July 11, 2013

Interview (and Giveaway) with Kimberly Sabatini

Author photo by Dawn Sela Photography - www.dawnsela.com
Today I have an interview with Kimberly Sabatini, the author of TOUCHING THE SURFACE.  I reviewed this debut novel in November and called it "a good choice for speculative fiction fans tired of monsters and dystopias and looking for something a little quieter, if no less dramatic."

Her official bio:

Kimberly Sabatini is a former Special Education Teacher who is now a stay-at-home mom and a part-time dance instructor for three and four year olds. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband and three boys.
Kimberly writes Young Adult fiction and is represented by Michelle Wolfson of Wolfson Literary Agency. TOUCHING THE SURFACE is her debut novel. (Simon Pulse – Simon & Schuster, October 30, 2012)



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1. TOUCHING THE SURFACE is set after Elliot dies for the third time. Why did you decide on three lives? 

This question hasn’t been asked very often, but it always makes me chuckle. After reading TTS, a good friend of mine once pulled out a laundry list of books on different types of spiritual theory. She was wondering if I’d read any of her favorites and if they’d played a roll in my decision to have Elliot die for the third time. I then had to fess up and admit that my sole inspiration (or my soul inspiration) for the concept was the baseball song…’cause it’s one, two, three strikes your out! But I am completely willing to take credit for having been well read if you’d like me to pretend. :o)

2. If reincarnation is real, which life to you think you're on? 

I’ve thought about this—even worried about it a little bit. I’m not sure I can pick an exact number, but I think I might have turned a corner. I feel as if I had a bit of an awakening, almost a Delve, when my Dad died. By getting to the place where I wrote a book and put so many honest feeling out into the world, I may have changed my own trajectory just a little bit. Perhaps I’m finally paying attention to the important things. It sure feels good to be making even a little bit of progress.

At the end of the day, I figure I’m a little bit above an earthworm, but not within shouting distance of Gandhi. I guess I’m the spiritual equivalent of a mid-list author. LOL!

3. Many readers are wary of love triangles, but many enjoy them too. There's a reason they're so popular! How did you approach your love triangle to keep it fresh? 

 Ahhhh the love triangle. Well, first of all, I’m not anti-love triangle. If you watch the world around you and the people in it—there is an awful lot of triangulation going on. I believe it’s more about HOW it’s done, not IF it’s done.

Touching the Surface
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When I started writing TTS, Oliver was 4-years-old. In fact, he was still four when I sold it. In my mind * SPOILER ALERT * there isn’t a love triangle, between Elliot, Trevor and Oliver in the traditional romantic sense. But there IS love and all the pushing and pulling that go along with it.

When asked to age Oliver up to a teenager, I loved the idea. I could see the benefits of making that change, and to this day, it has been the most fun I’ve ever had revising. Admittedly, I did put small bits and pieces of doubt and angst into the triangular relations ship between Elliot, Oliver and Trevor, but it was because my characters still needed to go through the process of figuring out what they already knew.

 4. I love novels (and other media) set in the afterlife. Where there any depictions of what comes next that influenced the Obmil in TOUCHING THE SURFACE? 

Reading The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, had a big impact on writing TTS from the point-of-view of a dead girl. Prior to ingesting that book, I’d never thought of approaching the voice of a story from that direction. I was fascinated by what Sebold had done and the creative desire it kicked off in me.

More often than you’d expect, I found my inspiration for the afterlife in rather normal ways. This is Mohonk Mountain House (http://www.mohonk.com/Photos-Videos). It’s a popular place in the Hudson Valley, where I live. After a day of hiking at Mohonk, I couldn’t stop thinking of it as the afterlife location for my novel. I don’t know what it was that flipped the switch, but this is exactly how the Obmil looks in my mind. It’s still on my Bucket List to stay overnight here—while I’m alive. LOL!

Picture taken by Kimberly Sabatini
5. You've been a published author for close to eight months now. How does it feel? What's coming next? 

