Daily Archives: April 6, 2009

Class of 2k9 Author Interview: Sydney Salter


Debut author and Class of 2k9 member, Sydney Salter, is my guest today at Shelf Elf. She’s here to talk about big noses, beauty, and living the adventure of writing her first novel: My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters. Welcome Sydney!

Tell us about your journey to publication.

Well, I think it started with the day Thane Fisher said “hi” to me during high school registration, and that exciting encounter inspired me to start keeping a daily dairy. Eventually, years later, I attempted to write short stories and filled spiral notebooks with practice writing. I wrote my first novel for my daughters to teach them about Mayan culture before a family vacation to Mexico (Jungle Crossing, HM Harcourt, September 2009). They weren’t old enough to read the story, but I was hooked.


I loved writing! I learned how to become a professional by joining SCBWI and networking through conferences. I wrote two more manuscripts before writing My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters during National Novel Writing Month. Oh, the rush of writing 50,000 words in November! Recognizing that it was my most commercial novel, I only submitted it to agents. I’m lucky that Ted Malawer at Firebrand Literary found me in the slush pile—and then he matched me with the brilliant Julie Tibbott at Harcourt.

Sometimes I think I should dedicate a book to Thane Fisher, even though he still doesn’t know I’m alive!

What was the first thing you did when you found out your book was going to be published?

My agent and I accepted Harcourt’s offer to publish My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters while I was in the airport on my way to the SCBWI LA conference. I loved celebrating with fellow writers! My husband flew in for the weekend and met me in the hotel bar with champagne.

Describe your writing routine, or writing process. Do you have rituals? Are you an outliner?

As a busy mom, I’ve learned to avoid writing rituals. I write when and where I find a minute. Last summer I completed most of a first draft by bribing my daughters with frappuccinos and the promise not to talk to me for an hour while they perused the children’s section and I wrote in the bookstore café. I also took them swimming several days a week so I could write. I enjoy the long work days I have during the school year.

I do like to outline, loosely. My characters always surprise me, but I like to have a little bit of direction before facing that blank page. Continue reading