Saturday, April 29, 2006

Let's Get Lost - excerpt

I'm behind schedule on my writing, which means I've had to cancel all my plans for the weekend. So instead of a post telling you all of my thrilling adventures in typing, I thought I'd let you read this extract that was cut from the final version of Let's Get Lost. It came in at 20,000 words over, so a lot had to go.

This was a scene with Isabel and her clueless guidance consellor. Hope you enjoy it, even if you haven't read the book yet!

Only two things got me through Friday: Smith's unfeigned delight when I told him that I'd engineered a whole weekend together and the holdall I had stuffed in my locker which contained everything I needed to maintain his delight.

It even got me through another session with Claire who kept prodding and prodding at me as if I was a sleeping dog she was trying to wake up.

Thankfully she'd abandoned her little scheme to have me spilling my guts and copious tears all over her kilim rug and decided to talk about what a mean, old bully I was.

"You seem to have quite a fierce reputation among your peers, why do you think that is," she asked, gimlet eyes fixed steadily on me. I made a mental note to find out if Lily was seeing her too. "Sometimes when people are in pain, they transfer it on to those around them, don't they, Isabel?"

I crossed my legs and tried to decide whether I should wear my vintage little black dress or my other vintage little black dress when we went up to London tomorrow. It was such a tough decision that I could almost tune out the sound of Claire's voice buzzing vaguely around the periphery of my senses.

"… and you wrote such a beautiful essay about The Great Gatsby. Mrs Phillips told me that you have a very advanced understanding of the themes of the novel for your age. You're not immature, Isabel, quite the contrary, so I'd really like to know your thoughts on your behaviour over the last year. What do you think are the underlying reasons for your problems with socialisation?"

I blinked at her. Maybe the silent thing was getting old. And maybe I could befuddle her with some dense psychobabble. Because one thing was for sure, she didn't want to know the truth.

"I guess…" I began uncertainly and she leaned forward with an obscenely eager expression.

"Yes, Isabel?"

"Well, it's like in The Great Gatsby when Nick idealises Daisy as this perfect woman and she isn't. And she didn't ask for it, but she takes advantage of his love all the same. Nobody ever knows what someone else is like. Not really. They just end up projecting all this crap onto the other person, you know?"

Claire was staring at me blankly and it was pretty obvious that she didn't know. She was the Grand Pooba of cluelessness.

"I see," she said, nodding frantically and I stared at the box of tissues and wondered if I could get her to cry. It would be my greatest triumph.

"I don't mean to be rude, but have you actually read The Great Gatsby?"

That stopped her in her tracks. She fingered her spectacles chain and licked her thin lips nervously. "Well, many years ago. Or was that The Fountainhead?"

"The Fountainhead is by Ayn Rand, F Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby," I told her kindly. "They're two completely different books. Gatsby's about the death of the American dream and The Fountainhead is about the theory of objectivism and the strength of the individual. They couldn't be more different," I finished scathingly and I'd missed this.

Before, Dad would pick out novels for me to read, then he'd take me out to Mrs Hudson's on Sydney Street for apple pie and we'd discuss each book in detail. But it had stopped, after Mrs Cohen got all antsy that I was developing too far ahead of the curriculum because God forbid that I should actually be bored in class because I'd read the set text three times before and debated it with a Professor of Literature. And Mrs Hudson's had the best apple pie.

"Goodness, Isabel, you can be quite strident," Claire breathed. "Are you this forceful with your friends? Maybe if you were a little gentler with your opinions, then people would be less intimidated by you."

I think it was that patronising little speech that made me swear a solemn vow that I'd have her crying like a little baby before the end of term.

"Really? Do I come across as intimidating? How weird. Am I intimidating you, Claire? 'Cause if I am, I'm very sorry."

She gave a nervous laugh. "No, of course not. It's lovely to have you participating in the session."


"Why what, Isabel?"

"Why is it lovely to have me participating in the session?" It was a fair question because it wasn't lovely for me. It ranked somewhere below rectal surgery.

It was a totally moot point, which one of us was more relieved when the final bell sounded.

"4 o'clock already?" Claire cried, scooping up her papers and almost falling over her Earth shoes in her haste to put as much distance between us as possible. "Have a wonderful weekend. I'll see you next Friday."

I stayed sitting down long enough for her to start getting this haunted look at the possibility that I might want to stay and chat, before I slowly uncoiled myself out of the chair. Then I sauntered towards the door, taking my sweet time about it and it wasn't until I closed the door behind me that I let myself break into a mad sprint so I could throw my books into my locker, grab my bag and get the hell out of Dodge before The Trio Of Doom caught up with me.

Cross-posted to

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Yes, Lloyd, I'm so ready to be heartbroken...

It's gloriously sunny in London Town. All the windows are open, the first application of Nivea Holiday Sun Body Lotion has gone on to my translucent legs and maybe winter is finally over.

Alas, I spend most of my days chained to my temperamental Mac banging out between 1000 to 3500 words a day, depending on how motivated I can be. I'm now over the halfway hump on the first book of my new series and learning lots og fun facts about the fall of Communism in the former Soviet Union. I can say no more!

What I will say is that I recently did an interview with the Young Scotsman, which you can find here and that you all have to go and download this song because it's adorable.

Oh yes, and the new issue of ELLE UK? The one with Paris Hilton on the cover? I actually went to LA to meet Ms Hilton and write that piece, so you might want to check it out.

Now I'm turning off the computer and going to spend the rest of the weekend hanging with my friends who are starting to think that I've fallen off the edge of the world. So, see you next week.

And remember to wear sun block!


Sarra x

(Cross-posted to

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Every day I write the book...

