Interview with Sara Grover, Author of Unknown Variant

Interview with Sara Grover, Author of Unknown Variant

What comes first, the plot or characters?

The plot has to come first for me. One needs to have an overall story concept; where you want the story to go, and its themes, and then carefully craft the characters to execute that story.

Interview with Sara Grover, Author of Unknown Variant

What is the most difficult part about writing for you?

Getting into the right headspace. I need to feel the inspiration; I can’t force it. Also being a perfectionist and relentless self-critic can make it hard as I will rewrite a section over and over and never quite feel that it is what I wanted it to be like.

How much ‘world-building’ takes place before you start writing?

I did a lot of world-building for Unknown Variant. I drew out maps of what the cities and globe would look like to better envision the place I was writing about. I constructed the physical layout as well as the political and legal landscape of the world I was putting my characters into before I fully fleshed out who they were going to be.

Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?

Absolutely! Unknown Variant is, at its core, a redemption story. We do not always have to be who we were; we can be better if we want to, even in the direst of circumstances.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I get my inspiration from news stories, personal interactions, and dreams.

What was your favorite part, and your least favorite part, of the publishing journey?

The editing and cover art process was my favorite. I enjoyed collaborating with talented professionals for the final steps.

The gatekeeping mindset is a big problem. The big publishers will not bother with new writers. They will only take manuscripts from established authors, creating no ability for anyone to become established unless they are already famous for some other reason.

What is the significance of the title?

I got the idea for my title from genetic testing, which will label genetic changes that have not been previously observed as “unknown variants”. The title also works in describing life in general; life is full of unknown variables that can change the course of our lives in ways that we cannot possibly predict. Life is just full of unknown variants that are beyond our control and we just have to make the best of it.

What is the future for the characters? Will there be a sequel?

Sara Grover Unknown Variant
Sara Grover Unknown Variant

There is more to the story for Layla and Adonis. I don’t want to give it away, but I do have a sequel already written in my mind. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the time or the right headspace to write it down; life being full of unknown variants and all, things are kind of chaotic right now.

What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?

My obsession with perfection. I would write a chapter, like it, and then the next day read it and rewrite it completely or revise and edit it over and over again, always finding something I wanted to change. It took me a while to get to the point of being able to just leave a section the way I originally wrote it.

What was the highlight of writing this book?

The sense of accomplishment; that I could not only write research papers, essays, poetry, and short stories, but a full-length novel and still have ideas left over. The peanut gallery will say “Anybody can write a book”, but that is simply not true. Anyone who does write a book, whether it is a best-seller or not, has truly accomplished something. It takes focus, creativity, and dedication to finish a novel and I applaud everyone who has been able to do it.

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