The Other Sister by S.T. Underdahl tells the tale of a family. The parents have been happily married for two decades. Their middle child and only girl, almost-16-year-old Josey, thinks everything is fine. Then her mother reveals a family secret: They had a daughter when they were in college - ten years before Josey was born. Audrey, now all grown up, wants to meet her biological parents. She has no idea that her parents are still together and have had three subsequent children. While the parents are thrilled and the boys adjust fairly well to the news, Josey feels displaced. She is no longer the only girl. She is no longer the middle child. She is now the other daughter, and she is not quite sure how to act around her newfound sister.
The Other Sister is a deeply personal story for S.T. Underdahl, better known as Susan. We discussed her story and many others in a recent interview.Congratulations on the release of your debut novel, The Other Sister. How long was it from inspiration and first scribblings to completed novel and book deal?
Thank you so much! I wrote "The Other Sister" for a contest in 2005, which it did not win (or at least I think it didn't win - I never heard [the results]!) After the contest ended, it occurred to me that maybe someone else might be interested in publishing the book, so I started sending it around, and sent it to a publisher in Minneapolis called Llewellyn Worldwide. After I sent it, I realized that most of what they published was books on metaphysical topics like tarot card reading and astrology and the paranormal, and I thought, "Oops, I don't know why I sent it there!" But there must have been some kind of cosmic forces at work, because it turns out there were just getting ready to launch a line of 'edgy young adult fiction,' and they decided that The Other Sister was just the kind of thing they were looking for! Your book is for teens but is wholly G-rated, which is all too rare in this day and age. Did your editor or any other influential types comment on the squeaky-clean nature, anyone urge you make it racy and "hip"?
Since it's the story of something that actually happened in my family, I just told it like it was. After I finished writing it, I did think, "Hm, should I try to spice it up a bit?" but it seemed like doing that would be dishonest and would detract from the integrity of the story I wanted to tell.( Collapse )Visit Susan's official website.