Thursday, February 10, 2011

LEARNING TO SWIM Contest & Interview with Sara J. Henry

It's contest time!

I'm thrilled to announce that my talented blog-friend Sara J. Henry's debut novel, LEARNING TO SWIM (Crown), will be splashing into bookstores on Feb 22, 2011.

What better way to celebrate than by giving away an autographed copy of her book?

Below is a World's Quickest Interview with Sara, followed by the World's Easiest Contest guidelines.

Please describe your book.
A woman dives into a lake to rescue a small boy, who turns out to speak only French –and who no one seems to be missing.

How long have you been writing?
Since I could first form words on paper – I wrote my first short story (less than a page – I guess you could call it flash fiction) when I was 5.

Who or what was your inspiration?
A house filled with books.

How long did it take you to write this book?
About seven months – the first time. Then I had to learn to rewrite, which at first involved a lot of staring at the pages.

Besides writing, what is your favorite thing to do?
Reading. Many other things run a close second, but books are always there, and can fit any mood.

All-expenses-paid vacation: where would you go?
Australia, this time without broken foot and book to be rewritten (during a five-week house swap) and New Zealand. Or the south of France.

What’s your favorite color and why?
Black, because it goes with everything – I’m shopping impaired.

Lunch with anyone: who would you choose?
My dad, if he could come back from the Great Beyond. I’d show him this book, and thank him for letting me read his Travis McGees.

Cat or dog?
Dog. Without a doubt. They seem to find me. Although I’ve become fond of a friend’s two cats.

Any advice for aspiring writers?
Read a lot. Don’t be afraid to rewrite and cut. Read your work aloud – preferably to someone else. And keep working at it until it’s really good.

Sara J. Henry has been a soil scientist, sports writer, corresponding writing school instructor, book editor, freelance writer, magazine editor, bicycle mechanic, and webmaster. Her first novel, Learning to Swim, has been called “emotional, intense, and engrossing” by Lisa Unger and “an auspicious debut” by Daniel Woodrell. It’s available for pre-order and will be in stores Feb. 22 –you can read the first chapter here.

Contest Guidelines for an Autographed Copy of LEARNING TO SWIM:
(1) Comment on this post. (Easy, right? You're entered!)
(2) If you choose to spread the word through your blog, Twitter or Facebook, leave a separate comment for each.  (ie. If you blog about the contest, leave an additional comment: "I blogged." This will give you a total of two entries. If you blogged, tweeted and facebooked, leave three additional, separate comments: "I blogged," "I tweeted," "I facebooked." This will give you a total of four entries. Got it?)
The contest will run for a full week: Friday, Feb 11 to Friday, Feb 18 at 11:59p.m. PST.  


  1. Yeah for contests and yeah for living on the other side of the world so I can be first. Double Woot! for me. =)

  2. What a riveting book! It sounds great. Thanks for the interview and for the contest. :o)


  3. Congratulations to Sara! It sounds like a wonderful book (how can I resist something with French in it, right?) ;)

  4. Great interview, Sara and Amy. I loved the short and sweet blurb. I'll definitely have to check this out.

  5. Lately, I've been reading a lot hoping it will make me a better writer, but I was surprised to see how much I am just enjoying the entertainment.

    I've always loved to read, but my life got serious and grown-up and full of nonfiction. This year I made it a priority to "marinate" in fiction. It has felt so good to be a kid again and disappear into stories. Your blog has really inspired me to do that, Amy. Thank you!

    I'm excited to read this book. Thank you Sara for the fun interview and for the giveaway.

  6. Congratulations to Sara ... what a compelling storyline (I checked out the linkies you provided). Thank you for hosting this contest. Even if I don't win, I know about this book and will be checking it out.

  7. I really like the idea of short interview questions and answers. It works for my attention span! The book looks great and I'm adding it to my goodreads list just in case =)

  8. Okay, I've blogged about it here

    And I forgot to say, loved the interview. ;)

  9. Fun interview, and that sounds like a great book! Best of luck to Sara!

  10. Thanks for the interview and contest, Amy!

  11. Thanks for the interview and contest. Please enter me.

  12. Oh! Oh! Pick me!!!! I want!!! What a fantastic premise and cover. Great interview.

  13. OK! I'll enter! Sounds very interesting ;)

  14. I liked the interview. Congratulations on the book, Sara! It sounds great. I wish you could have that lunch with your dad.

    Thanks for the contest, ladies!

  15. I'm intrigued and will definitely check out the book when it is released!

  16. And the contest is closed! Thank you, everyone, for entering. I'll be back with the winner shortly.