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20 QUESTIONS WITH: Sarah Pekkanen author of Skipping a Beat

20 Questions with Sarah Pekkanen, author of Skipping a Beat and The Opposite of Me

About Sarah
Sarah Pekkanen is born in New York City, arriving so quickly that doctors have no time to give her mother painkillers. This is the last time Sarah ever arrives for anything earlier than expected. Her mother still harbors a slight grudge.
Sarah’s family moves to Bethesda, Maryland, where Sarah, along with a co-author, writes a book entitled “Miscellaneous Tales and Poems.” Shockingly, publishers do not leap upon this literary masterpiece. Sarah sends a sternly-worded letter to publishers asking them to respond to her manuscript. Sarah no longer favors Raggedy Ann stationery, although she is sure it impressed top New York publishers.

1.      Bookmarks or dog ears?
Dog ears. I have some cute bookmarks and should use them, though!

2.      Dust jacket on or off when reading a hard back?
Usually off, so it doesn’t slip down and get crumpled. Though since I dog-ear the pages, I shouldn’t really mind about a wrinkled dust jacket, don’t you think?

3.      Favorite author?
Jennifer Weiner! I’ve loved every word she has written since “Good In Bed,” her first book. When I learned her editor wanted to buy my novel, I screamed so loudly I probably caused temporary hearing loss for my agent!

4.      Favorite genre’?
Women’s fiction – I love novels with rich plots that wrap important questions into a juicy, compelling read.

5.      What is the best book you have read in the last year?
Oh, that’s a tough one. Impossible to pick just one! But I’d probably have to say “Unbroken,” a non-fiction book written by my high school classmate and dear friend Laura Hillenbrand. She also wrote the wonderful book “Seabiscuit.”

6.      What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
Hmm… well, the selfish answer would probably be Skipping a Beat!

7.      E books:  Friend or foe?
Friend for sure. I have a little Kindle app on my iPhone and I love being able to always have a book with me. It has saved me during many long lines or deadlocked traffic jams. In fact, on New Year’s Eve we were at a party with kids and adults. My two-year-old needed a break from the chaos, so we went into a quiet room and while he played with trains, I read a bit on my iPhone.

8.      Was there a book that inspired you to write?
I used to adore reading Nancy Drew novels when I was a kid, and I began writing books as a child too. I vividly remember my novel “The Lost Gold” which was definitely inspired by the Nancy Drew series.

9.      What are you reading right now?
I review books for The Washington Post and just finished a terrific book called Fated, which was so imaginative. Of course I gave it a great review!

10.     What is the last book you bought just for the cover?
 I’m a sucker for beachy covers… Elin Hildebrand always has these lush, sandy covers that draw me in. Her latest was “The Island” and I loved it.

11.     What is the last book you received in the mail?
I just got a copy of “The Weird Sisters” by Eleanor Brown. One of the coolest things about  my job is that now I’m getting books for free – my publisher sends lots to me, and other authors ask me for blurbs. So my nightstand is stocked, and I’m very happy!

12.     What is the number of books you own?
I give away lots of books, so I probably only have a couple of hundred around the house.

13.     What is the first book you remember reading by yourself as a child?
The Nancy Drew series. As I mentioned, I devoured those! I still have the set in my basement, and a couple of years ago, my niece borrowed one of them. A note I’d written long ago on Raggedy Ann stationery slipped out from the pages. It was a letter I’d written to a publisher, asking if my book titled “Miscellaneous Tales and Poems” was going to be published. I cherish that long-ago note, and bring it with me every time I have meetings in New York. It’s sort of my good-luck charm, and a reminder that dreams do come true.

14.     Do you have a favorite place to read?
Anywhere and everywhere! In bed is probably the best place, though, with a cup of tea beside me and my rescue Lab, Bella, hogging the covers.

15.     What is next for you, publishing-wise?
My second book, Skipping A Beat, will be out February 22. I’m thrilled to say it has been endorsed by the fabulous Emily Giffin, who called it “Original, soulful, and engaging.” And it just won a starred review from Library Journal. I care much more about what readers think than what professional reviewers say, but I have to admit that starred review made me teary.

16.     Do you have a favorite place to write?
I try to be flexible because I have three young kids and I need to write around their schedule. I actually wrote part of my first book, The Opposite  of Me, in Chuck E Cheese! I’m used to working in loud places, since I was a newspaper reporter before having kids, so background noise is normal for me.

17.     Do you have any pets ?
Bella (the covers hog) and we have two little frogs. I’m a big dog lover – I had four pugs while growing up and I can’t imagine not having a dog in my house.

18.    How does your garden grow?
With chocolate and hugs from my kids and books, books and more books!

 19.  The last thing you Googled?
Diet pill addiction – it’s something that will show up in my next book.
20.     What makes you cringe?
When I say something stupid! I’m a Sagittarius, and apparently we’re known for putting our foots in our mouths! So it isn’t really my fault – I can blame my astrological sign ;)

Thanks so much for having me here today! I would love to chat with you all on Facebook, and if you’d like to pop by my website at, I’d love that too!  

Thanks so much for stopping by BookHounds, Sarah!  I really enjoyed your answers!

Don't forget to pick up Sarah's books, The Opposite of Me and Skipping a Beat.
Visit her website at
Like her on Facebook HERE
Follow her on Twitter HERE



  1. Great interview! I really love that she can write everywhere, even at Chuck E. Cheese.

  2. You've done it again! Another wonderful 20 questions with an author I wish lived next door! My own daughter entered the world much like Sarah did! I'm a Saggitarius too, and can relate to some of the foibles of the sign. I look forward to reading Skipping a Beat and keeping an eye out for more titles from her!


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