A brief biography of Sarah Addison Allen:
What would you think a small town girl, majored in literature, grew up in appreciation of good food and books can do? What if she was diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer at a young age of 39?
It’s hard to talk about everyone who fits into that mold, but Sarah Addison Allen is an accomplished author with many popular books in fiction.
Sarah Allen was born in Asheville, North Carolina, in the bosom of Blue Ridge Mountains. An Ardent reader (attributes that habit growing up with her journalist father), a connoisseur of good food (picked up from her mother), a realistic girl, an utopian dreamer of heartwarming romance and a literature major — all of which contributes to her writing finesse.
Of course, her college also helped her gain the skills she needed for writing. Apart from the B.A in Literature, she only had to delve into her love for reading, which was an important requirement for her classes. She also picked skills on Grammar, French, news writing, and everything else she needed to get to the bone of a story.
Her first loves and her first exposure to good writing came when she read The Passion by Jeanette Winterson, I Am One of You Forever by Fred Chapppell, Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquirel, A History of the World in Ten and a Half Chapters by Julian Barnes.
Her big break came through in the year 2007 when her first novel — a contemporary tale involving an apple tree and North Carolina womenfolk who tend to it. The novel was “spellbindingly charming”, according to booklist. Titled Garden Spells, the novel made it to the top of Barnes & Noble while also being the New York Times Bestseller.
The only time she had to let go of writing was when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. But that wasn’t stopping Sarah though. She published more bestselling books in five years before she took a break to recover from breast cancer. She then wrote The Girl Who Chased the Moon (2010), The Peach Keeper (2011), The Sugar Queen (2008), and Lost Lake (2014), and some more.
Sarah’s Writing Process
In an Interview with Therese Walsh of WriterUnboxed.com [http://writerunboxed.com/2009/01/09/interview-sarah-addison-allen-part-1/], Sarah describes her writing process as “organic”. She starts with an idea, a general story, and the characters. While some characters appear and disappear, she usually a strong story that supports the cast. Most of the story unfolds as she goes.
While it’s an insecure way for a writer to approach a major task as a mainstream novel, she’s learnt to trust the process.
In fact, the story she ends up with is never the story she starts out with in the first place. Her editing is simultaneous with the writing — at least for the first time — and then she’d go back and edit the manuscript as a whole.
Clearly, Sarah’s books are published at a slower pace than at which her readers eat them all up. What she describes as “magic realism”, her books are all-time favourites for her readers. Sarah doesn’t just know how to turn out a delicious meal, she also cooks up sumptuous stories that her readers can’t get enough of. Her main skill is in dishing up love stories.
Her lifelong love for writing turned her into a daydreamer, and she can’t put a word out if she doesn’t feel it. She did write for the “market” — about things that didn’t mean much to her, about what the “market” wants, and stories that she didn’t care about. All of that showed. She quickly realized that she had to find her own way among the 30 million or so books in print.
She just had to stand out. She did.
Here’s a little about her most recent books:
Lost Lake (2014): Where would you go to heal your soul? If you are lucky, you’d find a place like Suley, Georgia — home to quaint little cottages, lost lakes, and lush greenery. That’s why it was the perfect place for a recently-widowed Kate and her rather eccentric 8-year old daughter Devin to heal.
Kate once spent a memorable childhood summer at the Lost Lake — it was here that she traipsed the greens in frolic; it was here that she almost experienced her almost-first kiss. It was at Lost Lake that she met a boy named Wes, and it was just the kind of place perfect for dreaming.
But all that was years ago, when Kate was a kid. Today, her Aunt Eby wants to sell the property and move on. Does Kate discover that time really stands still at the Lost Lake? Will she able to bring back the Lost Lake to life? Is it really true that there’s no such thing as “lost love” and that love only waits for you to find it back again?
Waking Kate (2013): Waking Kate is a haunting story of a young wife about to witness life-changing events in her life. While waiting for her husband to return home from work, she notices her neighbor returning from his last day of work after 6 decades at Atlanta’s oldest clothing store for men.
He then pulls her in for a cup of coffee and narrates an intriguing tale of love and heartbreak — a story that touches her heart, makes her question her present, and to wonder what the future holds for her. Waking Kate is a tie-in and a lead to Sarah’s (the author) masterpiece that was published in the year 2014.
Her latest book First Frost (2015) is expected this year with a story around the Waverly family in Bascom, North Carolina. The book is about how individual members of the family find themselves welcoming a stranger into their midst and how they are forced to make choices they never had to confront.
The story is about how this stranger affects them, how they struggle to keep their family together, and how they ride the troublesome seasons of change.
Sarah continues to write, enchant, and hold you tight in the grips of her imagination and storytelling. She’ll wring emotions out of your heart. If you haven’t yet, she’ll make you fall in love. Or maybe fall out it.
Her quirky, southern-friend realism will continue to hold her readers’ imagination while delves into her charming self and writing prowess to bring out the best in her. She won’t serve you folksy tales, southern quirks, and stereotypes of any sort.
She’ll continue to serve happiness, love, and hope.
Books and collections in order of publication:
|The Sugar Queen||(2008)|
|The Girl Who Chased the Moon||(2010)|
|The Peach Keeper||(2011)|
Short Story Collections
|The Firefly Dance||(2011)|