Sunday, October 9, 2016

Sarah Everett, author of EVERYONE WE'VE BEEN, on real life worming its way into your writing

We're thrilled to have Sarah Everett join us to share more about her debut novel EVERYONE WE'VE BEEN.

Sarah, what book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or visa versa?

Everyone We’ve Been has been described as 500 Days of Summer meets Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (both films). I think it would appeal to fans of Jenny Han, Sarah Dessen, Sara Zarr, Morgan Matson and Lauren Oliver. Readers who like More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera (who was kind enough to blurb Everyone We’ve Been), Noggin by John Corey Whaley and Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon might also like it!

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

When I finished the first draft of this book, I didn’t see much of myself in it at all. Addie is an amazing viola player (I’m not). She’s gotten involved in some shady memory altering business (I have not….I don’t think. Wait…). Many rounds of edits later, I laugh at my naivety. Even when all the details are different, things I’m thinking about in real life somehow worm their way into my writing. So even though this book is in no way autobiographical and all the characters are completely made up (relax, siblings!), my fingerprints are still all over it. That’s happening in my next book as well, so I’m thinking this just might be a permanent thing. :)

What do you hope readers will take away from EVERYONE WE'VE BEEN?

First of all, I hope readers are entertained and temporarily transported into the lives of the characters. I also hope it makes readers think about the ways our experiences shape our lives - how we are different after certain things, and how we have the power to determine how those experiences change us.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

My writing rituals seem to change all the time, which I think maybe makes them not rituals? Just random things I sometimes do. I prefer to write in complete silence, but when I’m fully engaged in a scene, I can forget all the noise and conversations around me. I usually write at home on my laptop, but I’ve occasionally written in public. And I’ll sometimes use music to get myself in the right frame of mind for a particular scene. Sometimes when I’m starting to write for the day and am feeling super intimidated by the blank screen, I’ll play some music (any music, though upbeat is better) and just start free-writing, and that usually does the trick. I find that the music drowns out the self-doubt in the most literal way and I’ve used this for writing everything - research papers, important emails, short stories, WIPs. It’s like a warm-up before a workout.


Everyone We've Been
by Sarah Everett
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Released 10/4/2016

For fans of Jandy Nelson and Jenny Han comes a new novel that asks, can you possibly know the person you’re becoming if you don’t know the person you’ve been?

Addison Sullivan has been in an accident. In its aftermath, she has memory lapses and starts talking to a boy that no one else can see. It gets so bad that she’s worried she’s going crazy.

Addie takes drastic measures to fill in the blanks and visits a shadowy medical facility that promises to “help with your memory.” But at the clinic, Addie unwittingly discovers it is not her first visit. And when she presses, she finds out that she had certain memories erased. She had a boy erased.

But why? Who was that boy, and what happened that was too devastating to live with? And even if she gets the answers she’s looking for, will she ever be able to feel like a whole person again?

Purchase Everyone We've Been at Amazon
Purchase Everyone We've Been at IndieBound
View Everyone We've Been on Goodreads


Sarah Everett remembers growing up in enchanted forests, on desert islands and inside a magical wardrobe. She would only ever erase her memory of past karaoke performances and certain fashion choices. She was born in west Africa but currently resides in Alberta, Canada where she attends graduate school and writes YA novels. Visit her on Twitter at @heysaraheverett.


Have you had a chance to read EVERYONE WE'VE BEEN yet? Do you see yourself in your writing even if you didn't mean to put it there? Does music help you drown out the self doubt? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy reading,

Jocelyn, Shelly, Martina, Anisaa, Sam, Erin, Susan, Michelle, Laura, and Kristin

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