Happy Friday, everyone, let’s have some Coffee & Conversation to celebrate the end of a long week! (Well, it’s been long for me, at least.) Today I’m taking a break from our pre-And Still We R(ev)ise Conference presenter interviews by shining the spotlight on one of our new SCBWI MD/DE/WV events coordinator, Sarah Yasutake!
She has taken over Sarah Davis Maynard‘s position, who did an AMAZING job and will be missed! If you’re reading this, Sarah, thank you for all your hard work and best of luck with your writing!
And now, a huge welcome to Sarah Yasutake, who is excited about her new role as event coordinator!
What was your favorite book as a child? As a teen? As an adult?
It’s impossible for me to pick a single favorite, but I read the Ramona books over and over when I was little. When I got older I loved Madeleine L’Engle, L.M. Montgomery, Judy Blume, Stephen King, and The Chronicles of Narnia. My mother passed her love of Jane Austen on to me, and I re-read her books often. I also love fantasy and am a huge Neil Gaiman fan. Finally, I’m obsessed with When You Reach Me.
What is your favorite writing how-to book, technique, or website that has helped you improve your craft or provided inspiration?
Tell us about your writing journey. When did it begin?
I wrote my first book, “The Cat and the Twins,” when I was seven. My dad illustrated it for me. My seven-year-old self is the only person who fully understands the plot of that story. I kept writing throughout my school-age years, but I never thought about becoming a Writer with a capital W until I was in my thirties and working as a lawyer. I attempted NaNoWriMo twice, and on the third try I finally finished. I shelved that project, but it gave me the confidence I needed to keep writing.
What is your favorite quote?
“Trust dreams. Trust your heart, and trust your story.” –Neil Gaiman
What do you enjoy doing when not writing?
Spending time with my husband and twin daughters, reading, and listening to music. I also love animals and have volunteered with a variety of animal organizations in the past. I have a soft spot for rabbits.
What is your goal as our new events coordinator?
I’d like to make sure everyone feels welcome at our events and help people make connections with fellow authors/illustrators.
How can regional members help you with this goal?
If you’ve been a member for a while, try and reach out to newcomers!
What advice would you give someone who is attending their first SCBWI event?
Many writers and artists are introverts (myself included) and don’t feel comfortable walking up and introducing themselves to people. Just remember that everyone goes to events because they want to make connections, and that might help put you at ease.
Time for the lightning round!
Do you . . .
Outline or wing it? Outline (after several failed attempts at winging it.)
Talk about works-in-progress or keep it zipped? Talk…selectively.
Prefer writing rough drafts or editing? Both have their pleasures and agonies.
Dread social media or love it? Somewhere in between the two (but I love Litsy because it’s all about books.)
Prefer reading on a Kindle or traditional books? Paper.
And finally, what’s your favorite:
Time to work? Morning
Place to work? At home with a cat curled next to me
Music to listen to while writing? The X-Files and Doctor Who soundtracks; instrumental music, playlists I make for works in progress, music from Hamilton—whatever it takes! I listen to almost everything.
Line from a movie? “Time travel has always been possible in dreams.” (I’m cheating—it’s from a TV show, Doctor Who.)
Awesome, thanks so much for stopping by, Sarah, and joining the ranks of our region’s planning committee! I’m looking forward to meeting you at the conference!
And as always, happy writing and drawing, everyone!