Another author interview! I have been meaning to put this one up for a while - Savannah Grace talks about her newest book 'Sihpromatum' which is about her travels around the World as a teenager. I thoroughly enjoyed speaking to her and she has very different (but fascinating!) views on life and writing.
Here it is!
1. What is this book about?
“SIHPROMATUM (Sip-row-may-tum) is a memoir series of one family’s four-year backpacking adventure around the world. The first instalment, "I Grew my Boobs in China", is the beginning of an intensely fascinating, sobering, and emotional memoir of Savannah’s introspective and innovative family adventure.
In 2005, 14-year-old Savannah Grace’s world is shattered when her mother unexpectedly announces that she and her family (mother, 45;brother, 25; sister, 17) would soon embark on an incredible,open-ended journey. When everything from her pets to the house she lived in is either sold, given away or put in storage, this naïve teenage girl runs headlong into the reality and hardships of a life on the road.
Built around a startling backdrop of over eighty countries (I Grew my Boobs in China relates the family’s adventures in China and Mongolia),this is a tale of feminine maturation – of Savannah’s metamorphosis from ingénue to woman-of-the-world. Nibbling roasted duck tongues in China and being stranded in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert are just two experiences that contribute to Savannah’s exploration of new cultures and to the process of adapting to the world around her.”
2. How did you find the experience of moving about a lot at such a young age?
In the beginning I was not keen on the whole idea and thus hated it. But as time passed and I began to adapt to the new routine of packing up and moving every other day, I started to have fun. Although it never got any easier, walking miles with a 15kg pack on my back, haggling for prices, waiting hours for buses and trains, it was almost
ALWAYS exciting. Every day I learned something new, had an adventure and experienced something I never had before. Some days I was happy and excited, others I was sad, unmotivated…the normal emotions that tag along with a teenage girl. In the beginning it was hard but it eventually became a normal lifestyle for me. I would say it was even harder at the end of the trip when my life suddenly seemed to come to a stop.
3. What were the things you missed most while leaving behind another place?
I suppose every place had its certain highlights whether it was a particular food, person or people, atmosphere, beauty, weather, but overall it would be the familiarity of a place. When you’re moving around so much from place to place you do yearn for that feeling of recognition. On a few occasions we returned to a city or country and I always loved that. It was the closest feeling to “home” I had in four years. Although I missed these things, every new place we travelled was a highlight, so the missing did not ever last too long. New cultures, new wonderful beautiful places were explored and new, soon-to-be-friends always came into my life. I don’t think that the missing for home (Vancouver, Canada) ever stopped. I missed my favourite foods, my best friend, family, my boyfriend (yes, believe it or not I was fitting a long distance relationship into this whole equation), the comforts of hot water,
reliable electricity, and the simplest things such as ice cubes.
4. Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes and no, it’s kind of hard to say. When I was younger I actually hated reading (probably because I was a
slow reader compared to everyone else in my class) but it was the trip that made me realize how amazing books are and how they can take you away to another world.
Thinking back on it, I had always written my thoughts and emotions down but never actually fully thought about being an author. I was too intimidated by the idea and thought I could never create anything worth reading so I wasn't even going to bother. People had always complimented me on my writing but I never fully put the idea in my
head to be a writer until the trip. When I was younger I wanted to be either an opera singer or own a zoo!
5. Is this the kind of book you always thought about writing?
|On her travels, she meets new people|
I did always like to write but never made it a goal because I never knew what I would write. But then we went on this trip and suddenly I had material. In many ways I feel like I was handed this amazing opportunity and that I was meant to be a writer all along. So despite not wanting to go on the trip to begin with it turned out to be the
biggest blessing in disguise (or as I would say, “a sihpromatum”). Every day I kept an in depth journal and when comparing to my family’s entries, I realize that I was taking my writing to another level. Travel is extremely inspirational and the writer in me blossomed. I started to believe in myself and knew that I wanted to write this
book. For the past 7 years writing this memoir series has been my biggest dream and now that the first book is finally published I feel like I have secured that dream. All I need to do now is keep pushing, writing and believing in myself.
6. Would you write in any other genre?
I think mystery is really fun, if it has a really good twist and nobody expected what was coming!! But I think you need a very large brain in order to write those! I always liked fantasy, I think that’s fun and to create a whole new world…it would be like travelling, but in your head. Perhaps I would like to do travel journalism of some kind. As of now, I am only concentrating on the memoirs.
7. Have you got another book planned for publication?
Yes. I am still trying to figure out exactly where to break my story up for each book but I’m expecting to have 6 in total. I already have people demanding the second so I have got to bust my butt and get that next one published!!
8. What type of books do you like?
Books for me are a lot like music. I just listen to whatever is on and either I like it or I don’t, but I mostly like everything (except rap). With books it’s the same. I just read whatever people recommend. I am a VERY dramatic reader. I laugh, cry, gasp out loud, I’ve even screamed and frighten everyone around me. It still amazes me how words on a page can make you scream, as if something has literally just jumped out and grabbed your ankle!
My favourite books are “Gone with the Wind” and the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. GORGEOUS!
9. What was the last book you read?
I am actually in the middle of reading two books right now. I don’t know why I always do that, but I often have two going at a time. I am half way through the fourth of Game of Thrones, but have stopped that for a while because I feel I am constantly waiting for the author to give me what I want, but he’s just not giving it to me. I could really
feel that it was written by a man. I like more drama and emotion I suppose. And Outlanders 2nd book “Dragonfly in Amber”, the second time I’m reading it. It’s a bit more risqué, so for you younger audience, maybe you should wait for this book (or just don’t tell them I suggested it!). It’s freaking amazing!
10. What advice would you give an aspiring author reading this right now?
As far as writing itself, if you are feeling sluggish and don’t know where to start, just START. I know this sounds like really unhelpful advice, but that’s what I had to keep telling myself. Thinking and stressing about doing it is harder than just DOING it. Simply sit down and start writing, even if it’s about nothing and you’ll be amazed how
stuff just pours out of you. There are times where you will have a complete writers block and feel like you were never meant to be a writer and you ask yourself WHY you’re doing it…. Just tell yourself to shut up and go outside and find something beautiful to look at, get fresh air, go for a bike ride. Get the heck out of the house and feel
alive again. It’s not only about writing, it’s got a whole lot to do with marketing and getting your name out there. I have just stepped into that part of the process and even though I was mentally preparing myself, it’s
still harder than I expected. It is going to be a long, slow process. You’re going to feel like nobody cares and nobody is ever going to read your book and it will never happen…. That is the part where you have to be the strongest. Just ignore the negative thoughts you find yourself facing and keep pushing, keep writing, keep contacting people and expanding your networking.
I am no expert, but from my experience so far, I say don’t let agents or publishing companies stop you. Self-publish. Don’t wait around for somebody else to say it’s worth publishing. Everybody is worthy, and now it’s more possible than ever to do it yourself. If you need a good company to help put all the pieces together, I used expertsubjects.com. I highly recommend them. They do editing, cover design, interior design and formatting at a very affordable price. I was looking at prices from 1,000-1,500 for a cover to be designed…. These guys did
mine for $130. I love the final result and my wallet isn't crying. Never forget to thank the people around you who support and encourage you. Without them, you probably wouldn't have made it. For those who feel like you don’t have any support, don’t listen to other’s criticism. This is your life and you need to do what makes you happy! “If there is a will there is a way”! Everyone always says how impossible the publishing world is, and don’t get me wrong I agree with them, but if you want it bad enough you can make it happen. Don’t go halfway, you have to go all the way. It will be worth it.
I hope that helps!!! But nobody can make it happen except YOU!