I grew up in Manhattan, Kansas (the “Little Apple”), where I sang in choir, wrote for the MHS “Mentor,” and had a couple of leads in the high school musical. I majored in voice performance at the University of Kansas before deciding I had no business trying to make a career as an opera singer. I then transferred to journalism school, where nobody cares if you can hit a high C or convincingly portray a Valkyrie. I now live in Cincinnati with my husband, daughters, and more cats than any family reasonably needs. When not writing novels, I write ad copy, live presentations and articles for newspapers and magazines. I’ve even helped design theme parks! And when my schedule allows, I still like to sing—most recently you may have heard me in the May Festival Chorus, the official chorus of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.(from sara's website)
1. Can you tell us a bit about Rival? RIVAL is a high-stakes duet between two girls - once best friends, now enemies - who are getting ready to go up against each other in a major singing competition.
2. What made you decide to have a music theme? I was a singer in high school and remember very well how it felt to have to compete against people with whom I had complicated relationships. Trying to succeed in the arts can create a real pressure cooker and I thought that would provide a great background for conflict.
3. What's the one thing about Brooke that everyone can relate to? She often feels as if she isn't really heard. Other people assume things about who she is and what she wants, but most of them have no idea.
4. Are there any musicians or tv shows that have to do with singing in Rivals that we might be familiar with? I tried to mention a variety of different artists and pieces, hoping it would spark readers to want to learn more. I've provided a bit more background at my website: http://www.sarabennettwealer.com/fun_who.shtml
5. Do you have a favorite scene between Brooke and Kathryn? Of course I like the scene where they have their climactic fight, but I also really enjoy the ones where they're supposed to be friends but we, as readers, can see all of the ways that they're not quite connecting. So much of RIVAL is about the assumptions we make about other people and the ways in which we project our own needs and desires onto them.
1. Do you have a favorite food or Drink that is native to Ohio? (For instance I love Cassanos Pizza and skyline Chili) Unfortunately, I didn't grow up in this area so I haven't been able to develop a taste for Skyline chili. I like my chili chunky with beans and tomatoes! I do, however, love pizza from Adriatico's here in Cincinnati/Clifton area. I also would never turn down LaRosa's or Graeters!
2. What is your favorite Ohio Season? Autumn, with spring being a close second.
3. What's your favorite Ohio destination? We had our family vacation at Cedar Point last summer and loved it. For a writer's retreat, I adore Granville. We like to stay at the Granville Inn.
4. What's the one thing that surprises you about Ohio? The quality of the arts. Of course the Cincinnati Symphony is wonderful - I got to perform with them for several years as a member of the May Festival Chorus. And I always buy season tickets to Cincinnati Ballet when my budget allows.
Where to find Sara on the web:
What if your worst enemy turned out to be the best friend you ever had?
Meet Brooke: Popular, powerful and hating every minute of it, she’s the “It” girl at Douglas High in Lake Champion, Minnesota. Her real ambition? Using her operatic mezzo as a ticket back to NYC, where her family lived before her dad ran off with an up and coming male movie star.Now meet Kathryn: An overachieving soprano with an underachieving savings account, she’s been a leper ever since Brooke punched her at a party junior year. For Kath, music is the key to a much-needed college scholarship.The stage is set for a high-stakes duet between the two seniors as they prepare for the prestigious Blackmore competition. Brooke and Kathryn work toward the Blackmore with eyes not just on first prize but on one another, each still stinging from a past that started with friendship and ended in betrayal. With competition day nearing, Brooke dreams of escaping the in-crowd for life as a professional singer, but her scheming BFF Chloe has other plans. And when Kathryn gets an unlikely invitation to Homecoming, she suspects Brooke of trying to sabotage her with one last public humiliation. As pressures mount, Brooke starts to sense that the person she hates most might just be the best friend she ever had. But Kathryn has a decision to make. Can she forgive? Or are some rivalries for life (goodreads)