Happy Easter/Happy Passover Ladies

Though actually I never understood the concept behind Jesus is risen so let's all go and eat eggs made of chocolate. It could be because I'm Jewish or it could be that I don't eat anything made of chocolate, but I just don't understand the connection.

So, I'm slightly mopey on this Sunday afternoon because I have a Pilates-related injury and can't see a blessed thing. I wear these strange contact lenses at night so I can see during the day but lately they've been giving me all kinds of grief. Apparently, I have a problem with my tears. Not the quantity, you understand, as I can weep during a particularly traumatic episode of The OC, but the quality of my tears is shoddy and sub-standard. Hence, Sahara-dry eyes and problems with my special lenses.

I have just completed a gargantuan project to turn the 25,000 words already written of the first book in my new series from the first person to the third person. It might comfort aspiring writers to know that I still suck when it comes to the basic rules of grammar. Tenses confuse me. Like a lot. And I have a post-it note stuck to my computer to remind me of the difference between 'who's' and 'whose'. Today I even got an email from a friend explaining the different between 'she' and 'her'. But I am really good with spelling so I guess it all balances out.

Thanks for all your comments, especially my new friends from My Space. Thanks also for your book recs. I saw Sugar Rush and it was better than the book, which wasn't saying that much and I don't do fantasy, though I met David Almond once and he was a lovely bloke who bought me a drink. At the moment, I have a teetering two piles of books that I'm planning to read. A lot of them are teen titles that I bought as far back as September when I was last in New York, but I never read teen fiction while I'm writing as I'm too aware that I get influenced very easily.

What else? No, no sequels to anything. I do say this every time, but it doesn't seem to be registering. I write a book, tell the story and that's it. Done. Dusted. I'm incredibly flattered that you enjoy the books so much that you want more, but I have so many ideas in my head and I'm rather create new characters and worlds, than revisit old ones. And for advice on writing, it's worth going to and scrolling back through the archive.

One final thing. beyourowngirl, this is your last call! You were the joint winner of the movie cast contest but if you don't leave your email addy in the next week, then you've had it! PennyLane someone from my publisher will be contacting you to get your snailmail addy so they can send on the Let's Get Lost vest.

I hope I don't sound too cranky in this post. Maybe the not eating chocolate is getting to me…


Sarra x

Cross-posted to

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

There's too much love...

Just eating a late lunch and drinking a glass of Welch's grape juice, which has this really gross undertaste of scented erasers. Ick!

Not much to report really. I'm hard at work on the first book in my new four-volume series, which will be published next year and the year after! I'm averaging about 3000 words a day at the moment, which is kinda lame for me but I do faff about a lot on MySpace and sending stupid emails to 6 Music. I'm distracto girl!

I would like to thank everyone who's left comments on blogspot and My Space. It's probably worth repeating to any newcomers that there are NO plans to write sequels to Diary Of A Crush, Guitar Girl or any of my other books. What you've got is what you're going to get, I'm afraid. I'm also quite amused by the reviews for Guitar Girl on that are obsessing about how the book was based on the Sex Pistols, or No Doubt or Babes In Toyland. To which I have to officially say, not even! I was a music journalist for three years and Molly's story is the classic story of any wide-eyed kid that gets thrown into the music industry too far and too fast. Yes, it's easy to read the book and then find a real-life person in a band and draw paralells (hmmm, that's not spelt right) because evil managers and screwed up relationships with other band members and the like happens all the time. Sorry for the rant, but I'm always upfront about my influences and inspirations, and those reviews have really been bugging me.

So because all I do all day is write and not actually have a life, I thought I'd post about a few things I'm into at the moment.

I'm reading...

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

He's such a funny writer and this is the perfect book to read before I snuggle down for the night.

Cooking With Fernet Branca by James somebody or other

I had to read this for my book group and it's awful. Easily on my top three list of worst books I've ever had to read. It has all these reviews on the back about how funny it is. But they lie. Boy, how they do lie!

Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld

When I was in the States, I did my usual trip to Borders to stock up on interesting looking books - usually teen stuff and books about hipsters who dress really well while they try to find themselves. I picked this up and can't wait to read it.

The Nightwatch by Sarah Waters

I love her books, even though I couldn't finish Affinity because I got too scared.

I'm listening to...

Belle And Sebastian

Mainly because I'm always listening to Belle And Sebastian and their new single is out this week.

My new work-out playlist

Which is all the really fast bits from the last Go!Team and Goldfrapp albums.

The Essex Green - The Cannibal Sea

I heart this band. Gorgeous vocals and they're a little bit country, a little bit rock 'n' roll, a little bit magical.

The Priscillas

One of my best friends is in this band (in fact, she's cooking me dinner tonight before she tries to kick my arse in Scrabble.) They have really big hair and they rock. No, my mistake, THEY ROCK!!!!!!!!

I'm watching...

The OC

I'm mid-way through a big project to re-watch every single episode of The O.C because OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seth + Summer 4EVA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


But I might have to give it up because I really do get too frightened . I should probably point out that I'm the most fraidy person in the world. Even a car back-firing in the street sends me into conniptions.

America's Next Top Model

This is my total TV crack. I love this show so much that if it wasn't completely illegal I'd be downloading the newly airing US series off the interpipe. Not that I am because it would be wrong. But, hey, if I was - what is Jade's problem? Qu'elle une bitch!

Veronica Mars

She's my second favourite, tiny blonde ass-kicker after Buffy.

And now I need to get back to my contractually obligated 3000 words. I'm still waiting for the other competition winner (that movie cast promo I ran) to leave me her email. I can't remember your name, but hey, step to it!

This grape juice really is disgusting...

Live on


(cross-posted to