I had never heard about Sarah Everett until I stumbled upon Some Other Now while scouring Edelweiss for eARCs. Some Other Now has been hailed as This Is Us for teens, and I would say it is definitely as emotionally challenging and heartbreaking, but also insanely difficult to put down. I knew I needed to learn a bit more about Sarah and her inspiration for this book.
In this interview, we discuss the challenging parts of writing this book, why she loves sibling stories, and why mental health is a major theme in Some Other Now.
Hi Sarah! Thank you for taking the time to chat with me about your book, Some Other Now. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hi, Afoma! I’m the author of several books for young adults, including Some Other Now, which comes out Feb 23. I love playing and watching tennis (though I’m mediocre at playing, excellent at watching), a good romcom, a Frappuccino and my rescue dog/anxiety twin. I live in Canada, where I write books set in the summer any time I need to escape the cold.
Whew, this book took me on a rollercoaster of emotions with Jessi and the Cohen family. I have to ask, what inspired this story?
Some Other Now has several “origin” stories. On one hand, it was the result of combining a bunch of the things I love to read in books: fake dating, swoony brothers, second-chance romance, fractured families and redemption stories. On the other hand, I had this voice pop into my head, the voice of a girl caught between the past and the future, between two boys and between two families, and I just couldn’t resist telling Jessi’s story.
I really liked Jessi. I empathized with her difficult emotions, her yearning for the family she grew up with, and her affection for both boys. She also had her own issues with her mom’s depression. Why was mental health something you wanted to write about in this story?
Mental health struggles hit very close to home for me for a number of reasons. I think most of us are affected by mental health issues, whether that’s because we deal with them ourselves or because people we love deal with them. So, in that sense, it felt natural to write about it. But I also wanted to explore the immense sense of loss that untreated depression can inflict on a family – its effects can linger for years and even generations.I also wanted to explore the immense sense of loss that untreated depression can inflict on a family – its effects can linger for years and even generations. Click To Tweet
The Cohen brothers are so different from each other and it shows in their relationships with each other, their mom, and with Jessi. Do you have brothers? Is writing about siblings something you enjoy?
I only have sisters, but I always longed for a slightly surly but protective older brother who would drive me places and fight any bullies that came my way!
Writing about siblings is something I absolutely love. From a creative/psychological perspective, it’s really interesting to see how people who share the same genes and the same environment can turn out to be so vastly different. Personally, my relationships with each of my sisters have also been some of the most complex and important bonds in my life, so I guess I’m writing what I know.
(I love to read sibling stories too, if you have any recommendations…give me all the sib stories!)
I really liked Luke, although we learn in time that he’s not as “perfect” as he seems. He also has his own insecurities. Which of the boys was your favorite to write? What was the most challenging part of writing this book for you?
Hmm, that’s a very good question. Both boys and their personalities were immediately clear to me from the get-go, but Rowan took a little more honing than Luke did. Rowan is feisty and angry and very much His Own Person, but I had to walk a fine line to prevent him from being a one-note character.
Overall, writing Some Other Now was one of the most joyful writing experiences I’ve ever had – the story definitely poured out of me. Probably the biggest challenge, though, was figuring out the pacing, knowing what to put Before and what to put After, and then working out the best place for different reveals.Overall, writing Some Other Now was one of the most joyful writing experiences I’ve ever had – the story definitely poured out of me. Click To Tweet
I’m curious: is writing your full time job? If not, how do you balance writing with your day job?
I’m currently writing full-time, which is pretty awesome. It has its own challenges, though. Like sticking to a schedule, maintaining that elusive work/life balance and finding a reason to put on something other than pajamas at least a couple of times a week 🙂
What do you like to do for fun?
I’m super boring in that the thing I do most for fun is read, but I also love going on long walks with my dog, having coffee dates with friends and monitoring the professional tennis circuit like it’s my actual full-time job.
Which YA and/or adult books have you read and loved recently?
I’m currently reading Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant and loving that, but I also enjoyed A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow, A Sky Beyond the Storm, Today Tonight Tomorrow and The Only Black Girls in Town, which is an excellent middle-grade book.
For adult books, I’m currently on a romance kick, loving authors like Talia Hibbert, Jasmine Guillory and Christina Lauren.
What do you hope readers gain from reading Some Other Now?
Most of all, I hope the world of Some Other Now is one that readers can fully immerse themselves in and forget about the outside world for a while. I hope it entertains and moves them, but I also hope it makes us talk about some of the book’s main themes: grief, regret, mental illness, found family and, ultimately, hope.
Thank you so much for having me, Afoma!
Thank you for your time Sarah!
Buy Some Other Now
This Is Us for teens, this luminous and heartbreaking contemporary novel follows a girl caught between two brothers as the three of them navigate family, loss, and love over the course of two summers. For fans of Far From the Tree, Emergency Contact, and Nina LaCour.
Before she kissed one of the Cohen boys, seventeen-year-old Jessi Rumfield knew what it was like to have a family—even if, technically, that family didn’t belong to her. She’d spent her childhood in the house next door, challenging Rowan Cohen to tennis matches while his older brother, Luke, studied in the background and Mel watched over the three like the mother Jessi always wished she had.
But then everything changed. It’s been almost a year since Jessi last visited the Cohen house. Rowan is gone. Mel is in remission and Luke hates Jessi for the role she played in breaking his family apart. Now Jessi spends her days at a dead-end summer job avoiding her real mother, who suddenly wants to play a role in Jessi’s life after being absent for so long. But when Luke comes home from college, it’s hard to ignore the past. And when he asks Jessi to pretend to be his girlfriend for the final months of Mel’s life, Jessi finds herself drawn back into the world of the Cohens. Everything’s changed, but Jessi can’t help wanting to be a Cohen, even if it means playing pretend for one final summer.
Meet Sarah Everett
Sarah Everett is the author of EVERYONE WE’VE BEEN, NO ONE HERE IS LONELY, and SOME OTHER NOW. She remembers growing up in enchanted forests, on desert islands and inside a magical wardrobe. She would only ever erase her memory of past karaoke performances and certain fashion choices. Her interests include science, Friends, tennis, and reading. She currently lives in Canada where she attends graduate school and writes YA novels. To connect with Sarah and learn more about her books, visit her website or Instagram.