About the book:Abish's husband died suddenly just seven months after their marriage, so she's allowed to be a little crazy and mixed up inside. But it's been a year now since it happened, and her family can't handle her quirky behaviors and emotional disconnect anymore. When mom boots her from the family apartment, it seems her only choice is to move back into single-student housing and attend the ward that (funny thing) her drill sergeant boss happens to preside over. Add in Bob, the divorced-single-parent who Abish accidentally walked in on in her underwear when he was trying to fix her Internet (and who also happens to be the executive secretary), and Abish is sure it's all some cosmic joke. Question is, will she be able to land on her feet, or is she going to allow her world to continue to fall apart until she has nobody left?
Interview with Sarah DunsterSarah, how did you come up with the title Mile 21?
The 21st mile of a marathon is where a lot of runners break down and struggle. Abish is at a very difficult point in her life, and she needs help. And she is 21 years old. It just worked!
I like it! Do you have another job outside of writing?
I am a full-time mother of seven (soon to be 8) children. I homeschool them until age 8, and I’m a youth leader in my church. So I have the equivalent of several full/part time jobs, on top of writing!
Oh my goodness! I don't know how you find time to write. Do you have a routine for writing?
I get 1,100 words done a day. I do it in 1.5-2 hours. I have to work around having 4-7 kids who need stuff solved, a moment of lap sitting, lunch to be made, etc. So I’ve learned to be very efficient! On the other hand, having to get up and deal with kids sometimes gives me a moment to think and be inspired. I am not sure what I’ll do when I don’t have those distractions all the time.
How would you describe your book in six words?
Angsty chick laughs and can love.
How did you create the plot for Mile 21?
I have gone through some tough things in my life. Things that have made me feel alienated from those around me, who didn’t quite know how to handle my situation. I wanted to create a story that would draw a reader into the mind of someone who is really struggling, someone who is not necessarily functioning too well, and then see how the recovery process is a miracle. I wanted, in writing this story, to help people understand those around them who are going through things they might *not* understand, and learn how to help them and also give them some slack. But in the end, I wrote it because I loved the story, how it turned out. It’s funny and touching. And I think Abish is someone we can all identify with.
What would Abish say about you?
She’d probably think I’m a bit of a wimp. I’ve never punched anybody in the eye. And the most I’ve ever run is 2 miles.
What song would you pick to go with your book?
“Been a Long Day” by Rosi Golan. In fact, it’s in my book trailer!
You’re given the day off, and you can do anything but write. What would you do?
Aaaugh. I guess...go hiking somewhere. Hopefully not by myself...there are a lot of bears around where I live.
Do you have a favorite quote?
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” --Gandhi
About the author:Sarah Dunster is wife to one, mother to seven, and an author of fiction and poetry. Her poems have appeared on Wilderness Interface Zone as well as in Victorian Violet Press, Segullah Magazine, Dialogue: Journal of Mormon Thought, and Sunstone Magazine. Her first novel Lightning Tree was released by Cedar Fort in April of 2012. When she is not writing, Sarah can often be found cleaning, cooking vegetarian meals, holding small people in her lap, or taking long, risky walks after dark, especially in thunderstorms.
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