I crossed paths with author Sarahlyn Bruck when an author acquaintance mentioned Sarahlyn’s Author Spotlights. I moseyed over to her website and got caught up reading all about the authors she has featured. And when I spied her tagline “writer │ reader │ runner”—three words I would use to describe myself—I knew I had to shine the spotlight on her. And I’m so glad I did. Sarahlyn is an award-winning author whose debut novel, Designer You, won the 2019 Indie Star Book Award. She recently released her second novel, Daytime Drama, and is most likely working on more projects. In addition to writing and reviewing books, Sarahlyn teaches literature and writing, parents, and of course, runs. She’s also in the throes of actively marketing her latest book, so many thanks to Sarahlyn for taking the time to answer my questions.
Sarahlyn: Daytime Drama is lighter in subject matter than Designer You, but they’re both about reinvention and renewal, love and family. My books have been characterized as real, relatable, heart warming, and humorous.
Christina: The media kit for Daytime Drama mentions that the book is a “story about having the guts to reach for the sky.” Was writing and publishing books reaching for the sky? How would you encourage someone to cultivate the guts needed to reach for the sky?
Sarahlyn: Oh sure, every step in the process seemed like reaching for the sky at first. Learning how to write a novel can feel daunting and the publishing world overwhelming and intimidating. But I think the more we chip away at something, our confidence in our abilities grows. I think the best encouragement I’ve received is the age-old advice of “never give up.” Perseverance will get you far as an author. And in life, too.
Christina: As a fellow community college teacher, I’m interested in what drew you to teach at that level as opposed to a four-year university or high school. What lessons have you learned from your students? Do they inform your writing?
Sarahlyn: There are so many things I love about teaching community college students. But I think what got me started thinking that this level was for me was when I first started teaching freshman composition classes as a teaching associate at the university where I earned my master’s. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed teaching at that level because composition is a subject that most college students have to take. I learned to love the process of taking students who might be a little nervous and resistant to taking a writing course—maybe they don’t have as much confidence in their writing as they do in other subjects, or maybe they think the class is stupid or hard. And then over the course of the semester, I get to show them how useful and practical writing is. Not just for college, but for their careers and real lives.
Christina: You feature your own Author Spotlights that connect you with other authors. What about connection in the writing community is so important? What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from another author?
Sarahlyn: I love showcasing authors every week on my website. I think it’s a fun way to show support and get the word out about authors and their work. I also learn a lot about the evolution of the publishing industry. Especially now that we’re doing so much promotion online—things have changed really fast and it’s fascinating to watch how other authors navigate the landscape.
Christina: The tagline on your website says, “writer │ reader │ runner.” Which practice is the most important to you? Do you reap different rewards from each activity, or do those rewards overlap?
Sarahlyn: There’s definitely a lot of overlap. I get so much writing done when I’m running. It’s funny how movement can loosen up the brain and help to solve a problematic plot point or clarify a fuzzy character motivation or something. There’s something about movement and fresh air that helps get things to click for me. And of course reading is directly linked to writing. I’m a reader first—I wouldn’t have been a writer if I hadn’t fallen so hard for reading. But often I’ll read books as both a reader and writer. I love to see how other authors shape a story, like an inside peek into their process.
Christina: What does literary success mean to you?
Sarahlyn: I want to improve as a novelist and continue to write books and publish. I think as long as I continue to grow and evolve—and find the joy—in the process, I’ll consider myself pretty successful!
Thanks to Sarahlyn for agreeing to this interview! If you know of an author who’d like to be featured in an interview (or you are an author who would like to be featured), feel free to leave a comment or email me via my contact page.