Coffee & Conversation with Sarah Dotts Barley!

Happy Friday, everyone.

Sarah Dotts Barley joins us in the cafe today.  Sarah is an associate editor focusing on middle grade and teen fiction at HarperCollins Children’s Books.

She will be speaking at our upcoming SCBWI March Conference, Rx for Children’s Book Creators:Getting Your Stories Right on the 31st .

“Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them”
Sarah will talk about how writers can eliminate those common mistakes and write their own “uncommonly” good books!  The motto at HarperCollins: “Sure it’s simple, writing for kids.  Just as simple as bringing them up.” Ursula K. Le Guin

Thanks for participating in the SCBWI Regional Blog.

First off, what’s your favorite coffeehouse beverage?

I love a café au lait!

And your favorite snack?

I’ve always loved fruit—pretty much every kind. My other kind of favorite snack is CAKE! Right now, I’d love to combine the two—perhaps a strawberry cake…

What was your favorite book as a child?

I had many “favorite books” as a child! My favorite picture book was Heckedy Peg by Don and Audrey Wood. It is so delightfully frightening and stands up to many, many, MANY rambunctious readings! My favorite novel was The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I had the one illustrated by Tasha Tudor, and as I wanted to be Mary, those illustrations helped me figure out what my wardrobe needed to look like! My mom even let me have part of the backyard for my secret garden. I felt very much the part!

You magically find a $100.00 bill in your box of cereal.  In what frivolous way would you spend it?

Sounds great! I’d probably buy a really great bottle of champagne. I’m just being honest…

You’ve been locked in a bank vault like that guy from The Twilight Zone, so you finally have time to read!  Your glasses remain unharmed, so what’s the first book you crack open?

I like this one! I’ve been dying to read Bitterblue, a galley of which a kind soul from Dial gave me and that I haven’t yet been able to read! Since that book has got to be over 600 pages, I think it’d distract me from being locked in a bank vault for a nice long while.

If you followed the career path you chose for yourself in high school, what would you be doing for a living now?

I didn’t really know what I wanted to do for a career in high school, but I thought I might be an artist or writer or something else very romantic and with good scenery.

For one day, time travel is a reality and you have the opportunity to visit any famous deceased author you want.  Who do you pick?

I’m stuck. I’d love to talk to Jane Austen and any of the Brontës! But I’d also love to visit Elizabeth Marie Pope, the author of The Sherwood Ring and The Perilous Gard. What other ideas besides those two books did she have up her sleeve, I wonder…

If you could sum up your best advice for new writers in only four words, what would it be?

Read. And keep on!

Thanks for dropping by! 

Thanks for asking me to!

For more information on Sarah and the upcoming conference visit:

This entry was posted in Conference Information, Interviews: Agents & Editors. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Coffee & Conversation with Sarah Dotts Barley!

  1. Pingback: Coffee & Conversation with Rachel Orr! « As the Eraser Burns

  2. Pingback: March Conference Report « As the Eraser Burns

  3. Pingback: Barley, Sarah Dotts | Writing for Children and Teens

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