Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Sara Squared Blog Tour: Guest Blog with Sara Polsky

Today, debut author, Sara Polsky, begins things with a word on mental illness. 

My debut novel, This Is How I Find Her, begins with a suicide attempt. Sophie, the main character, comes home after school one day to find that her mother has overdosed on pills. Sophie has spent years in the shadow of her mother's bipolar disorder, monitoring her medications and acting more like the parent than the child, but her mom's attempted suicide completely changes Sophie's life. Sophie moves across town to live with other relatives -- and she has the distance, for the first time, to think about whether she can balance taking care of her mother with living her own life.

The story isn't autobiographical, but, like Sophie, I have observed mental illness as an outsider looking in, wondering how to be there for friends and loved ones whose experiences I don't fully understand. I've wondered how I can help; I've gotten frustrated, sometimes, when someone I care about hasn't seemed to get better; I've worried when I haven't been able to help and felt guilty for enjoying myself when a friend clearly isn't. When I sat down to write the novel, I gave many of these emotions and questions to Sophie.

They are ultimately unanswerable questions, because there's no one easy way to deal with a loved one's mental illness. What I tried to do was learn as much about the experience of mental illness as I could, particularly through reading memoirs by those who've experienced depression and bipolar disorder. Some of the ones from which I learned the most: Kay Redfield Jamison's An Unquiet Mind, William Styron's Darkness Visible, a collection called Voices of Bipolar Disorder, and Hyperbole and a Half's posts on depression. (The National Alliance on Mental Illness has other great resources, too.)

I brought everything I'd absorbed from my reading with me when I sat down to write the book -- and then I tried to forget it and simply tell a story about one girl and her family. I hope readers who need to will be able to look at Sophie and see themselves.

Sara Polsky is a writer and editor living in New York City. Her debut novel, THIS IS HOW I FIND HER, is on shelves now. Visit her at her website, on Twitter (@sarapolsky), on Goodreads and Facebook.

•        Official Blog tour:
•         Link to author(s)’ websites: and/or
•         Physical books are from Albert Whitman & Company (
•         ebooks are available from Open Road Media (

Sara2 Blog Tour
Authors Sara Kocek (Promise Me Something) and Sara Polsky (This Is How I Find Her)
August 26-September 10, 2013

Saturday, August 24
Albert Whitman eNewsletter
Link to come
Schedule and Signed Books Giveaway

Monday, August 26
P.J. Hoover Blog
Joint Guest Post and Signed Books Giveaway

The Children’s Book Review
Signed Books Giveaway

Tuesday, August 27
Dear Teen Me
Sara Kocek Guest Post

Wednesday, August 28
Actin’ Up with Books
Joint Guest Post and Signed Books Giveaway

Thursday, August 29
Nikki Loftin’s Blog
Joint Q&A and Signed Books Giveaway

Friday, August 30
Dear Teen Me
Sara Polsky Guest Post

Left to Write
Review of Promise Me Something and Signed Book Giveaway

Saturday, August 31
Starry-eyed Heart Book Blog 
Q&A with Sara Kocek

The Random Thoughts of Crazy Mandy
Reviews and Signed Books Giveaway

Sunday, September 1
Books for Company
Sara Polsky Guest Post and Signed Book Giveaway

Monday, September 2
The Book Cellar
Erica Haglund []
Joint Q&A and Signed Books Giveaway

Tuesday, September 3
The Ninja Librarian
Joint Guest Post and Signed Books Giveaway

The Book Rat
Signed Books Giveaway

Wednesday, September 4
Moonlight Gleam
Sara Polsky Guest Post

The Writing Barn
Sara Kocek Guest Post

Thursday, September 5
Moonlight Gleam
Sara Kocek Guest Post

Friday, September 6
A Backwards Story
Joint Q&A and Signed Books Giveaway

Saturday, September 7
Becky’s Barmy Book Blog
Sara Kocek Guest Post

Sunday, September 8
The Mod Podge Bookshelf
Sara Polsky Guest Post and Signed Book Giveaway

Monday, September 9
Sara Kocek Q&A and Signed Book Giveaway

Tuesday, September 10
The Writing Barn
Sara Polsky Guest Post

No comments: