Sarah R. Baughman: “Her struggle to balance a commitment to science and logic with a feeling of magic, are very relatable for me.”

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[Note From Frolic: Our resident YA expert Aurora Dominguez got the opportunity to interview author Sarah R. Baughman and ask her five(ish) questions. Sarah’s novel The Light in the Lake is out now!]

Aurora: What was your inspiration behind your most recent novel?

Sarah: Several key interests and experiences converged to inspire The Light in the LakePrimarily, I felt very connected to my surroundings in the northeastern corner of Vermont where I lived. In a sense, the story grew out of that landscape; the book’s setting is inspired by it and shapes the plot and characters. I also grew up spending time on my grandparents’ dairy farm and those memories came back to me often in Vermont, particularly as I read about current issues facing dairy farms and how they converged with environmental concerns.

What character do you most relate to and why?

I relate in some way to all of the characters, but I have to choose Addie– her connection to her environment, along with her struggle to balance a commitment to science and logic with a feeling of magic, are very relatable for me.

Why do you feel that middle grade books are so popular and have such a voice right now?

I wonder if what’s true for me is true for many writers: I fell in love with reading thanks to MG literature. Many of my enduring favorites are MG books I read when I was 9 or 10 or 11– they just haven’t lost their power. The middle grade years are such formative ones, and so difficult too. I think the literary world recognizes how much kids need great books that mirror their experiences and feelings while also exposing them to new ideas and helping them navigate that transition into the teen years. 

 Please describe the content of your latest book and what can readers expect from the read.

The Light in the Lake follows the story of Addie, who lost her brother in a tragic accident in the beloved lake near their home. Tasked with researching water pollution, Addie balances her interest in science with a newfound passion for uncovering clues her brother left behind that suggest a magical sea creature might live in the lake. From what I’ve heard from early reviewers, readers can expect to keep a box of tissues nearby but also to feel a lot of hope at the end!

What’s next for you in the book world?

I’m revising my second book, just started working on my third, and was excited to find just recently that an idea for the fourth had worked its way into my brain! I’m just excited to keep writing.

Who is your favorite writer right now and why?

This is the hardest question you could ask! It feels impossible to choose from all the amazing writers working today. I’ve been so impressed with Jacqueline Woodson’s breadth and depth– she can write everything from picture books to novels in verse to YA and execute it perfectly.

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