Tuesday, October 9, 2012

TOUCHING THE SURFACE Author Interview and Personalized Giveaway

On the blog this week is an exciting interview I conducted with Kimberly Sabatini, debut author of Touching the Surface from Simon Pulse due for release on October 30th, 2012. Get your copy preordered at Amazon or B&N now! You may also add the book on Goodreads. This is one you don't want to miss!

Touching the Surface Interview Questions


Kim, thank you very much for joining me for this interview and giveaway as we draw closer to your debut novel’s release day on October 30th, 2012. Let’s cozy up with a homemade cup of hot chocolate, some chocolate chocolate zucchini bread, and a warm fireplace. Now that we’ve got the mood set, let’s discuss your first book with my blog viewers and followers. First of all, the cover is GORGEOUS!


Touching the Surface is a self-described heart-book, and one that started with a question. Can you walk us through how that journey started for you, and how it grew from a question to a full-blown book?

The biggest question at the heart of this book wasn’t completely clear to me until after I’d finished writing it. It began as an unconscious idea that began to surface after the death of my father. He’d died young, at fifty-seven, leaving too many stones unturned. Because his passing sparked my own self-examination and need to grow, it felt weird to me that death would be a free pass to enlightenment—especially when I was left behind to figure out so many of the same things that I knew we both needed to master. Rather than feel alone on this scary, epic journey of becoming a better person, I pictured him in some alternative place, working on the same types of things that I was—growing just like me. I didn’t realize it at the time of writing, but by creating the Obmil, I had built the place that I pictured my dad.


As I’ve read up on Touching the Surface, and your next book The Opposite of Gravity, I quickly realized you’re pretty deep when it comes to writing. Can you share about that? Why is depth important to you in a book, and what do you hope will resonate for your readers as a result of that depth?

Writing is a form of therapy and growth for me. In order to get anything worthwhile out of the process, the work has to resonate. I write lots of funny and light blog posts and I love that side of my personality, but so far it seems that when it comes to novels, I need to dig stuff up from a deeper place. I write to understand myself and my place in the world. I usually write about the things that scare me because they don’t seem so terrifying after I’ve addressed them. (I admire your bravery!)


I’ve learned you’re a runner, and I’m intrigued by the way that might parallel your writing journey, and Elliot’s journey (your main character), through Touching the Surface. How has the exercise of running informed the writing of, and essentially the journey Elliot must face at the heart of Touching the Surface?

Running is very similar to that feeling I get when I’m lying in bed, halfway between sleep and awareness. Ideas seem to shift around in different ways than when I’m looking at them head on. When my feet and breathing find a rhythm and I let my mind go—where ever the heck it wants to—things have a way of floating to the surface. Sometimes I’m so busy, I don’t give myself the time to daydream—running gives me the time and space to do that. I suspect that’s why Elliot is a hiker. :o) (Slipstream, right?)


If you haven’t already answered this above, what might Elliot run from? What must she run toward?

The only thing we ever really run away from is ourselves and ironically it’s really the same thing we run towards. We try to leave our less than favorite parts behind and if we’re motivated, we go searching to find a better version of who we are. Life is a very circular process—no matter how much we try to straighten it out.


I’m a state certified English teacher, so forgive me if I get a little book crazy. I am fascinated with the way many teen books and young adult books allude to famous works of literature. Can you think of an allusion for Touching the Surface, intentional or subconscious? You can also draw comparisons between other YA literature, if that’s easier.

I’m not sure I can say much more than I write with Lois Lowry’s THE GIVER sitting on my shoulder. (I love that book and only recently learned it’s now a quartet! To the TBR pile!)


Agents often make comparisons when pitching a book to a publisher. Was that the case for Touching the Surface? If so, can you share with us what books yours was compared to?

When I was on submission my book was compared to IF I STAY by Gayle Forman and BEFORE I FALL by Lauren Oliver. It’s an honor to have my book in the company of theirs. The wonderful thing about comparable books is that even though each one tells a very different story, it helps you to find an audience that has a proclivity to your type of writing. I’ve read both of these books and absolutely loved them. (I was going to mention Before I Fall, myself. Glad to know I wasn’t far off with the connection.)


What first drew you to Touching the Surface, the story or the characters?

They developed in tandem. That seems to be the way I like to write—characters on one side of the scale and plot on the other side. I can only start writing when they both have enough weight and balance.


I’ve alluded to this above, but will there be more to the story after Touching the Surface? If so, can you tell us anything about it (other than the title) such as what direction the story goes?

For all intents and purposes—no. There is a possibility of a companion book or two, but there won’t be clear continuation of Elliot’s story. When you get to the end of SURFACE I think you’ll understand why—even though you may want one.


What is the POV of Touching the Surface? If you could write more to the story from a different character’s perspective, who would you pick to write about (you may pick more than one) and why?

SURFACE is Elliot’s story and I could never have written it another way. She is the one who whispered it in my ear. (That gave me goose bumps. I love that!)


