Interview with Sarah Mandell

Sarah_Mandell-2013Tell us about your publishing journey

I began writing in 2008, just as a creative outlet and nothing more. I wrote several full length novels before sharing any of my work. The first one was just okay. The second one was decent, or so I thought, but when I took steps to partner up with an agent, I was rejected over and over, so I abandoned the story and moved on. My third novel was Celia on the Run, and to my delight, I had multiple agents interested in taking me on. I signed with Nine Speakers, and a few months later we were working with Untreed Reads. Less than a year after that, Celia on the Run was published. All in all, the entire process was fairly quick, about two years from when I wrote the first chapter to the time the ebook went live. 

 What do you love about being an author?
Writing is one of the most creative things I can do with my brain. I love inventing people, places, and scenarios. Being an author allows me to share what’s inside my mind, and when a reader enjoys my story, we have a connection that’s actually very personal. 
If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?
Cy Parks from Sarah Hall’s “The Electric Michelangelo”. This is one of my favorite books of all time, and it’s all because of this character and his fairly average, yet quite fascinating life. I imagine we’d have to eat pub food, something British, like fish and chips, and maybe a pint or two, if Cy Parks had anything to say about it. This favorite character of mine began his life on the dreary shores of England, and eventually found himself opening a tattoo shop on Coney Island, right when things got interesting at the turn of the century. I think he’d have some remarkable stories to tell about his mother, coming to America, and falling in love with a girl at the circus. 
If your book/ story was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?
Nick would be played by Jamie Bell:
Celia could be played by: Hailee Steinfeld:
If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?
I’d head back to the 1960’s, when the USA was right in the middle of some major growing pains. So much happened during that decade, some good, some bad, and it shaped this country. I’d want to be there for it, have a part during this turbulent time that made a difference. 

What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?Celia - Cover Art

You can’t please everyone. 

If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?
I’d be some sort of pixie or sprite, a fairy-like creature who goes around playing pranks on people. I’d be so small and quick, nobody would ever figure me out! 
Where do you write best? 
I’m always thinking about stories I’d like to write, regardless of what I’m doing, but the act of actually writing those stories happens in my home office here in Greenville, SC. I have everything I need there, and very few distractions, so this is the best place for writing. 
What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?
Althea & Oliver by Cristina Moracho. I loved it, and wished I could have given it more than 5 stars on Goodreads. It was refreshing to finally find a decent young adult book after several months of bad luck choosing predictable, not-so-original stories. I was starting to think I had finally outgrown the genre altogether, but this book gave me hope. Althea & Oliver, the main characters, had me caring about them right from the first chapter, and I appreciated that I didn’t know how the book would end. It was a bittersweet story, just the way I like em’! 
If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?
If I wasn’t writing YA, I might try Historical Fiction. As cool as it is to invent contemporary lives and events, re-writing history seems like it would suit me. I enjoy research, traveling to historical sites, documentaries, museums…all that good stuff, so putting my own spin on things that actually did happen, or borrowing a setting from decades past and using it for my own story, is extremely appealing. 
Where can fans find you online?
My author Facebook page is the best place to follow along:

I also have a website & blog here:

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