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Author Interview - Sarah Crossan + Giveaway

Thursday, September 6, 2012
Today, I'm interviewing with Sarah Crossan, whose debut novel Breathe comes out October 2nd. I'm especially excited to share this book with you because of its origins in environmentalism. It's a topic that I feel isn't explored nearly enough in literature. In addition, the story is very character driven, each character having his or her own agenda.

Inhale. Exhale. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe . . .

The world is dead.
The survivors live under the protection of Breathe, the corporation that found a way to manufacture oxygen-rich air.

ALINA
has been stealing for a long time. She’s a little jittery, but not terrified. All she knows is that she’s never been caught before. If she’s careful, it’ll be easy. If she’s careful.

QUINN
should be worried about Alina and a bit afraid for himself, too, but even though this is dangerous, it’s also the most interesting thing to happen to him in ages. It isn’t every day that the girl of your dreams asks you to rescue her.

BEA
wants to tell him that none of this is fair; they’d planned a trip together, the two of them, and she’d hoped he’d discover her out here, not another girl.

And as they walk into the Outlands with two days’ worth of oxygen in their tanks, everything they believe will be shattered. Will they be able to make it back? Will they want to?


Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into YA literature.
I completed a Masters in creative writing many years ago and then worked as a middle and high school English teacher for a long time. I’d always focused on writing fiction for adults, but once I began writing for young people, it just felt right and I’ve been doing that ever since.

I read that you started Breathe as a book on an environment and it turned into a story about the characters. Would you tell us more about the inspiration and how the story has since developed?
I am constantly surprised by our society’s lack of concern about the environment. I am terrified that the next generation will have a catastrophe on their hands, and I believe it’s quite likely they will. When I was on vacation in Washington State I saw entire mountainsides of trees being logged. This led me to wonder what the earth would be like if all trees were to be felled in this way. I outlined a story idea, but once the characters showed up, it became as much about their reactions to this world as it was about the world itself. Novels must be about character ultimately because that’s the way readers connect to the story.

I agree that environmentalism is a topic that isn't discussed nearly enough. When I saw what Breathe was about, lights lit up in my head, and I went "YES!" What kind of research did you do going into this story?
I had to research how such a world could come into being, and with the help of a couple of science-minded friends, I discovered that the concept was completely plausible. For this reason, I think of the book more as post-apocalyptic than dystopian.

In the world of Breathe, humans are reliant on the corporation Breathe for oxygen; however, not everyone can gets access to it. Oxygen is now a power greater than the government. How do you feel this impacts the politics of the world?
It’s hard to answer this question without giving away too much of the plot, but yes, the distribution of air certainly impacts the politics of the world in Breathe (and even more so in the sequel).

It sounds like there are much intricacies going on in the power struggle. Did you have any difficulties in world building?
I never have a problem building a world in my head, but how to convey that world to readers was a challenge, especially when I was working with three different voices and trying to make sure that these voices remained consistent and distinct. Plus, it’s hard to find strong metaphors when the characters know so little about the organic world.

It must have been interesting to build a world so different yet similar to our own. Alina, Quinn, and Bea have their own agendas when they walk into the Outlands. How would you describe their character dynamics and relationship with one another?
The entire novel is about this dynamic and how the characters relate to one another. They grow through their experiences and find new ways of seeing each other. The Outlands are hostile, but they provide Bea, Alina, and Quinn with opportunities to expand their thinking. I have to admit that there is a love story here, but it doesn’t dominate the plot and (I hope) isn’t your average love-triangle.

What advice would Alina, Quinn, and Bea offer to people living under the protection of Breathe?
They’d tell them that there’s more to life that what is known in the pod.

What are you working on right now?
I’m editing the sequel to Breathe and drafting outlines for a new stand-alone novel. There are always one hundred stories in my head, but sadly I can only type one at a time.

Thanks for interviewing with us, Sarah!

To learn more about the writing behind Breathe, check out this video!




