After reading Watch Over Me, I was desperate to read more about Daniela Sacerdoti, so I hounded her for an interview. If you want to read my review of Watch Over Me, then please read the post below. So here is Daniela Sacerdoti telling us about her big break into publishing.
Firstly, can I thank you for joining me today on my blog.
Thank you so much for having me!
Watch Over Me is a rather poignant read, was it quite emotional to write it? Emotional, yes, but not sad at all. Actually, I found the whole experience very cathartic, and ultimately uplifting. I was recently asked the same question in a radio interview, whether the themes of the story made the writing quite heavy going, but that wasn’t the case at all.
Where did you get your inspiration for Watch Over Me?
The inspiration for Watch Over Me came from a dream I had in extraordinary detail: I was kneeling on a wooden floor in a stately home, and from the window I could see green fields and a few trees. I was wearing a brown skirt, and those flesh-coloured tights that were fashionable in the seventies, which made me feel I was sort of back in time. I knew, in the way you ‘know’ in dreams, that I was in the Highlands of Scotland, that there was an older couple in the room, a lord and a lady, and that my name was Elizabeth. The snapshot finished with a little blond boy running in my arms, and me holding him tight. I woke up with a sense of loss, and nostalgia, and profoundly touched. That’s when the character of Elizabeth was born, and of course, her son, the little blond boy – grown up to become dark-haired Jamie. I’ve often wondered since then what that dream meant – I know it was probably some reworking of a scene I’d seen, or some story I’d heard – but it made me once again wonder if it actually was a memory of somebody else’s life drifting in my consciousness somehow, like a message; or a memory of a past life of mine. I suppose I’ll never know, but I can still see that dream so clearly, as if I’d had it yesterday.
What research did you carry out before writing the book?
None, it came all from inside me. And I know Glen Avich, I grew up in it! Glen Avich is really Caravino, a little village in the Italian Alps.
How long had you dreamt of being published before you got that life changing call?
All my life I suppose, but I never thought it would happen, and I hadn’t submitted anywhere before. I wasn’t even sure about submitting Watch Over Me, I still wonder what would have happened had I not submitted it. If I would have become a writer somehow, all the same.
What was your first reaction when you found out that your book was to be published?
I found out just after having gone through the worst experience of my life, the loss of a baby in advanced pregnancy, so it was a lifeline really. I threw myself into writing and it got me over the worse.
How many rejection letters did you get before it was accepted?
For Watch Over Me I think about five or six. More were to follow,for my YA, Sarah Midnight. I think that stubbornness is the virtue of the writer, that’s for sure!
How long did it take for your book to reach publication after the initial agreement?
How did you keep yourself occupied as you waited for publication day?
Keeping myself occupied is never a problem! I have two young children who take care of that! Also, during those months of waiting I wrote a lot. Between being told I was going to be published and the publication date, I was shortlisted for a children’s writing prize, I secured a contract for the Sarah Midnight trilogy, I was told that the shortlisted children’s book was going to be published AND I landed a brilliant agent, Lindsey Fraser at Fraser Ross Associates. It was a pretty busy year!
How did you celebrate on publication day?
The plan was a special dinner with just the family, but the boys kept getting ill so it was a bit of an anti-climax! But we got away for a weekend in Dublin for a first novel celebration/wedding anniversary present, so it was all good!
How supportive have your family and friends been during your publication journey?
My friends didn’t know, I made up a translating job to justify refusing coffees and play dates…Once I’d told them, they were all very happy for me. As for my family, they’re the best: my husband
is very supportive, my in-laws help with the children, and my boys put up with Mummy being very busy.
What are you working on now?
I’m editing The Really Weird Removals Company, a children’s book out with Floris Books in Autumn 2012, and writing Tide, the second volume of the Sarah Midnight Trilogy. The first volume of the trilogy, Dreams, is out next May.
Do you write full time now?
No, I write part time and look after my children full time, which, like the writer Rebecca Brown said, makes me one and a half person!
Tell us what a typical writing day would be like?
What advice would you give to aspiring and unpublished authors?
To be very, very, very determined. Rejection is part and parcel of the process, so you need to learn to ignore it and move on. To work extremely hard and push yourself out of your comfort zone.
And to fight for your time to write, because it might well happen that the people around you won’t give it to you quite so willingly. To believe in yourself, but if you can’t, to look for someone who believes in you. Oh, and a practical suggestion: find an agent. A good agent is pure gold, like I’m finding out these days!
Thank you Daniela for taking the time to come on the blog today. It sounds like a really busy household!
To find out more about Daniela Sacerdoti: