, could you hint at what the stars of your book are made of?

Haha! Pumbaa was right after all, huh? STARS is about twelve-year-old Libby who was born with Turner syndrome. When she finds out her big sister is pregnant, she wants to do anything she can to make sure the baby is born safe, healthy, and perfect, so she makes a deal with the universe and the real-life 19th century scientist Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, who discovered what stars are made of. So I guess you could say the “stars” of this book are made of love, loyalty, and spunk!

2- Would you please, in 160 characters or less, give a #WriteTip ?

#Writetip: Read, read, read. Especially books published recently. Then old books too. Read everything, and practice writing. No words you write are wasted.

3- What is the best piece of writing advice you've received?

To read everything! And to write the stories I would have wanted to read. Nobody else can write your story the way you can, and there are readers out there who need it desperately.

4- Your tweet mentioned a "Word Count Exchange Rate chart" for author tasks other than writing. Any progress on creating this, and would you please share it with us?

This was my roommates idea and I thought it was brilliant!! Basically since my brain doesn’t allow me to feel totally satisfied that I’m making progress unless it’s actual Word Count Progress, my roommate suggested I make an exchange rate chart. So, for example, doing an Instagram post or interviews or making author videos or event graphics or book research--all those things could potentially have a “Word Count” value assigned to them so I’m reminded I really am making good, authorly progress!

5- Would you share a picture with us of your book under the sky?

Operation Awesome #20Questions in #2020 of #NewBook Debut Author Sarah Allen - What Stars are Made Of- Eiffel Tower

6- What style or cut of leather jacket is your favorite? Favorite leather grade? Favorite hide?

Faux leather all the way! Gotta save those cute furry friends. I love pretty much any jacket with epaulettes!

7- What's your Twitter handle, and do you have two or three writer friends on there to shout-out to for #WriterWednesday ?

Yes indeed! My twitter handle is @sarahallenbooks . I’d love to shout out @beingcindy, @amandarhill32, and @ariannecostner!

8- Do you have a favorite #bookstagram image or account/ profile?

Ooh, good question. I think @ErinSummeril takes gorgeous bookstagram pictures, and @heyerin always pairs gorgeous photos with absolutely wise and thoughtful author tips and advice.

9- What most motivates you to read a new book?

I love when I can hear the characters unique and vivacious voice right from the beginning!

10- It's our tenth anniversary! How far has your writing come in the past ten years and where do you see your writing career ten years from now?

Oh wow, the last ten years have meant *everything* for my writing! Though I’ve written stories and poems since I was young, I began seriously writing my first novel about ten years ago. That novel was a totally different genre, has some serious problems, and will probably never see the light of day, but it was the sign to myself that I was ready to do this for real, and take a writing career seriously. STARS is my fourth novel, and many years and hundreds of rejections later, it’s now going to be on shelves!

11- What is your favorite book by someone else, what's the author's Twitter handle, and what do you love most about that book? #FridayReads book recommendation time!

Author name: R.M. Romero @rmromeroauthor
Title: The Dollmaker of Krakow
Love because: Oh wow I love SO many books this is pretty much impossible to answer, but one book I just finished reading that totally blew me away was The Dollmaker of Krakow by R.M. Romero. I LOVED the voice and the blending of heartbreaking history and magical, whimsical hope.

12- What emotions do you hope your book will evoke for the reader?

I hope readers will feel that there is joy and hope even in the darkest of circumstances. I hope they will feel at the end of the book that they are a bright and important part of this world, no matter what they can or can’t do, no matter what they look like. That at the end of the book, they realize that they are what stars are made of.

13- What kind of impact do you hope your book will have?
Operation Awesome #20Questions in #2020 of #NewBook Debut Author Sarah Allen

Many people even in the medical community don’t know about Turner syndrome, or much about it, and I hope this book can in some small way increase awareness. If any girls with Turner syndrome read this book, I hope they see that they are amazing just as they are and can live any kind of life they want to live.

14- What is the best writing tool, program, or reference book you've ever bought?

Some of my top writing books are On Writing by Stephen King, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, Thrill Me by Benjamin Percy, and Dreyer’s English by the absolutely hilarious Benjamin Dreyer.

15- In what ways are the main characters in your book diverse? #WeNeedDiverseBooks

my main character was born with a genetic disorder called Turner syndrome. This can mean various things for various people who experience TS, but it involves taking growth hormone shots, infertility, and occasionally a learning disability called Non-verbal Learning Disorder. While TS girls live absolutely normal lives, I hope this book shines a light on the small but incredibly important differences that make the experience unique.

16- Who is your favorite book review blogger?

I absolutely love the thoughtful recommendations from the book club as well as @bandofmgbooks on Instagram.

17- What was the deciding factor in your publication route?

I have always known I wanted to pursue the traditional route. There are amazing things being done in the self-pub and indie spaces, but for me, I know so often those paths involve doing so much of the business and promotional side of things onesself, almost like starting your own business. I don’t feel I have that skill-set or the patience to learn it well, and decided I would love to have a team behind me helping me with design, marketing, editing, and all those kinds of things. Even though only one person’s name is on the cover, it takes a village of geniuses to make a book (and make the author look good!) and I am so, so lucky to have worked with the incredible people on my team.

18- Which author, past or present, do you feel most resembles your work?

It’s going to be my eternal goal to write like Gary Schmidt and Kathi Appelt!

19- Would you please ask our audience a question to answer in the comments?

Who is your favorite underrated woman from history?

20- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?
Operation Awesome #20Questions in #2020 of #NewBook Debut Author Sarah Allen

Thank you all so much for reading!


Sarah Allen has been published in The Evansville Review, Allegory, and on WritersDigest. She has an MFA from Brigham Young University. Lover of Pixar, leather jackets, and Colin Firth. Like Libby, she was born with Turner Syndrome. What Stars are Made Of is her first novel.


Twelve-year-old Libby Monroe is great at science, being optimistic, and talking to her famous, accomplished friends (okay, maybe that last one is only in her head). She’s not great at playing piano, sitting still, or figuring out how to say the right thing at the right time in real life. Libby was born with Turner Syndrome, and that makes some things hard. But she has lots of people who love her, and that makes her pretty lucky.
Operation Awesome #20Questions in #2020 of #NewBook Debut Author Sarah Allen - What Stars are Made Of

When her big sister Nonny tells her she’s pregnant, Libby is thrilled—but worried. Nonny and her husband are in a financial black hole, and Libby knows that babies aren’t always born healthy. So she strikes a deal with the universe: She’ll enter a contest with a project about Cecelia Payne, the first person to discover what stars are made of. If she wins the grand prize and gives all that money to Nonny’s family, then the baby will be perfect. Does she have what it takes to care for the sister that has always cared for her? And what will it take for the universe to notice?


Twitter: @sarahallenbooks
Goodreads: data-pin-description="Operation Awesome #20Questions in #2020 of #NewBook Debut Author Sarah Allen" alt="Operation Awesome #20Questions in #2020 of #NewBook Debut Author Sarah Allen"

What Stars Are Made Of by Sarah Allen

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