Interview with Sara Bennett Wealer — Author of RIVAL

I haven’t read the debut novel RIVAL by Sara Bennett Wealer. But the cover is very inviting and the premise equally interesting. So… I’ve interviewed the debut author!
IceyBooks: Describe RIVAL in 7-9 words.
Sara Bennett Wealer: Best friends turned enemies compete in a life-changing sing-off!

IB: Where did you find the inspiration for RIVAL?

Sara Bennett WealerSBW: I was a singer in high school and experienced a few rivalries of my own. I think rivalry is a big part of girls’ lives, whether it’s in the arts, sports, or even just the day-to-day push-pull of trying to navigate friendships, boys and social standing. I wanted to look at it from both sides, and explore how rivalries can bring out the worst in people, but also help them be their best.
IB: Why did you decide to write contemporary YA fiction rather than paranormal fiction?

SBW: I’ll never say never, because I’ve got a couple of ideas for future books that could live in the paranormal/dystopian universe, but so far I just haven’t had any paranormal stories to tell! In order for me to write an entire novel, I have to feel the story in my bones. I have to know the characters and want to spend hours upon hours with them. I have to feel confident that the end result will be a story I can be proud of. So far I haven’t had any paranormal ideas that gave me those feelings. I keep waiting for a ghost or a mermaid character to go, “Hey! You can totally write a novel about me!” but so far none has. Maybe I’ll get that inspiration soon!

IB: Is there any character in RIVAL who is a lot like someone in your life?
SBW: Hm… I wouldn’t say there’s any one character who’s *a lot* like someone in my life. Some of the characters may contain bits and pieces of people I’ve known or people who are now in my world. But characters take on lives of their own when you write a novel: even if, for some reason, you set out to model them on specific people, they always veer off and become someone totally unique.

IB: Did you always want to be a writer?

PB: Yes. The very first ambition I ever had was to be a writer–I used to dictate books to my mother, back in preschool.

IB: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
SBW: Right now I’m a working mom doing the working mom thing, which is juggle the many blessings in my life. I could call them stresses, but they truly are blessings because I’m able to make a living doing what I love (writing), and I have a wonderful family. I don’t sing near as much as I used to, and I miss that. But I plan on going back to it someday. I love cooking, shopping, music, the movies, and hanging out online with readers and fellow authors.

IB: If you weren’t an author what would you have been?
SBW: Once upon a time, I thought I might be an opera singer. Once upon a longer time ago, I wanted to be a ballet dancer. If I weren’t a writer, I would want to work for a ballet company so I could watch the dancers all day long. I absolutely LOVE ballet.
RivalIB: What was the last YA novel you read? Did you like it?
SBW: I’m currently reading Kody Keplinger’s THE DUFF and Daisy Whitney’s THE MOCKINGBIRDS. I love both of them!
IB: Is there anything else you would like add?
SBW: Just that I’m so grateful to have a book coming out – it’s a dream come true. I hope people will buy and love it!
Thanks for taking the time to tell me and my readers a little about yourself, Ms Wealer! Sara Bennett Wealer’s debut novel Rival will be released on
2/15/11 from HarperTeen.

Ms Wealer was kind enough to offer YOU a chance to win a signed AND personalized hard cover copy of her debut novel – RIVAL! Click here to enter!


Hafsah Faizal is a YA author, designer, and blogger. Her designs have graced the sites of New York Times bestselling authors, bloggers, and more. She resides in Texas, with her family.



  1. Reply


    February 14, 2011

    Great interview, thanks! Can't wait for Rival to come out tomorrow!

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    February 15, 2011

    Can't wait for this book to come out! Thanks for the interview and contest!!

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    February 15, 2011

    This was such a great interview. I hope to pick up a copy of Rival very soon. As Sara said, rivalries are something girls deal with on a daily basis so I am so excited to read Rival.

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    February 15, 2011

    Great interview! I can't wait to read this book. It makes me think of Black Swan (which I haven't seen yet).

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    February 15, 2011

    Thanks for the amazing interview. I liked all the questions but I found it really interesting that the author wanted to be an opera singer!

  6. Reply

    Cozy in Texas

    February 15, 2011

    I love author interviews. Thanks for a chance to get to know Sara Bennett Wealer.

  7. Reply


    February 15, 2011

    I am really looking forward to reading this! Great interview! Super pretty cover too!

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