Interview: Sara Hantz
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The Second Virginity of Suzy Green is a novel for teens set in Australia, written by a British author, and released by an American publisher. Some people may balk at the title while others will dive into it, both parties expecting something racy. The story is far more tame than those people assume, as Suzy tries to reinvent herself at a new school and be a model daughter at home. In this exclusive interview, author Sara Hantz talks about her writing career, her travels, and her teen years.
Do you recall the title and plot of the first story you ever wrote?
The first book I finished was about 4 years ago, called Virgin on the Ridiculous. It was a chick lit story about a girl determined to lose her virginity during the year leading up to the 30th birthday. The book was rejected by various editors and agents. However, I loved the title so much I kept it for my first YA book . . . except the title was changed to The Second Virginity of Suzy Green. I didn't mind. I love my [new] title.
At what point did you write the prologue? First thing or simply somewhere along the way?
Ah...the prologue. When Flux bought my book, it didn't have a prologue. Nor did I ever intend having one. My editor, however, thought it would be a good idea to have one so we can see Suzy as she used to be. I really enjoyed writing it. And it's now one of my favorite parts of the book.
Why did you set your story in Australia?
I wrote the book while living in New Zealand. I choose to set the book in Australia rather than the UK because I had two teenage children, plus I worked in a University, which meant I could listen to their language and watch their behavior. I got a lot of ideas from my son especially. He's like me, always in trouble at school!
How did you come to know of Flux?
NZ market for fiction is tiny, so I decided to approach American agents. There was a lot of interest, and the agent I went with submitted to various publishers in America. One of them was Flux. I'd never heard of Flux before.
As a teenager, were you like Rosie, Suzy, or Lori, or a combination thereof?
Definitely Suzy. I found school boring and spent more time planning how to disrupt lessons than actually taking part. Things I got up to were pretty harmless, nothing violent or destructive.
You were a restless student as a teenager, then more studious as an adult. With all of the education and qualifications you have under your belt, what words of advice do you have for teens bored with or made anxious by school?
That's a tricky one. It's hard to give advice because you really have to live through it yourself, though I would say, if school doesn't work out, it doesn't mean your life is over. I know lots of people who went back to study later in life and have had amazing success. I do believe you should stay on at school if at all possible, because it gives you more choices.
What are your ten favorite books of all time?
Pride and Prejudice
To Serve Them All My Days
Story of a Girl (I've only just read this book and it totally blew me away)
Harry Potter (series)
Visit Sara's website.