Sarah Pekkanen. The interview

After The opposite of me, the author is back on MRS to talk about her last book, Skipping a beat!

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Courtesy of Piemme Editore
Present and past are connected together to give structure to the story. How past influences the present and how present helps Julia to understand the past?
Skipping a Beat opens with a crisis: My main character, Julia, who is married to a very wealthy man, must decide if she should stay with her husband or leave him. As she tries to sort through her decision, she looks back at the moments, both big and small, that shaped their marriage – which helps her understand why her marriage has become so troubled. Then Julia, who is only in her 30s, needs to decide if her marriage is worth saving, or if she should start over again, alone.
Can you describe in a few lines Julia’s evolution?
Julia grew up very poor, in a broken family, and her father was addicted to gambling. So Julia equates money with love, and feels that without financial security, she has nothing. Money becomes so important to her that she is willing to compromise and stay in an unhappy marriage in order to stay wealthy – until the day when she needs to reevaluate her life, and marriage, and decide what truly makes her happy.
 Why do you think Julia and Michael ended up losing each other?
Their lives got so busy, and they lost touch with the most important thing – their love for one another. They stopped communicating, and grew very distant. When couples stop talking, that’s the first sign of trouble, as it was for Julia and Michael.
How are the two helping the story to develop?
Books are boring if characters stay exactly the same, aren’t they? I love putting my characters into all sorts of trouble and difficult situations and seeing how they grow and change and emerge stronger and wiser. And Julia and Michael were, for me, such interesting people. They began with nothing, and ended up with everything – except for love.
How much of yourself is in this book?
I never experienced the things Julia and Michael did in this book, but I know that in every marriage, there are good times and bad times – and it takes work on both sides to keep things strong.

What you like and hate of every single character?
I like characters who are funny and open and kind – and I hate characters who are cruel. For me, I get angry at those characters almost as if they’re people, even though I created them!
What did inspire you?
My own parents have been married 50 years, but when you ask my father how long they’ve been married, he says, “For 45 wonderful years… and three so-so years… and two really awful years!” I love that idea, that there are bad times mixed in with the good, but working through them can make you stronger. My parents are happier today than they have ever been.
Next project?
I’m thrilled to say that I just signed a new 3-book deal with my publisher. My next novel, THESE GIRLS, tells the story of three very different young women who become roommates in New York City. It’ll be published in the U.S. on April 10, 2012 – and hopefully in Italy soon as well!

The official web site:
Tag:  Single? No Grazie!, Sarah Pekkanen, Piemme, matrimonio, imprevisto, amore eterno, Skipping a beat


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