Friday, July 9, 2010

The Opposite of Me

I’m thrilled to be guest posting today to talk about my debut novel, THE OPPOSITE OF ME. It’s the story of twin sisters who are complete opposites – or so they think. When people learn the premise of my book, the first thing they ask me is whether I’m a twin. Nope; in fact, I don’t even have a sister. But I've always been intrigued by the complex relationships my friends have with their sisters, so I tried to make the relationship of my main characters, Lindsey and Alex, as juicy and competitive and loving and tangled as possible.

I've heard about twins who are so close that they create their own language, and can feel each other's pain from miles away - but I wondered what would happen to twins who were completely different. What if two sisters had nothing in common, but were constantly being compared? How would that shape their relationship?

I also think it’s very common in families for children to get certain labels, either spoken or unspoken – like the “pretty sister,” the “smart one,” the “drama queen,” or the “peacemaker.” I’ve always been curious about how those labels are formed – are they really a true reflection of who we are inside? It’s interesting to me that we can go out into the world and re-invent ourselves as adults, yet when we go home to visit our families, they still see us through the lens our childhood roles. And sometimes, despite our best efforts, we get dragged kicking and screaming back into those roles!

So I took both of those notions and spun them around in my mind for a while before they turned into the premise of my novel. The intersection of those themes – sisterhood and identity - is the heart of my novel. The funny thing is, in writing the book; I created a new identity of my own. When I first sat down before my computer to type the opening lines to THE OPPOSITE OF ME, I was a stay-at-home mom, raising two boys and pregnant with a third. And while I loved being able to be home with my kids, I really wanted to find a creative outlet for myself - something that wasn't just about nurturing the kids. Writing a book was a dream I'd had as a child. In fact, I used to scribble books on three-ring binder paper and send them off to publishers, confidently awaiting the day when I'd see my masterpieces in stores. It was a lot scarier to try to write a book as an adult. I kept hearing how difficult it was to get a publishing contract - how you had to know someone in the business to even get a foot in the door. But that rumor isn't true - I got my agent the old fashioned way, through the "slush pile" of letters she gets every day from aspiring writers. Now I feel incredibly lucky that I get to blend my work and home life together (I actually take my laptop to movies with the kids and even write in the carpool line if I get there a few minutes early).

I just want to thank The Stiletto Gang again for having me today. I'd love it if you'd visit my website or friend me on Facebook!

Sarah Pekkanen


  1. Sarah, thanks for joining us today! I have a sister who's my complete opposite so your novel sounds like it could be about us! Can't wait to read it. :-)

  2. Hey, Sarah, the book sounds great! Thanks so much for stopping by the Stiletto Gang and best of luck with your book. Maggie

  3. I, too, am intrigued by twins despite, or perhaps because of, being an only child. The book sounds wonderful, can't wait to read it!

  4. You definitely made all of us interested in your book and the topic. What stopped me cold though, was taking your lap top to the movies and when you're car pooling.

    When I leave home, I leave the writing behind, unless it's just to jot a few notes down.

    You're more dedicated than I am.


  5. Sarah, we loved having you on The Naked Hero! Surely do wish you'd come by Books on the House, too. ;)

    I LOVE The Opposite of Me. Love, love, love.

  6. Thanks so much everyone! And Marilyn - it's probably more desperation than dedication!