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- author Jackie French

Tuesday 3 April 2018

12 Curly Questions with author Sarah Epstein

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you. 
I’ve always wanted to create a humorous web comic but I fear I’m not witty enough. Maybe one day I’ll feel brave.

2. What is your nickname? 
I mostly get Sare, Sares and Sare-bear, sometimes Crackers (which is my old business name), and my husband calls me Gil and Spare-beep, which are derived from silly private jokes. My dad used to call me Sausage-meat when I was a kid, which he shortens to Soss these days.

3. What is your greatest fear? 
Something bad happening to my kids. My brain likes to torture me with horrible fictional scenarios just as I’m trying to fall asleep, and I have to remind myself everyone is safely tucked away in bed.

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words. 
Equally character- and plot-driven. Hopefully page-turning. Sometimes creepy.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer. 
Instinctive, meticulous, versatile, passionate, determined.

6. What book character would you be, and why? 
I’d rather like to be Mo Willems’ Pigeon for a while. He’s uncomplicated, unintentionally hilarious, and he’s all about enjoying the simple things in life, like hot dogs, puppies and staying up late.

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why? 
Some time in the future, when my kids’ kids have had kids. I’m so curious to know what things would be like and what kind of shape the world is in. Also, I’d get to see if any of my books are still in print!

8. What would your 10-year-old self say to you now? 
You sure spent a lot of time on that graphic design career. Thank goodness we’re back to creating stories!

9. Who is your greatest influence? 
From a young age my mum influenced me with her love of reading and my dad influenced me with his work ethic. Since then, I’ve been influenced by all of the enthusiastic creative people I’ve encountered in the writing, illustrating and design industries. Seeing what other creatives are doing is a huge inspiration to me and really gets me moving on my own projects.

10. What/who made you start writing? 
As a kid I always created my own picture books for fun, but I only really got into writing longer fiction as a teen. In my Year 11 English class we had to write a short story, so I made mine very atmospheric and sinister, and my English teacher told me she loved it and was dying to know what happened next. That definitely gave me the writing bug! I wrote a lot of short stories and poetry back then, but when it came to picking university courses, I went with a design degree because I thought it would offer better job prospects. When I finally did try my hand at writing fiction again (after 20 years of graphic design and two children), I used my Year 11 short story as a starting point and grew my first full-length story from there.

11. What is your favourite word and why? 
According to my manuscripts I overuse ‘just’ and ‘but’, so maybe they are secretly my favourites. Otherwise it has to be ‘chocolate’ because it evokes such a strong reaction in me, even before I get to the eating part!

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be? 
Ooh, boy – that’s a tough one! I think I’d feel so bereft about not being able to read any new stories that I’d throw myself into writing more of my own. So I’d probably want a craft book like Stephen King’s On Writing to keep me feeling inspired.

Sarah Epstein grew up in suburban Sydney and spent her childhood drawing, daydreaming and cobbling together picture books at the kitchen table. By her teens she was also writing short stories and angsty poetry, and starting novels that never saw the light of day. After earning a design degree at university, Sarah embarked on a career in graphic design. It was only after she’d had a baby that Sarah reconnected with her desire to write children’s books, and it took nearly five years’ worth of naptimes to complete her first manuscript. Thankfully, these days she writes much faster, and when she’s not busy drafting novels you can find her designing, illustrating, crafting, and occasionally sleeping, in Melbourne where she lives with her husband and two young sons. Small Spaces is her first novel. For more information, see www.sarahepsteinbooks.com.