Author Interview: Sara Farizan

June 12, 2015 Features & Spotlights, Interview 0

Algonquin week is continuing and today, we have an awesome exclusive interview with Sara Farizan, author of Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel!

First, we need to talk about the book! My review can be found here. In short, I LOVED IT! Oh and Sara is awesome and tweeted this lovely message to me so I am definitely sharing it!

(No, I did not squeal when I saw this, nope.)

About the Author!

Sara_Farizan_300dpiSara Farizan is the daughter of Iranian immigrants, and grew up feeling different in her private high school; not only because of her ethnicity but also because of liking girls romantically, her lack of excitement in science and math, and her love of writing plays and short stories. So she came out of the closet in college, realized math and science weren’t so bad (but not for her), and decided she wanted to be a writer. She is an MFA graduate of Lesley University and holds a BA in film and media studies from American University. Sara has been a Hollywood intern, a waitress, a comic book/record store employee, an art magazine blogger, a marketing temp, and an after-school teacher, but above all else she has always been a writer. Sara lives in San Francisco, California, but Boston, Massachusetts, will always be home. She has a cool sister, loves Kurosawa films, eighties R&B, and graphic novels, and thinks all kids are awesome.

The Interview!

Q: Please describe your book in 6 words!

Sometimes funny, sometimes romantic, fart joke

Q: Your first book, If You Could Be Mine, received a lot of (deserved) attention. How is Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel different from your debut novel?

I think Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel is a lot more humorous in nature and has a lot of teen tropes but with characters we’re not used to seeing within those tropes. The setting of the first book I think heightened the stakes, but this book is also anxiety inducing in it’s own way. At least for me, anyway.

Q:  Some authors are inspired by things they see while others leave it up to imagination. Did the inspiration behind Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel come from the world around you or the world in your head?

I started writing Tell Me Again when I was 23 and unemployed in Los Angeles. I was trying to be a screenwriter and writing spec scripts for teen soaps. In all my spec scripts the characters I was writing, and had been writing, for some time were of European descent and straight. So I thought what kind of story I would have liked to read when I was younger, that maybe could have helped me or someone like me. It’s all fiction, but inspiration certainly comes from people/events in real life.

Q: If you wanted your readers to learn one thing from Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel, what would that be?

That people are more than their appearances and most people have nuances, layers that you can’t put in a box.

Now, for some writing questions! 

Q: Do you plan your books or do you prefer to figure it out as you go along?

My stuff is usually very character driven, so they (the characters) kind of lead the way, but I have to make sure they don’t wander off too far and put in some semblance of plot in there.

Q: A lot of authors like the phrase “write what you know”. Do you feel that this phrase is critical to the writing process or is it beneficial to perhaps explore new topics?

I think you can write feelings you know. If I wrote only what I knew, it’d be a lot of me sitting in sweatpants watching NBA games and no one wants to read that. I don’t want to read that! It’s depressing! But if you are going to write about things you haven’t experienced, be sure to do your research and talk to people you want to write about.

Thank you, Sara, for answering all of our questions!

And if you’re not sold yet… here’s about the book!


“Both personal and universal, this is a compelling story about high school, family and owning up to who you really are. Farizan is just the voice YA needs right now. Trust me, you’ll be glad you listened.” Sarah Dessen

High-school junior Leila has made it most of the way through Armstead Academy without having a crush on anyone, which is something of a relief. Her Persian heritage already makes her different from her classmates; if word got out that she liked girls, life would be twice as hard. But when a sophisticated, beautiful new girl, Saskia, shows up, Leila starts to take risks she never thought she would, especially when it looks as if the attraction between them is mutual. Struggling to sort out her growing feelings and Saskia’s confusing signals, Leila confides in her old friend, Lisa, and grows closer to her fellow drama tech-crew members, especially Tomas, whose comments about his own sexuality are frank, funny, wise, and sometimes painful. Gradually, Leila begins to see that almost all her classmates are more complicated than they first appear to be, and many are keeping fascinating secrets of their own.

A 2015 ALA Top Ten Rainbow List Title
A 2015 YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers

What did you think of our interview with Sara Farizan? Do you want to read the book now?

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