Coffee Break Tuesday with Kimberly Sabatini


Please grab a cup of coffee (or tea if you prefer) and join me in welcoming author Kimberly Sabatini to Coffee Break Tuesday!  Kimberly is the author of the YA novel Touching the Surface.

9781442440029_p0_v1_s260x420Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini (Simon Pulse/2012)

Teen Elliot (her name this time) finds herself at the Obmil (afterlife) for the third time. This time she knows she must Delve truly and deeply to discover why she’s not able to move on – there might be consequences. Elliot learns the truth about her life on Earth as she struggles to figure out why her best friend no longer wants to be with her. She’s also torn between brothers Trevor and Oliver. In this unique story about the afterlife, readers will be mesmerized by Sabatini’s Obmil.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. In elementary school I decided that since everyone called me Kim or Kimmie–if I ever got published I would have Kimberly as my author name. My agent and editor got a kick out of that story when they asked what I wanted printed on my book. But wanting to be a writer and deciding to be a writer came at two different times in my life. The want came from the moment I could put a pencil to paper and funnel things out of my brain onto paper. It has always felt good to me, but in my high school years, I let insecurity get the better of me. It took way too long, but the decision to become a writer didn’t happen until June of 2007 when I attended my first SCBWI Conference. For two years prior (after the death of my dad) I dabbled with the idea, but that first conference, listening to the likes of Laurie Halse Anderson and KL Going cinched it for me. I decided it was time to make my dreams a reality.

What was the first book you wrote what was it about? (Not necessarily the first book you got published.)

Touching The Surface is my very first book and I feel very lucky that it made it all the way to the bookshelves.

Experience the afterlife in this lyrical, paranormal debut novel that will send your heart soaring.When Elliot finds herself dead for the third time, she knows she must have messed up, big-time. She doesn’t remember how she landed in the afterlife again, but she knows this is her last chance to get things right.

Elliot just wants to move on, but first she will be forced to face her past and delve into the painful memories she’d rather keep buried. Memories of people she’s hurt, people she’s betrayed…and people she’s killed.

As she pieces together the secrets and mistakes of her past, Elliot must find a way to earn the forgiveness of the person she’s hurt most, and reveal the truth about herself to the two boys she loves…even if it means losing them both forever.

What was your journey to publication like?

I began writing TOUCHING THE SURFACE immediately after that SCBWI conference in 2007 and I signed with my agent Michelle Wolfson of Wolfson Literary in December of 201. She then sold it to Anica Rissi at Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster in February 2011. Along the way 33 agents passed on my book, but I’m very glad they did because Michelle is the PERFECT agent for me and she found me the most amazing editor I could have ever dreamed of.

What is your most recently published book or upcoming book? What is it about?

I’m currently revising my second YA novel THE OPPOSITE OF GRAVITY and I’m hoping to sell it when it’s ready. It’s a contemporary novel involving dance, the Broadway musical Wicked and the need to defy—what we know to be true–in order to find the truth.

How have you changed from when you first started out as a (pre-published) writer to now?

I no longer write alone. Now there is a cast of characters that sneak into my office to sit on my shoulder while I write. There’s an agent, an editor, a publishing house, reviewers and readers to name a few. And while I’m grateful for all the good stuff they’ve brought to my table, I still have to be careful to spend enough time alone in my own imaginary dream world, to capture the novel that needs to be written before it is revised.

Favorite book from childhood?

THE GIVER by Lois Lowry–It felt so good to realize that there was another person in the world who thought about the same kinds of things that I did.

A favorite book you recently read?

I am currently blown away by the talent of Laini Taylor in both THE DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE and DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT. I love these books! Her world building, character development and lyrical writing push me to be a better writer.

A bit of wisdom to share (about the creative process/journey):

I believe that the best thing you can do is envision positive things for yourself and your writing. Visualize success and then give yourself a lifetime to get to your destination. I decided that writing was something that I loved, with or without publication, so I could bide my time until I got good enough to catch up with my dream. I once read that when you tell the universe that you want things, the universe give you WANT. That made sense to me, and I changed the way I project my goals. Now I picture them the way I expect them to be instead of how I want them to be. And I dream big–most people never expected me to get this far and surprising them is an amazing feeling. I want to keep doing that for the rest of my life. :o)

For fun – something not a lot of people know about you:

My husband was stationed overseas in the military when we first got married, so I lived in Augsburg Germany for 4 years and got to travel all over, seeing places like Italy, England, Amsterdam, France, Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Monaco and Egypt. It was pretty amazing. Now that my kids are getting a little older I can’t wait to take them to some of the places I loved.

Kimberly Sabatini is a former Special Education Teacher who is now a stay-at-home mom and a part-time dance instructor for three and four year olds. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband and three boys. Kimberly writes Young Adult fiction and is represented by Michelle Wolfson of Wolfson Literary Agency. TOUCHING THE SURFACE is her debut novel. (Simon Pulse – Simon & Schuster, October 30, 2012)

For more about Kimberly, check out her web site, connect with her on Facebook, or  follow her on Twitter.


8 responses »

  1. Thanks Debbi and Kimberly for this great interview–I really loved the glimpse in Kimberly’s process and philosophy. When you tell the Universe you want something, it gives you want. Wow. I’m going to remember that! Touching The Surface sounds amazing–I can’t wait to read it. And the cover is absolutely gorgeous!

  2. Can’t wait to read Touching the Surface – (and The Opposite of Gravity, too). Great interview! Thanks Deb and Kimberly (Kim/Kimmie!)

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