Site Loader

Author Spotlight

Everything You Need To Know About THE BITTER SIDE OF SWEET Author Tara Sullivan

Have you ever read a book that made you realize how life in other places can be so different that it almost seems impossible? The Bitter Side of Sweet is a gorgeously written, heartwrenching survival story inspired by true to life events that will break down the walls of your world, only to show you a much bigger one. Here to tell us about the mind behind the masterpiece is author Tara Sullivan!


Name: Tara Sullivan
Novel: The Bitter Side of Sweet
Available: 2/23/16


Who’s your favorite author, living or dead? As a child, I absolutely loved everything by Roald Dahl. His voice and humor were a major part of my childhood… which might explain a lot, actually… ☺What’s your favorite thing about your book? My main character, Amadou, “counts the things that matter.” I love this, not only because it is an enormously key facet of him (it’s his way of working control into the impossible and powerless situation of slavery he and his little brother are in), but I love the resonance of the idea. One of the things that changes for Amadou over the course of the book is his definition of what “matters” and that is the core of what I hope my books can do. If a reader walks away from my books feeling like he or she has a new appreciation of what really matters and a willingness to act on that, then I feel my work has been a success.If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose? Sherlock Holmes. He might not be the friendliest of company, but I doubt I would ever be bored.Where do you write? My dining room table… the recliner in my living room… sitting up in bed with my dog on my feet… the local public library… occasionally my office. Anywhere I can get complete silence for about an hour at a time. Proximity to caffeinated beverages is a plus, but not a requirement.

Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history? This is so hard! I guess I would go with Mother Teresa. She dedicated her life to helping those society doesn’t value but managed to live her own convictions without pushing those convictions on anyone else.

Do you tweet?What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted? Yup! @SullivanStories. Maybe my tweet promoting Indy bookstore An Unlikely Story on Small Business Saturday?

What is your favorite season? Having grown up overseas where the only seasons were “wet” and “dry” versions of the same temperature, I’m kind of a season junkie. I love the fact that, especially here in New England, the weather is always on the brink of changing. If I were forced to pick, I’d probably go with fall.

If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go? Scotland. Then again, right now it’s February… so maybe somewhere warmer. Let’s go with New Zealand to geek out over the Lord of the Rings scenery.

Do you have any writing rituals? When I’m editing, I print out the entire book and tape it to my living room wall. Then I go through with different colored highlighters—green for dialogue, blue for flashback, pink for exciting scenes, and yellow for exposition—and I block out the whole book. Then, I can stand back and see my mistakes at a glance. Starting the book with blue? Bad. Forty pages between pinks? Also bad. Two chapters where no one talks? Hmm… It’s something I’ve found really helps to see the big picture for pacing.

What is your idea of earthly happiness? Pretty close to my life right now, actually: Happy family, loving spouse, fulfilling work, time to read, and good tea.

What is the best concert you’ve ever been to? If you can believe it, I’ve never actually been to a concert! One of those funny things you miss out on not growing up in the U.S., I guess…

What are you currently working on? My current WIP is another contemporary, set in the mining city of Potosí, Bolivia. It’s about a girl looking for her brother who has vanished under mysterious circumstances into “the mountain that eats men.” It’s a story about family, and how deep you sometimes need to dig to find the treasure inside when your world has fallen to rubble around you. It was prompted by a question to which I have still not found any good answers.



Thanks, Tara! We can’t wait to hear more about your next book!

Follow Tara on Twitter!

Start reading The Bitter Side of Sweet here!

Penguin Teen