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The debut novel of Toonari Post travel correspondent Sarah Dayan is a collection of unique voices telling the interconnected story of a diverse set of characters in New York. Dayan is a New Yorker herself and Greater Than the Still is a mesh of short stories inspired by her hometown and her passion for literature “The whole idea of the novel came to me as I was reading another book, The Scenic Route by Binnie Kirshenbaum” she says.
“In it, Kirsehnbaum wrote, ‘When you keep to yourself, when you don’t reveal who you are, often people will invent a story for you and you can let that story become the whole of it because you can’t be bothered setting the record straight, of you can’t tell the truth because it’s too late for that, to offer up facts not in evidence is to risk something, the opening of a door to an uninvited guest.’ This one quote […] made me want to explore the idea that everyone has an untold story behind their exterior.”
As a self-published author, Sarah drew on her experience as well as personal motivation; “My main goal was to be a published author, regardless if it was through the traditional publishing route, or through self-publishing” she explains.
“I spent time working in the traditional publishing industry and although I do believe there are many benefits for publishing that way, authors don’t always have full creative control over their work.” She noticed that it can take years to go through the traditional publishing route, and this would be on top of her own process. “I wrote an outline for the whole novel within minutes and I knew exactly what I wanted to convey. The writing process lasted around six months from start to finish. I let it sit on the back burner for a couple of years, until I went back to it and began editing. Some characters remained the same after edits, but others were completely removed and replaced. It was only after the edits were done that I finally felt like it was complete.”
“I decided to go through the self-publishing route on my own, which allowed me to have full control over my writing and how I wanted to present my novel. It’s been a rewarding experience and has helped me grow as an author.”
Greater Than the Still immerses its readers into the lives of people whose individual experiences cross path in New York. Focusing very much on character development, Dayan says that her choice in genre is inspired by her own personal choice in literature. She also deliberately chose New York City as the setting for her stories. “I took years of experiences in New York City and scattered them across Greater Than the Still. Everything from riding the subway to interacting with strangers are all a part of life in the city. I felt it was important to treat New York City as its own character, because of its so many intricacies and characteristics.”
Speaking of character development, Dayan admits that many of her characters represent people who are important in her life. “I am drawn to books where I feel that I know the characters personally. It was important for me to make each character someone who is real, with their own unique characteristics and flaws.” Her characters each have their vulnerabilities and strength, and one of her main goals were to portray these human details convincingly “I believe people will be drawn to Greater Than the Still for its approachability and how easy it is to relate to its array of characters.”
Sarah Dayan was always passionate about writing and was producing full length novels by the time she was a teenager. She loves traveling equally, and was able to combine the two as a travel correspondence for Toonari Post. On her budding career as a published author, she says: “I didn’t know what to expect when I released my book. I wanted to publish Greater Than the Still because I knew it would be a large accomplishment and felt that it would be extremely gratifying just to hold the finalized copy in my hands. The feedback I have received so far has been much more than I could have expected.”
“Fellow authors from around the country have expressed their interest in the book, and well known bloggers from around the world will be featuring my novel in the next few upcoming months.”
When asked about her immediate plans as an author, Sarah tells us that a continuation of Greater Than the Still is likely to be in the cards; “I didn’t set out to make a sequel for Greater Than the Still as I was writing it, but an idea came about that I can’t pass up. I started planning out what I will write for the sequel, and I aim to begin it within the next few weeks.”
However, she assures us: “I plan on exploring new ideas for other full length novels in the future.”
Finally, she gave a word of thought on self-publishing: “In terms of self-publishing, the process is easy. There are many different outlets now, including CreateSpace and Smashwords, that make the publishing process very easy to maneuver, to bring a project to life.”
She continues, “all the information is easily accessible and geared towards allowing anyone to publish their own material,” but she also rationalizes; “Of course a person needs to be determined and have the drive to write a full length novel, but I believe the self-publishing industry is extremely helpful and a rewarding process.”
You can get your own copy of Sarah’s debut Greater Than the Still via Amazon, Barnes & Nobles or iTunes, and visit her website at AuthorSarahDayan.com or find her on Facebook/Twitter/Goodreads/Pinterest.
Image credit: Sarah Dayan