Thursday, April 12

Today's Guest: Sarah Tregay

Today I'm thrilled to be interviewing the fantastic Sarah Tregay, author of YA novel LOVE & LEFTOVERS.

My Wish
is to fall
cranium over Converse
in dizzy daydream-worthy love.
(If only it were that easy.)

1) You wrote a novel in verse and I have to admit I was immediately sucked in and surprised what a quick read it was--so the question is, how hard was it to write in that form?

Because verse novels are composed of many short poems, I found writing Love and Leftovers easier than writing in prose. I loved focusing on one piece of the puzzle at a time, from choosing the right words to shaping the poems on the page and listening to how the poem sounded when read out loud. For me, tackling one poem at a time feels more manageable than writing a whole chapter.

2) Do you plan to write more in verse or will you switch over to narrative?

I would love to write another verse novel, but at the moment I am working on a piece in prose.

3) How do you mine your ideas into becoming full-fledged books?

Great question! Some of my projects turn out to be too short for a novel, and others appear to be too big to fit in one book. This is definitely a sticking point for me. For my current project, I wrote the core as a short story then filled in the events that came before it.

4) When you need to escape, who do you like to read?

I love contemporary YA and enjoy reading anything in verse. I’ve been on a road-trip theme lately, including Emily Wing Smith’s BACK WHEN YOU WERE EASIER TO LOVE and AMY AND ROGER’S EPIC DETOUR by Morgan Matson

5) Plotter or pantser? And what is your process?

Total panster. Although I am learning that writing either a book map or a synopsis can be helpful if I am lost. (Which usually happens somewhere near the end of the first draft.)

For LOVE AND LEFTOVERS, I collected words, phrases, and concepts that I liked and built poems around them. For my first draft, I didn’t write the book in chronological order, but rather wrote the poems first and then put the titles on 3 x 5 cards and shuffled the cards around until the story came together.

My tip for my fellow pansters, is to use a calendar to keep track of your characters. I open up the calendar program on my computer and type little notes as to what happened that day in my manuscript on the calendar. This helps me track the plot without being too technical, and also helps me avoid mistakes such as having my character go to school on a Saturday.

Quick five:
1) Coffee, tea: Coffee.
2) Cake, ice-cream:Ice-cream

3) Beach, mountain:Beach.
4)Rain, shine:Shine.
5) London, Paris: Paris.

And last of all, is there a question that you've always wanted to be asked but haven't?

You are a graphic designer by day, how’d it go having another person design the cover and inside of your book?

My publisher and I had many discussions about the cover and they showed me at least a dozen designs. We were working with stock photography, so our choices were limited. The Converse couple on the pages was a great find because it fit the story so well—and I got to buy a pair of red sneakers to wear to events!

The interior of the book was also a lot of work. We went back and forth several times after the ARCs were printed to get the poems to fit nicely on the pages.


Raised without television, Sarah Tregay started writing her own middle grade novels after she had read all of the ones in the library. She later discovered teen books, but never did make it to the adult section. She lives in Eagle, Idaho with her husband, two Boston Terriers and an appaloosa named Mr. Pots.


Marcie has been dragged away from home for the summer--from Idaho to a family summerhouse in New Hampshire. She's left behind her friends, a group of freaks and geeks called the Leftovers, including her emo-rocker boyfriend, and her father.

By the time Labor Day rolls around, Marcie suspects this "summer vacation" has become permanent. She has to start at a new school, and there she leaves behind her Leftover status when a cute boy brings her breakfast and a new romance heats up. But understanding love, especially when you've watched your parents' affections end, is elusive. What does it feel like, really? Can you even know it until you've lost it?

Love & Leftovers is a beautifully written story of one girl's journey navigating family, friends, and love, and a compelling and sexy read that teens will gobble up whole.


  1. Thank you, Sarah, for the great interview and such a quick response. I love your idea about making a calendar to track our characters. I know I've had to go back a couple of times and rework time sequencing.

  2. Wow, Sarah.
    That must have been one hard book to write. I took poetry in college and loved villanelles...can't imagine writing a book in one, though.
    Great job!

  3. Wow, I loved that little teaser up there! Anyone who can write in verse has my utmost admiration. The book sounds great.

  4. Hi Sarah! I love poetry! I used to write it and don't know why I ever stopped. And I'm crazy about your cover!

  5. What a cool idea, Sarah! I have a ton of very bad high school poetry in my closet...and it shall never see the light of day.

    Great teaser - hope your book flies off the shelves!

  6. Since you like to read, I wondered if you might be interested in learning more about cryptic crosswords. If so, this is a link to a post I did recently on cryptic crossword clues that involve anagrams. Cryptic Crossword Clues - Anagrams