Sarahlyn and I are both members of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) but only met in person at the Collingswood Book Festival in 2018. We were introduced by another WFWA member and friend, Jennifer Klepper, and we’ve managed to keep up with each other ever since.
A little about Sarahlyn:
She’s the author of Daytime Drama (released TODAY!) and her debut, Designer You (2018), which won the 2019 Indie Star Book Award and was included on the 2018 “35 Over 35” list.
Sarahlyn grew up in the Bay Area and spent a great deal of time in Southern California, where she attended college before moving to West Hollywood. The years of living and working in LA gave Sarahlyn a taste for the fun, fast, ambitious, and creative people in the entertainment industry.
When Sarahlyn and her family moved to Philadelphia in the summer of 2007, she fell in love with the east coast feeling of being close to the center of politics and culture, but she never forgot or lost her affection for the buzz of the entertainment industry. Her latest novel, Daytime Drama, was born of that love and the cold Philadelphia winter.
When she’s not writing novels, Sarahlyn teaches writing and literature at a local community college. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband, daughter, and cockapoo.
Needless to say, I was a fan of Sarahlyn’s first novel, Designer You, and I had the opportunity to read Daytime Drama several weeks ago. You all are in for a treat!
BC: We want to know all about you, the author. When did you know you wanted to be a writer, and how did you learn?
SB: I can’t think of a time that I haven’t been writing, but I am definitely not self-taught. Since grade school, I’ve soaked up lessons on all sorts of writing—academic, creative, nonfiction—and sort of cobbled together the knowledge I’ve gathered and eventually found my voice. So much of my time has been spent writing in the academic world, but I switched my focus to fiction over the last fifteen or so years and never looked back. And even though I have a lot of experience as a writer and now as a writing professor, I’ve taken quite a number of courses on learning the craft of fiction. I always have so much to learn, which is a big reason I get so much out of it.
BC: Designer You is your first published book. Is it the first book you’ve written?
SB: No way. The first novel I wrote is what I like to think of as my “learning novel.” I chipped away at the thing for years and even got into Pitch Wars with it. And it went nowhere and now collects dust on my hard drive. But I don’t see it as a total failure. I learned how to write a novel and then sold the next one I wrote.
BC: Tell me a little about your process.
SB: I’m a total plotter. I love an outline. I outline before I sit down to write, and I outline throughout. I outline when I get stuck, and I outline when I’m ready to edit. Some may say all the outlining is overkill, but it works for me.
BC: How do you find the time to write with a job and a family?
SB: I’m really lucky because so much of my work I can do from home. And my job is teaching writing, so my brain doesn’t have to do the mental gymnastics that someone who writes and works in real estate or as a bank teller does. That being said, time is a limited resource, and I don’t always get to write when I want. When my daughter was little, I’d get up at 5:00 and write for an hour or two before she awakened and started her day. I’ve also gotten a lot of writing done sitting in my car at her soccer practices.
BC: Are you a morning or evening writer?
SB: I’m at my best and most functional in the morning, but I’ve found I’m really a get-the-writing-done-whenever-you-can kind of writer.
BC: Let’s talk about your new book – Daytime Drama: I loved the premise! Where did you come up with the idea?
SB: During winter of 2017, I was freezing as usual and sort of pining for Los Angeles, where we lived before moving to Philadelphia. In LA. It feels like May pretty much year-round, so I thought I’d at least like to be there in my head, if not in my body. Also, I wanted to write about something fun, and when we were in LA, my husband worked in the entertainment industry and had a ton of friends who were also part of it. I loved being around so many creative people. So much warmth and fun—that’s how it started.
BC: That sounds wonderful. Now I want to move to LA. How long did Daytime Drama take to write?
SB: A little more than a year.
BC: That’s not long at all! At least in comparison to how long it takes me to write a book. How long did it take from the time you typed THE END until it was published?
SB: Oh goodness, that was another year. I queried on and off, and by summer of 2019, TouchPoint Press made an offer, and I accepted.
BC: Let’s talk about you. What do you do besides write and teach and raise a family?
SB: Well, a LOT less since the start of the pandemic. We used to enjoy traveling to see friends and far-away places. I love watching my daughter play soccer on the weekends. We used to have people over for dinner parties. We liked to go out to eat and see movies in theaters. All that has been off the table for a long time, but like most people, I’ve discovered temporary workarounds. We’re ordering take-out from our favorite restaurants and having family movie nights in our living room. Instead of visiting, I Zoom with my family, who live in California. Right now, I’m super grateful that my flexible work schedule allows me to get outside almost as much as I want. To be healthy and safe is something I’m not taking for granted.
BC: Yes, COVID has changed all of our lives, but I’m happy to see that you’re coping. Tell me something about you that I don’t already know.
SB: Let’s see. You may not know that I love to play soccer. I’ve played on and off since grade school. I played competitively through high school and then took a break about halfway through college. After my daughter was born, I took it up again and continued playing up until I broke my foot summer of 2019. Hoping to get back to it again.
BC: I remember when you broke your foot! Next time I interview you, you will need a different secret. Tell us about your most recent book project.
SB: The book I’m finishing now is set in the world of girls’ and women’s soccer—something I’m pretty familiar with, lol. It’s about an injured professional soccer player who is desperate to get back in the game, but when her father suffers a stroke, she’s forced to return home, and in turn, confront a horrible secret from her past. Revealing the truth will upend her soccer dreams and ruin her relationship with her best friend. But how can she keep their secret knowing what they did?
BC: I read a draft of this book, and I can’t wait to see it out in the world!
You can follow Sarahlyn here:
Social media: FB, IG, and Twitter all use the same handle, @sarahlynbruck. And my website is https://sarahlynbruck.com
Thank you, Barbara! This was a blast.
Thank you, Sarahlyn, and congratulations on your new release, Daytime Drama!