Monday, October 21, 2013

Interview with Sweet Romance Author Sarah Dunster

Sarah Dunster is happily married, mother to seven children, and an author of fiction and poetry. Her poems have appeared in several magazines. Sarah’s first novel, Lightning Tree, was released in 2012. When she is not writing, Sarah can often be found cleaning, cooking vegetarian meals, holding small people on her lap, or taking long, risky walks after dark, especially in thunderstorms.

Hello, Sarah. Your novel is written in first person and in present tense. It’s about a young woman having to deal with the death of her husband and how she learns to cope. It defines what struggling to survive is all about. This is what Mile 21 is about.

Abish's husband died suddenly just seven months after their marriage, so she's allowed to be a little crazy and mixed up inside. But it's been a year now since it happened, and her family can't handle her quirky behaviors and emotional disconnect anymore. When mom boots her from the family apartment, it seems her only choice is to move back into single-student housing and attend the ward that her drill-sergeant boss happens to preside over. Add in Bob, the divorced-single-parent who Abish accidentally walked in on in her pajamas when he was trying to fix her internet, and Abish is sure it's all some cosmic joke. Question is, will she be able to land on her feet, or is she going to allow her world to continue to fall apart until she has nobody left?

Why is this novel called Mile 21?

The 21st mile of a marathon is the point at which a lot of runners break down and struggle. My main character Abish is also struggling. She’s having the most difficult year of her life, and she happens to be twenty-one years old. It just worked!

Where did you get your inspiration for this book? Do you get any ideas from your own life experiences?

Oh, yes.  This book is about struggling with unexpected tragedy and overwhelming difficulty, and struggling through inspiration, the help of others and sometimes, pure mean grit. I’ve had these sorts of experiences in my life. Abish and I, in fact, share a lot of traits and some of her experiences are ones I can relate to firsthand. That is what makes things so much sweeter for her (and have for me as well) when things turn around and she finds happiness again.

What kind of research did you have to do for this novel?

You won’t believe this but… I toured a women’s prison! It was so interesting. And heartbreaking. I also had to ask for information from a lot of friends who run. And I had to make sure I knew about LDS doctrine related to marriage and sealing and the death of a spouse, and so forth. People were very helpful.

Wow! You actually toured a women’s prison. That’s great research. Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

I think when I write, my drive and passion is to bring another perspective to readers who might not be able to go through certain things for themselves. I personally have gone through a lot of unusual things—I’ve adopted 2 girls from a foreign country. I had a very sad and tragic first marriage that failed. I’ve gone through a lot! And I’m happier for it. I know that sounds completely trite, but it is absolutely true. I would not trade any of these experiences because they’ve put me right where I am right now, with my husband, with all of my children. I’m so grateful for being able to weather tough stuff and come out well on the other side, with the help of my spirituality and friends who turned out to be more like family. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

You have certainly gone through a lot in your life. And yes, you’re right. Our trials make us the people we are today. Thank you, Sarah, for this interview. I hope my readers will check out your book and see what it’s like.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a really good book I would love to give it a try :)

Becky said...

Great interview! I was wondering myself why you called the story Mile 21. I never paid close attention to runners to realize at the 21st mile of a marathon was when they broke down and struggled. This sounds like an interesting story and one I can relate to. I added it to my list to get and will be looking for to reading it.

Ashleigh Swerdfeger said...

What an inspiration interview. I amazed by the depth of research. It sounds like a well written novel. Definitely something I would want to read.

Gayle said...

This was such an interesting interview! I've heard about the book but didn't know a lot about it. I especially liked learning more about the meaning of the title. I look forward to reading it!

Tiffany said...

Great information and back story! I never would have guessed mile 21 was the struggling point for many runners during a marathon...mine would be way closer to the beginning! Sounds like a great read!

Anonymous said...

Sounds interesting. Especially interesting because it has an LDS connection, something I have been reading about lately. I would like to read it.

Lisa And Randy said...

This sounds like a great book. Being a widow I would love to read this book. I enjoyed the interview too.

desiree reilly said...

thanks for the intervew and then the trilaers

Library Lady said...

Our church has a Grief and Support Group that meets once a week.
I would love to win this book for my church library.
Thank You!
Janet E.

Taylor Williams said...

Sounds like a beautifully inspiring novel! This book seems like it would be a breath of fresh air, can wait for the read.

Nicole said...

Would love to win this! Have known Sarah since BYU and can attest that she is a rock. I've read "Lightening Tree" and loved it and I think her life experience allows her to write with some raw emotion that readers can tangibly feel. Can't wait to get my hands on this one!

Nicole said...


LAWonder said...

It sounds very good.
Thank you for the giveaway and for the interview

Brady said...

Great interview. Sarah is a great friend and a wonderful writer. I'm excited to read this one.

Linda Weaver Clarke said...

Congratulations, Library Lady. The author has just chosen you as the winner. I know you'll enjoy this book. Thanks for stopping by, everyone.