I understand there is a triangle of sorts in Touching the Surface. Sometimes, love triangles are overused or exploited, especially in YA. What makes Touching the Surface different and what can you tell us about these two boys and the excruciating choice Elliot must make between them?

Triangles can be over used, but in my opinion they were over used in my own life, very rarely were there only two people involved in any particular drama. *head thunk* In my humble opinion, they are just a form of tension and they can be well written or poorly written. I’m hoping mine hits the mark.


Might her choice be apart from both of them entirely? Do you enjoy “torturing” your readers?

Never for the sake of torture. What happens, happens because it’s what the story calls for. And don’t think I’m giving you any secrets to spill LOL! (Drat! Foiled again.)


I hope I’m not being unreasonably hard on you. I’m sure you’ll be able to answer these questions quite well. I’ve read a few of your other interviews.


What are your typical writing habits when coming up with new ideas for stories? Do you research? Write a few rough scenes? Play with dialogue or voice? Outline character traits and backstory? Please share a typical writing day.

I incubate ideas for a very long time. I read books that will inspire my brain to think outside the box about the topic I’m contemplating. I also begin to develop picture boards and playlists to help jog the story loose. I don’t outline and typically I’ve been a very slow, methodical first drafter, but I’m going to try to shake myself up with book 3 and draft it for NaNoWriMo this year...while revising book 2...and launching book 1. I'll let you know how that works out ROTFL! (Eeep!)


Where do you see yourself and your writing in 5 years from now? In 10 years? Will your books be movies by then? What else might we get to see from you? Would you switch genres?

This is a little bit daring to say, but what I’d like you to see is an author who has stayed true to herself. I’d like to see a me who has not lost the passion and purpose for her writing, despite the business and social medial side of publishing. I would like to be writing the books that I need to write, regardless of where that takes me. I want to do this until I’m gone, and I believe that the only way to make that happen is to follow my inner compass.


Bonus: would you like to share any ideas for a movie dream cast for Touching the Surface? What about an app or an interactive website/game, etc. could you envision for your stories?
For me, writing a book feels more like crafting a movie for my mind. I’ve collected images that have fed my imagination here on Pinterest, but if someone were making a real movie—I wouldn’t want to inhibit the possibilities. https://pinterest.com/kimsabatini/touching-the-surface/


Thank you very much for taking the time to answer these questions. I’m honored to share this giveaway with your fans and readers.

Thank you so much for having me and for asking such thoughtful question. I can’t wait for you to read TOUCHING THE SURFACE. <3

Kimberly Sabatini is super sweet and ultimately awesome, and not just because she's an author. She is a wonderful human being you should get to know better. You can follow her on her website, her blog, her Facebook, her Twitter, her Goodreads, her Google+, her Tumblr, her LinkedIn, and her Pinterest. Most of all, go get this book and read it and love it. If you enjoy it, please post a review online. Spread the love, people! 
If you'd like to enter the giveaway, use the Rafflecopter entry form below. Some entries require additional steps, such as going to Kimberly's blog and posting a comment, or submitting a poem, artwork, a vlog or sculpture of something related to Touching the Surface. Failure to complete a step after claiming the points for entering will disqualify you from the giveaway. I would rather not see that happen, so keep it fun and be honest. Good Luck to all who Enter.
This giveaway is for US and Canadian residents only. The winner will receive a personalized, signed hardcover copy of Touching the Surface from Kimberly Sabatini herself, who was gracious enough to offer such a deluxe prize for my readers and blog followers. Feel free to acknowledge this below in the comments. By the way, her swag is amazing. So, get to entering already!

Would you like a peek at what the prize might look like? Here's my copy and swag for an idea. Kimberly is such a genuine and giving person. The winner will feel spoiled. Take a look:

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UPDATE: Winners have been selected and notified. Two of you have submitted poems for the additional 25 point entry, and not only has Kimberly received them, but she described them as "Amazing!"

In fact, one of the two ladies is our grand prize winner of the Personalized, Autographed Hardcover Copy of TOUCHING THE SURFACE. This will be sent directly from Kimberly Sabatini herself, and is already in the works. Congratulations to Alyssa!

A second surprise prize of a hardcover copy of TOUCHING THE SURFACE with an autographed bookmark will be sent out shortly. Congratulations to Vivien!

Finally, a third surprise prize of a signed bookmark of TOUCHING THE SURFACE swag will be sent shortly. Congratulations to Alicia!

To the rest of you, a hearty thank you for your entries. I hope you'll get a copy of TOUCHING THE SURFACE and post your reviews online. Thank you so much for your excitement over Kimberly's debut and I know she appreciates each and every one of you for your interest and your kind words. Feel free to chat with her on Twitter or Facebook. Look for the links on this blog post. Also, come back soon for a review of TOUCHING THE SURFACE and a giveaway or two in the next month.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway