Happy Thursday and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for BREATHING UNDERWATER! I’m so excited because today I have an interview with Sarah Allen to share with you! This book is truly amazing and I’m so so excited to for you to find out more about it, PLUS enter for a chance to win a print copy!
Breathing Underwater by Sarah Allen
Published on March 31, 2021 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)
Genres: Middle Grade, Contemporary
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Breathing Underwater is a sparkly, moving middle grade novel from Sarah Allen, and a big-hearted exploration of sisterhood, dreams, and what it means to be there for someone you love.
Olivia is on the road trip of her dreams, with her trusty camera and her big sister Ruth by her side. Three years ago, before their family moved from California to Tennessee, Olivia and Ruth buried a time capsule on their favorite beach. Now, they’re taking an RV back across the country to uncover the memories they left behind. But Ruth’s depression has been getting worse, so Olivia has created a plan to help her remember how life used to be: a makeshift scavenger hunt across the country, like pirates hunting for treasure, taking pictures and making memories along the way.
All she wants is to take the picture that makes her sister smile. But what if things can never go back to how they used to be? What if they never find the treasure they’re seeking? Through all the questions, loving her sister, not changing her, is all Olivia can do—and maybe it’s enough.
What would you do if you spent the day with olivia? Where would you go to eat, hang out, relax, etc.?
What a fun question! Olivia loves new things and new experiences (we both do!), so we would find the most unusual thing to eat that we could, something neither of us had tried before. If she were visiting me in Tampa, I’d take her to my favorite local beach, Siesta Keys, where she could bring her camera and spend the day taking pictures. Then we’d definitely have to hit Pirate Fashion, the world’s largest pirate store that just happens to be here in Tampa! Then Olivia would want to end by swinging by a records store to pick up something for Ruth.
If olivia were to hang out with characters from other books, who would they be and why?
I think Olivia would really like hanging out with the Pevensies! She and Lucy would absolutely be best friends. She’d be pretty good at teasing Peter, be a little in awe of Susan, and give Edmund lots and lots of hugs no matter how much he protested.
Would you rather be a superhero or a supervillain? And what would your powers and name be?
To be totally honest, I think I’d be most ideally suited to be a sidekick! In fact oftentimes I find the side-kicks unsung story to be the most fascinating and an area ripe for exploration. I’m so often drawn to the supporting secondary characters, like Samwise Gamgee and Uncle Iroh and Peggy Carter and Phil Coulson and Pepper Potts and Gepetto and Smee. (Hmm…I’m getting an idea for a collection of Unsung Sidekick Stories here…) Something about their unflagging devotion and loyalty makes me feel that way about them in return. I think I’d like to be that person in a story, whether I was side-kicking a hero like Frodo or a villain like Captain Hook.
If you buried a time capsule with three items inside, what three items would you choose and why?
Fantastic question! I’ll give you the three items that probably mean the most and say the most about me. First would be my teddy bear, Russ. I’ve had him since I was a kid and he still comes with me when I travel. Second would be my stack of notebooks. I’ve kept a writing notebook since I was in middle school and now I have a whole drawer of them that I revisit ever so often to reap ideas and inspiration. Those notebooks have kept a better record of what’s really going on in my head than any journal. And lastly, I’d probably put in the music box my parents bought me on their trip to Israel when I was eleven. It’s carved with dogs, which I was absolutely obsessed with as a kid (still am, to be honest) and plays “That’s What Friends Are For.”
What was your favorite bit of research you ended up not using?
There was some really fun research in this book! I read a lot of stuff about lady pirates like Anne Bonny and Mary Reed that didn’t end up making it into the book, and I also did a lot of research on different sea gods from different cultures around the globe that didn’t make it into the book either. For example, the Irish sea god is called Manannán mac Lir and he’s the guardian of the Otherworld. I always feel like research never goes to waste, though, because it’s all just so interesting and fun to know!
What is your favorite quote, scene, or moment from Breathing underwater?
I’m often of two minds about my favorite parts in the stories I write. If you imagine those theater masks, the smiling one and the frowning one, that’s kind of how I feel. With that in mind, my first favorite moment in this book is the scene towards the end when Ruth and Olivia are in the RV alone and the storm is raging both outside and inside. That was a very intense scene to write, when (not to give any spoilers) Olivia’s thunder is finally crashing.
My other favorite part is the pirate ships, and that I got to start a book with the word ‘underwear’!
What do you think about Breathing Underwater? Have you added it to your tbr yet? Let me know in the comments and have a splendiferous day!