How do you pronounce your last name?
It sounds like: Soar-ROSE-ee-ak, and it’s Polish!
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Write as much as you can. Write what you want to read. Just write, write, write. You don’t need permission from anyone else to do what you love. Take advice from people you trust, and everyone else’s advice with a bucket of salt.
I also offer a lot of advice on the query process here.
How did you find your agent?
I met her while I was working at a publishing house. She came in with one of her clients, and I queried her a few months later. Do see my advice on the query process!
Are you available to speak at this event/visit my school/do an interview?
Possibly! Please use my contact form or get in touch on Twitter.
So, If Birds Fly Back is your first novel, right?
Yes and no. I wrote my first full-length novel between the ages of nine and thirteen. While The Lady of the Tree was short on things like plot, character development and an original title, it was strong in enthusiasm. I knew deep down that writing was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. My family moved a lot—fourteen times before I reached university—so writing and books were things that I could hold onto when everything else was changing. To gain entry to my grad program in creative writing, I also began an adult dystopian novel called The Professor’s Wife. It was pretty terrible as well.
Did you major in English at university?
Not at first. My first major was biology. Then I switched to something called Peace, War, and Defense. And then I finally followed my heart and double-majored in English and American Studies. I studied English in graduate school at Oxford, and publishing and creative writing at City, University of London.
Where do you get your ideas?
Anywhere and everywhere. For Wild Blue Wonder, it started with the setting. I also had the very fortunate (and sometimes unfortunate) experience of being a teenager, and those memories really are an endless resource for YA novel.
I, Cosmo was inspired by my complete love of dogs. As an only child, I grew up with dogs; they were my siblings, my best friends. My first dog was Sally, and she was a very good girl.
For Leonard (My Life as a Cat), I knew I wanted to write about aliens. And cats. So I just kind of . . . put the two together.
Is your dog really a dingo?
Yep! Her name is Dany. I adore her more than I can express.
What’s next for you?
My first middle grade novel, I, Cosmo, published in 2019, and my second middle grade novel, Leonard (My Life as a Cat) is out in the UK in September 2020 and in the US in April 2021.
I also have several secret projects up my sleeve!