Interview with Ruta Sepetys (Author of Salt to the Sea)

I’m beyond excited that I was given the opportunity to interview one of my favorite authors, Ruta Sepetys. I was able to meet her at the North Texas Teen Book Festival, and she’s extremely sweet and an overall lovely person. Without further ado, let’s get to the interview!

2. Hi Ruta! Before we get started, can you talk about the books you’ve written so far? 

I’ve written three historical novels: Between Shades of Gray, Out of the Easy and Salt to the Sea. They are all published through Philomel which is a division of Penguin Young Readers Group

2. What inspired you to go into writing? Specifically, historical fiction?

I am drawn to hidden history and stories of strength through struggle, so I look for topics that contain those elements. Writing historical fiction is like being a detective. I love discovering secrets and lost heroes.  Sometimes history can be perceived as boring. But through characters and story, historical statistics become human and suddenly we care for people we’ve never met, we can find their country on a map, and then—the history matters. Through historical fiction we can give voice those who will never have a chance to tell their story. That inspires me!

3. Is there a time period in history that you’ve wanted to write about but you haven’t yet?

There are many periods I’d love to write about! I’d love to write a novel set in the ’20’s and a novel set during the Depression.

4. Are there any characters you’ve written about that have been your favorite? 

I absolutely loved writing the character of Josie Moraine in Out of the Easy. The odds are stacked against her, but Josie is a fighter. She decides that she—and she alone—will be the author of her own destiny. She will learn to fly, even though she’s been born with broken wings.

5. In your opinion, what is the best thing about being a writer? 

My favorite part is the research. I love researching hidden history! I also love listening to readers share their interpretation of my books. I think the reader’s interpretation is more important than the author’s explanation. A book is different to every single reader. Each reader may read the same text, but they create characters and setting in their own mind and therefore no two are alike. That’s fascinating to me!

6. Besides writing and history, what are some of your other passions?

Music and family! Prior to becoming a novelist, I spent over twenty years in the music industry. I love the process of songwriting and making music. My family is probably my biggest inspiration. They’ve supported all of my creative endeavors and I adore them!

7. Which part of writing a book is harder: the research or the actual writing process?

That’s a great question. I’m sure it differs for every author, but for me the actual writing process is harder. Research is a fascinating exercise of hunting down clues and gathering information. Writing (crafting plot, managing pacing) is harder for me.

8. What are some of your favorite historical fiction novels (besides your own)?

  • A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

9. Lastly, what’s the next project that you’re working on (if you are allowed to talk about it)?

Yes, I’m very excited to talk about it! My new book is set in Spain during the 1950’s and reveals unknown history related to the Spanish dictator, Francisco Franco.

Thanks again to Ruta for allowing me to interview you; it was a pleasure to interview you. Thanks for reading, everyone!



5 thoughts on “Interview with Ruta Sepetys (Author of Salt to the Sea)

  1. This is awesome! I’ve only read Between Shades of Gray by her, but I loved it! How’d you get the chance to interview her?


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