Sarah: I always wanted to live in New York City.
Miriam, Sarah’s sister: We called her “the corrupted sister.”
From Bethlehem, Sarah went to Rutgers College. She wanted to major in theater, but her mother told her to study something “more practical.”
Rich Aronson, father: like Economics.
She chose English. Her favorite professor was Dr. Barry Qualls. He taught her how to write a short paper. He made excellent cream puffs. She graduated with honors.
Like many writers, Sarah has had a lot of interesting jobs. After graduating, she taught “Writing from Experience” at Lehigh University. Later, she worked as an aerobics instructor and trainer, before earning a Masters in Physical Therapy from Arcadia College, when it was known as Beaver College. Sarah has always loved watching football. For ten years, she worked in a variety of clinical settings including head and spinal cord rehabilitation.
Sarah: My writing life began in 2000, when I decided to leave physical therapy due to a back injury. I needed to do something else, but I didn’t know what. I looked through Dartmouth College’s employment page. There were plenty of offices that needed help. I hesitated. Maybe I could run for school board. I loved politics.
Rich Aronson: What about something practical?
Sarah: I decided to write. I was a good mom. I had a sense of humor. Really, what else did you need? Cindy Faughnan, Writing Group friend, looking back: When Sarah walked into our writing group, it was obvious that she hadn’t read a middle grade or young adult novel beyond Catcher in the Rye. To be honest, she didn’t know anything about children’s book writing. But she was funny and honest and we only had two members, so I let her stay. Sarah: I joined a writing group and began reading, reading, reading. I attended SCBWI events. I took an online course in writing for kids and submitted manuscripts that now would make me cringe. One editor wrote back. “This is not very good. Write a novel.” Okay, I thought. I’ll try it. I’ve always had a healthy ego. Judy Aronson, mother: A very healthy ego.
Sarah: More writing. More rejections. My writing lacked texture. The dialogue didn’t move the story. My characters were two dimensional. Where was my camera? What were they talking about? Tanya Lee Stone, dear friend: That last novel wasn’t so bad. You just needed to learn a little more. Call me later, okay? Sarah: I went to Vermont College and earned a Masters in Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults. (Let’s hope Vermont never changes its name to Beaver!) While getting my MFA, I worked as the principal of a religious school. Sarah’s advisors: She wrote 2400 pages and four novels in two years!
Sarah’s kids: We are being raised by wolves!
Famous Childhood Expert: Stop complaining! Wolves make excellent parents.
Currently, Sarah lives in Evanston, Illinois, with her husband, Michael, and family. She is so lucky to spend her day either writing or teaching or organizing something for writers or kids. Check out her online classes at www.writers.com. Sarah has also spoken at SCBWI events and was a mentor in residence for the Highlights Whole Novel Workshop. She has never believed in straight lines. Michael, the husband: She has a dark side, too. And an attitude. Head Case was her first novel, but remember, it wasn’t the first novel she wrote. Don’t ask a lot about those other novels. Just assume that doing anything well takes a lot of practice.