Ali: Hello, Sarah! It’s so lovely to meet you. Congrats on the release, and thanks for the chance to talk about Breathing Underwater. Could you take a moment and introduce yourself?
Sarah: Hello hello! Thank you so much for having me, it’s a pleasure! I am originally from Utah, and the oldest of eight kids. I’ve also had some experience living in San Francisco, Seattle, Las Vegas, and DC. I got an MFA in fiction from Brigham Young University and now I’m getting a second MFA in poetry from the University of South Florida in Tampa. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I could first read, and since those days when Ramona and the Pevensies were some of my best childhood friends! My other obsessions are things like David Attenborough documentaries, Broadway music, anything with caramel, Pixar movies, and Colin Firth. I’m excited to share Olivia and Ruth’s journey with you all!
Breathing Underwater’s blurb begins with “Breathing Underwater is a sparkly, moving middle-grade novel from Sarah Allen, and a big-hearted exploration of sisterhood, dreams, and what it means to be there for someone you love.” Tell us more about that, if you would, please!
I started writing this book during a time in my life when so many of my loved ones, best friends and my family, were going through some very hard, tender things, including some serious struggles with mental illness. I was desperate to find a way to help, and the answer to what I could do seemed to be…not much. So I wrote. I wrote about a girl struggling to learn how to help her sister, and learning that loving her and accepting her for who she is really was enough. I learned so much about myself along the way.