Sarah's Website | Facebook | Twitter
I grew up in Ireland and England and then moved to America, where I now live. I worked as an English teacher for many years, but have given that up to write full time, which I do most days of the week. I have dreams of one day owning a Ruby Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. I don’t like mustard at all, but lemon curd I adore




Greenwillow Books has generously donated an ARC of Breathe, which will be going to a lucky U.S. winner!

The giveaway is open through September.

To enter, follow Imaginary Reads and leave a meaningful comment on the interview. Extra entries for tweeting about the giveaway and commenting on my review of Breathe. Then fill out the form below. Do not leave your email in the comments section.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

57 comments on "Author Interview - Sarah Crossan + Giveaway"
  1. Loved the interview with Sarah. So awesome that here book deals with the environment and oxygen. I'm sad like her on how we're not taking care of the earth.

    Enter me in the contest for sure. And FYI, your form is for a prior contest that's over.

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  2. Sorry about that. The correct form is now up!

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  3. Thanks for the great interview! It's scary how many people don't care what's happening with the environment. Love that there's a book showing what could theoretically happen if it's not taken care of.

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  4. I LOVE the cover. The synopsis sounds interesting:) I'll give it a try.

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  5. I agree, it is a bit scary how few people care about the state our environment is in. It will catch up with them eventually...hopefully before it is too late.

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  6. It's nice to see that she writes both types of books--series and standalone--even at the same time.

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  7. Thanks for the interview and giveaway! I love that Breathe has to do with environmentalism - it seems like it would be a very relevant topic in the recent YA sci-fi craze, yet I haven't run across many novels that address it.

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  8. This book just sounds incredible. Seeing what the author has to say about it makes me want to read it even more! Thanks so much for sharing. :)

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  9. Great interview! This book sounds really interesting - I can't wait to read it. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  10. I can't wait to read this book! It sounds so different than regular dystopian/apocalyptic books!

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  11. Three different voices? That sounds hard to do, but I bet the book is awesome.

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  12. What a wonderful interview! This has been on my must-read list for months now. As soon as I saw the gorgeous cover and fascinating & unique premise, I knew this book would be for me. I have this feeling this is going to be one of my very favorite books of 2012! I absolutely can't wait to read it! =)

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  13. Great interview. This books seems like a great read! ;)

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  14. I absolutely love the cover to this book. I didn't know that the book was focused environmentalism. It does remind me of Under the Never Sky and I loved that book.

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  15. Great interview and review. I would love to read this book. It sounds really good. It shows you how much people dont care about the environment.

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  16. This was a very intriguing interview. It appeals to me because I am a big recycler. Trying to do my part in keeping the world clean has not only been rewarding emotionally but also encouraged others to do the same. This book hits home and I can't wait to read it! Thank you for the interview and look into the book. wendyrailey@yahoo.com

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  17. I can't wait to read this one!! Great interview!!

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  18. I'm really looking forward to this book! Great interview! :)

    PS: I love your accent! :)

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  19. I love that this book has such a relevant issue in it. I hate the way we abuse the earth & am also worried about the future. Can't wait to read Breathe!

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  20. Great interview- my 11 year old son has our family attempting to be more environmentally friendly, its a challenge but well worth the effort.

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  21. Thank you for sharing how you built the world within your story. I can't wait to read it!

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  22. I can't wait to read this book! I love the inspiration for the world-building, but I also love that the book is more character driven. A book is much harder to love without characters we can related to and care about.
    Great interview and thanks for the giveaway!

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  23. Interesting interview! I didn't know that Breathe was about the environment. The state of the world in Breathe sounds terrifying, I can't imagine what would it be like to not have oxygen we've always taken for granted.

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  24. I want to read this book soo badly! I'm not huge on love triangles but it sounds really good!! thanks for the giveaway!

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  25. I'm excited to read Breathe. I'm glad it has a sequel. I LOVE SEQUELS! :)

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  26. I love the cover,which first caught my attention, then the synopsis said oh yeah, and now you say your working on book two - okay I am definitely sold LOL Thank you so much for sharing with us today :)

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  27. Research is always good when writing books. Love the interview! Thanks for the great giveaway!

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  28. I can't wait to read this! I like the message it gives and makes the younger generations think hard about their future!

