Author Spotlight: Sarah Everett talks No One Here is Lonely
I'm so excited to be featuring Sarah Everett on today's blog! Sarah grew up in enchanted forests, desert islands, and inside a magical wardrobe. She speaks two Nigerian languages and a small amount of Afrikaans, and was also president of her high school’s Japanese club (which was only slightly less nerdy than it sounds). She now lives in Alberta, Canada, where she moonlights as a graduate student and writes young-adult novels. Her second novel, No One Here is Lonely, released from Knopf Books for Young Readers in February. Check out the synopsis below!
Our entire lives are online, but what if the boy you love actually lives there? For fans of Adam Silvera comes a story about the future of relationships.
Eden has always had two loves: her best friend, Lacey, and her crush, Will. And then, almost simultaneously, she loses them both. Will to a car accident and Lacey to the inevitable growing up and growing apart.
Devastated by the holes they have left in her life, Eden finds solace in an unlikely place. Before he died, Will set up an account with In Good Company, a service that uploads voices and emails and creates a digital companion that can be called anytime, day or night. It couldn't come at a better time because, after losing Lacey--the hardest thing Eden has had to deal with--who else can she confide all her secrets to? Who is Eden without Lacey?
As Eden falls deeper into her relationship with "Will," she hardly notices as her real life blooms around her. There is a new job, new friends. Then there is Oliver. He's Lacey's twin, so has always been off-limits to her, until now. He may be real, but to have him, will Eden be able to say goodbye to Will?
And now, here's my chat with Sarah!
Hi, Sarah! Welcome and congrats on No One Here is Lonely. Can you tell us a little about the story and what inspired it?
NO ONE HERE IS LONELY is about eighteen-year-old Eden, who is dealing with a lot of changes in her life. She’s graduating from high school, her best friend seems to be leaving her behind and her family is falling apart. To cope, she turns to Will, an artificially intelligent version of her longtime crush, who has recently passed away.
The Cognitive Donor bank is such an interesting hook! Was it your initial inspiration for the story?
Actually, with this book, theme came first. I knew I wanted to write about change and loneliness. I wondered what a world without loneliness would look like, and both the title (NO ONE HERE IS LONELY) and the idea of In Good Company, a company that provides Companions for lonely people, popped into my mind. From there, it was natural to imagine that people would sign up to be Cognitive Donors, leaving their emails, voice, and basically their likeness to be used to create Companions.
What stage of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you tackle it?
Truthfully, the hardest part of the writing process is usually whichever part I’m currently in! Sometimes I love drafting and hate the revision process, but other times it’s the opposite way around. Right now, since I’m currently in the drafting phase, revising is seeming pretty nice. 😊 I find that the best way to tackle any difficult writing phase is to write my way out of it. Being disciplined (setting regular writing times), focusing on short goals (just one sentence or paragraph or scene at a time), and being kind to myself are the only things I’ve found that work. It sounds trite, but really, the only way out is through.
Eden goes through so much in this book. What is your favorite thing about her as a character?
My favorite thing about Eden is how fiercely loyal she is. She truly cares about the people around her (her family, her friends, her coworkers) and is willing to do whatever it takes to hang on to them. I also really loved writing someone who is so averse to change, yet spends the entire book dealing with all sorts of changes.
I'm a firm believer in the idea that every story teaches the writer something new, so what did writing No One Here is Lonely teach you?
Great question! I think NO ONE taught me that small things make a big difference, in a couple of different ways. I wrote this book by carving out short spells of writing time in my day. Every day when I’d sit down to write for ten or twenty minutes, I felt like I’d never reach The End, but I eventually did. While working on edits, I also came to appreciate how one tiny change (whether that be in a character’s motivation or a setting) could change entire scenes and, ultimately, the whole story.
What are you reading, watching, or otherwise currently infatuated with?
I’m always reading! YA is my favorite genre, but I’ve recently gotten into self-help/memoir nonfiction. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis is a recent favorite.
And finally, what’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned so far in your publishing career?
It seems pretty obvious, but I’ve learned that writing is the most important part of publishing. There’s so much you can’t control as an author, but you can control what and how you write. You can guard your writing time, you can improve your craft, you can take risks – at the end of the day, the words are really all you control, so make them count.
Many thanks go out to Sarah for taking the time to tell us more about No One Here is Lonely, how the story was born from theme, and how she handles writing difficulties by focusing on short goals. Be to sure to add this cool character-driven sci-fi to your Goodreads list, or (better yet!) order your copy (WRITE) NOW from retail sites like Amazon, and Barnes & Noble, or request it at your library, or local independent bookstore!
And, as always,