Scullywags here – squaaakkkkkk! – and today I’m rather thrilled to bring you the ever love-er-ly Lady Byrd Bonebreaker, who also happens to fly by the name Sara Biren (but I think Lady Byrd Bonebreaker is much more squeeexy!).
Sara has been writing since she was a little girl, inspired by one of her all-time favorite heroines of children’s literature, Betsy Ray of the Betsy-Tacy books. She absolutely adored these sweet, turn-of-the-century stories. The author, Maud Hart Lovelace, grew up in Mankato, Minnesota – a two hour drive from Sara’s home – which became the Deep Valley of the books. Betsy wanted to grow up to be a writer and Sara did, too. She even went to graduate school in Mankato and lived just a few blocks from Betsy’s and Tacy’s houses.
Several of Sara’s short stories have been published in literary journals such as the Minnesota River Review and upstreet (http://www.upstreet-mag.org/upstreet_2_pdfs/Biren.pdf). A few years ago, after mainly focusing on the short story, she took the advice of one of her writing instructors at MSU and started writing a YA novel. It was a natural fit and she hasn’t looked back since.
She writes contemporary, character-driven young adult fiction. She offers freelance editorial and critique services and blogs about children's books and reading at her local patch.com.
She lives in a small country town outside of the Twin Cities with her husband and two high-spirited children.
So, Lady Byrd Bonebreaker – another bird? Me thinks me’s in love. And from the looks of your picture, who wouldn’t be? That dazzling smile, that gorgeous hair, the glint of steel in your hands. I have to ask, can you also fly? Because you sure look like you might be able to! *swoons* So how did you decide on such a b-eau-ti-ful name?
Sadly, I cannot fly, and that would probably be a bad idea considering my -- well, clumsiness. My pirate name Lady Byrd Bonebreaker – it plays off my daughter’s nickname and my propensity to break bones (my own). I'm a bit of a klutz.
I've broken my left foot twice, my right foot once, and every toe at least twice. At least I've limited it to my feet, although let me tell you, you need your feet more than you think.
Squaaakkkkkk you say? Who on Earth has broken BOTH of their feet, not to mention one of them twice? Perhaps you need my assistance, no? Because I could do anything…*stares longingly at your picture* Eh-em, my apologies my Lady, I got distracted by that smile of yours, forgive me.
So, my fellow feathered friend, if you could describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
Sarcastic. (No, really.)
Let me get this straight, not only are you mag-nif-i-cant, you have the word Byrd in your name, but now you tell me sarcasm is your game? Could you BE any more perfect for me? Forgive me, am I coming on too strong? Maybe we can lighten the subject by you sharing everything, er, your favorite books with me?
Some of my favorite children’s/YA books are the Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace, the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, and the Anne of Green Gables books by L.M. Montgomery. Some recent favorites include The Book of Broken Hearts and Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler ; Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell ; The Summer of No Regrets by Katherine Grace Bond ; Lovely, Dark and Deep by Amy McNamara ; the Ruby Red trilogy by Kiersten Gier; and Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins .
On the adult side, some of my faves include One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez ; The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien; and anything by Kate Morton. My All-time Favorite Book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. I try to read it every summer, although that’s become tricky since I had kids.
A Sarah Ockler fan? Lady Byrd Bonebreaker, we are meant to be. Tell me you feel this too? So how about the two of us – just you and me and all these great books of yours – find our way to a deserted island? I will gather us the best fruit and nuts and promise to make us a fine nest, where we can while away the time reading. But don’t fear my little lovely, you can have three things delivered to you while we frolic in the sand – tell me, what would they be?
Umm, you're too kind, but I don't think I would be very good company if I couldn't escape to an air-conditioned villa occasionally! How long do I have to be stuck there? I'd go with coffee, sunblock, and a notebook with pen. And who is delivering these items, by the way? Can I hitch a ride back with that person?
Silly Lady, maybe you could choose something that I could use too? I’m partial to crackers - squaaakkkkkk! - frozen grapes, and peanut butter since you’re asking. Why thank you. And baby, you won’t wanna go back, I promise you. Wait, that didn’t sound creepy, did it?
But now that you have that pen and paper, it’s your turn to post on YA Buccaneers – what one bucket o’ greatness are you most excited to contribute to?
Learning the Ropes – I love to help other writers improve their craft, both from the perspective of a writer and as an editor. From third grade on, I was very fortunate to be able to work with and learn from wonderful Minnesota writers. I’ll forever be grateful for those important lessons.
Did you just say you love me? Oh wait, you love to help others – same thing. Squaking aside, I am impressed that you are so willing to aid others on their path to writer’s success. What other fun fact should I know about you?
I own 10 vintage copies of Gone with the Wind and three not-so-vintage copies. My oldest was printed in 1937.
Ten vintage copies? Now even I must admit that’s impressive! Maybe you’d be impressed that Rhett Butler and I share something in common: we both believe you should be ‘kissed and often, and by someone that knows how’! Have I told you I know how? *Mwah!*
So I’m a HUGE John Hughes movie fan. For us to be together for all eternity, tell me you love John Hughes as much as me? Tell me what your favorite John Hughes movie is?
Great question, but I'm sorry to say, sir, that your feathers are unnecessarily ruffled! I'm happily married! To answer your question --John Hughes was a fantastic writer who so intelligently and definitively captured the experience of a generation. Most of the films he wrote, produced, or directed were outside of that teenage subject matter, but growing up in the 80s, it was those definitive teen films that had the most impact on me.
My favorite of these movies is Pretty in Pink – great main characters, great sidekicks – hello, Duckie Dale and Iona! – great conflict, great subplots. I love every little thing about that movie, including the soundtrack.
Married, schmarried. We can look past this. And Pretty In Pink? Well hello, there’s a Duckie in that one, so yeah! And the soundtrack IS awesome! Although, I think I’d have to admit, Sixteen Candles might be my most favorite JH film, I mean Jake Ryan? Pa-lease. Total guy crush. Not to mention Long Duc Dong – he’s a distant relative of mine, did you know? In fact, I’m the one that taught him to say, ‘Ohhhh sexy girrrrrlfriend! Bonsai!’, not to mention, we jammed to some serious 80’s classics together. Speaking of great jams and soundtracks, perhaps you’d like to share your favorite?
The Beatles are the greatest rock-n-roll band ever.
The Beatles are pretty great, I’ll definitely give you that. But I’m more impressed by how much the two of us have in common. Kismet my fine Lady, Kismet. So much so, I find myself not wanting this interview to come to an end…but sadly, any last words before I bid you adieu?
I can’t wait to embark on an exciting new adventure with this group of amazing women!
Well, Lady Byrd Bonebreaker, it’s been a real pleasure getting to know you better, if I do say so myself. And I hope everyone will head on over to check out your bio on our crew page to learn how to connect to your own personal website, Twitter, and Facebook.
And my Lady, you know what they say – birds of a feather, flock together…and baby, we’re flockin’!
And don't forget, commenting on this post gains you an entry in our amazing launch giveaway! Make sure to enter via Rafflecopter on our launch post!
Until next time, this is Scullywags signing off with a squaaakkkkkk!