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  29. AH! Love this interview! And Breathe looks incredibly awesome...and unique. Thank you so much for this giveaway--it's fantabulous!

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  30. Nice interview! I like that she focused on character relationships and not your typical love triangle - I think love triangles are getting too predictable and standard.

    Thanks,
    Leanne

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  31. Awesome interview!!! I hope to win this giveaway :D

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  32. Great interview! I think this looks very interesting! It is great to hear that the sequel is in the works too! Thanks!

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  33. Sounds reallly interesting! the cover certainly looks so:)

    -jennyC

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  34. OH MY GOODNESS. Need this book! Thanks for sharing a cool interview! And giveaway! I'm so hyped for this one!

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  35. When I heard about this concept, I had to read this book! I love that this is a genuine dystopian taken from a real life problem and what might happen because of it. Dystopians need to be scary in a "it might happen" kind of way. Can't wait to read it!

    --Markella

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  36. The sequel to Breathe already?! Wow can't wait :)

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  37. Great interview!I love that she's created a world that's made up, and yet frighteningly possible. I cannot wait to read Breathe! Thank you for the giveaway.

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  38. I just thought it was neat that she vacationed in Washington State. I live there. Sad about the logging, but cool that Sarah came. I hope that she found something that she enjoyed. :) this book looks great!

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  39. It's great that more and more YA are focusing on the negative environmental effects we'll face in the future! Cannot wait to read Breathe

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  40. Great interview! I love hearing about how an author comes up with the idea for a book. Sounds like a great twist on YA dystopian especially since we do need to focus on the environment. I am putting this book on my wish list.:)

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  41. Love the interview! its amazing hearing about how the authors come up with ideal's and just hearing about new YA books is exciting!

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  42. Wow, Breathe sounds so amazing! I loved how this interview with the author really helped me get a sense of what the book is about. I have seen this book around but never really knew much about it.

    Thank you for this wonderful giveaway and very informative interview.

    - Beckie

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  43. I enjoyed the interview and finding out about the author's writing process.

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  44. I've heard too many awesome things about Breathe. And the cover? Ahh! To die for!

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  45. Fantastic interview! I love learning more about the author before I buy their book, or maybe even win it! :)

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  46. Wow, great interview! Learning about the author and her writing was great. I need to read this book! I've been wanting to read this book for so long.

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  47. I reallly enjoyed the interview! I am soo excited to read this one...it's been on my TBR list ever since I first saw it on Goodreads. Would loooove to win this : ) Thanks for the giveaway!!!

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  48. Wonderful interview!! That's got to be a challenge, keeping three POV consistent and moving the story forward. Which, btw, sounds gritty and fascinating!!! I can't wait to read Breathe - got it on my wish list <3

    Might I add that the cover to Breathe is TOP NOTCH! :D
    Thank you for the sweet giveaway~
    Mary DeBorde M.A.D.

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  49. Great interview! Totally love the sound of this one...looks like a great dystopian! And what a GORGEOUS COVER :D Can't wait to read it!!

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  50. I love how pertinent the book is to today's enviroment and the state of the government. Too many people choose to not be educated about these things, or worse yet, to ignore them outright. I hope I win! Thanks for the chance!

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  51. Interesting interview..its good to see others care about the enviroment..not all people seem to be.. i work at a place that throws a ton of paper away. I grab it and recycle it-lol..Great giveaway! Thanks

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  52. I absolutely love to find out how novels start out, so I loved to hear that this was originally about the environment. Great interview! Thanks for the giveaway! :D

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  53. the book sounds great, really different from anything I've ever tried, hope to get the chance to read it soon.

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  54. It's nice to see books with such relevant issues such as environmentalism... Love the cover artwork! Great interview as well!! Thanks for taking the time to do this!!

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  55. Not only does this book have one of the most gripping covers I've seen all year...it sounds so original and intriguing. I've read several interviews by Sarah and I love them all. Thanks you for the interview and chance to win, what I believe, will be the next most talked about book of the year.
    wendyrailey@yahoo.com

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