Tales Q&A with Sara Barnard
Following a brilliant #MKBParty weekend a couple of weeks ago I was thrilled to find that Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard was one of the featured books in the party packs that were sent out all around the country.
You can find out more about #MKBParty here
I absolutely adored Beautiful Broken Things and it’s been brilliant to see how much the book has grown since it’s release in February 2016 and following the book being part of the first ever #ZoellaBookClub this year too!
I have been lucky enough to have put some questions to the lovely Sara Barnard about Beautiful Broken Things, writing and her next book A Quiet Kind Of Thunder…..
Best friends Caddy and Rosie are inseparable. Their differences have brought them closer, but as she turns sixteen Caddy begins to wish she could be a bit more like Rosie – confident, funny and interesting. Then Suzanne comes into their lives: beautiful, damaged, exciting and mysterious, and things get a whole lot more complicated. As Suzanne’s past is revealed and her present begins to unravel, Caddy begins to see how much fun a little trouble can be. But the course of both friendship and recovery is rougher than either girl realizes, and Caddy is about to learn that downward spirals have a momentum of their own.
Welcome to Tales Of Yesterday. I’m so happy to have you here! I hosted a brilliant #MKBParty last week and I was so happy that Beautiful Broken Things was one of the books featured. I’m a huge fan.
For those who don’t know can you tell us a little about Beautiful Broken Things?
It’s a story about teenage girls, friendship and emotional trauma. It’s a love story without a romance, and it’s about how other people can surprise you, and how you can surprise yourself.
Can you tell us a little about the main characters in Beautiful Broken Things?
The story is told from the point of view of Caddy, who is a 16-year-old girl who goes to private school and is kind of just plodding along, waiting for her life to start happening. She’s quite insecure about herself and what she has to offer. Rosie is her long-time best friend who goes to a different school and has a bit more life experience. She can be quite blunt and snarky but she’s very loyal and would do anything for her friends, especially Caddy. Suzanne is the new girl in Brighton and she brings with her lots of secrets and emotional baggage. She’s exciting and fun, but she’s struggling to deal with things that have happened in her past and it makes her a bit wild and self-destructive.
Beautiful Broken Things is about friendship was it important to you to represent friendship in all shapes and sizes?
I wanted to represent the friendship between these three girls specifically rather than try and show what all kinds of different friendships are like. Every friendship is unique because we all bring different things to them, which is why it’s particularly interesting to explore the dynamics of three. I wanted to show how intense friendship is during the teenage years, and how fiercely loyal teenage girls are. The three girls are flawed, and sometimes they aren’t all that nice to each other, but they love each other so much.
A few people have said to me that Beautiful Broken Things would be a very different story told from anyone else point of view other than Caddy’s – why did you pick Caddy’s voice to tell the story?
I wanted to explore the aftermath of trauma from a distance and how it affects young people who are still learning who they are. Caddy is essentially the reader meeting Suzanne and getting to know her, but everything she learns about her is filtered, and that’s how it is in life. We only ever see what people want or allow us to see. Suzanne made a lot of choices about how she wanted to be viewed in her new life, so it was much more interesting for me to explore that from Caddy’s naïve and trusting perspective than to give all the answers by being inside Suzanne’s head.
Also, Suzanne’s head is a pretty dark place for a lot of this particular timeline – it would have been a very dark book, and that’s not the tone I wanted for the story I wanted to tell. It needed Caddy’s perspective and optimism.
Did you experiment with any of the other characters point of view / voice?
Sometimes I’d write or imagine a scene from another character’s POV if I was having trouble writing it, as a shift in perspective can often unlock something. But it was always Caddy’s story.
What made you set the story in Brighton?
The most honest answer is that I needed to set the story in a place where there was somewhere for Caddy and Suzanne to go on their midnight walkabouts. I moved to Brighton not long before I started writing it and a lot of things fell into place when I realised that it would be the perfect setting. There are so many interesting places for the characters to go, like the beach and the Pavillion.
Beautiful Broken Things was picked as one of the first #ZoellaBookClubBooks and again for the #MKBParty – was this is exciting? How did you feel when you heard the news?
Yes, it was very exciting! I was over the moon when I heard the news.
What was your favourite scene to write in Beautiful Broken Things?
I wouldn’t say I ever have a favourite scene to write because writing always throws up a challenge, even if it’s a scene I’d been looking forward to getting to. But my favourite scene to read back is when Suzanne turns up at Caddy’s windows with cookies. That whole section is such a turning point in their friendship and it’s all so vivid to me.
What was the most difficult scene to write in Beautiful Broken Things?
The roof scene was tough because it had to be perfect! There was so much going on that was important and it still needed to be tense throughout, and then enough of a shock when The Thing That Happens happens.
Can you tell us a little about your new book out in January 2017, A Quiet Kind Of Thunder?
It’s about a girl called Steffi who’s been a selective mute for most of her life and what happens when she meets and falls in love with a deaf boy called Rhys.
If you could sum up A Quiet Kind Of Thunder in 5 words what would you choose?
It’s a silent love story 🙂
Beautiful Broken Things was your debut and A Quiet Kind Of Thunder your second book – did the writing process change at all from first to second book?
It did in the sense that I had less time to write the book, and also that I didn’t have a full-time job. I wrote a lot of BBT during my lunch breaks and on my commute, so it felt very different to be able to write all day in my own office – and not always in a good way!
What have you learnt about yourself since becoming a published author?
That the more time I have to be productive, the less productive I am.
What would you like your readers to take away from reading your books?
If they come away feeling something, that is good enough for me!
I know you’re in the throws of writing again at the moment could you tell us a little bit about what you’re writing next?
I can’t I’m afraid! It’s all seekrit 😉
Well I’m sure we all can wait a little longer 😉
Thanks so much for answering all of my questions Sara! Beautiful Broken Things was a stunning debut and I simply cannot wait to read A Quiet Kind Of Thunder!
You can buy Sara’s books here or from your local bookshop
About Sara Barnard
Sara lives in Brighton and does all her best writing on trains. She loves books, book people and book things. She has been writing ever since she was too small to reach the “on” switch on the family Amstrad computer. She gets her love of words from her dad, who made sure she always had books to read and introduced her to the wonders of secondhand book shops at a young age.
Sara is trying to visit every country in Europe, and has managed to reach 13 with her best friend. She has also lived in Canada and worked in India.
Sara is inspired by what-ifs and people. She thinks sad books are good for the soul and happy books lift the heart. She hopes to write lots of books that do both. BEAUTIFUL BROKEN THINGS is her first book and a dream come true.
You can find out more about Sara on her website – www.sarabarnardofficial.com
Or you can follow Sara on twitter – @saramegan
A huge thank you to Sara for answering so many of my questions and to Bea at My Kinda Book for organising for me.
Have you read Beautiful Broken Things? What did you think? Are you excited for A Quiet Kind Of Thunder? What do you like about it? Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !