Sarah Pekkanen is born in New York City, arriving so quickly that doctors have no time to give her mother painkillers. This is the last time Sarah ever arrives for anything earlier than expected. Her mother still harbors a slight grudge.
Sarah’s family moves to Bethesda, Maryland, where Sarah, along with a co-author, writes a book entitled “Miscellaneous Tales and Poems.” Shockingly, publishers do not leap upon this literary masterpiece. Sarah sends a sternly-worded letter to publishers asking them to respond to her manuscript. Sarah no longer favors Raggedy Ann stationery, although she is sure it impressed top New York publishers.
Sarah’s parents are hauled into her elementary school to see the shocking condition of her desk. Sarah’s parents stare, open-mouthed, at the crumpled pieces of paper, broken pencils, and old notebooks crowding Sarah’s desk. Sarah’s organization skills have since improved. Slightly.
After college and a solo backpacking trip around Europe – during which Sarah got continually lost – Sarah begins work as a journalist, covering Capitol Hill. Unfortunately, Sarah cannot understand the thick drawls of the U.S. Senators from Alabama, resulting in many unintentional misquotes. Sarah is groped by one octogenarian politician, sumo-bumped off a subway car by Ted Kennedy, and unsuccessfully sued by the chief of staff to a corrupt U.S. Congresswoman. Sarah also works briefly as an on-air correspondent for e! Entertainment Network, until the e! producers realize that Capitol Hill isn’t, by any stretch of the imagination, what one might call sexy.
Sarah takes a job at Gannett New Service/USAToday, covering Capitol Hill. Sarah is assigned to cover the White House Correspondents Dinner and ride in the Presidential motorcade to the dinner. Sarah convinces a White House aide to let her stick her head out of the limousine moon-roof during the ride and wave to onlookers. Later, her triumph is tempered by the fact that bouncers will not allow her into the Vanity Fair after-party. Sarah attempts entry three times in case the bouncers were just kidding.
Sarah takes a job writing features for the Baltimore Sun, and interviews the actor who played Greg Brady. She refrains from asking if he really made out with Marcia, but just barely.
Having left her journalism job to chase around after her three active sons, Sarah starts writing a column for Bethesda Magazine and begins work on a novel. She does not write it on Raggedy Ann stationery.
Sarah signs with fabulous agent Victoria Sanders, who sells her debut book, titled The Opposite of Me, to the editor Sarah has always dreamed of working with: Greer Hendricks at Atria, an imprint of Simon & Schuster (oh, if only it were that easy – but Sarah is prohibiting any mention of the times she nearly hurled her computer across the room in frustration or wrote entire chapters that were far inferior to those in Miscellaneous Tales and Poems).
Atria publishes Sarah’s subsequent novels Skipping a Beat, These Girls, and The Best of Us. Rights to Sarah’s books are sold in China, Australia, Germany, Italy, Holland, Poland, Canada, Russia and Spain and her novels become international bestsellers. Sarah’s fifth novel, Catching Air, will be published in May 2014. She is currently at work on her sixth novel, which will be published in the spring of 2015.
And here’s the humiliating story of how Sarah got a literary agent. Learn from her (big) mistake!