It is bizarre. Yes, that is the only word I can come up with that takes it all in. Some days I pinch myself because it’s that amazing. Other days I’m knee deep in three-boys-worth of laundry and I’m talking to the underwear saying… “You do know I’m an author, right?” Just so you know—the underwear really doesn’t seem to care.

I’ve come to think of myself like a book-nerdish-super-hero. I walk around doing normal things in normal clothes (which I will later have to wash) but every once in awhile I get to strip off my average self and I get to be the super part of me. I go on school visits, talk to librarians, speak at events and sign books. It’s incredible. I need to get a cape.

But ultimately, most things haven’t changed too much. I still juggle boys and household chores in order to get writing time in. I struggle to find a balance with my marketing and social media. I eat too much ice cream and must spend some of my writing time going for a run or buying new pants. What drives me forward every day, is the same beliefs that I had before I sold TTS.

*I have no choice but to write and be a part of this book community—it is what I must do and where I belong.
*Rejection is a learning experience and quitting is not an option.
*I am open to things happening when they’re supposed to happen, versus when I THINK they should happen.
*I will grow and change for the better with time and practice.
*Sometimes I need to push myself more.
*Sometimes I need to push myself less.
*I cannot compare myself to everyone else and have time to be my best self.
*I WILL make mistakes, it’s what I do after that matters.
*Publishing is a business and I need to be educated on how it works. Writing is everything good in my life and it should be done without the publishing business sitting on my shoulder.
*If ONE person has read something I’ve written and it’s changed them for the better, I’ve accomplished what I’ve set out to do.
*I will always dream bigger than what everyone thinks I’m capable of, because I love to see their faces when I actually do it.

Right now I’m doing a lot of laundry and revising my second novel, THE OPPOSITE OF GRAVITY. I’m also working on my third, CHASING ADAPTATION.

Thank you so much for having me over to your blog and thank you to all the readers who are supporting the Book Tour. Your support is incredible and I appreciate it so much.


Experience the afterlife in this lyrical, paranormal debut novel that will send your heart soaring.When Elliot finds herself dead for the third time, she knows she must have messed up, big-time. She doesn’t remember how she landed in the afterlife again, but she knows this is her last chance to get things right.

Elliot just wants to move on, but first she will be forced to face her past and delve into the painful memories she’d rather keep buried. Memories of people she’s hurt, people she’s betrayed…and people she’s killed.

As she pieces together the secrets and mistakes of her past, Elliot must find a way to earn the forgiveness of the person she’s hurt most, and reveal the truth about herself to the two boys she loves…even if it means losing them both forever.


There are two options for the giveaway: US and International.  There will be one winner of a signed hardcover of TOUCHING THE SURFACE for each.  Must be 13 years or older to enter.  Must choose which giveaway and leave a comment on a blog tour stop to enter.  There are optional ways to get bonus entries.

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  1. I loved your questions and her answers...especially the talking-to-laundry and book-nerdish-super-hero bits LOL. I am always interested in knowing what lies under the surface of a book (got the pun? hehe).
    As for the love triangle, I did underline the fact that this one is not of the usual kind in my own review...still it's sad that Sabatini was actually asked to go in that direction, though she managed to pull it off. I wish this trend would stop being a necessary requirement. *rolls eyes*
    Great interview!

    1. Thanks! Kim was a great interview subject - lots of long, interesting answers.

  2. Nice interview! I like that the "baseball song" ultimately made her decide on the third life. It makes sense!!


    1. Thanks! It does make sense, plus everyone knows the song.

  3. Lovely interview, I love these questions! This definitely had me cracking up -> "I guess I’m the spiritual equivalent of a mid-list author." :D I really need to read this, I keep hearing such wonderful things!

    1. Thanks! I hope you do read it - it is quite lovely.

  4. I would have thought of the baseball song as well-guess I'm not super well-read. I have been interested in this book since seeing your review last year and I'm very grateful for the chance to win it.


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