Friday, 14 August 2015

Debut Spotlight: Sarah Jasmon

Today it's my pleasure to welcome Sarah Jasmon to the blog as part of the blog tour for her debut novel The Summer of Secrets which was published yesterday.  

Sarah Jasmon lives on a canal boat near Manchester with her children. She has had several short stories published, is curating a poetry anthology, and has recently graduated from the Creative Writing MA course at Manchester Metropolitan University. 

To find out more, visit or follow Sarah on Twitter @sarahontheboat.
The summer the Dovers move in next door, sixteen-year-old Helen's lonely world is at once a more thrilling place. She is infatuated with the bohemian family, especially the petulant and charming daughter Victoria

As the long, hot days stretch out in front of them, Helen and Victoria grow inseparable. But when a stranger appears, Helen begins to question whether the secretive Dover family are really what they seem.

It’s the kind of summer when anything seems possible . . .

Until something goes wrong.

Can you tell us a little bit about your debut novel The Summer of Secrets?
Have you ever had one of those conversations where you’ve looked back at a certain period of your life and felt regret about an action you took or, more importantly, one that you didn’t? In The Summer of Secrets, Helen is revisiting a very significant period of her life. She knows something went wrong, but she’s never known exactly what it was that triggered the events which ended it. It’s a timeslip narrative, so we see events both from the adult Helen’s point of view and through her sixteen year old eyes.

How long did it take you to write/edit The Summer of Secrets before you were ready to submit it to agents/publishers?
The first draft was written for my MA, and took around two years of part-time writing. Then there was a year of ‘resting’ (ie. ignoring…). I then had a hugely lucky break and met my agent and my editor within the space of a couple of weeks. I hadn’t done very much to the manuscript before this, but there was a year of fairly intensive editing once I’d signed with Transworld.

Describe The Summer of Secrets in one sentence.
It will draw you in to the world of one summer, where loyalty and friendship are stretched to extremes.

What's in store for you next? 
I have a two book deal with Transworld, so I’m already at work on novel #2. I’ve learned so much from the last couple of years, and it’s really exciting to be starting again.

Have you always wanted to write? 
I knew I was going to be a writer from a very young age: it just took me a long time to sit down and finish something! I can remember being asked to read out a story I’d written (called ‘Why the Snowdrop Droops its Head’) in front of my junior school class, so I’d have been about 9 or 10. My teacher, who I adored, asked me if I’d ever entered anything in a children’s writing competition. I had no idea there were such things, let alone where you might find them. Instead of asking her, though, I just shook my head and went and sat down. At the time, it was enough that she thought I was good enough for such an exotic idea. I wonder now if I’d have been published earlier had I been pushed along that path. I’m kind of glad I wasn’t, though. 

I've read that you live on a boat so do you have a designated writing area or is it a case of writing where you can?
Definitely wherever I can: on the sofa, in bed, sometimnes even at my desk, once I’ve cleared away the piles of clothes... (I take the maxim that writing is more important than housework very literally!) A Booths supermarket has just opened in our village (that’s like a really nice Waitrose, if you’re not from around here), and they have a lovely cafĂ© with free wifi and a free coffee with your Booth’s card. I’m planning on cycling down there a LOT!

Are you going to treat yourself to something special to celebrate publishing your debut novel?
I bought a new bike! It’s a six speed Dutch bike, and it’s very beautiful. And will be useful for getting to Booths, of course!

The Summer of Secrets is available now in eBook or Paperback format.

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