From Back Cover:
The singles ward is the last place Abish wants to be. But after the unexpected death of her husband (and after being kicked out of her mom’s place), she has to move into single-student housing to finish up her schooling. Maybe training for a marathon and winning the heart of the handsome executive secretary are exactly what Abish needs to get a personal best.
I LOVED this book. I could not put it down.
I've been in kind of a reading slump lately--where the last 4 or 5 books I've picked up, I either stopped reading about -way through, or finished them but was left feeling "meh."
When I started reading Mile 21, I had no idea what it was about, but it immediately suckered me in. It is so emotional and heart-wrenching and I had to see what happened to Abish. The back cover blurb makes it sound more romancy than it is. I wouldn't necessarily call this a romance... more an LDS women's fic with a strong romantic subplot, because ultimately, this book is not about the love story with Abish and Bob, it's about whether or not Abish will finally find healing in the end.
I love a good healing story. So, so much. This book was right up my alley. I cried for so much of it--but I didn't feel trashed at the end. Kind of cleansed. Do you ever feel like you just need a good cry? The day I picked this up, I was having a hard day, I cried for Abish, and I set the book down and felt happier--like I'd needed this emotional purging and this book gave me the outlet to do it.
Would I recommend it? Yes. Already have and I know of one person who has bought and read it off my recommendation and really liked it.
Kaylee: Where did the idea for this story come from?
Sarah: Well, I have gone through some difficulty in my life. At one point I was pretty stressed out trying to manage everything expected of me in the aftermath of some pretty intense events that lead to me being a single parent, full-time employee and student at the same time. Let me just say, I was not always the most friendly or normal person to be around! I look back on that time with regret, but at the same time, cannot think how I'd change anything. Sometimes people just have stress and do the best they can, and need some slack as they work on recovering. So part of the reason I wrote this book was to give people a glimpse into the mind of someone who has dealt with unimaginable tragedy & isn't coping too well. I feel like we need to see each others' pain a little so we can understand and appreciate each other better. I also love the process of healing, and I feltl like experiencing a healing process along with my main character, Abish, would be an inspiring thing for people.
Tell me a little about your writing process. (Are you an outliner/pantster/hybrid, how long does a ms take you, do you edit as you go or plunk out a first draft then go back and edit)
I outline, and then my characters take over sometimes and I re-outline, and then I go back and cut out large chunks of the first third of my story and re-outline... I guess you could say I let my story grow but I have a general direction I want it to be. But sometimes that changes, and I go back and figure out what that means by planning again. So definitely a hybrid.
Are you a part of a critique group? If so, how does your group work.
I am, though I have not been able to attend regularly for the past several months, which I am very sad about. They are an amazing group of people with a lot of knowledge about different types of writing and style. I have become a much better writer, having associated with them. Sorry, I'm gushing. I just love my critique group. We all bring 7 pages/10 minutes of material, read our own & pass out copies for others to mark up. Then each person will take a moment or two to say what they like & what they feel could be improved.
4) Are you planning any sequels? Are you working on a new book right now? If so, what genre?
Yes. I am writing a sequel to Lightning Tree right now. That's historical fiction. I've considered taking some of the characters from this story, Mile 21, and following up with sequels about them eventually as well.
What are some of your favorite books?
I love children's fantasy literature. Joan Aiken, the Wolves of Willoughby Chase, Madeleine L'Engle. I also love Elizabeth Peters. She writes such strong, interesting, and hilarious female characters. I tend to be drawn to books with a strong flavor, or great character development. I also love Harry Potter.
Tell me about your first book.
It's a story about a French-Italian girl who traveled from Italy with her family to join the Saints in Utah after their conversion. The parents die on the trail, and she & her sister are adopted by an American family. The story comes into play four years after their deaths, when she finds a secret that makes her doubt and fear her foster family. There is a lot of historical background--the Mountain Meadows Massacre, being the main thing. It's a historical mystery story.
Thanks for letting me read it!