Q&A With Sara Divello
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Q&A With Sara DiVello
Sara DiVello is the author of Where In The Om Am I, & her current mystery novel Broadway Butterfly which recently came out on August 1st of this year. Sara is also the creator and host of Mystery and Thriller Mavens, a popular author series. Sara also serves as the director of social media strategy for the International Thriller Writers association. Sara also has written articles for Marie Claire, Elle, Redbook, Cosmopolitan, & Womens Day Magazine among many others. It is an honor to do this Q&A with her!
Q: Sara, would you like to tell the readers of the blog and I about your mystery book Broadway Butterfly and how you came up with the concept for the book?
A: Yes! I accidentally stumbled across this fascinating 100-year-old cold case when I was home in Philadelphia for Thanksgiving in 2013. My Uncle Ed told us that back in the ‘60s, after high school, he used to sneak over to the old Stotesbury Estate where they’d secretly smoke cigarettes and it was this creepy old mansion. While it was torn down in the 1980s, there are still ruins standing today. We piled in cars to go see them (and you can too on my website: https://www.saradivello.com/behindthescenes) and it was SO weird and wild to be standing in the suburbs among this gorgeous old ruins. Then I started researching and found out that that grand estate was connected to one of the greatest unsolved crimes of the century and I knew I had to tell that story!
Q: If you are currently writing a new mystery book now, can you reveal any details about it?
A: I actually haven’t started my next project yet! Stay tuned though…since I love too-crazy-to-make-up stories, you know it’s going to be a doozy!
Q: I love reading mystery novels as much as you love writing them. What drew you into writing in the mystery genre?
A: I’m also a voracious mystery reader! I grew up on Nancy Drew and then just dove deeper from there. I think I just love the chance to play detective…racing to see if I can figure it out before it’s revealed. #amiright?
Q: What is your advice to those wanting to write great mysteries?
A: Take it seriously and hone your craft. As you’re reading, ask yourself, “Why do I love this book? (Or why don’t I?) What’s keeping me reading? If I have to read ‘just one more chapter’ why is that? How is the author drawing me in, feeding me clues, but also withholding information to hold my interest? Do the characters feel real and compelling?” Then read what you draft out loud—especially dialogue—and see how it sounds. Read in on your screen, on your e-reader, print it out and read it on paper. Revise and hone and polish until you’re ready to scream…then find a critique partner (someone else writing a book you can trade feedback with) and start critiquing each other. Follow writers and agents who offer tips. I have a lot more ideas, but I’ll rein myself in for now 😊
Q: Reading your amazon bio you interviewed 300 authors for your Mavens series! One of those authors I did a Q&A with last summer was Lisa Unger! What was it like interviewing her, Dean Koontz, Ruth Ware & Karin Slaughter among many others? I still get star struck!
A: One of the many things that all these writers have in common is their dedication to the craft of writing and the profession of publishing.
I have such deep respect for all of them and it was such an incredible honor to interview each and every person, to get to ask about their incredible careers and what they’ve learned along the way.
I love Lisa Unger and have been so honored to interview her multiple times. She is a great example of an author who takes her work seriously and devotes herself to her craft…and is also an example of writing, living, and leading—she’s the co-president of International Thriller Writers organization—wholeheartedly.
Karin is hilarious and sassy and not afraid to say exactly what she thinks. Ruth is so down to earth and humble. And Dean is so inspiring—he shared that his father was abusive so reading was his escape. Looking at the length and breadth of his career is just so impressive.
Q: What’s it like serving as the director of social media strategy for the International Thriller Writers association?
A: I was incredibly honored to be asked to join the team and serve in this role. It really goes to show that every job is giving you the experience and skillset you can use in the future. The 14 years I spent working in the PR and marketing field may seem unrelated to writing mysteries and thrillers, but that gave me the experience to serve in this role at a writers organization. So even if you’re working a job you don’t love, you can always use those skills/knowledge in the future…even if it’s just knowing what career you don’t want (or what industry to set your next book in where something murderous happens to the boss who just so happens to have the same name as your boss in real life 😉
Q: What’s it like submitting articles for famous publications such as Marie Claire, Elle, Womens Day Magazine, Redbook & Cosmopolitan? It sounds so impressive! What advice do you give to anyone wanting to submit topics for such famous publications?
A: Pitching is always a numbers game, so go in expecting rejection and frame every “no” as being one step closer to your “YES!” Make sure your writing is strong (see tips above) and then try to network into the person who’s hiring by seeing if you’re connected—even by two or three degrees—to them on LinkedIn. Cold pitches can still work, but connections are always helpful and you really never know who your network knows.